February is another month when people’s thoughts turn to holidays. The cold UK weather starts you dreaming about somewhere warmer and often sales are carried over from January. There are also, all sorts of promotions appealing to the romantics wanting to treat a loved one to a special weekend ‘pour deux’, or a surprise exotic break later in the year. You might think Valentine’s Day is all about chocolates, roses or/and a romantic meal but with the growing popularity of European city breaks, it’s not a gift to completely break the bank. Instead a short break away can mean some quality time and enjoying something different to discover together
Or there are mini staycations where you can be indulged at a lavish country manor house with all its antique furnishings and four-poster beds, to extravagant boutique hotels mixing stylish luxury with private home intimacy. Not sure where to start? Here are some favourites of mine, starting with where I got married!
Rio Celeste Hideaway Hotel, Volcan Tenoria National Park, Costa Rica
Epitomising the phrase you hear everywhere in Costa Rica, “Pura Vida”, which translates into English as “pure life” or “simple life”. Charming beyond belief, this boutique hotel nestles unobtrusively into the rainforest and is ‘fringed’ by the azure blue waters of the Rio Celeste. With decking that invites you to sit, admire the striking scenery and enjoy the beautiful sounds of nature, this is seriously a place to embrace tranquillity and romance.
Another all-time favourite of mine was a visit to the island of Lombok near Bali and staying at:
Hotel Tugu Lombok
This luxurious, very beautiful and quirky art hotel, sits on a private and pristine white-sand beach within a coconut plantation facing the ocean and Mount Rinjani. It is a tropical paradise that features stunning artefacts and antiques inspired by ancient tales of Mahabharata, aimed to bring back the ancient romance of Lombok. In a blend between magical landscapes and unique artworks, legends and modern luxuries, Tugu Lombok is a place that definitely captures the soul.
Perhaps not tropical, but after living in Scotland for a number of years, I did take away before leaving, that Scotland and romance are inseparable and there are a number of wildly romantic places. One of those is:
Tucked away in a mystical ancient woodland with breath-taking views to Loch Nevis, Knoydart Hide is overflowing with romantic touches. Voted as the ultimate Valentine’s Love Nest by the ‘Daily Mail’ in 2018 and No 1 Scotland’s Hidden Romantic Spot by ‘No1 Magazine’ in January 2019. This is accommodation designed for total privacy and true relaxation. It is definitely for couples in love or who just want to spend some time away from it all and surrounded by beauty. Accessible only by foot or by boat, Scotland’s Knoydart peninsula is one of the most remote areas in the UK and is known for its rugged wilderness and its incredible natural beauty. Italian stone floors, gilt mirrors, a Danish wood burning stove and a designer super-king canopied bed, this must be how it feels to be royalty! You can relax on your wraparound decking with a book in peace and tranquillity. Then perhaps round off the day in your eco hybrid hot-tub with a glass of something chilled and bubbly!
Another place quite close to home and was my home for over 9 years is Southern Ireland. Here you can find the 5* Aghadoe Heights Hotel & Spa:
In the spectacular setting, amid the lakes of Killarney, County Kerry, this award winning hotel is perched on a hilltop site with panoramic views of Lough Leane, Killarney National Park and the peaks of the Macgillycuddys Reeks (Ireland’s highest mountain range). Step into luxury and enjoy the hotel’s distinguished reputation for their superior level of personal service and combining it with the warmth of Irish hospitality. To embrace your romantic stay don’t miss the exceptional spa which comes with a full range of treatments or enjoy the thermal suite which features four heat cabins, a tropical rain shower, mist shower and deluge shower, as well as heated mosaic loungers to relax your muscles, after perhaps taking one of the many scenic walks in the area.
It would seem wrong to write a travel article about romance without the inclusion of Paris. But how to choose just one hotel? You are probably not going to complain if you found yourself being whisked away for a stay at the regal Shangri-La Hotel. Originally the private residence of Napoleon Bonaparte, the hotel has a wedding-cake façade, grand stairways and offering views of the Eiffel Tower, so close across the Seine that you feel you can almost touch it! The hotel also has a luxurious health club and a stunning day-lit swimming pool. It’s costly but this is a place you come to for a special occasion and one that you would never forget!
If you are looking for a romantic break with a loved one or know of a couple who are wondering where in the world they should discover for their honeymoon, please do get in touch with me. It doesn’t matter what the budget is, or where you want to visit. It doesn’t matter how chilled or how active you want to be. Money might not be able to buy you love, but a holiday can certainly help rekindle love!
Independent Travel Consultant with Not Just Travel
Tel: 077 0923 1341