Love is in the air. Why not treat your special someone to a romantic getaway this Valentine’s Day? Whether you and your partner love skiing or lounging by a pool, a hike in the woods or an arts adventure, these five destinations are perfect for romance.
For Foodies: Elkhart, Wisc.
Does your idea of the perfect weekend include learning to make authentic French fare like crepes Suzettes? If you said “oui,” you’ll find L’ecole de la Maison, the French cooking school at Wisconsin’s Osthoff Resort, simply magnifique! Chef Scott Baker spices up weekend getaways to this upscale Elkhart Lake resort with his culinary classes. Learn to make classic bistro dishes like French onion soup or sign up for a decadent dessert class. Best of all, this French connection is only a two-hour drive away.
When it’s time for someone else to do the cooking, head to the resort’s award-winning restaurant, Lola’s on the Lake, which boasts panoramic lakeside views. Start off with the artisanal cheese platter to get a taste of Wisconsin’s best. Bon appétit!
It’s winter in Wisconsin, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the great outdoors. Take a hike at nearby Kettle Moraine State Forest, and follow it up with a soak in the outdoor Jacuzzi and a couple’s massage at the Osthoff Resort’s world-class Aspira Spa.
For Culture Vultures: Santa Fe, N.M.
Santa Fe is a top choice for art-lovers. Stay at La Posada, known as the art hotel for its incredible collection of contemporary western art. The Canyon Road galleries are world renowned, featuring Western and Native American themed art, as well as international artists. Should you want to create your own art, consider getting your hands dirty at Green River Pottery, where you can make your own pottery and glaze it.
Head to the historic plaza to experience Spanish style architecture and Native American crafts. It’s a lively pedestrian town square, surrounded by museums, shops and restaurants. A block north of the Plaza is Il Piatto, where rustic Italian fare is fused with New Mexican cuisine. Chef and owner Matt Yohalem showcases local produce throughout the menu. Ever think you’d enjoy eating straight chile peppers? You’ll be surprised to find out just how delicious they are if you order the pan-roasted chiles appetizer. If you’re looking for live music, head over to the rowdy Cowgirl BBQ, a spectacular smokehouse with live bands every night.
If you yen for peace and tranquility, drive 15 minutes outside of town to the Japanese-inspired Ten Thousand Waves, a spa with outdoor soaking tubs overlooking the surrounding mountains. Splurge and book the private premium tubs, the closest thing to bathing in secluded mountain hot springs—without having to hike for hours!
For Beach Bums: Clearwater Beach, Fla.
Looking to escape the cold to a place where you can relax with a drink in hand and toes in the sand, while watching some of the most beautiful sunsets ever? Head for Sandpearl Resort in Florida’s Gulf Coast town of Clearwater Beach. When Sandpearl opened in 2007, it was the first new beachfront resort in Clearwater Beach in over 25 years. In just a few years it made Travel & Leisure’s list of Best Beach Resorts.
Enjoy elegant Tommy-Bahama inspired decor, pristine powder-soft sand, and an oceanfront pool and beach bar. If you feel inclined to get off your cushy chaise lounge, hop aboard one of the complimentary beach cruiser bicycles. When it’s time for dinner, ask for a table near the floor-to-ceiling windows at the resort’s Caretta on the Gulf and watch the sun set, or dine on the restaurant’s large balcony overlooking the pool.
For Island Hoppers: St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands
If seclusion is what you seek, St. John’s Caneel Bay Resort in the U.S. Virgin Islands is the ultimate Caribbean hideaway. Accessible only by boat from nearby St. Thomas, there are no in-room TVs or phones. Most of the island used to belong to the Rockefellers, who eventually donated the land to the U.S. National Park Service. Two-thirds of St. John is now a national park. Smack dab in the middle of this island paradise is just one hotel: Caneel Bay. The resort is laid-back luxury, with seven private beaches (two adults only) and some of the world’s best snorkeling.
Enjoy elegant candlelit dining in the sand at the resort’s main restaurant, Caneel Beach Bar & Grill. Direct flights to St. Thomas and no need for passports make this a great choice for the ultimate no-hassle romantic getaway.
For Ski Bunnies: Beaver Creek Valley, Colo.
Two hours west of Denver, with breathtaking views of the Beaver Creek Valley, the 60-room boutique Pines Lodge is cozy luxury—think Alpine chic, rather than cabin kitsch. Skiers will appreciate the hotel being only 150 yards from the Strawberry Park ski lift and charming Beaver Creek Village. Bordered by the White River National Forest, the Pines Lodge is a nature lover’s paradise that’ll likely leave you with a Rocky Mountain high, yet guests get to appreciate modern amenities like luxury bathrooms and high-speed Wi-Fi.
The hotel’s onsite Grouse Mountain Grill is upscale, Colorado-centric dining with stunning mountain views. The restaurant’s award-winning chef serves up farm-to-table cuisine, highlighting local gardens and ranches. Everything on the menu is made from scratch, from the bread to the desserts. After dinner, drink in the scenery from the hot tub, perched high above the surrounding pines and aspens.
Sexy Wardrobe Essentials for a Red-Hot Valentine’s Weekend
Pack your getaway bag with stylish leggings, a versatile tunic and luxurious cashmere wrap. These items work whether you’re flying somewhere tropical, sipping a hot toddy after a day on the slopes, hiking in the woods or gallery hopping. Show your wild side with shoes that display your animal instincts, and don’t forget a naughty-but-nice nighty.
- Claudia Nichole Draped Topper by Alashan Cashmere, $145, Kaehler Luggage, 553 Chestnut St., Winnetka, 800-314-2247; 670 Central Ave., Highland Park 847-433-6500
- Heart Pendant Necklace, $2,750, Burdeen’s Jewelry, 1151 W. Lake Cook Road, Buffalo Grove, 800-656-0414
- Theresa 2.0 Tunic, $123
- Bienne Leggings, Aventura Clothing, $29 (also available at Erehwon Mountain Outfitter, 2585 Waukegan Road, Bannockburn, 847-948-7250)
- Farringdon Patchwork Dalmatian Ballet Flats, $160, Cocorose London
- Tony Moly Bbo Bbo Lip Balm, $9, Sephora
- P.J. Salvage Everyday Basics Chemise, $50, Posh Essentials, 658 Central Ave., Highland Park, 847-945-7674
- Sam Edelman “Okala” Pump, $130, Lori’s Shoes, 585 Central Ave., Port Clinton Square, Highland Park, 847-681-1532
- Town and Field Tote, $179, L.L. Bean, Westfield Old Orchard, Skokie, 888-552-5564