February 4, 2019
Dine in secluded style this Valentine’s in a clifftop sea-view folly on Dorset’s Jurassic Coast, with the Cobb harbour lights twinkling below. The Lookout Tower, in the grounds of the elegant Alexandra in Lyme Regis, provides the perfect setting for a wildly romantic seven-course tasting menu (including a glass of pink Champagne and coffee and petits fours to finish), complete with private butler and an ambience enhanced by music and candlelight. Priced at £99 pp. Choose to enjoy the experience as part of an overnight stay, from £438 per room / £219 pp (two sharing), including one night’s accommodation, Lookout Tower dinner and full English breakfast. Call the Alexandra on 01297 442 010 (www.hotelalexandra.co.uk).
Holidaycottages.co.uk has some wonderful properties still available for Valentine’s Weekend. One stands out: in 2018 there were four marriage proposals made at Becks Meadow Lodge. Yes, four. Sleeping two, this beautifully presented lodge, near Okehampton in Devon, is a glorious romantic retreat with a private hot tub. Being close to the Tarka Trail and coastal paths, it’s ideal for walkers and cyclists. One dog welcome (£20 supplement). A three-night stay arriving Tuesday 12 February costs £193 pp (£386 total) through holidaycottages.co.uk (01237 459888, www.holidaycottages.co.uk).
Waterfalls tumble, mist settles on ragged clifftops and grass-roof houses dot vast vistas – the Faroe Islands is a natural paradise. Now it is also the setting for arguably the world’s most picturesque romantic wellness experience – have your very own hot tub and old oak barrel-shaped sauna delivered to any stunning spot on the islands for the ultimate couple’s spa. Priced from DKK2,750 / £332 per day, rental includes wood fuel and gas. A transport fee of DKK1,000 / £121 is charged if more than 12 miles from Tórshavn. Stay at Hotel Tórshavn from DKK1,290 / £151 per night (two sharing). Flights (Copenhagen to Vágar) from £165 pp return with Atlantic Airways. See AITO* member Visit Faroe Islands www.visitfaroeislands.com.
For a romantic escape with extra sparkle, this short break to historic Reims ticks all the boxes. Culture lovers will adore the city’s magnificent cathedral, Musée des Beaux Arts and Palace of Tau, while a visit to one (or more) of the elegant Champagne-producing houses that line its main streets is a must. Stay three nights for the price of two at the Grand Hôtel des Templiers from £657 pp (two sharing) – saving £139 pp – including Eurostar, onward rail travel to Reims, private car transfers, accommodation with breakfast and the services of the Kirker Concierge to book expert local guides or a table for dinner. Call AITO* member Kirker Holidays on 020 7593 2283 (www.kirkerholidays.com).
Walk hand in hand through winding lanes and courtyards blooming with flowers, admiring stunning architecture on the way during this romantic short break. Stay at Las Casas de la Juderia, a beautiful boutique hotel located in the Jewish quarter, featuring Roman ruins and cosy alcoves around each corner. Rev up the romance and experience the real Seville with a flamenco experience (£45 pp extra) where you can learn this passionate art as well as gaining an insight into the rhythmic music which the dance follows. This short break costs from £624 pp (two sharing), including three nights’ B&B accommodation, flights (London) and transfers. Call AITO* member Sunvil on 020 8758 4722 (www.sunvil.co.uk).
Located in Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost prefecture, Tomamu was the first ski-in, ski-out village in Japan. Powder skiing is prevalent here and there are 29 ski runs suitable for all levels, plus snowmobiling, paraskiing and cross-country skiing. After a day on the slopes, book a romantic Japanese Ice Tea (¥3,000/£22 per adult): set in a secluded silver birch forest, seated at a bench and table carved from ice, sample delicious Ice Petit Fours, macarons and choux rings (presented on a tiered ice stand). Stay at Hoshino Resorts’ Tomamu The Tower from ¥8,800/£65 per person per night (two sharing) including breakfast. Flights/transfers extra. Contact https://www.snowtomamu.jp/winter/en/.
