Archive for category Romantic Hotels

Valentine’s Day in New York City

Valentine's Day in NYCNew York City is one of the most romantic cities in the world. It’s been the backdrop for some of Hollywood’s greatest love stories — from King Kong to The Seven Year Itch to Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Annie Hall, just to name a few. Part of what makes New York City so romantic — and the perfect destination for Valentine’s Day — is the restaurants. There’s no shortage of quaint spots to take a date for an intimate meal, regardless of your palate’s preference. Whether you’re looking for an authentic, family-run Italian spot, a modern bistro, fresh sushi, or anything in between, you’ll surely wow your special someone at a Manhattan eatery. After dinner, the theater is a perfect way to continue your romantic evening. New York City has no shortage of plays, big or small, to fit the bill — catch a drama, comedy or romance on Broadway or off — it’s an experience you won’t soon forget. Culminate your New York Valentine’s Day experience with a nightcap at a quiet lounge or dance the night away at one of the city’s sizzling nightclubs before turning in with your sweetie. After a night like this, you’ll never go back to roses and boxes of chocolates again.

Our Luxury Hotel Experts Recommend

Gansevoort Park Avenue NYC

Trump SoHo New York

The Chatwal Hotel

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ROMANCE IN THE BIG APPLE

What could be more romantic than a midnight carriage ride through Central Park, snuggling with your sweetheart? Maybe a moonlit boat ride below Bow Bridge, to Belvedere Castle and the Conservatory Garden. Or a luminescent stroll by the Lincoln Center Fountain. Truth is, for the starry-eyed, the Big Apple is the ultimate romantic destination, with its endless variety of historic landmarks, world class dining and drinking venues, and a cornucopia of entertainments.

 But before we hit the jingle and twinkle of the New York night, let’s start Valentine’s Day with a morning climb to that old standby, the Empire State Building, and a view that always gets the blood rising. Or pretend you’re Holly Golightly and beau, grab yourself a pastry and a latte, and window shop at Tiffany’s. And if you’re feeling fearless, head inside. If you emerge with your wallet too lightened, try ice skating at Rockefeller Center for an inexpensive blast of fun. An hour or two holding hands and twirling around on the ice is sure to stir the passions. And art is an aphrodisiac, did you know? If so, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and its bevy of masterpieces will bring a flush to the coolest cheeks. And if things get too hot with the Picassos and Van Goghs, cool off with cocktails at the Balcony Bar, overlooking the Great Hall.

For a lunch that defines romance, go no further than the upstairs dining room in New York’s landmark ‘21’ Club on 21 West 52nd Street, the site of numerous wedding proposals. After lunch, a jaunt out to Brooklyn might be the ticket. New York City looks even more beautiful from a distance. The Brooklyn Promenade offers visitors a splendid view of lower Manhattan, as well as delicious nearby options like the famed River Cafe, Grimaldi’s and Jacque Torres chocolate shop.

 A dinner reservation at one of New York’s most romantic restaurants is in order. Housed in a former carriage house, One if By Land, Two If By Sea (17 Barrow Street) features nightly live piano music, exposed brick, candlelight, and roaring fireplaces.

What could be more New York than after-dinner cocktails at one of the city’s famous bars? Bemelmans (35 East 76th Street) a classic piano bar, clad in gold leaf and black granite, is named after Ludwig Bemelmans, who created the Madeline books and painted the bar’s famous murals. Perhaps after a few Manhattans you’ll be ready for that carriage ride through Central Park. For info call 347-868-7692.

WHERE TO STAY: A place to spice up the romance is the 5 star Surrey Hotel. This Upper East Side property is New York City’s only Relais & Chateaux affliated hotel and  is steps away from Central Park.

Towering over Central Park lies The Pierre, a historic 5 star hotel on the famed 5th Avenue. Experience their elegant Afternoon Tea at Two E or enjoy a romantic meal for two in the property’s fine dining restaurant, Le Caprice.

For the stylish and sophisticated, have a SoHo stay at the Trump SoHo New York. This 46 storey building towers over the SoHo neighborhood surrounded by quirky galleries and upscale boutiques. Stay by March 31st and the upgrade is on us.

