A vintage Valentine's Day card
Dave@Flicker.com

How to Turn Any Hotel Into a Love Nest

By Dr. Pepper Schwartz and Dr. Janet Lever, photo editing by Amarelle Wenkert

Be it Valentine's Day, a honeymoon or just a romantic getaway for two, the hotel room is important. Someone is going to get the best, most romantic, room in the house, and it may as well be you. Here are a few ways to stake your claim and make whatever room you get more sexy. An excrept from the new book "AARP and Frommer's Places for Passion."

This article is an excerpt from "AARP and Frommer's Places for Passion". To order the book, click here.

White roses and candles in the honeymoon suite
HannahWebb@Flicker.com
Tell the booking person you are there for a romantic vacation

Say you want something special, or ask for something specific. If it’s available, the receptionist will try to get it for you.

This article is an excerpt from "AARP and Frommer's Places for Passion". To order the book, click here.

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Romantic hotel room, champagne and strawberries
Escapio Hotels@Flicker.com
Book early

We are not fans of finding romantic places once you get there; it’s way too risky and can add stress to your vacation. The best rooms get booked first, so the sooner you decide where you want to go, the better chance you have of getting the most desirable rooms. All rooms are not equally large or equally charming. Call and ask the concierge’s opinion and take a virtual tour of specific rooms on the website, if offered (nice B&Bs and small inns often offer this). Typically, for large hotels you can see photos from each room category (call to ask about square footage if that’s important to you).

This article is an excerpt from the book AARP/Frommer's Places for Passion. To purchase or learn more about the book, click here.

A woman asks for quiet
Michael Carmody/Flickr
Ask about soundproofing

Not all guest rooms are acoustically desirable. Be especially wary of B&Bs. While some of their charm can be their age, they often do not have modern soundproofing. Personally, we don’t think it’s romantic to hear a toilet flush next door or someone’s baby cry all night. When you book a room, make sure it’s protected from such distractions, and if you are in a hotel, make sure you are not next to the elevator or right above the onsite nightclub. We like end units or those adjacent to a stairwell because they guarantee privacy on at least one side of the suite.

This article is an excerpt from the book AARP/Frommer's Places for Passion. To learn more or purchase the book, click here.

 

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Central Park views in the bathroom of the Oriental Suite, Mandarin Oriental Hotel NYC
Mandarin Oriental Hotel, NYC
Try to get a room with an oversize tub or shower

Water is romantic. Lolling in a bathtub together is particularly romantic. If the hotel offers a room with an oversized tub, say you want it! Some of the hotels we suggest have their own plunge pools or a Jacuzzi tub. A few will have those fabulous showers that have 10 heads that blast your increasingly blissful body or rainforest shower heads that mimic the experience of being in a relaxing, soothing light rain. It’s strange how a small thing like luxurious plumbing can make your vacation special, but it can! Also bring bath products you love. Luxury hotels usually provide luxurious bath products. But if you’re staying in a lesser hotel or renting a private apartment, you cannot expect this amenity. Pack a great selection of bath and body products, including an aromatic massage oil, just in case you want to exchange foot or full body massages.

This article is an excerpt from the book AARP/Frommer's Places for Passion. To buy the book, click here.

Champagne on ice aboard a Silversea cruise ship
Sliversea Cruises
Try to get a room refrigerator

Another small point—by no means a deal breaker—is a fridge. It’s nice to be able to chill your favorite bottles of wine (without paying room service prices), or finger foods (like exotic local fruits) you picked up during your day for romantic in-bed snacks that you can feed each other. Here’s another tip: If you are driving some place close to home, and you know the hotel doesn’t provide fridges, bring a cooler to keep in your room—there’s always plenty of free ice. Note: Some upscale properties are now installing motion sensors and scales in their minibars so if you so much as move an item to make room for something of yours, you are automatically charged for it. Check with front desk.

This excerpt is from the book AARP/Frommer's Places for Passion. To buy the book, click here.

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River views at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Geneva
Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Geneva
Be prepared to pay: The cheapest room is unlikely to be the most romantic

Almost every hotel or inn has a less desirable room, and you can usually tell by the price tag. In general, we would rather go to the best room or suite in a lesser hotel than the worst one in a fancy place. This is especially true with the older, grand hotels that have been reconfigured over the decades. Sometimes they end up creating some glorious suites, but amid a warren of odd-sized rooms that can feel like closets. Newer luxury chains rarely offer anything that irregular and some (like Aman, Banyan Tree, Four Seasons, Mandarin Oriental, Oberoi, Ritz Carlton, St. Regis, and other luxury properties we rave about in this book) are absolutely dependable, and you will never get a bad room. Still, there are good rooms and great rooms, and usually the great ones cost more.

This excerpt is from the book AARP/Frommer's Places for Passion. To buy the book, click here.

 

Romantic cruise at sunset.
Paul Bica@Flicker.com
Be particularly picky if your room is on a ship

All the cruise lines will show you where your room is on a ship diagram. Some people like to be in the middle of the ship, where they believe they get less motion; some want to be higher up; other people don’t care much because they expect to spend little time other than sleeping in their room. It’s personal taste. But by all means, if your ship has balcony rooms, spend more money or find a way to negotiate an upgrade to get one. (Early bookings will often get you the upgrade.) You will spend more time in the room if you have a balcony, and most lines offer butler service to bring you goodies or breakfast you can eat outside while gazing at the water or shoreline. We think the balconies are essential for romance. The bigger, the better.

This excerpt is from the book "AARP/Frommer's Places for Passion". To learn more, click here.

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Romantic, candle-lit dinner
Edgar Jimenez@Flicker.com
Bring candles and candle holders

A working fireplace is a real romantic plus, but if you bring along some candles, you can get pretty much the same effect. Add a great aroma to the candles, and you can please two senses at the same time. Just be safe: Bring candles that are already in some kind of nonflammable holder. Needless to say, don’t forget to blow them out before you go to sleep or leave your room.

This excerpt is from the book "AARP/Frommer's Places for Passion". To learn more, click here.

 

Love is... a thoughtful mixtape
Kristian Bjornard@Flicker.com
Bring your own music

Music is great for setting the right mood. If you already travel with your favorite tunes on your smartphone or tablet, check with your hotel to see whether it provides docking stations in the guestrooms. If not, bring your own, along with portable wireless speakers, and consider adding some collections that will add to the mood.

This excerpt is from the book "AARP/Frommer's Places for Passion". To purchase, click here.

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Love is in your cards
Gabriela Pinto@Flicker.com
Bring your own toys and other entertainments

Sometimes you want your own sensual enhancements. If you have “aids” that enhance sensual play that you ordinarily use at home (or would like to try on this vacation), bring them along! Just remember that different countries have different values about what might be considered pornographic. So think before you pack something if you are going to have to go through Customs.

Want more romantic travel ideas? Click here for the book "AARP/Frommer's Places for Passion"

A woman getting ready for a romantic evening out.
Silversea Cruises
Pack special clothes

Clothes really can set a mood—for both the wearer and the admirer. Unless you are going backpacking, take at least one thing that is dressy for a special evening—and it wouldn’t hurt to wear something new and special to bed (unless your version of “special” is nothing at all!).

Learn more about sexy travel in the book "AARP/Frommer's Places for Passion". Click here.

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