Valentine's Day Experiences Around the World

Ciragan Palace KempinksiAhhh, the romance of Istanbul.  I’d love to be swept away to the luxurious Ciragan Palace Kempinski Istanbul.  The five-star hotel was a former Ottoman Palace, a perfect base for exploring the city’s Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace, Grand Bazaar and Hagia Sophia.  Shop ‘til you drop in the chic boutiques and indulge in the city’s popular neighborhood cafes.  With the hotel’s exclusive Valentine’s Day Package for two you’ll explore beyond the city environs with an included sightseeing tour by phaeton to Princes Island, filled with old wooden houses and pine trees. At the hotel, you’ll enjoy four nights’ accommodations, daily breakfast, dinner for two at Tugra Restaurant & Lounge (including a custom menu and wine). Even more luxurious are the typically Turkish and extravagant amenities that are part of this package: personalized handmade soap from a selection of 12 scents – this Turkish ritual is presented by a private butler who creates your selected scent and cuts the soap for you to use at the hotel and take home for your return; personalized chocolate from a selection of 21 flavors (try the Chia tea truffle; chocolate baklava made with exclusive Turkish ingredients; and a private traditional Turkish coffee cup reading.  Still not enough? Melt away your cares in a Turkish hammam along with a body scrub for two. Airport transfers included.  Priced starting at $3980.  Must be used by February 20. 00 90 212-326-4500 or email reservation


Dubai Oberoi 

Drama is all yours in skyscraper-filled Dubai. With the Suite Surprise” package from The Oberoi you’ll have to have your camera ready to capture the incredible views from your room. Gourmet breakfast is included. A perfect setting for any romantic proposal or vow renewal.  Rates start at $708 per person. 800-562-3764

Hilton MooreaBora Bora and Moorea are on my mind.  French Polynesia speaks romance with its white sandy beaches, strikingly blue waters, and thatched bungalow hotels on stilts perched over the water.  At the two Hilton resorts, room service is delivered by outrigger canoe, and your bungalow comes with a glass window in the floor so you can experience the underwater sea world without ever donning a snorkel. Take the stress out of booking air and hotel and let Islands in the Sun handle all arrangements inclusive of round-trip air from Los Angeles and five nights at either the Hilton Bora Bora Nui Resort & Spa (from $3999) or the Hilton Moorea Lagoon Resort & Spa ($2999) in an overwater villa, breakfast included.  All transfers are included, including inter-island ferry between Tahiti and Moorea. Valentine’s Day gifts for your special someone are already part of these packages: a romantic Motu Tapu Escape with a picnic lunch in Bora Bora, and a black pearl pendant in Moorea. Upgrades and spa services are available.  888-828-6877

No jewels for Valentine’s Day? No worry, you can be the jewels in Berlin with Rocco Forte Hotels Hotel de Rome’s private dining and spa experience. The two of you will be “all alone” by candlelight in the hotel’s preserved bank vault. Imagine the piles of money that could have surrounded you as you indulge in a three-course meal with champagne.  To get prepped, you’ll have a foot spa and aromatherapy massage accompanied by champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries from the hotel’s patisserie.  Contact or call +49-30-460609-1420 to book. 

At another Rocco Forte hotel, The Charles Hotel in Munich, you can pretend you’re true royalty by booking an executive suite with a 180-degree view of Munich from a king bed. Your meals are at your command with breakfast and a candle-lit dinner at Davvero. You’ll also get an aromatherapy couples’ massage.  Do as royalty would, by finishing your evening with a private indoor pool session decorated with roses and candles, where you’ll also enjoy a Bento box with Asian snacks and a fabulous bottle of Dom Perignon Vintage 2004. This kingly package is offered on February 14 for $3100, with add-on evenings available. Contact:

The YeatmanI’d jet to the city of Porto in a minute for this luxury package.  The Yeatman, a Relais & Châteaux wine hotel and spa, has enticed me with its romance package. Starting at approximately $857, the package pampers you with a five-course wine pairing dinner in The Orangeries and a Caudalie spa massage for two.  Your room comes with a private terrace with views of the Douro River and Porto, discounts off spa treatments, breakfast daily, and access to the indoor infinity pool (with its spectacular view of the river and city), gymnasium, and well-being area. +351 220 133 185/00


Intercontinental Vienna
The InterContinental Vienna and Amsterdam hotels will sweep you off your feet with their super romance packages. Start with a three-course candlelight dinner which includes wine and aperitif inside a luxury cabin of a giant Ferris wheel. You’ll be transported there in a horse-drawn carriage (naturally!), and after dinner a private limousine returns you to your gorgeous room at the hotel.  If you’d prefer to visit the Czech Republic, the InterContinental Prague serves a four-course dinner with drinks at the hotel for Valentine’s Day, along with breakfast and a cosmetic treatment for the ladies.

