In the month of love, as our thoughts turn to snuggling up with that special someone in a romantic place away from the hustle and bustle of daily life, we think of great romantic weekends away – but where to go and what to do?
We’ve looked at options in every category, from the expensive to the affordable, from the local to the exotic, and there is a remarkable amount still available out there. Remember, it is all about the romantic environment, which can be created almost anywhere, with a little forethought and planning.
If your budget stretches to it, the fly away classics are:
Paris, the city of love, where you can wander hand in hand along the Seine, watch art in progress, visit the Eiffel Tower or shop at the chicest fashion houses in the world. This is a dream city with an increasing number of boutique hotels catering to the needs of different budgets. Eurostar makes Paris super accessible, so fly or rail, but train is probably easiest.
For a great range of options on Eurostar and hotel for two nights for two people that currently range in price from around £275 for a cozy central hotel, up to £1,000 for the height of luxury, go to www.superbreak.com.
In our view still the most romantic of cities, you can fly to the airport or take a train to the city, then transfer to vaporetto for a romantic Bond-like journey to your hotel on the Grand Canal.
Choose a hotel in the region of St Mark’s Square – there are options from affordable to quite expensive – and you can walk out from here to explore the Square itself, the famous coffee shops and the Doge’s Palace, before taking a romantic evening gondola ride down the Grand Canal past the famous Rialto Bridge and the old world side canals.
A great meal can be had at just about any of the many restaurants in the city, but we especially like the seafood restaurant just across the Rialto Bridge. Buy a mask and pretend you have just met in the February evening mists of Venice…
Go to www.superbreak.com for options that range from around £660 to £1,200 for two nights for two people, flying out with Easyjet. The cheapest of these is at a good central boutique hotel, while the most expensive is a suite at a five star hotel or complex.
Of course the most romantic path to Venice is on the Orient Express, with a hotel and fly-home option – a more pricy, but wonderful experience. Go to www.orient-express.com
As we said in our New York special last month, New York City is one of the most popular destinations for travellers from around the world and it is a city that buzzes with energy no matter when you are there, whether in the pleasant warmth of spring or in the depths of winter when a white blanket settles on a frozen city lit with Christmas lights and skaters circle the ice on Times Square. Valentine’s day is no exception and this is an active lovers’ weekend, rather than a retreat from the world.
You will see the sights with the crowds, shop 5th Avenue and go to the theatre, round it off with a romantic meal in a great restaurant, before retiring for a night of passion in your apartment or hotel.
Take a nice hotel from anywhere between $100-400 per person per night, or take a cheap and cheerful hostel break for as little as $20 per person per night. An apartment is also a great option.
For a three night break with Virgin Holidays, including economy flight and hotel, with prices ranging from £750-1,000 per person, depending on hotel chosen, go to www.virginholidays.co.uk The hotels are all good ones, all the way up to the Ritz-Carlton on Central Park.
A chalet in the Alps
Whether you want a chalet in Switzerland, a romantic French mountain cabin or an Italian hideaway, there is still a lot to choose from in the ski resorts of Europe, as well as across the Atlantic in Canada and the USA.
Whether you want to ski together or just huddle up on the rug in front of a Winter fire on Valentine’s day, after a great cheese and wine fondue or a decadent chocolate one, go to http://www.sno.co.uk/ski-resort/best-ski-resorts/ for some good options.
There are lots of options in the UK for weekends away in 4 star hotels and country cottages, starting from as little as £40-50 per person per night. For spas and stately homes this rises sharply of course, but for Valentine’s Day cosy and intimate is in and opulent is probably wasted anyway.
Have a look at the Valentine’s specials at www.superbreak.com for some good options and specials in a range of hotels in areas like the Lake District, Cumbria and the Cotswolds.
Scottish castle or a French chalet
For a more exotic break, stay in a Scottish castle or take advantage of the well-organised French chateau market, were you can enjoy a romantic weekend in a period chateau, with excellent food and lovely memories.
For unusual places to stay in Scotland, including castles and lighthouses, have a look at http://www.visitscotland.com/accommodation/unusual-places-to-stay/.
A French chateau we tried recently was Chateau des Montairons in north-west France (www.chateaudesmonthairons.fr ), which can be booked directly or through some consolidated chateaux booking sites. The setting was stunning, our room excellent, the food first class and our stay overall was a great success. Another good site to try is www.chateauxhotels.co.uk.
A B&B can be a surprisingly good option if you choose the right one, but make sure you will have the privacy and space to make this a memorable Valentine’s experience, rather than an awkward stay in someone’s home. Farm B&B’s are a favourite for Valentine’s getaways, so do consider these.
To find B&Bs in an area of your choice, go to www.bedandbreakfast-directory.co.uk.
…or stay at home!
If none of these options tickle your fancy, then get in the champagne and the sexy lingerie, sprinkle the bedroom with rose petals and candlelight, and lock the front door. A romantic weekend at home can be just as yummy!
For travel questions contact our Leisure & Travel Editor at firstname.lastname@example.org