New boutique hotel in Bath. Stayed here on their opening weekend for Valentines weekend and in the main was thoroughly impressed. Great central location.
Romance lies not in overpriced long-stemmed red roses or intrusive gypsy violins. Better to let it find you at an endearingly quirky location like Heythrop Park Hotel near Chipping Norton, which doesn’t tout itself as a romantic destination but has all the ingredients of intimacy, a dash of intrigue and lashings of comfort. We were there for three days and forgot the car, tv and internet. It’s so remote we thought we were lost after several minutes on the endless drive. Yes, we had sparkling wine in a bucket of ice in our enormous room, chocolates, flowers, and yes, the obligatory white fluffy bathrobes and claw-footed bath. Heythrop is a mini Blenheim Palace, built in 1716 from honey coloured limestone by the handsome Duke of Shrewsbury, appropriately known as “The King of Hearts.” Set in 440 acres of sweeping parkland, it has Italian gardens, a secret garden, fern strewn grotto - which used to house the skeleton of a whale - and, tucked away by the golf course, a tranquil Jesuit cemetery from a later period. We had the entire grounds to ourselves, and discovered hidden statues amongst the undergrowth, tempting doors in garden walls and deer running through giant conifers. Inside, there are huge carved wooden ceilings and chimney pieces, a billiard room, ballroom, and huge galleried landings with stained glass windows. After making the most of the health club in the grounds, we were almost too relaxed to leave our room, Eldon (a hotel room must have a name to be romantic) to sweep down the huge staircase for dinner - though I did sweep several times in fact, for the camera. It’s not every day one plays Lady of the Manor in such a setting. There are some foibles in the hotel - a mediocre breakfast loses Romance points, we wanted a tray in our room to sustain the illusion of being country weekend house guests - but we overlooked everything for the sake of such an unusual, and yes, impossibly romantic, experience.
Searching for a precious place to rekindle romance? Then slowly drive your loved one along the shores of the deep blue Loch Voil to reach this enchanting place. The great thing is that apart from the wonderful mealtimes, and taking in a few lungfuls of clear fresh Highland air, there are few distractions from indulging in the warmth of your room. If romance is your goal you’ll always want to stay another night together. And if you have money to burn you could always choose to arrive by the seaplane that lands on the loch in front.
Tel: 01877 - 384 622
Balquhidder village is off the A84 north of Callender. Then travel a few miles up the glen along the shores of Loch Voil, to the hotel.
Google map: tinyurl.com/ybtjnk7
After a journey by coach to Clifden, where as you turn each corner the landscape changes to another beautiful vista, the Abbeyglen Castle is a perfect location to relax and unwind. On arriving in early Spring, we first warmed ourselves in the reception next to an open fire, before being accompanied to our spacious, amply furnished room, with doors from the living area leading to a delightful bedroom with four poster bed. The hotel's grounds are picturesque, and it is situated a stone's throw from the 'Sky Road,' from which more breathtaking scenery can be seen. A lovely place to while away a few days.
There our some hot contenders for 'most romantic hotel' in Sri Lanka - the other half would go for the Queens in Kandy, or the Oriental in Colombo (something about those old colonial buildings), but I think it's hard to beat the location and the rooms in the Garden Beach. It's just a short walk down the beach to the turtle sanctuary, and holding a day old turtle makes you feel squishy and sentimental anyway. Then there's the amazing view west across the Indian Ocean as the sun sets in a red-gold sky behind the palm trees. The staff will set up a candle-lit table for dinner in the garden. And if you're lucky enough to be in the two-storey suite with the four-poster bed, the setting for a romantic interlude is complete. Complete the experience by travelling by train either to stations about 8 miles north or south of Kosgoda (the Colombo - Galle train doesn't actually stop at Kosgoda station) and get a tuk-tuk to the hotel. Oh yes, and you can choose full board - and the food is good too - for a very competititive price - but that's not romantic - just practical.