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CHICAGO’S CHOCOLATE & CHAMPAGNE TOUR RETURNS

Friday February 10, 2012 at 5:30pm

They say that chocolate is love in edible form. If this is true, then this event has a whole lot of love to give. By popular demand Chicago Chocolate Tours  have brought back their Chocolate and Champagne Tour, just in time for Valentine’s Day. Tantalize your tastebuds with the Windy City’s best cocoa confectionary and sips of some bubbly. This guided two and a half hour walking tour will carry you to carefully chosen chocolate shops, bakeries, and cafes including famous favorites. Sinfully delicious stops include the famous Teuscher Chocolates, a Swiss treasure known for their delectable champagne truffles and Gianduja, a type of bitter chocolate mixed with finely ground nuts to produce a pronounced nutty flavor.

The tour goes beyond tasting rich chocolate bites and includes a visit to More Cupcakes, found in the heart of Chicago’s elite Gold Coast neighborhood. Owner Patty Rothman and self-proclaimed cupcake curator will showcase his creations from salted caramel to marshmallow brûlée to mimosa flavors. For those who indulge in high cocoa content, try signature more cupcake: a dark, valrhona chocolate cake, laden with an ethereal cream, and topped with a pristine chocolate ganache.

Sweet tooth lovers will enjoy Candyality. This candy shop boasts its chocolate and truffles, licorice and M&M’s in 21 colors. For those who are feeling nostalgic, the store’s retro line includes Pop Rocks, Baby Ruth bars, and Candy Cigarettes for the tasting.

Capping off the evening attendees will experience a surprise Grand Finale. Of course this tour does more than tasting and trying but offers an educational side. Your Chocolate Expert Tour Guide will provide a world history of chocolate and how Chicago played its part, not to mention some history about its beautiful architecture.

Tours run rain, snow, or shine, as chocolate tastes great in all weather and tickets can be purchased online or by phone for $40 each. So whether you want to take your loved one as a Valentine’s Day treat or friend or family member, this tour will have something delicious for everyone.

WHERE TO STAY: Indulge in The Peninsula Chicago’s Chocolate Bar in The Lobby for further indulgement. This 5 star stay is known for their ultra luxe amenities and provide some of the best views of Chicago. After only a year since its opening, the hotel has been crowned with a plethora of accolades from AAA to Conde Nast Traveler, to Travel + Leisure’s top hotel lists.

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A SOUTH BEACH VALENTINE

Love is in the air in South Beach, Florida. And we’re not just talking about the impending college spring break and its hordes of partying students. South Beach is much more than a mecca for frisky 20 year-olds. Its 12 mile stretch of golden shoreline is a thing of beauty, and with hundreds of nightclubs, restaurants, and chic oceanfront hotels, South Beach has claimed the title as the hippest spot on the East Coast, drawing its share of beautiful people year round. But along with the hustle and bustle, glitz and glam, South Beach offers a host of romantic retreats and getaways for more discreet romantics.

For quiet cocktails and intimate asides, try any of South Beach’s splendid Hotel Bars. The Setai, for one, on 2001 Collins Avenue, is a meticulously restored art deco landmark, originally built in 1930. Relax with your sweetheart in suede chairs and take in the tranquil, glowing ambience with a glass or two of champagne.

 Or escape to one of South Beach’s world famous spas. The Ritz-Carlton Spa, South Beach (One Lincoln Road) topped Allure magazine’s A-List as the Best Day Spa in Miami. Enjoy an elite menu of La Maison de Beauté Carita treatments alongside extensive European wellness and beauty rituals. Experience a sensuous couple’s massage with chocolate-scented oils, then luxuriate in a frothy bubble bath for two. Top off the session with chocolate-covered strawberries and champagne.

After the rigors of the spa, a refreshment pause at The Delano (1685 Collins Avenue) is in order. This famous art deco hotel features chic, sophisticated rooms with exciting skyline or ocean views. The Rose Bar at the Delano Hotel, which gets its name from the rose-colored upholstered walls, is ideal for sparkling conversation. You’ll feel like a vacationing celebrity.