Choose Sicily for a retreat away from the cares and crowds of mainland Europe. At the seaside Rocco Forte Verdura Golf & SpaResort, you’ll enjoy a special sweetheart package that includes dinner at the Zagara restaurant with pink champagne, and a signature couples’ spa ritual of a Sicilian head massage and double bath with oils. All priced starting at $993. Book at

InterContinental Hong Kong

The always-alive city is pure electric romance even without Valentine’s Day. At the superlative InterContinental Hong Kong, you can try a “Cooking with the Culinary Stars” class or Baking Club class for couples where you’ll learn to make elegant Valentine’s Day desserts like vanilla/olive oil macaroons or a mango/chestnut Napoleon.  If dessert’s not your thing, you can learn how to make some fantastic Japanese dishes at the hotel’s NOBU restaurant including Matsuhisa Nobu’s signature black cod miso. Nobu doesn’t forget sweets lovers (no worries):  they’ll also teach you how to make Japanese-Peruvian desserts too. 877-834-3613

An easy flight from Hong Kong, consider extending your romantic holiday at Paresa Resort on Phuket Island.  Spa?  Culinary? Cooking school? It’s all there for you to enjoy, or disappear to the nearby ZAZADA Beach Club where you can grab a private yacht for a leave-me-alone island excursion.  Put it all together in the “Unforgettable Valentine’s Day” package with accommodations, flowers and bathroom amenities, breakfast, bedtime sweets, and an infinity pool dinner.  Sweet.  Your four days will be unforgettable.  +66 76 302 000

Would you like to get married on Valentine’s Day, or perhaps renew your vows in a very different way? Trang, a province in Thailand, invites you to try it underwater, complete with a Buddhist ritual. The highlight of the Trang Season of Love, the entire renewal ceremony happens underwater.
Underwater wedding Thailand
I’m not a diver but I do love animals. And Thailand’s elephants are world renowned. The Wedding Registration on Elephants ceremony is held at the Elephant Study Center in Tah Toom District, Surin Province. You’ll be married on the back of an elephant, with the raison d’être the belief that a wedding ceremony on elephants will bring good fortune and prosperity. After you climb down, you’ll celebrate further with Thai dancing and a drum performance to keep the energy moving.


Jumeirah Maldives
Indulge your diving or snorkeling urge at the gorgeous Jumeirah Dhevanafushi, an exclusive island resort in the Maldives. Your personal butler will ensure an amazing experience, whether you stay in your beautiful suite, or venture to the garden or private beach for guided reef snorkeling. Dinner, a foot massage, sparkling wine, and spa treatments are included. In your room, you’ll be entranced by the romantic design left on your bed, the bubble bath turndown, and various arrival and departure gifts.

Jade Mountain St. Lucia
An island escape from the Polar Vortex may be just what the doctor ordered for your Valentine’s Day.  At the Jade Mountain resort in St. Lucia, the views are as divine as are the spa treatments.  Specially created for Valentine’s Day, The Alchemy of Two is a ritual designed for couples, a bath infused with male and female oils, sweetened with poetry and treats, and finished with a side-by-side massage using warming oils and a handcrafted chocolate dessert.  Take home a bit of what you’ve experienced after enrolling in a Mini-Massage Course to learn how to give each other the gift of massage. 800-223-1108

Cabo’s Corridor area offers romance at the end of the world, and Las Ventanas wants you to enjoy your holiday here with their “Passion in Paradise” package.  During Valentine’s Week, your elaborate package gets you cocktails upon arrival, a Hearts and Hands couple massage (outdoors), dinner, a romantic turndown with rose petals and candles, a romantic bath for two with a honey sugar scrub, breakfast in bed (with your own private butler), and Moet rosé champagne and strawberries.  +52 624 144 2800
Capella Pedregal
Just a little further south and even closer to Land’s End, Capella Pedregal, celebrates the season of love with a variety of evenings such as film night around an outdoor bonfire, a romantically themed five-course dinner evening, or a day to learn how to make chocolate fondue, a spa holiday keyed around the cycles of the moon, and more. +52 624 163 4300


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