From Grand Estates in England to Royal Palaces in India, Perowne International presents us with seven unforgettable romantic holiday destinations
Seven romantic holiday destinations for Valentine’s Day
With just over one month to go, let’s not duck our heads in the sand but celebrate St. Valentine and his worthy cause. Perowne International presents a smorgasbord of romantic holiday ideas from across the globe, to inspire wanderlust in us all.
A Romantic Bolthole: Stay at a historic lodge within the walls of Holkham estate
Any location used for the film ‘Shakespeare in Love’ must have an air of romance about it and Holkham Beach on the north Norfolk coast is no exception, being used for the final scenes of the 1998 film. It is the ideal place for a romantic holiday evening stroll before sitting back amongst the dunes to watch the sun set with your loved one. Within the walls of the Holkham estate, the Holkham Lodges are the perfect romantic boltholes for two and the ideal base for discovering the windswept coastline and seaside villages of North Norfolk. Available to book through holiday rental specialists, Barefoot Retreats, the historical portfolio features four unique listed properties, including; The Triumphal Arch, Palmers Lodge, Palmers Folly and South Lodge. Each property has been completely renovated into contemporary self-catering retreats, whilst the 18th Century exteriors have been meticulously maintained. Each individual lodge sleeps two guests, is dog friendly and is surrounded by Holkham Park and its woods, providing guests with privacy, seclusion and beautiful countryside to explore. Guests staying at one of the Holkham Lodges will receive complimentary continental breakfast items for the first morning of their stay and will benefit from special privileges during their visit including a 10% discount at the Courtyard Gift Shop and Café. Just a short walk from each lodge, guests can enjoy all the attractions of Holkham Hall including the Hall itself – one of the UK’s finest and most recognisable Palladian country houses – and the magnificent Walled Garden, as well as the renowned pub The Victoria Inn, which offers fresh seasonal dishes with locally sourced ingredients. Fantastic walking and cycling routes are right on the doorstep of each lodge, offering guests the opportunity to discover the 25,000-acre estate, part of which is designated as an official Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
HOW: Rates from £95 per night at Palmers Folly (3-night minimum stay). www.holkham.co.uk
Alternative to Paris: Explore Lyon the Foodie Capital of France
With a direct train service on the Eurostar from London to Lyon, it’s never been easier to swap the crowds of Paris to enjoy a romantic holiday in France’s gastronomic capital. The perfect base to explore the adjacent Beaujolais wine region, as well as the dynamic city itself Lyon effortlessly blends historical architecture with the more modern and contemporary influences. From theatre showings to concerts, operas to the famous Maison de la Dance, there are a number of attractions and sights to ensure a memorable minibreak. Each quarter and neighbourhood has its own striking architecture harking back to the Renaissance that evokes Lyon’s rich history as the hub of the silk trade, which can all be romantically explored by bicycle, on foot or speedboat. It’s a haven for foodies, densely packed with delicious eateries ranging from Michelin starred restaurants to the traditional ‘bouchons’, tucked away on side streets serving traditional Lyonnais fare. Last year, Cour des Loges, one of the most luxurious hideaways in ‘France’s Gastronomic Capital’, launched a unique new dining space offering a range of fine-dining experiences. La Petite Loge, located in the cellars of this historic hotel has a fascinating history as a former plenary room of a Masonic Lodge during the Renaissance. The atmospheric space has been completely renovated to create an intimate dining room with many of its original features such as the stone walls and arched ceilings still intact. Couples will be able to take part in a range of incredible gastro experiences including cookery classes using seasonal ingredients and to watch cooking demonstrations with the Michelin starred Chef, Anthony Bonnet. Located in the heart of Vieux–Lyon, Cour des Loges has a history dating back to the 1300s. Resembling a city castle, the 61 rooms are linked via secret passageways and winding staircases, with décor transporting guests back to the Italian Renaissance. A romantic haven, the walls of the hotel are adorned with silks, as a further nod to the silk trade and the hotel’s Les Loges Restaurant was awarded a Michelin star in 2012. The indulgent Pure Altitude spa and stunning roof gardens offer a true sanctuary for couples in the heart of Old Lyon.