Spend Valentines’ night under the stars on the wild Norwegian island of Kvaløya. Snuggle up in a luxury glamping tent with panoramic windows to watch inky skies for the Northern Lights’ ethereal dance. Just 40-minutes from Tromsø, the experience is part of a triple-centred itinerary that combines the city itself with wilderness activities such as a whale and fjord cruise, dog-sled safari, Aurora hunts, and a stay on stunning Sommarøy. This five-night trip is priced from £1,845 pp (two sharing), including transfers, five nights’ B&B, two lunches, three dinners, two light evening buffets, guided activities & cold weather clothing. Flights extra. Departs 12 Feb. Call AITO* member The Aurora Zone on 01670 785 012 (www.theaurorazone.com).
Located in Port Appin, near Oban on Scotland’s west coast, Airds Hotel and Restaurant is ideally situated for an adventurous two-night Valentine’s break. Enjoy an invigorating walk on the Isle of Lismore, a scenic bike ride or a seal-watching stroll, then come in from the cold to relax by a roaring fire. A romantic candlelit dinner will be served in the 3-AA Rosette restaurant each night, with views over Loch Linnhe and the Morvern mountains. From £524 total/ £262 pp (two sharing), the price includes two nights’ accommodation, a bottle of champagne on arrival, box of handmade chocolates, dinner and full Scottish breakfast. Valid 14 – 17 Feb. Call Pride of Britain Hotels on 0800 089 3929 (www.prideofbritainhotels.com).
Depart London by night, enjoy nightcaps as the train heads north, and awake to sunrise and the Highlands – an inspiring Valentine’s escape. Gain a sense of wilderness in a remote Highland Glen, then explore the truly romantic Isle of Skye, sampling Scottish specialities at five-star luxurious lodgings throughout. Luxury Skye and Highlands by Sleeper costs from £1,715 pp (two sharing), including return sleeper travel, four nights’ dinner/B&B, some rail/ferry travel, transfers and private guided tours of Perthshire, Skye and Inverness. Call AITO* Member McKinlay Kidd on 0141 260 9260 (www.mckinlaykidd.com).
There’s still availability on Valentine’s Day in the grandest of suites at five-star Seaham Hall, where Lord and Lady Byron married in 1815. Their daughter provided the inspiration for her namesake Ada Lovelace suite, which features a chic mirrored boudoir plus a split-level mezzanine overlooking a bathing deck and two slipper baths which sit in front of the stunning Georgian windows overlooking the Seaham grounds and the sea beyond. An overnight stay costs from £258 pp (two sharing), including three-course dinner in The Dining Room, breakfast and full use of the spa from 12 noon on day of arrival until 12 noon on day of departure. Call Seaham Hall on 0191 516 1400 (www.seaham-hall.co.uk).
Designed with couples in mind, the one-bed Duchess villa in Costa Adeje, Tenerife, is luxurious and private, yet with all the benefits of being part of the Royal Gardens Resort, where facilities include a gym, large pool, squash court and indulgent spa. Richly-styled with more than a nod to romantic eastern opulence, the villa has its own covered terrace with cushioned seating and an outdoor area featuring a solar-heated plunge pool with views to the ocean and curtains for privacy. A week’s stay, from 9 February, is priced from £1,650 pp (two sharing – £3,299 total), including maid service, pool towels and daily buffet breakfast in Restaurant Jardin. Flights extra. Call CV Villas on 0207 261 5404 (www.cvvillas.com).
Mallory Court, an elegant, luxury country house hotel located close to Leamington Spa in Warwickshire, provides the perfect backdrop for romance this Valentine’s Day. With beautiful manicured gardens, exquisite dining options, excellent service and a state-of-the-art Elan Spa, the hotel is the epitome of style, comfort and relaxation. The one-night Valentine’s break is priced from £350 total/£175 pp (two sharing) including accommodation in a Classic room, a bottle of prosecco on arrival, a five-course tasting menu dinner in the hotel’s fine dining restaurant and full English breakfast. Valid from 8-17 February. Call Mallory Court on 01926 330 214 (www.mallory.co.uk).
*AITO is The Specialist Travel Association: more than 120 specialist travel companies providing an unrivalled collection of holiday ideas that cover every corner of the world. Consumers booking with AITO can be assured of high-quality holidays and excellent personal service. Visit www.aito.com for further information.
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