A Guide to Valentine's Day for Travelers
by Terry WardPosted Feb 3rd 2011 01:31 PMUpdated Feb 18th 2011 05:11 PM
Concorde Hotels & Resorts
For Privacy Seekers: Fisher Island, Florida
There are couples who flaunt their love all over the place -- and others who prefer not to be noticed at all. For the latter pairs, few places are as close to a major metropolis, yet so far away from prying eyes as Fisher Island. Accessed by a seven-minute private auto ferry ride from a dock just off the causeway between downtown Miami and South Beach, this is a private residential community with just one facility open to the public -- the Fisher Island Hotel & Resort. Book one of the courtyard villas in the former Vanderbilt Estate and you can open the door from your bedroom into a super-private garden area with its own hot tub, surrounded by tropical palms and flowers.
For Foodie Couples: Palm Beach, Florida
Pair a caviar and foie gras connoisseur with someone who can't stand the stuff and chances are there'll be some relationship issues. But if you both think there's nothing quite like sharing a fabulous meal with the one you love, head to Palm Beach. Book one of the intimate banquette-style tables at L'Escalier at the Breakers Palm Beach, where three-course dinners inject classic French fare with molecular gastronomy (bonus: some of the vegetables and herbs on your plate are grown in the hotel's organic garden). A few miles south, at the Omphoy Ocean Resort, famed Miami chef Michelle Bernstein's gourmet Latin-inspired dishes include stone crab with charred avocado and shrimp tiradito with soy and cilantro.
For Watersport Enthusiasts: The Bahamas
If you can't stand lazing on the beach when there are jet skis, banana boats and scuba diving excursions to be had offshore, then set your sights on the Bahamas. Stay oceanfront but away from the cruise ship crowds at the Sheraton Nassau Beach Resort and book the hotel's shark diving package with Stuart Cove. Scores of sharks will swim within inches of your mask during one of diving's biggest adrenalin experiences. Or head to Andros in the Out Islands for bonefishing in the mangrove flats, sea kayaking and snorkeling trips around the world's third largest barrier reef.
For Adrenalin Junkies: Vail, Colorado
If spending Valentine's Day carving your skis through pristine powder before retreating to a rooftop hot tub to soak your muscles sounds like perfection to you, then Vail is the spot. Valid for Valentine's Day stays, the Arrabelle at Vail Square is offering a Ski Free Stay Free deal that gets you a three-night stay and three days of skiing or riding for the price of two. Use your savings at the spa, which has an extensive menu of massages and a steam room for post-ski relaxation.
For Hopeless Romantics: Paris
Cliché, but true: The City of Lights is about as romantic as it gets. Picture starting the day with café au lait and croissants, strolling hand-in-hand along the Seine and popping into a romantic restaurant like the Latin Quarter's Lapérouse for dinner a deux. With several properties in Paris' most scenic neighborhoods, Concorde Hotels and Resorts has some enticing Valentine's Day deals. Stay at the Belle Époque Hotel Lutetia (above) on the Left Bank for $306 per night (two-night minimum), which includes breakfast for two and Champagne or chocolate upon arrival. The rest of the ingredients for a starry eyed escape, naturally, can be left to the city itself.
For Do Nothing Couples: Turks & Caicos
For some, there's no better way to spend a holiday than simply lounging about in a place that looks as unruffled and pulse-calming as a postcard. And with 40 islands and cays, countless immaculate white sand beaches and only 30,000 residents to enjoy them, the Turks & Caicos is the kind of place that makes perching poolside or on the beach a full time vacation occupation. Let the turquoise waters on the horizon lull the two of you into a laconic state. Book a room at the Seven Stars Resort on the island of Providenciales, where you can cabanas where you can lay all day in a cabana or take a dip in the heated salt water pool.
For Soon-to-be-Engaged Couples: Savannah, Georgia
This quaint Southern town is full of romantic places for popping the question. Link arms and stroll streets lined with historic homes and shaded by giant live oak trees dripping with Spanish moss. Snuggle under a blanket during a nighttime horse drawn carriage tour, picnic in one of the town's beautiful parks or book a romantic sunset cruise along the river. Or consider dropping to one knee during a stroll along the riverfront.
For Serious Splurgers: New York
When money's no object, there's no place quite like New York for bringing out the big bucks. And leave it to the Donald to bring this ridiculously decadent deal to the table -- the $29,000 Diamond Indulgence package at the Trump Soho New York gets you two nights in the hotel's new duplex terrace penthouse suite with sweeping city views, Champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries upon arrival, couples massages with diamond-infused oils, breakfast daily in your room, and -- where the real bucks come in -- a pair of 18k white gold diamond earrings. If you can live without the jewels, the hotel's Romance Restored package is $1,400 per night for a smaller one-bedroom suite. Wondering where else to splurge in NYC? Book the five-course Valentine's dinner at Charlie Palmer's Aureole.
For Outdoorsy Types: Argentina
If romance for you is long hikes in warm weather, you need to go south -- way south. It's summer in Argentina, where you can camp, hike, white water raft, and more in the wild terrain of Patagonia. Take a two-day mountain climbing tour of Lanín volcano or a cruise aboard Cruceros Australis. Cruising not sounding adventurous enough? Keep in mind that shore excursions include hikes to lookout points with glacier views, walks through subpolar forests to spot beaver dams, and scouting for elephant seals on the beach.
For Party Couples: New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans' laissez les bons temps rouler mantra is perfect for couples who would rather be out on the town than sitting quietly at home. Start with dinner in really fun surrounds at Jacques-Imo's and tuck into classic Crescent City dishes like barbecued shrimp and blackened redfish. The party on Bourbon Street and around the French Quarter this February 14 promises to be as rollicking as any other night, but be sure to venture into the more eclectic Garden District, too (for a local vibe, head to The Saint). The go-to cure for too much partying the night prior? Coffee and beignets the next day at Café du Monde, of course.
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Tags: argentina, bahamas, colorado, fisher-island, florida, france, georgia, louisiana, nassau, new-orleans, new-york, palm-beach, paris, savannah, turks caicos, united-states, vail
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