I don't know why there always seems to be so much pressure on men to pull a romantic rabbit out of their hat when it comes to Valentine's Day. Instead of agonizing over which over-inflated prix-fixe menu restaurant to take her to, or which piece of jewelry she wouldn't want to return, why don't you really indulge her and yourself at the same time with something you'd both love -- a trip away.
There is a plethora of romance-inducing Valentine's Day packages currently on the market and here is a small sampling. You be best advised to book these soon.
Miami is a pretty sexy destination but you don't have to earn like a celebrity to spice up your Valentine's Day. The Catalina Hotel & Beach Club (tel. 305/674-1160; www.catalinahotel.com) is offering an "Enhance Your Romance" love package to celebrate the Valentine in your life, with prices starting at $300 per night. Indulge with champagne and chocolate aphrodisiacs in your room and a candlelit table and "love potion" cocktails at Catalina's restaurant and lounge, The Maxine. Then get a little closer by getting pampered with a couple's poolside manicure and pedicure. Choose between a blissful massage session or a sweetheart's bicycle escape, complete with a romantic picnic lunch. Use the "Valentine's Package" code when booking your stay.
Nothing says "love" like a trip to Paris and Gate1 Travel (tel. 800/682-3333; www.gate1travel.com) has a discounted deal to get you there without breaking your heart or your wallet. Priced from $569 plus taxes per person, this February 13 departure date trip includes round-trip airfare from New York, airline fuel surcharges, four nights' accommodations at the two-star Campagnile Boulevard Berthier or the Relais de Paris Gare de Lyon and breakfast daily. Add approximately $42 from Boston, $138 from Chicago or $185 from Dallas. You can trade up to a higher rated hotel like the three-star Ibis Porte de Clichy from $599 or the four-star Mercure Eiffel Suffren Hotel from $689. Gate1 also has a selection of other similar Valentine's Day European getaway packages like four nights in Prague or Amsterdam from $499, a five-night Rome and Florence by rail from $699 or a six-night London and Rome from $869. All include round-trip airfares (from New York or other cities for additional cost), fuel surcharges, accommodations and breakfast daily.
For Valentine's Day on the high seas, check out Cruise.com's (tel. 888/333-3116; www.cruise.com) selection of no less than 15 individual cruises at discounted prices. Examples include the seven-day western Caribbean cruise (priced from $599 per person inside or $679 in an ocean view cabin) aboard the Norwegian Sun that departs from New Orleans on February 11, 2007 and visits Costa Maya, Santo Tomas de Castillo, Belize City and Cozumel, or the seven-day eastern Caribbean cruise (priced from $489 inside and $689 ocean view) aboard the Carnival Triumph that departs Miami on February 10, 2007 and visits San Juan, St Thomas and St Maarten. Prices for select four-day cruises at this time start as low as $219 in an inside cabin with departures from Miami or $239 from Los Angeles.
For a chillier February 14, head to Aspen, Colorado for Hotel Jerome's (tel. 800/331-7213; www.hoteljerome.com) "Be My Valentine" package that includes two nights' deluxe accommodations (February 13 and 14, 2007), champagne and a special dessert treat on arrival, lift tickets for two each day, a candlelit diner fro two in the Century Room, nightly bath butler service and daily continental breakfast. This package is priced from $595 per couple.
Staying on the cooler theme, how about a few romantic nights in an authentic sixteenth century English castle located outside Liverpool? If this sounds like your cup of tea, then Leasowe Castle (tel. +44/151-606-9191; www.leasowecastle.com) offers a selection of romantic Valentine's Day stays. The Castle offers a perfect combination of romance and elegance in a tranquil setting with six acres of grounds overlooking Leasowe Golf Course and the sea. Stay two nights on the weekend of February 16 and 17, 2007 and enjoy accommodation, champagne on arrival, a half-hour massage for two, one night romantic dinner for two and full English breakfast each morning priced at $410 or stay on February 14 for one night with half-hour massages for two or dual facials, a romantic dinner and English breakfast priced at $290 (or a two-night version of this for $360).
BedandBreakfast.com (www.bedandbreakfast.com) recognizes that not everybody is part of a loving couple so they are offering a wide selection of deals for the newly single (or soon-to-be single) this Valentine's Day. For a complete list of specials from member inns, go to www.bedandbreakfast.com/Specials.aspx?ctx=S and choose "Un-Valentine's Day Specials" if you are looking for single solace, or "Valentine's Day Specials" if romance is still on the agenda. Here are a few of their suggestions:
- The best place to celebrate being single is Laurel Hill B&B (tel. 404/377-3217; www.laurelhillbandb.com) in Atlanta, GA. No need to worry about being single here; there's plenty to do with downtown Atlanta and the entertainment districts of Decatur, Little Five Points and Virginia Highlands close by. Best of all, single rates start at $105 for every room and suite in the inn, some with whirlpool tubs to soak your cares away.
- The best place to drown your sorrows is the 1811 House (tel. 800/432-1811; www.1811house.com/pub.html) in Manchester, VT. Guaranteed to make you forget about him/her, and you'll find one of the most exceptional watering holes along with the widest selection of single malt whiskies in New England. Those who prefer wine, beer or other spirits will find a full complement of those, too. With innkeeper/owner Bruce Duff around you'll never be lonely -- he'll regale you with stories and entice you with recommendations for the best single malts. Mid-week room rates (perfect for Valentine's Day this year) start at $100 and are $50 off the published weekend rates.
Bring your sweetheart to Sweetfield Manor (tel. 888/744-431; www.sweetfieldmanor.com) in gorgeous St. Michael, Barbados for a romantic getaway between February 9 and 18, 2007 and they will make it sweet for you. This intimate 100 year old plantation house property has ocean views and is located only five miles from Bridgetown. Book a seven-night stay and pay for only five or for a shorter stay like a romantic weekend get 15% off any two night weekend stay (for the weekend before or after Valentine's Day). Regular rates start at $285 per room per night.
Celebrate Valentine's Day anytime in February with the "Love is Inn the Air" package at Inn at Harbor Hill Marina (tel. 860/739-0331; www.innharborhill.com) on the Mystic coast in Niantic, CT. This waterfront B & B is offering a romantic two-night getaway that includes a deluxe water view room, Champagne upon arrival, chocolate-dipped strawberries, flowers, classic breakfast buffet each morning by the fire, a $50 voucher to a local bistro, a "Romancing the Sax" CD, snacks and beverages plus lodging tax. The package is priced from $420 and you can add a third night in any room for $99.
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