9 Bucket List Romantic Getaways
Overwater bungalows, Parisian picnics, wine-tasting. These nine romantic getaways are guaranteed to get you in the mood.
Chelsea is Brooklyn-based travel writer, editor, and photographer. When not home eating her way through NYC, she's gallivanting across the globe, sailing the coast of Croatia or hiking the peaks of Peru. Her superpowers include booking flight deals and sleeping in small plane seats.
Overwater bungalows, turquoise waters and cozy hammocks swinging between palm trees. It’s not hard to feel the romance in Maldives. Splurge for the St. Regis and its uber-modern stilted suites that are kitted out with all the luxuries you’d expect (personal butlers, private plunge pools, marble bathrooms). For more breezy, low-key pads, try Velassaru’s thatched rooms, and make sure to hit the blissful spa, where you and your partner can soak in a hydrotherapy pool over a lagoon. Or, check into Jumeirah Vittaveli and arrange for the hotel's yacht to take you to a secluded white-sand beach for a private meal of freshly caught fish.
This dreamy Indonesian idyll appeals to every type of traveler, from the sun seeker to the culture buff. Go to Ubud for food festivals, fire dances, and art galleries, then tour the emerald rice terraces and the 1,000+ Hindu temples. When you’re ready to take it down a notch, retreat to one of the island’s romantic getaways—like the bucolic Four Seasons at Sayan. The secluded suites are all done up in rich teak and Sulawesi silk, with outdoor living rooms and plunge pools that overlook the tropical gardens and Ayung River. There’s even a couple’s heart chakra ceremony if you really want to feel the sparks.
Who doesn’t dream of yachting around the Greek isles with their perfect someone? Start in Santorini, which is often referred to as the “honeymoon island,” and stroll hand-in-hand through the blue-shuttered, whitewashed villages. At night, sleep at the Grace Santorini, where you can watch the sunset over the caldera from your bed. Or there’s the ultra-sexy Andronis Luxury Suites, with its cave-like guest rooms, outdoor jacuzzis, and jaw-dropping clifftop restaurant, Lycabettus, that juts out over the cerulean Aegean Sea. From Santorini, you can explore some of the lesser-known islands like Paros in the Cyclades (go for a lunch of grilled prawns and mussels saganaki at the waterfront Sigi Ikthios in the port village, Naoussa).
Amalfi Coast, Italy
Sure, Tuscany and Rome are bucket list trips, but nothing quite compares to the picture-perfect Amalfi Coast. Sorrento is the gateway from nearby Naples—rent a retro convertible and cruise along the vertigo-inducing roads to Positano, the gem of the region. Book a room in the adults-only, palazzo-turned-hotel Le Sirenuse. Come evening, you can sip champagne and nosh on fresh oysters at the bougainvillea-covered terrace above the sea, then go for the ultimate date night at the Michelin-starred restaurant, La Sponda, which is set aglow by hundreds of candles. Spend your days exploring Positano and the nearby villages of Amalfi, Ravello, and Praiano, or take a boat over to the glamorous (albeit touristy) Capri. The island is ideal for shopping (Da Costanzo’s handmade sandals and Angela Puttini’s jewelry are favorites), and don't miss swoon-worthy sites like the Grotta Azzurra (blue grotto) and Monte Solaro on Anacapri.
No surprise, here, Paris continues to be one of the world's most romantic cities. The City of Light never gets old, with its charming French bistros, vintage boutiques, and of course the twinkling Eiffel Tower. Pack a picnic full of goodies and treats—we love the candied peach tarts at Des Gâteaux et du Pain and Gontran Cherrier’s buttery croissants and go for a picnic at the Sacré-Cœur. Then, wind down from the day at Le Bristol, a 1925 landmark that’s attracted the likes of Rita Hayworth, Charlie Chaplin and Kim Novak. Trust us, it doesn't get better than this.
St. Lucia has all the trappings of a steamy Caribbean escape—wild jungles, turquoise waters and hilltop hideaways. When you’re not lounging by the famous Sugar Beach or hiking the trails around the jaw-dropping Pitons, save some alone time in your suite’s cliffside plunge pool at Jade Mountain. When hunger strikes, head to the gorgeous restaurant, helmed by James Beard Award-winning chef Allen Susser, for seafood plates like cinnamon-roasted mahi mahi with blue crab couscous. Or, if you don’t want to, ahem, get out of bed, order a room service spread fit for royalty (think six-course menus with wine pairings).
If you’re more of an adventurous pair, Marrakech is as magical as it gets. On your must-do list: the maze-like souks, with their authentic treasures (gold lamps, exotic textiles and intricate pottery); the Jemaa el-Fna Square; the colorful Majorelle Garden; and Medersa Ben Youssef, a gorgeous 16th-century Islamic school. For dinner, there are endless romantic options. We love the charming rooftop terrace at Zwin Zwin Cafe, which has spot-on sunset views over the Atlas Mountains and mosques during evening prayer. Or, make your way to Le Jardin—look for the secret door that opens into its candlelit courtyard—to tuck into kefta mkaouara (Moroccan spicy meatballs, tomato sauce, and fried eggs) and tajine d'agneau (lamb shank with couscous and veggies). At the end of the day, retreat to one of the dreamy riads, such as El Fenn—an oasis in the heart of the medina—or the palatial Royal Mansour.
Wine Country, California
Rolling vineyards, charming inns, endless glasses of wine. We can’t think of a better combo for a romantic getaway. Kick off the trip with a feast at Sonoma’s Single Thread Restaurant & Inn, one of Cali’s most anticipated new openings. Chef Kyle Connaughton and his wife/farmer Katina cook up an 11-course, kaiseki-style meal using produce from their rooftop garden, greenhouse and organic farm. Next stop: Chateau Montelena in Calistoga. This elegant Gothic-style manse has been making Chardonnay since 1888, so trust us when we say it’s worth the sip. Then, bed down for the night at the ultra-luxe Las Alcobas. On Beringer Vineyards and Estate, Napa’s oldest winery, this style star was designed by Yabu Pushelberg and features elegant suites, spa-like bathrooms and outdoor terraces with cozy fireplaces or deep-soaking tubs.
It’s not hard to see why Hawaii is a favorite among honeymooners. There are the gorgeous waterfalls and cliffs along the Na Pali coast in Kauai, the brain-off beach resorts in Maui, the volcanoes to explore on the Big Island. We highly recommend a helicopter ride over the active Kīlauea volcano and picnic on the black-sand stretches at Punalu'u. But to really go off the grid, turn your eyes to Lanai, the state’s most under-the-radar isle. Kick back at the reimagined Four Seasons Lanai, where you can spend your time horseback riding at sunset, eating fresh poke on a secret beach, and watching dolphins and whales playing offshore from your poolside daybed.
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