When did you last have a sexy, sensual, romantic evening with your significant other? When was the last time you had a few of those evenings in a row?
These days, couples rarely make time for the essential, romantic and yes, even the sometimes fun and frisky side of love.
So this Valentine’s Day and beyond, take some time to rediscover romance.
And towards that end, here are some hotels ready to help you do that, and to even do it, in some of the most beautiful places in the world.
Cambridge Beaches in Bermuda is surrounded by cerulean water, pink and white beaches, brilliant sunsets, and tropical greenery, all of which you can enjoy while on a champagne picnic for two. The resort has devoted the entire month of February to helping couples enjoy sensual pleasures, and each other, with the Come to Your Senses package.
Perhaps the most helpful aspect of this getaway is a seminar series by Dr. Pepper Schwartz (at right), a leading relationship expert and “sexologist” who is conducting interactive classes for couples.
Dr. Schwartz, a sociology professor at the University of Washington in Seattle, holds an M.A. and Ph.D. in sociology from Yale University and has shared her expertise on Oprah and the Today show. During the month of February, she invites couples to enhance their relationships the fun way, through activities like massage, dance, and even the creation of personal cocktails.
If you’re concerned about, well, letting it all hang out in front of other adventurous couples, no need to worry.
“All seminars are private, and I give ideas on things to do with your partner when you’re alone,” explains Dr. Schwartz. “There is no sense of exposure or sharing of intimate personal details. I’m not going to shock, or be avant-garde, for the hell of it. I respect each couple’s dignity and privacy … the point is to have fun and enjoy each other.”
Along with the seminar series, guests are greeted with flowers in the bedroom, breakfasts in bed, champagne, chocolate-covered strawberries, and naughty nightly turndown gifts such as the trusty old “Kama Sutra” or the “Sexy Food” cookbook. Besides couple-friendly resort activities such as tennis, cooking classes and movie nights, guests also can take advantage of more intimate events like “sensual wine” classes, midnight swims, belly dancing, and body-painting lessons. On weekend evenings, hundreds of candles are lit on the beachfront for a romantic setting.
Dr. Schwartz’s classes are during extended weekends during February, but the couples’ events for Romance Month take place throughout the week. Call 800-468-7300 and request the “Come to Your Senses” package, starting at $1,999/couple.
Dr. Schwartz’s romance tip on relationships:
Many couples are surprised at how easy it is to be more romantic. They come out closer and happier than when they came in, and I try to give them the tools to keep their relationships enhanced when they leave.
NAUGHTY WEEKENDS IN THE SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS
Ever since Mel Gibson and Liam Neeson roamed the windy Highlands in kilts, Scotland has ranked as a sexy destination. The Pool House, overlooking Loch Ewe on the coast, brings Highland-sexy to a whole new level with its Naughty Weekend packages.
The “Ever So Slightly Naughty Weekend” kit is a ribbon-wrapped box with everything you need (except a partner) for a weekend of lasciviousness, including a “love soak,” “tender kissing glaze,” edible “sweet angelic body dust,” caramel honey soap, massage oil, an ostrich feather, a velvet blindfold, and a step-by-step instruction scroll (in case you need a little assistance).
The “Horny Little Devil’s Dirty Adventure” kit is a racier version of the above. You’ll get to play with a single-use camera, pointy feather, red lipstick, stretchy red blindfold, cord hand tie, burnt-sugar kissing glaze, and the handy instruction scroll. These packages cost around $130, and also include a chilled bottle of champagne in the bedroom, incense in the bathroom and a picnic breakfast in bed. If you run out of ideas, they also have a selection of naughty board games.
If you’re feeling more angelic than devilish, The Pool House also offers classic romance, in the form of the “Flowers & Champagne & Fragrant Things.” You can purchase beautiful bouquets of flowers starting from $50, House Champagne from $58, pink champagne on ice and rose petals scattered across the bed for $94, and a Love Soak (in your bath-built-for-two) made with honey, red and pink rose petals and essential oils for $26. +44 (0)1445 781272
Dr. Schwartz’s romance tip on sensuality:
Appealing to our senses can enhance our love lives. People forget that their senses are so strong, that if they aren’t attended to, they can undermine romance… or enhance it. For example, bad smells in your house or room ends thoughts of romance, but the opposite is true too. If there’s a scent you both like and associate with a positive experience, then putting that throughout the house can put you both in a sensual, romantic mood.
BARING IT ALL IN EDINBURGH
Also in Scotland, the Scotsman Hotel in Edinburgh is offering a Valentine’s season special: Dare to Bare. This package includes a professional photo shoot of you—nude or nearly nude—which will be turned into a 12-page photo book for your loved one.