And a must stop for diehard romantics is Baleen, a seafood emporium in Coconut Grove, hailed by Gourmet magazine as Miami’s “most romantic restaurant.” Indeed, the lobster bisque with lobster & crème fraiche may unite your souls in a state of divine bliss. After dinner, a romantic late night stroll along the beach comes gratis.

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Valentine’s Day in Beverly Hills

While Los Angeles may be better known for its traffic jams than for romance, the truth is, it can be one of the most romantic places on the planet. Whether you want to splurge or are looking for more budget-friendly options, Los Angeles offers everything from serene beach getaways to mountain retreats; from urban gardens to private sunset flights over the city; from champagne spa baths for two to sexy nightlife.  If you can’t find something romantic to do in Los Angeles, you may not have it in you.

Take an air tour over Los Angeles in a Zeppelin in Airship Ventures’ Eureka and enjoy the amazing views from the large picture windows. The sunset flight defines romantic. And if the budget forbids a Zeppelin flight, a private Sunset Champagne Helicopter Flight is another option. Fly to a romantic dinner.

Disneyland? Why not. Embrace your inner Mickey or Minnie Mouse and romance will bloom at the “happiest place on earth.” The Los Angeles area also boasts an abundance of beautiful public gardens perfect for romantic strolls, from botanical mazes to meditative Japanese gardens. And what’s not to love about 80 miles of Los Angeles coastline for long, soul-sharing walks on the beach. If you’re really adventurous, book a charter complete with skipper, or if you’re a skilled sailor, rent a boat and pack a picnic for a day out on the water, or sail to Catalina for lunch.

For a full dose of romance, try one of Beverly Hills’ classic establishments. Nestled on a lush Malibu hillside, Geoffrey’s Malibu (27400 Pacific Coast Highway), has fantastic views of the Pacific coastline. Voted one of LA’s best proposal spots, you may want to pop the question here. Good for celebrity sighting too. Or be Fred Astaire to her Ginger Rogers when you dine and dance at the Art Deco Sky Room on top of the historic Breakers building in Long Beach (40 S Locust Avenue). From this height, you get a magical view of the LA basin with a snow-capped mountain backdrop.

And check out the California stars at Café at the End of the Universe (2800 East Observatory Road). This Wolfgang Puck café at the Griffith Observatory may have an industrial feel with exposed ceiling pipes and plastic tables and chairs, but the panoramic view from the Hollywood Sign to Downtown LA makes the soul glad. A nice prelude to holding hands later and star-gazing through the Observatory’s Zeiss telescope.

Where would one stay during this romantic getaway? Our hotel experts recommend newly renovated Hotel Bel-Air (breakfast is on us until Dec. 31st, 2012) or the ultra-chic Mr. C Beverly Hills (enjoy a complimentary upgrade).

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Five Romantic Five Star Stays

Five Romantic Five Star Says

Treat the most important person in your life to the time of their life with one of our five romantic five star stays.

  1. The Beverly Hills Hotel, Beverly Hills. The Beverly Hills Hotel Spa by La Prairie, features 6 treatment rooms, separate steam rooms and saunas.
  2. The Plaza Hotel, New York City. The Plaza Hotel is synonymous with pure, over-the-top glamour. The Plaza is one of the most romantic places in New York.
  3. The Waldorf Astoria Chicago, Chicago. The Elysian combines the classic glamour of the 1920’s and 1930’s to create a modern, sophisticated romantic retreat. 
  4. The Mandarin Oriental San Francisco, San Francisco.  Views of the Golden Gate and Oakland Bay Bridges and across the San Francisco Bay make Mandarin Oriental San Francisco one of the city’s most striking romantic experiences. 
  5. ONE Bal Harbour Resort & Spa, Miami South Beach. Being bordered by Baker’s Haulover Inlet and the Atlantic Ocean, makes this luxurious five-acre property a beautiful romantic escape. 

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