The key to lasting relationships is enough dose of date nights. For a February article, I checked in with travel authorities (Travel + Leisure, Tripadvisor, Conde Nast) for the most romantic hotels/resorts in the U.S. that will make any couple ditch the world and recharge the romance.
* All photos are courtesy of the hotels.
Post Ranch Inn, Big Sur
Reclaimed wood, glass, steel and stone merged into this luxury hotel that embraces the mountains of Big Sur while looking out to the Pacific Ocean. Post Ranch Inn reconnects couples like no other, with its policy of no clocks and no TVs. Take in the sights from room decks jutting out of the cliffs or drive down Highway 1 to nearby Carmel and Monterey for a classic Californian road trip. Built by the scion of one of Big Sur’s pioneering families who have lived in the area for 150 years, Post Ranch Inn will grow your love for all things sustainable and organic, like its architecture and your dinner.
For the fifth straight year, Post Ranch Inn was named no. 1 U.S. hideaway by the Andrew Harper Reader’s Choice Award. Indulge in its Heavenly Honeymoon package at $9,850 per couple for five nights in the Upper Pacific Suite with breakfast and two dinners at the award-winning Sierra Mar restaurant, free one–day use of a Lexus, spa treatments for two, champagne picnic, leather-bound photo album and more.
The Wauwinet, Nantucket
“An inn by the sea” is all it says in the form of an introduction, which is humble for a place that’s consistently on Conde Nast’s Gold List and Toronto Life’s Top 25 Honeymoon Spots in the World. The Wauwinet, a 32-room inn nine miles from Nantucket town, has private beaches facing the Atlantic Ocean and the Nantucket Bay. You can grab a free bicycle for a ride around town, go lobstering or join the Great Point tour. Or you can simply stay in and sample the fine offerings of its restaurant, Topper’s, named Best Restaurant on Nantucket by Zagat.
The Wauwinet is a seasonal hotel, open from May 8 to October 25. Most tourists come in July and August, but the fall months are equally lovely, with lonely beaches and friendly rates. Book the Romantic Beach package for a two-night stay with breakfast and a champagne picnic, starting at $550.
Lake Placid Lodge, New York
The cold has a way with lovers, and Lake Placid Lodge fans snow-induced snuggling into a flame. With its 50 stone fireplaces and solo stake by the lake, this refuge in the Adirondacks makes winter fun again. Ice-skate on the frozen lake, roast marshmallows and cuddle in front of the fireplace for precious alone time. Lake Placid Lodge’s 17 lakeside cabins and 13 guestrooms boast hand-built beds, artwork and antiques by local artisans, and soaking tubs. There are no TVs in the rooms, and no kids below the age of 12, except on designated “family-friendly” dates. Under the circumstances, the stack of logs in your cabin should not be the only thing that’s burning.
Lake Placid Lodge is included in America’s Most Romantic Hotels by Travel + Leisure and The Most Amazing Wedding Venues in the World by The Knot. Book the Check-in to Check-out package starting at $1,340 for two nights’ stay in a room or cabin and one-hour cooking class with the resident chef.
Auberge du Soleil, Napa Valley
Drink that view of the Mayacamas Mountains with a glass of wine, and see things differently. Auberge du Soleil, Napa Valley’s first fine-dining establishment, is still among the world’s top luxury hotels 31 years after it opened in 1981. The numbers that describe this Mediterranean-inspired resort will make you weak in the knees: 33 acres of landscaped premises, 7,000 square feet of spa, 1,800 square feet of private maison with sweeping views of Napa Valley, 400 wineries within quick driving distance, and no kids under the age of 16. Spell love.
Auberge du Soleil’s restaurant is a Luxist Reader’s Choice awardee for Most Romantic Restaurant. A private dinner for two at La Pagode, which includes a bottle of champagne, a dozen oysters, a four-course dinner with wine pairings and two hours of guitar accompaniment, will set you back $2,000.
The Pitcher Inn, Vermont
Sometimes, a glimpse of the past makes the present a lot more civilized, something The Pitcher Inn understands. Once a Civil War-era lodging for mountain travelers, the Pitcher Inn keeps history alive in its 11 guestrooms, two of which are suites set in a barn. Private and public spaces at the inn bear the character of Vermont, telling stories through the rich fabrics, fine art and unconventional decorative pieces that define the inn. A mainstay in Conde Nast Traveler’s Gold List, this small inn is the big pride of the mountain town of Warren, a world-renowned ski destination. Whether you take to the slope or fly a sailplane or go antiquing in this history-rich town, you will surely leave with Vermont memories of your own.
Pump some adrenalin back into your lovelife with The Pitcher Inn’s Ski for Free package, starting at $700. Choose from a two-night mid-week or three-night weekend trip with passes to Sugarbush, daily breakfast and afternoon tea.
Willows Lodge, Washington
A walk in the garden may seem old-school, but it works for everyone who’s been to Willows Lodge, a cozy, laid-back hotel that sits on the banks of the Sammamish River. Tended by a “Director for Natural Beauty,” the gardens in this 5-acre property with their weeping sequioa, Japanese lace-leaf maple, oakleaf hydrangeas and other pretty plants, will take you back to simpler, happier times. The liveliest of them, the Gazebo garden, is a popular wedding venue and the site of The Herbfarm, dubbed by National Geographic as the no. 1 destination restaurant in the world. When all that walking tires you, you can retreat to the Northwest-style rooms, classified simply as nice, nicer, nicest – though all are beyond nice, with a soaking tub for two and beds covered in Australian lambs wool pads – or head to the North Courtyard for some spa pampering.
Book Willows Lodge’s Do Not Disturb package for the works: a night at a nicer room with in-tub dining of chocolate-dipped strawberries, sparkling wine for two, accompanied by a bubble bath, candles and music, starting at $390. The package also includes a $100 credit at their Barking Frog restaurant, in case you get hungry after having dessert.
Paia Inn, Maui
“Lazy” is the operative word here. An unfussy boutique hotel in the north shore of Maui, Paia Inn bucks the luxury of five-star hotels usually associated with Hawaiian getaways. Winner of the Certificate Excellence from Tripadvisor, it offers, instead, a warm, homey atmosphere that speaks of a laid-back life. The daily maid service will let you attend to more important things like surfing, whale-watching, snorkeling, kayaking, horseback-riding and generally feeling like young lovers again. At the end of the day, Paia Inn puts all the Hawaiian hyperboles into a neat, little package.
The inn has private access to Paia beach, named one of the best beaches in the world by Islands magazine for its three miles of fine, white sand. Oceanview suites start at $399/night.
The Greenwich Hotel, New York
If your heart beats faster at the sounds of the city, then this is your destination for a date. Robert de Niro’s The Greenwich Hotel in TriBeCa gives you the best of both worlds—easy access to the happy chaos of New York outside, and a relaxing retreat for the mind and body inside. The hotel’s exterior is unassuming but the interior is like a trip around the world—Tibetan rugs, Moroccan tiles, Italian marble, Swedish beds, English leather settees, Japanese bath, somehow working together in unexplainable but undeniable New York fashion. More than the bedroom, the Shibui spa is where couples immediately head to ditch the rest of the world. Listed in Conde Nast Traveler’s Hot Spas, the Shibui’s big draw is the 250-year-old Japanese farmhouse transported from Kyoto and softly lit by lanterns.
A member of the Leading Hotels of the World, The Greenwich Hotel can take away your downtown distress. Book a bath, dry brushing and massage at its famous Shibui spa for $250.