It’s rather magnificent to be in love, right? Thing is, when it comes to Valentine’s Day stayovers, the prevailing mise en scene can be a little, well, cliché: petals scattered across white sheets, embroidered robes for two. To help you toast your romance in chic and memorable surrounds this year—and elude the cheesiness—we present an edit of amorous settings catered to more discerning duos. Best of all, there’s not a teddy-clasping-a-love-heart in sight. Amour pour toujours!
For the fledgling sommelier—Lindenderry at Red Hill, Australia
An hour’s drive from Melbourne, this secluded vineyard hideaway in the Mornington Penninsula is the perfect weekender spot to commemorate love (with a very good wine on hand). All of its 40 rooms have recently been redesigned by award-winning studio Hecker Guthrie, and communal spaces brim with countryside charm—all brass lamps, roaring marble fireplaces and buttery leather couches, perfect for curling up together with your favourite books. Lindenderry is a stone’s throw from the region’s best wineries, and has it’s own cellar door with three hectares of vineyards.
For the traditionalists—Knightsbridge Hotel, England
As writer Nick Trend put it, “This is Beaufort Gardens: in terms of smart London addresses, it’s hard to beat.” He’s right, of course. Situated on a quiet, leafy street in Knightsbridge, this deliciously British establishment is close to everything you’ll need: Harvey Nichols and Harrods, the big Kensington’s museums, Albert Hall, Hyde Park and the enormous, multi-storey Saatchi Gallery. Sleep in with your loved one ‘til midday in suites covered in fresh English fabrics (handpicked by Kit Kemp), then meander to the hotel’s library or drawing room for a traditional afternoon tea. Jolly good!
For the star-crossed lovers—Aman Venice, Italy
Make the grandest of Valentine’s gestures with a stopover at Aman Venice—whose Alcova Tiepolo suite is ornamented with Giovanni Battista Tiepolo’s frescoes, dating back to the 18th century. Right upon the Grand Canal, the five-star stay is the ideal blend of Italian vigor (just step outside, to the dizzying madness of cobblestone alleyways) and quiet contemplation (Aman’s three treatment rooms offer serene experiences for two, like the couple’s thermal bath infused with warm rose petals, prehistoric Salsomaggiore thermal salt and essential oils).
For the gourmet foodies—Southern Ocean Lodge, Australia
“For me,” says Asher Blackford, the executive chef at Kangaroo Island’s Southern Ocean Lodge, “food is an emotional experience.” If you spend February 14 in one of the hotel’s spectacular glass-fronted suites—each featuring a sunken lounge and outdoor terrace—be sure to make a reservation at the adjoining restaurant, where the deft-fingered Blackford is at the helm. Order the chef’s tasting menu and you’re in store for a mouthwatering degustation: rich flavours plucked from the Southern Ocean, or cultivated on local farms, be it a succulent queen snapper, a sheep’s milk manchego and haloumi, or a desert infused with Kangaroo Island honey. They say the way to someone’s heart is their stomach, after all.
For the eco-conscious—Pikaia Lodge, Galápagos Islands
Sitting atop a plateau that spans two extinct volcanic craters on Santa Cruz Island, this 14-room hilltop oasis is built on principles of sustainability. That said, there’s few places in the region that feel more private, luxuriant and effortlessly romantic. Balcony rooms have panoramic floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook undulating grassy hills, an infinity pool stretches before a tortoise reserve, and there are 100-foot-plus private yachts (owned by the lodge) ready for days of island hopping. We recommend letting Valentine’s Day here stretch out for a week.
For the antique appreciators—Dar Ayniwen, Morocco
Book the sprawling, 50-square-metre Colonnade suite at Dar Ayniwen—a two-hectare property set deep in the palm groves of Marrakech—and you’ll find a pink-walled private palace of sorts, abounding with antiques reminiscent of the Moor period, and elaborate marquetry work. Around every corner there’s a new object d’art to discover—and while the Old Town is close by, you’ll spy enough to occupy you both right here, including a landscaped English lawn and cactus garden, centuries-old olive trees and a heated swimming pool. There are only eight suites here, so you’ll practically have this Moroccan haven to yourselves.