10 great romantic destinations

Some people like to travel for food. Others prefer to travel for sun. Still others enjoy traveling so they can share a secluded destination with a loved one. Here are ten romantic destinations for couples of all ages to enjoy… together.

Verona, Italy
Located in the northeast part of Italy near the Swiss border, Verona is most famously known as the setting of William Shakespeare’s passionate Romeo and Juliet. Many tourists and lovers travel to Verona simply to see the balcony that has a historical connection to the fictional characters of that famous play. The covered passageway that leads to the balcony is covered in graffiti and letters from visitors asking Juliet for luck in love.

Visitors may also go googly-eyed with a romantic stroll over the Castelvecchio Bridge, along Verona’s winding Adige River. Be sure to walk all the way to St. Peter’s Castle for an awe-inspiring view of the city shrouded in sunset.

St John, USVI
There are numerous secretive retreats in the Virgin Islands, but Moon Cottage is said to be the Caribbean’s “most romantic villa.” Located on the island of St. John, Moon Cottage offers lovers a hidden getaway and is the perfect place for couples to expand their relationship. Amenities include a private heated pool, walking distance to the beach, and complete seclusion.

For those seeking to mix some adventure with their passion, consider a day-trip to Jost van Dyke, the “New York of the Virgin Islands,” and home to (quite possibly) the world’s most amazing bar.
Kauai, Hawaii, USA
Routinely selected as among the world’s best beaches, Kauai is the oldest and the most northern of all the Hawaiian Islands; it’s also the least populated of the islands. Kauai was given the nickname of the “Garden Isle” because of its lush tropical forests. This is ideal for couples because lovers can spend time together in a quieter, more secluded setting, unlike other, busier islands in Hawaii.

Though dining options on Kauai may be a bit unromantic, there are countless ways to wile away serene hours in Kauai with a loved one.

Los Roques, Venezuela

Los Roques is great for lovers, because the secluded beaches offer the chance for couples to enjoy the sun… and each other.

Los Roques is Venezuela’s archipelago in the Caribbean. It’s most famous for its beautiful beaches — and even more beautiful water. This is a great place for lovers to visit because of the limitless secluded beaches offer the chance for couples to enjoy the sun… and each other.

In fact, the most popular activity on Los Roques is to be dropped off in the morning with a cooler filled with food and drink, and just spend the day exploring the uninhabited island on which you (and your partner) find yourself.

Napa Valley, California, USA
Famous for its wineries and cozy bed and breakfasts, Napa is the perfect couple’s getaway.

Lovers can visit local wineries, take tours, have dinner in various restaurants with cuisine ranging from French to Italian, then cozy up next to each other in front of a fire at one of the many local bed and breakfasts.

Venice, Italy
Located in northern Italy, this city is best known for its gondolas and canals. Lovers can take a tour of the city while sitting on velvet seats and Persian rugs. Though not the quickest way around the city, a gondola ride is certainly the most romantic.

An estimated 20 million people visit the sinking city every year, but Conde Nast has an excellent overview of the city, which includes details about disappearing within Venice’s ancient walls with your lover.

San Luis Obispo, California, USA

San Luis Obispo, along the Central Coast of California, is home to the famous Madonna Inn. The Madonna Inn has 110 rooms, each decorated with a different theme; there’s also a European style pool and a beautiful day spa, and it’s all located just minutes from San Luis Obispo. Couples can enjoy unique food, art and culture in town, or they can visit the Hearst Castle.

Paris, France
Paris offers couples seemingly endless options: Lovers can visit the Eiffel Tower, see a ballet or opera show, dine on fine French cuisine by candle light, take photographs to share later, or visit the famous Notre Dame Cathedral.

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New York City, New York, USA
This is the ideal romantic getaway for the couple that likes to be active. Lovers can catch a show on Broadway, take a carriage ride through Central Park, and then grab a coffee in Rockefeller Center. The city is full of restaurants and fabulous hotels for couples as well, including many romantic places and bars.

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
All-Inclusive is the way to go. Many resorts in Cabo San Lucas offer an all-inclusive package. This is great for couples because not only do you get a room for two, but food and beverages are all included. Lovers can enjoy the beaches and night-life without any hassle.

If you’re thinking about Cabo as a destination, be sure to remember that at least one Cabo hotel offers in-room aphrodisiacs to help couples set the mood.

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Of course, romance is what you make it. You don’t need to be in one of these cities to enjoy a romantic weekend with your lover. While these destinations help set the mood, nothing coos romance like simply paying unending attention to your significant other.

Daily Pampering: Relax Like a Dignitary at Arundel Villa

Arundel Villa
Arundel Villa was once the vacation home of political advisor and international lawyer Lester S. Hyman. Now, this fabulous Tortola retreat, which has hosted celebrities and dignitaries alike, is available for rental to the rabble — provided that they have the cash.