HOW: Rates at Cour des Loges start from 220EUR (£187) per night. www.courdesloges.com
Valentine’s in the Wild: Safari, stargazing and spa treatments at Singita Sasakwa Lodge, Tanzania
Set in a 350,000-acre private concession on a hill with dramatic and elevated views, couples have this wild stretch of Africa all to themselves while staying at Singita Sasakwa. Perched above the Serengeti Plains, Singita Saskwa is a colonial-style manor house with panoramic views over the green plains. After a guided safari, couples can enjoy a hill-top table for dinner with fine wine tastings from in-house sommeliers. Singita’s award-winning wine list encompasses approximately 222 labels and 20,000 bottles, with many of the wines not available anywhere else in the world. From this superb vantage point, guests can view the abundance of wildlife and game below. A candlelit dinner set on the private deck of each guest’s private cottage is also a very special experience with the stunning African stars lighting up the sky. Guests can then retire to the beautifully designed bar and drawing room, whereby a sense of grandeur is woven throughout, holding a special appeal for those with a passion for refined splendor and old-world elegance. A highlight for couples staying at the Singita Grumeti lodges in Tanzania also include chartering a hot air balloon for a ride over the treetops of the Serengeti. Other romantic holiday activities include stargazing, guided bush walks and the signature Singita Bush Spa, a tranquil haven of quiet space with extraordinary views of the African bush. The treatment menu is extensive and offers unique couples treatments such as the Monkey Orange Massage (using monkey oranges combined with marula oil) and the Nkondzo wa Ndlopfu (‘Elephant footprints’ treatment) which is a crystal foot exfoliation aimed at relieving tired or jet-lagged feet.
HOW: Rates at Singita Sasakwa Lodge start from US$1,500 per person per night on a full board basis, including twice-daily open Land Rover safaris and return road transfers between the Sasakwa airstrip and lodge. www.singita.com
The World’s Most Romantic Holiday: Baros Maldives
Formally a coconut plantation, Baros Maldives was one of the very first resorts to open to the public in 1973 and remains one of the very best for romantic getaways, having taken home the award for the Indian Ocean’s ‘Most Romantic Resort’ at the World Travel Awards for the fifth time. Surrounded by tropical greenery and an exquisite house reef, just 15 meters from the shore, Baros is the ultimate choice to spoil your Valentine. There are 45 Beachside and 30 Water Private Villas to choose from – many are appointed with private pools and each offer a Villa Host to cater to guests’ every possible requirement. For ultimate romance, the award-winning Baros Residence is encircled by lush flora, hidden away from the rest of the island but with direct access to the beach, a private swimming pool in the garden and a dedicated butler on call 24/7. The newly launched Serenity Spa specialises in Asian treatments, and daily yoga classes take place in various spots chosen for optimum relaxation at sunrise, daytime and sunset. It is hard for couples to tear themselves away from the spectacular surroundings and privacy of their private villa, however even at meal times, they are able to choose not see another person. Thanks to Destination Dining at Baros, couples can enjoy a fine dining experience anywhere on the island. Nowhere is off limits, from the comfort of their villa terrace, on the beach, to a romantic cruise at sunset on the resorts traditional wooden dhoni, ‘Nooma’ or secluded sandbank for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Private dining is also available on the ‘Piano Deck’, a unique wooden deck shaped like a grand piano, floating off the coast of Baros, where guests can also indulge with a romantic couple massage. Baros has direct access to 30 of the world best diving spots, and there is nowhere more secluded and calming than the spectacular underwater world of the Maldives. Transporting couples into their own underwater world, Baros offer Diving by Design programmers and a Diver Valet Service so they can marvel at the likes of manta and eagle rays, turtles and sharks and adventure-seeking pairs can even embark on fascinating ‘Fluo Night Dives’.
HOW: Baros Maldives is situated in the central southern part of North Male’ Atoll, just 25 minutes by speedboat from Maldives International Airport. Rates at Baros Maldives start from $675 (approx. £464) per night in a Deluxe Villa on a B&B basis, excluding taxes. www.baros.com
A Royal Stay: The Maharani Suite at the Magnificent Umaid Bhawan Palace – A Taj Hotel
The private terrace at the Maharani Suite at Umaid Bhawan Palace is one of the most romantic places to watch the sunset over the blue city of Jodhpur. Spanning the length of the entire suite, the terrace overlooks the 26 acres of private palace gardens, bursting with bougainvillea and home to strutting peacocks. Couples can see the majestic 14th Century Mehrangarh Fort in the distance and it’s the best place to enjoy an intimate private dinner with a Palace Butler on hand to cater to their every whim. The Maharani Suite’s style is in keeping with the Palace’s Art Deco interiors of rose pink, black, chrome and mirrors, featuring an enormous master bedroom, a spacious drawing room and a dining room. There is a couple’s massage room where guests can enjoy treatments from an award-winning team of Jiva Grande Spa therapists and a yoga room to practice private guided meditation classes. The bathroom was designed by Polish artist, Stefan Norblin and is carved out of a single piece of pink Italian marble. It also features a Jacuzzi and steam room. Guests can indulge in the bath menu, which offers four choices – the rejuvenating Rani Padmawati milk bath, the healing Rajput Princess Bath, the energising Narangi bath and the detoxifying Vishuddhi bath. The magnificent Umaid Bhawan Palace opened its doors in 1942 as one of the world’s largest private residences. Perched high above the desert capital of Jodhpur, the palace was originally built as a drought relief measure between 1928 and 1943 to provide a form of employment to the people of Marwar. Today the palace remains the principal home of His Highness the Maharaja of Jodhpur and his family. Guests can stay in one of the 65 bedrooms and suites, sensitively restored by Taj Hotels Palaces Resorts Safaris featuring the original Art Deco design and antiques. Staying at the palace reveals a unique combination of award-winning hospitality and service, as well as an authentic insight into a regal contemporary lifestyle.
