Spring is a great time for a romantic getaway – either to Europe, the Caribbean, Mexico, Canada, or the West Coast – so here are four tips to help you maximize your enjoyment of the destination, and each other, while away à deux:
Avoid kids and conferences: Nothing wrecks a romantic mood more than screaming kids – but loud, badge-wearing conference-goers are a close second. The best way to avoid both is to book a smaller resort, preferably one where children under 16 are either not allowed or discouraged.
A few of my favorite intimate resorts are The Horned Dorset Primavera, a romantic enclave on Puerto Rico, from $360 per night; Bucuti Beach Resort, a low-key property on Aruba’s gorgeous Eagle Beach (shown above at left), from $271 a night; Jamaica Inn, an elegant oasis in Ocho Rios, Jamaica, from $299 per night; The Tides Riviera Maya, a chic resort south of Cancun, from $585 per night; La Casa Que Canta (www.lacasaquecanta.com), a cliff-side gem in Zihuatanejo, Mexico, from $289 a night; The Wickaninnish Inn (www.wickinn.com), a coastal retreat on Vancouver Island, from $330 a night; and Post Ranch Inn (www.postranchinn.com), a one-of-a-kind luxury retreat in Big Sur, CA, from $595 per night. If you prefer a larger resort, call the property before you book to inquire if a conference is scheduled for the dates of your intended stay and ask if there is an adults-only pool.
Go up on the roof: Enjoying a sweeping view of a city’s skyline from a rooftop bar or pool can make a romantic getaway to all the more enjoyable, giving you an easy–access spot to sip sunset cocktails. Some of my favorite hotels with rooftop oases are the Hotel Grand Bretagne (www.grandebretagne.gr) in Athens (pool, bar, and restaurant), from $405 a night; Hotel Forty Seven (www.fortysevenhotel.com) in Rome (bar and restaurant), from $369 per night; Hotel Continentale (www.lungarnohotels.com) in Florence (bar), from $384 a night; Hotel Nelligan in Montreal (bar), from $225 per night; Market Pavilion (www.marketpavilion.com) in Charleston, SC (pool, bar, and restaurant), from $263 a night; Hotel Bairro Alto in Lisbon (bar – view shown at right), from $215 a night; and Hotel Omm in Barcelona (pool and bar), from $299 per night. Plus, The Bauer Il Palazzo (www.bauervenezia.com) in Venice has a rooftop Jacuzzi that can be privately booked for an hour of soaking, sipping Champagne, and watching the sun set over the Grand Canal, from $540 per night.
Set sail: Taking a cruise is a great way to see several appealing cities or islands in a single week, as well as get in some relaxation time. You unpack once and each night you return to the ship to enjoy sunset canapés and cocktails (and even a Jacuzzi soak) as you sail off to your next port. The key is to choose the right cruise – and the right itinerary. As with hotels, think smaller luxury ships for fewer kids and more romantic ambience. As for itineraries, look for one that allows eight to 10 hours in each port so you don’t feel rushed and at least one day at sea for total relaxation. Three great small ships, all with fewer than 500 passengers and all sailing appealing Mediterranean and Adriatic itineraries this spring and summer, are Seabourn Odyssey and sister ship Seabourn Sojourn (www.seabourn.com), seven nights from $2,999 per person; Silversea’s Silver Shadow (www.silverseacruises.com), seven nights from $4,478 per person, including $1,000 onboard credit; and Windstar’s Wind Surf (www.windstarcruises.com), seven nights from $2,199 per person (shown at left).
Hit the spa: Feeling healthy and refreshed is always a romance booster, so consider a stay at a luxury resort with a fabulous spa. Book a couple’s massage, or better yet, a multi-hour couples “experience” to share the bliss and reconnect. Some of my favorite spa properties for couples are Mii Amo in Sedona, AZ, three nights, including all meals and six spa treatments, from $2,145 per person; Solage Calistoga (www.solagecalistoga.com) in Napa Valley, from $385 per night, Encantado (www.encantadoresort.com) in Santa Fe, NM, from $396 a night; Hotel Guanahani & Spa on St. Barths, from $490 per night; and Maroma Resort & Spa, on Mexico’s Riviera Maya (shown at right), from $375 per night.