Talgahapitiya Rd Kosgoda
Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn once stayed at this Tudor castle, now a romantic hotel set in historic gardens and with its own vineyard. It offers a luxurious experience, with four poster beds, log fires, tapestries, and even a bedroom with (perfect for Cupid) arrow-slit windows. The crowning glory, reached by a stone spiral staircase, is the Tower Bedchamber, with far-reaching views and a ten foot wide bed that Anne Boleyn would have died for. At our recent visit the snow made everything even more enchanting. Magic.
In a quiet corner of the Caribbean are The Caves, a boutique hotel nestled on the limestone cliffs of Negril on the west coast of Jamaica. This hedonistic hideaway consists of twelve cottages and suites, each one with a character of its own. This multi-layered tropical paradise is connected by winding cliff paths that give the feeling of complete privacy and seclusion as you make your way to your room.
The lucid blue sea below is perfect for snorkelling and swimming, as well as a great way to explore some of the more out-of-the-way caves. Also, if you were to swim around the headland from this romantic retreat, you would find yourself on Negril’s superb seven mile stretch of white sand beach.
The Caves cater almost exclusively to couples (no children allowed!), offering massages and spa treatments, dining in private candlelit caves strewn with flower petals, and a private ocean-view jacuzzi that can be reserved for sunset. All of this is sound-tracked by the gently lapping waves of the Caribbean Sea. Now really, is there anything more romantic than that?
Spectacularly situated on the top of one of the many rolling hills of beautiful forested southern Serbia, close to the border with Bosnia, Mecavnik is made for romance. A cluster of quirky wooden huts, each individualy decorated, straddle the peak, fanning out from the small main square, where there is a restaurant, cafe, contemporary art gallery, swimming pool, sauna, gym, and, as Kusturica himself lives here, of course there is a cinema.
If you go in the winter, there is a ski slope close by.
At £35pppn for a double room with breakfast and dinner included, it's an absolute bargain too!
The famous 'Sargan 8' narrow gauge steam train is a memorable trip through the mountains nearby, which I also recommend.
For sheer romance and get-away-from-it-all luxury you can't beat a bit of winter camping.
Few people camp in even the most popular sites out of season, meaning you and your loved one can have amazing peace and quiet and views to die for all to yourselves. Cold doesn't need to be an issue if you prepare well, although you don't need any fancy equipment - just a good, solid tent, double airbed and two high tog duvets (one for under you and another on top!).
Ukcampsite.co.uk keeps a list of pubs with nearby camping sites (which can be checked against the CAMRA or Alastair Sawday sites) and most sites will allow you to pitch for under £10 a night.
Just think of it - a good romp through the countryside, a hearty pub dinner by the fire with a bottle of wine, a wee something else to send you on your way then totter back to your tent to create a little warmth of your own.
I was here in April 2009.
This is a wine estate making what they term 'ultra premium wine'. It's certainly very good indeed and better value than some of the top NZ labels. However, the estate itself is utterly spectacular. There is a seriously good restaurant, overlooking acres of vineyards, although prices are moderate, making it very, very good value for money. It seems to be a family-friendly place but I can think of few better settings for a romantic meal for two.
Accommodation is also available although we didn't stay there.
Rising above the main buildings is a mock-Italianate tower which you can climb for even more beautiful views. There is also public access to the winery itself and they conduct guided tours and demonstrations of the winemaking process.
Blenheim has more than its share of really famous wineries, but Highfield is in a class of its own.
Brookby Rd, RD2
Tel. +64 (3) 572 9244
Fax. +64 (3) 572 9257
The observation deck at Roppongi Hills is a very romantic place to be in the evening. The view of Tokyo urban light is stunning.
There is a bar at the same floor (must be the highest in the city) with transparent walls and shelves, so you can go on enjoying the astounding view of Tokyo while drinking.
While you're there, look for the excellent views of the Tokyo Tower - the Japanese version of the Eiffel Tower. It's a classic Romantic view at night.
At the Roppongi hills complex (Roppongi station on the Tokyo subway).
Bray, in Berkshire, was thought to have been Bibriocum to the Romans, but this place never existed and was made up by the cartographic forger, Richard of Cirencester. It is now home to two of the top restaurants in the county - the Roux's 3 Michelin starred: The Waterside Inn and The Fat Duck, also 3 Michelin Stars, owned by the renowned chef Heston Blumenthal.