No, the photographer is not some skeezy Scotsman having a laugh; they’ve asked multi-award winning photographer Trevor Yerbury to take your pictures, along with hair and makeup done by professionals. You’ll need to pay for one night’s stay, $2,400, which includes champagne, massage oil, chocolates, breakfast, and use of the health club. +44 (0)131 556 5565
If an island paradise is your idea of romance, then head to Mustique Island, a privately owned island populated by villas and one hotel: The Cotton House. The Cotton House is a recently renovated 18th century sugar mill, and is now a West Indian-style plantation estate with 17 guest rooms, cottages and suites, some of which feature private plunge pools.
Fittingly, this hotel offers the Island Romance Package, which includes in-room champagne and canapés on arrival, daily breakfasts, one lunch for two at the Beach Café, one picnic lunch on your favorite beach, two days mule rental, a dinner for two in the Veranda Restaurant, a candle-lit dinner for two at a private location, a one hour couple’s dual massage at the spa, and a “tropic-sensual” bath with special turn-down amenity. Room rates range from $6,200 to $9,700 for a week’s stay. 800-223-1108
Dr. Schwartz’s romance tip for finding the right hotel:
You need thick walls, privacy, luxurious amenities (like soft sheets), breakfast in bed, champagne in your room, a great view— the experience needs to feel special; it needs to make you feel lucky to be alive. A fireplace, a nice spa, and great food enhance the experience, and a knowledgeable concierge can personalize the environment for you. Look for hotels that cater to the adult experience, and leave the kids at home.
LIVING IT UP IN ATLANTIC CITY
If you love food almost as much as your lover, stay at the Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa in Atlantic City and enjoy a six-course aphrodisiac menu at SEABLUE. On the menu are items such as osetra caviar parfait and filet mignon Rossini with truffled potato puree.
The Savor Your Sweetheart package includes an overnight stay, in-room goodies like sensual oils from Spa Toccare, blindfolds, and chocolate body paint for $599, only on February 14. 866-692-6742
PASSIONATE GETAWAYS IN L.A.
The Sofitel Hotel in Los Angeles (or Sofitel L.A.) is offering two romantic packages. In its Crimson Cachet Getaway, you’ll have accommodations for two to four nights in the presidential suite, starting at $13,000. Think that sounds pricey?
Well, included is a $500 Beverly Center shopping spree with a celebrity fashion stylist, a three-hour, private in-room blind-folded champagne tasting with your own personal sommelier, a four-course dinner with wine pairing in a private cabana, a three-hour couple’s spa retreat, and a night out in Hollywood with limo transportation.
Sofitel L.A.’s No Stress Valentine’s Day Weekend delivers just that, with luxury accommodations for two to three nights with roses and breakfast in bed daily, a four-course dinner with wine in a private cabana, two 50-minute couples’ massages, and a $200 gift card from the Beverly Center—for the stress-free price of $2,100. Make your reservations online at www.sofitel.com
Dr. Schwartz’s romance tip for couples not booking a pre-packaged getaway:
Instead of taking one candle with you, take 30 tea lights and put them all around your bed or bathtub. Take a bath together where you massage each others’ hands and feet, or wash each others hair. Pick out a CD (the radio has too many commercials) that plays music, or one of those ocean/nature soundtracks. You want to eliminate the things that take your mind off the other person.
TRYING OUT A “HOLIDATE”
If you are planning your first trip with your new love, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts has just the thing for budding romances—Holidates. Each property is different and plays off their specific romantic attractions. For example, the Icebreaker holidate at the Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac offers ice climbing or visiting the Ice Hotel, as well as a romantic dinner and breakfast in bed.
The Drunk with Love holidate at the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa offers limo transportation, a suite with rose-petal turndown, and a ride on a hot-air balloon. And, the Fairmont Chicago’s Wooed in the Windy City holidate comes with a luxury suite, private couples’ spa treatments, and a Kama Sutra turndown. All these are priced from $259 to $1,435 per couple. 800-257-7544, www.fairmont.com
KINKY ROOM SERVICE
Last, but certainly not least, is a little deal at the Drake Hotel in Toronto, where you’ll find a very unique room service called the Pleasure Menu. The Drake has partnered with a local adult toy shop to design exclusive custom packages that are available year-round. Check out the “nice and easy” package with condoms, lubrication, and other goodies. Or you can opt for a la carte items from the menu including instructional videos and our very favorite room-service item of all … the $400 solid gold vibrator. 461-531 5042
Dr. Schwartz’s romance tip on the importance of getting away:
The house is full of memory triggers of responsibilities, duties, to-do lists—it takes discipline to make your home into a retreat, and most people find it easier to go away in order to allow themselves to relax and accept pleasure. By getting away from your daily lives, you have time to find ways to date each other. Couples need time to be sweethearts.
By Lauren Van Mullem for PeterGreenberg.com.
Need more accommodation ideas? That’s why we created the Hotels category.
And for help on planning your romantic getaway, check out the helpful Trip Planning category for money-saving and time-saving tips.