This 5-star rated property in the British Virgin Islands is highly secluded on the tricky-to-reach isle of Tortola (only American Eagle, Cape Air, LIAT, Air Sunshine and Caribbean Star fly there), and offers the very best in elegant leisure and service.

To start with, the villa itself is a beautiful three bedroom, four-and-a-half bathroom estate divided into three pavilions and set in lush, tropical hillside gardens a short drive from Tortola’s pristine shores. When you arrive, a house representative will pick you and your party of up to six up in a luxury car and bring you to the estate above Cane Garden Bay. The house features modern technological comforts from computer workspace and wireless internet to iPod docking stations, with the exception of a mercifully unplugged tatami room for meditation, set off the master bedroom (so host your friends, but get away from them there). As well as the tatami room, the marble master bath is equipped with an indoor-outdoor shower, for the ultimate island rush.

The main pavilion has a gourmet kitchen — but you don’t have to cook there. Catering is easily available, as well as a personal chef and/or in-house spa services, ensuring you are able to completely relax. To add to your enjoyment, the villa features a swimming pool and hot tub with space for large soirees, a wet bar and even a baby grand piano. For art lovers, Hyman’s personal collection of pieces from around the globe, including a ceramic vase gifted to him by former South Korean president Kim Young Sam and a painting from former Haitian president Prosper Avril, are tastefully displayed throughout the estate.

Villa staff is available to help you arrange shopping as well as dinner in charming local shops and restaurants, as well as excursions including snorkeling and windsurfing. Rates for the high season, January 1 through April 18, 2010 are $7,100 per week, or higher per-night for shorter stays. For more information visit www.arundelvilla.com.

Want more? Get your daily dose of pampering right here.

Hotels in the U.S. Virgin Islands offer 25 cent nightly rate

The U.S. Virgin Islands are going to be featured on a newly designed quarter and to celebrate, hotels around the islands are offering up rooms at 25 cents – yes, just 25 cents! – per night.

Of course, there is some fine print to the offer. Guests will still be responsible for taxes of 7%, resort fees, and government taxes of 8%, so the total ends up being a litte more than the 75 cents you might immediately assume when learning of the offer (packages I checked totaled around $100 in taxes and fees). Nine different hotels are participating in the promotion, including the Bolongo Bay Beach Resort and the Wyndham Sugar Bay Resort and Spa.

The offer is valid for travel now through December 15, though each resort may have its own blackout dates. There is a three night limit for the 25 cent rate and air-inclusive packages must be booked through the BookIt website. Guests who book the package do get a few perks – they’ll receive a $25 activities credit, $25 dining credit and a commemorative quarter.

The other caveat: you’ve got to act fast. There are a limited number of rooms available and you must book by November 2.

[via Budget Travel]

Gadling Take FIVE: Week of June 20-June 26

With a week where we’ve added a new blogger to the Gadling fold, I didn’t want to pass up the chance formally give Stephen Greenwood a hearty welcome. He’s going to be dazzling us with posts from his current home in Hong Kong. Tune into his Dim Sum Dialogues.

This has been a busy weekend. With ComFEST, the mega community arts festival taking over Columbus’s Goodale Park and terrific weather for each day of it, it does indeed feel like these are the days to enjoy oneself.

Here are five stories you might have missed:

  • In Amsterdam, a branch of Russia’s Hermitage Museum opened. Head there and you can see items that once belonged to the Russian court. As Kraig Sean mentioned, what isn’t covered is how the Romanov’s lost power. The thought of the family being lined up against a wall and shot by the Bolsheviks, still gives me pause.
  • Willy’s post on 10 things to do on Jost Van Dyke in the Virgin Islands has me wanting to head there for an eco-excursion.
  • If you aren’t feeling hungry, you will be after reading Jeremy’s post on eating brunch in Kingston, Jamaica. Jeremy’s adding posts on Jamaica to his lush series, Undiscovered New York.
  • Catherine’s post on Geographic Expeditions deals on travel caught my attention. I highly recommend guided tours. They are worth the money, particularly if your days off are a precious few.
  • As a New Yorker who sizzles in the summer, Tom is on the lookout for ways out of Manhattan and chances to cool off. He’s summarized the deals he’s found in New England. You don’t have to be a New Yorker to enjoy them.

Also, we’re running a new series on airport layovers. There are a few more to come. Annie’s post on Amsterdam this past week has one tip that did last December.

Photo of the Day (6-24-09)


With the heat of summer, a cool breeze is welcome. This photo of a sailboat jib captures that carefree quality of escaping heat and having time on one’s hands to enjoy a gorgeous day. Gadling’s own Willy Volk recently snapped this one in the Virgin Islands. Must be tough, but someone’s gotta do it. I particularly like the way the landscape in the background gives a hint at the location and how the blue stripe of the sail works along with the sky and the ocean in a study of blue. Read Willy’s post on Maho Bay Camps in St. John here.

If you have a photo to be considered for Photo of the Day, submit it here at Gadling’s Flickr Photo Pool. All sorts of subjects strike our fancy.