If you are visiting Bray for an evening out, then an overnight stay is a must. And what could be better that a cosy cottage for two nestled on the banks of the Thames. We were lucky enough to stay at Bray Cottages' latest acquisition, Clematis Cottage, and ex-ferryman's home situated directly opposite The Waterside Inn.
Luxuriously decorated in dark purples and aubergines the cottage oozes a quiet sophistication with its decadent crystal chandeliers and romantic lighting. Throw in a smart Bang and Olufsen TV and open fire (gas luckily!) and relax amidst an abundance of comfy cushions with a glass of delicious sloe gin for an afternoon of peace and tranquility.
Both The Fat Duck and The Waterside Inn are easily accessible on foot, as are the local pubs: one of which also belongs to Mr Blumenthal. One former guest had written in the guest book that their Sunday morning lie-in had been interrupted by the close proximity to the restaurant and the associated comings and goings. However, this was not our experience at all. Far from it: we actually slept much later than normal!
Bray Cottages are both charming and elegant and provide an informal yet decadent stay for a peaceful, romantic evening.
The hamlet of Peralta is set in the Tuscan hills that rise high above the valley of Camaiore, behind Viareggio and Forte dei Marmi on the coast.
It was restored over a period of thirty years with great love and imagination by international sculptor Fiore de Henriquez (her work is all over the hamlet). Fiore lived and worked in Peralta until her death in June 2004. Peralta is not just a collection of houses and apartments for holiday lets. It is a place that inspires, seduces, has a special atmosphere. When Fiore first found Peralta (1967) in an abandoned state she immediately fell in love with the place and knew she wanted to restore the houses. She went about this in the same manner that she made her sculpture, building up, adding, taking away, moulding. The result is indeed a creation and one feels this special atmosphere immediately upon arriving. It is not a place for people seeking luxury accommodation where everything always works perfectly, but for people seeking inspiration, tranquillity and beauty.
Staying at the Wanderers Inn West in Harlem made taking a horse carriage ride through Central Park really easy. You don’t need to book in advance and carriages can be found lining up outside the Plaza Hotel. We went in the winter and were given a blanket which made our trip even more romantic. We loved our horse and enjoyed seeing such a familiar place from a new perspective. Just be sure to negotiate your price with the driver before you head off.
59th Street — Central Park South
(between 5th & 6th Avenues, across from The Plaza Hotel)
Cafe Sereno is a small family owned business on Albany road that does great food, is fully licenced and has a fabulous beer garden. It’s open all day until 10pm and is ideal for a quick snack, coffee, pint or a romantic evening meal. It’s also available for bookings. They always have special offers and meal deals available which makes it very reasonably priced. Child friendly.
68 Albany road,
It’s impossible not to fall in love with this restaurant. The decor is amazing, original and really romantic.
My boyfriend and I had a great time there. A good tip is to stay on the upper floor and have dinner at those lovely low tables with pillows. The food is quite exotic and very tasty.
The Palffy Palace is a real hidden gem. Nestled in a faded 18th century Baroque building below Prague Castle, the restaurant serves excellent modern European food. It's especially romantic in winter.
Valdstejnska 14, Mala Strana, Prague 1
Malostranska (line A)
Tram stop: Malostranske Namesti (trams: 12,22,23)
It is very romantic for couples, also a great treat for the family. The four-course meal is fantastic, also you get to see all the Paris sights as you take your time eating dinner and drinking wine and listening to the sounds of the piano. A great way to spend lunch or dinner.
Forget harbour cruises and the ferry to Lamma, hop in a cab to Sai Kung, HK's seaside getaway. Enjoy seafood on the waterfront or ideally hire a sedate sanpan/racy speedboat to ferry you out along the bay, past the country park (HK isn't all urban jungle!) to the beautiful islands off the east coast. Sail back at sunset, so romantic !
Sai Kung. Hong Kong New Territories. East coast. If you don't want to take a taxi, nearest MTR is Hang Hau/Choi Hung plus bus 101/1a) wander along Sai Kung waterfront and the sanpan hawkers will find you!
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