guest post by Sherry Gray
Romance is a subjective and intensely personal preference based on fantasy fulfillment. Finding a romantic hotel starts by defining what makes you feel romantic and includes figuring a comprehensive and comfortable budget for the getaway.
For some people, the key to romance is in simple peace and quiet, a respite from day-to-day stresses with elements of pampered luxury.
Look for a remote location bereft of hordes of noisy tourists and boisterous children, offering opportunity for real relaxation, and absolutely no nearby centers of frenetic activity (theme parks) demanding attention by their very proximity. To fulfill the illusion of privacy, look for a place with individual cabins, lush landscaping and spectacular scenery. Amenities like massage, private hot tubs and fireplaces create the opportunity to get very, very personal with minimal distraction.
Situated on 157 acres in a private canyon, the Calistoga Ranch in Napa Valley, California offers the rich indulgence of the wine country culture and cuisine in a natural setting. Find the romance in the indoor/outdoor living. Luxuriate in a private outdoor shower garden, relax in front of a crackling fire set in an indoor/outdoor fireplace or soak in a private hot tub on the deck of your lodge. Each spacious lodge is placed for maximum privacy in a heavily wooded setting, and view depends on location. Choose a breathtaking hillside view overlooking the private vineyard, a forested location next to a babbling brook, or the majestic Estate Lodge on the shores of beautiful Lake Lommel. Prices start at $850 per night.
If private cabins are out of your price range, consider a bed and breakfast with only a few rooms and simple, pleasurable activities or a luxury resort out of season, like a beautiful lake resort in the winter. Normally unaffordable luxury can be romantic, even if swimming is out of the question. With prices starting at less than $200 a night, the Arch Cape Inn & Retreat on the Oregon coast is nothing less than spectacular. Dramatic cliff views and ocean views, large rooms and exquisite attention to detail combine to give this resort far more sex appeal than the price tag would indicate.
Tropical paradise holds the key to romance for some. Gentle ocean breezes, exotic tropical foliage and the opportunity to wear as little clothing as possible can set the stage for unforgettable romantic adventure.
For a really special occasion, splash out on a hotel set on a private island resort just off the Florida Keys. My favorite place for tropical romance is Little Palm Island Resort & Spa. The price is a bit steep, starting at nearly $1000 per night with a 2-night minimum, but you’re not paying for an ordinary room. You’ll stay in a luxurious bungalow decorated in tropical style, surrounded by exotic foliage. You may choose to dine in suite, in the gourmet restaurant or right on the beach. Children under 16 are not allowed, and there are only 30 bungalows on the entire island. You can reach the island only by seaplane or boat from Little Torch Key, and there are no noisy cars on the island to interrupt your romance, only the seductive sound of the waves punctuated by the cry of seagulls and the rustling of the palms.
Ski lodges offer a classic opportunity for a romantic getaway. After an energetic day on the slopes, snuggling in front of a warm fire with a hot toddy fulfills the deepest romantic fantasies of many people. The Castle Hill Resort and Spa offers elegantly appointed rooms or private resort homes and a majestic view of Vermont’s Green Mountains.
For some, exuberance is romantic, which explains why more than 2300 couples get married at Walt Disney World every year. Suggestions for Disney romance include taking in the fireworks aboard the Breathless, a beautiful boat that accommodates up to 6 guests, or only two, or dinner in Cinderella’s Castle.
Hotels that cater to every fascination are available, from haunted paranormal experience to bird watching to extreme sports, and the choice is up to you and your partner.
Use caution when deciding. A poorly planned getaway can be a romance killer, especially if a special vacation that misses the mark is meant to be a surprise. Choosing a place that reflects only your tastes and does not consider your partner can be disastrous, and so can an overt romance offensive launched too soon in a relationship. Look for hotels that boast romantic touches without heavy-handed lack of subtlety. Hotels that offer really comfortable beds and high quality linens advertise them.
Find as much comfort, privacy and luxury as your budget will allow, with a beautiful setting, good food and whatever level of distraction makes you and your partner happy. That’s where you’ll find real romance.