HOW: Read about the romantic holiday options and what they include at www.tajhotels.com
Unique Safari: Escape to the untouched Island of Sumba, Indonesia
Nihi Sumba Island is a remote hideaway on Sumba, one of the 17,000 islands in the Indonesia Archipelago, boasting breathtaking views across the Indian Ocean. Savour tropical jungles, an ancient tribal culture and incredibly remote, pristine beaches. Rua Bay is one such beach where exclusivity and privacy is unrivalled, framed by megalithic tribes and rustic fishing villages. The ‘NihiOka spa safari’ concept is ideal for couples, taking them on a journey across Sumba island’s dramatic west coast to experience a day of locally-inspired spa treatments, healthy cuisine and al fresco yoga sessions. To take the romantic holiday to the next level, the experience offers couples a full day experience, which starts with either a 90-minute trek or an open-air land safari vehicle along the scenic route to secluded NihiOka valley, located on the west coast of the island. On arrival, guests are shown to their own private bale, which boast expansive views of the coastline and crashing waves of the Indian Ocean. Guests will then have the option to join a one-hour group morning yoga session before a bush-cooked breakfast in the rustic NihiOka tree house platform. The platform is nestled in ancient rocks and perched high above the beach and breakfast will include freshly pressed juices and healthy cuisine. After breakfast, couples will then be able to relax in their private bale for the day, which includes their own personal spa therapists. Any number of pre-selected treatments can be enjoyed amidst uninterrupted views of the sea and cascading rice paddy fields, ranging from full body massages, cooling and rejuvenating wraps, body scrubs to foot reflexology – all using natural, local ingredients. Sumba is a hauntingly beautiful Indonesian island 250 miles southeast of Bali – twice its size, yet undiscovered by mass tourism. It’s a magically pristine land of gorgeous beaches, tropical scenery and a fascinating tribal culture. On a sweeping bay facing the Indian Ocean, Nihi Sumba is home to just 21 villas blending wood and thatch construction with lush gardens, amid the hundreds of acres of surrounding land ensuring total seclusion. The emphasis is on open plan living that reflects the simplicity and beauty of Sumbanese architecture. The mile and a half long beach is bracketed by two rocky headlands and fronts one of the world’s great surfing waves that delivers left-folding tubes to within a hundred yards of the resort’s boathouse; and Nio Beach Bar. Guests enjoy huge privacy and many activities, ranging from world class surfing, diving, the best sport fishing in Indonesia, hiking through dramatic waterfalls, ancient villages and butterfly trails, stand-up paddling down the Wanukaka River to spa treatments by the beach.
HOW: The overnight Honeymoon Villa & Spa Safari experience is priced from $1,800, based on two sharing on a full-board basis, including all spa treatments. Sumba is a one-hour flight from Bali and there are daily flights from Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport in Denpasar. http://nihi.com
A Romantic Holiday to Remember: Pop the question at Ocean House, Rhode Island
The iconic Ocean House is perched high on the bluffs of Watch Hill with sweeping views of the Atlantic, the sunny yellow façade evokes a timeless elegance. This Valentine’s day guests can opt in for the pop the question package – ideal to show a Valentine just how much you love them. The package includes a two-night stay in the crowning jewel of Ocean House – The Tower Suite, spread over two floors with a spiral staircase leading up to the cosy crows nest perfect for stargazing. The scene will be set with a romantic gourmet dinner for two cooked in the room by a personal chef and a bouquet of 100 of the finest red roses. Ocean House guest services will then help to plan the perfect proposal with a stunning 2 carat Tiffany Princess Cut engagement ring. A Salamanzer of Veuve Clicquot-Ponsardin will be chilling on ice, ready to toast the proposal. Memories of the occasion will be eternalised by a photographer capturing the whole occasion. The newly engaged pair can celebrate the proposal with a three hour couples experience at the remarkable OH! Spa, where all treatments use products from the local area. Breakfast is enjoyed in bed with endless mimosa’s. This will be a romantic holiday to remember.
HOW: The romantic holiday pop the question package includes two-nights in the Tower Suite at Ocean House, private dinner for two, three hour couples treatment at the OH! Spa, a 2 carat Tiffany engagement ring, photographer to capture the proposal, breakfast in bed with unlimited mimosas both days, 100 red roses and a 9L bottle of Veuve Clicquot-Ponsardin www.oceanhouse.ri