Wish you could get away from it all this Valentine’s Day? Imagining a place that’s so romantic you’re already flying there in your dreams? Well, strap yourself in and get ready for takeoff. Whether you can make the time to travel together or just want to stoke your worldly fantasies, we’ve got three award-winning Valentine’s retreats that are guaranteed to satisfy all of your senses.
HOLE UP IN AN ENGLISH CASTLE You’ll feel like a queen at Ellenborough Park, a 16th century manor house that looks just like Downton Abbey – and is very close to Highclere Castle where the hit show is filmed. Once the estate of the Earl of Ellenborough, the majestic hotel boasts 62 fully restored and new bedrooms and one Grand Suite with private dining room for 12 – all spread across three buildings. Settle in and give you and your man the royal treatment, including an intimate dip in the hydrotherapy pool and mood showers before you get dressed for a Valentine’s Day menu crafted by award-winning chef David Kelman, featuring 20 – count em, 20! – different aphrodisiacs. The small portion dishes will make your blood flow, help you relax and leave you feeling spoiled and blissful, just like royalty should. TEASE YOUR MOROCCAN TASTE BUDS Head to Riad Kaiss, a luxurious boutique hotel in the fabulously colourful Marrakech. Once the harem of the ‘favourite’ of Morocco’s Sultan Moulay Yacoub, the hotel is now famous for its award-winning Moroccan culinary school. Once there, you’ll accompany the head chef on his market rounds to buy the day’s fresh foods, then enjoy a hands-on authentic cooking experience using local, seasonal ingredients. You’ll be transported to a different world as you visit the rooftop pool and private terrace, high-end spa and Moroccan-style hammam. Then it’s time to unwind in one of the Riad’s 9 unique rooms, all of which are individually decorated with hand-painted furniture and exotic fabrics. GET SPIRITUAL IN MEXICO Who said you can’t find Over Water Bungalows in the Caribbean? At Hotelito Desconocido Sanctuary Reserve & Spa in Puerto Vallarta, you’ll find your spiritual sides. After getting lost together in 60 km of secluded white sand, swim in the the lagoon and waterways surrounded by gardens and fruit trees in this tropical paradise that’s home to 150 species of birds. The award-winning spa will renew every part of you. Stop, breathe, and enjoy exclusive thalassotherapy treatments, including rituals, bubble beds (hmmmm…), geysers, temazcal (a type of pre-Hispanic sweat lodge you don’t want you miss!), waterfalls, therapeutic massages and facials. At day’s end, hop into the outdoor showers then it’s snuggle time in one of 22 luxury private rooms, aka palafitos, each with its own personality and name chosen from cards of the Mexican lottery.