Tag Archives: valentine’s day offers

Romantic city breaks: what REALLY makes them romantic?

With Valentine’s Day approaching, and a Leap Year following swiftly after that, romantic city breaks are most definitely in the air in 2016.  While Paris is the capital of proposals and Italy has a reputation for sweeping people off their feet, we are delving beyond the stereotypes and looking to explain what really gives some of the most romantic cities in the world their edge…

Paris

You can’t really talk about romance without mentioning Paris, but in amongst the suave, sophisticated men and effortlessly stylish women, it isn’t just the accent and the food that makes Paris such a hotspot for Cupid’s Arrow.  Nope, for anyone who has spent a little time walking around the famous city it’s clear that Paris’s charm lies in the details and the atmosphere.  Personal recommendations would be to take a wander in the Luxembourg Gardens and then go for a jaunt around the Pere Lachaise Cemetery in the 20th arrondissement.  It might seem like a peculiar recommendation on a romantic getaway but here you will find the final resting places of everyone from Jim Morrison to Oscar Wilde (a legendary knee wobbler).  It’s certainly a trip you won’t forget!

Bermondsey Square Hotel
Bermondsey Square Hotel

London

The beauty of London lies in its diversity.  From Bermondsey, where visitors find themselves surrounded simultaneously by iconic contemporary features like The Shard, nestled right alongside the artisan pleasures of Borough Market, to the hoi polloi of Chelsea and Bloomsbury, the city is a chameleon where you can be whoever you want to be and the possibilities for adventure and magic are endless.  Hold hands wandering down the Southbank after an evening at the National Theatre, or pop the question on Tower Bridge… it is a Leap Year after all!

Florence

Much like France, romance is woven into the fabric of Italian culture, and nowhere is that more apparent than Florence.  One of the most beautiful heritage cities in the world, it feels alive without having the weighty hustle and bustle of other major European settlements.  At no point are you weighed down by congestion or find you’ve turned a corner only to be confronted by an offensive postwar edifice.  On the contrary, this is the city of awe-inspiring architecture, living history, palpable creativity, and perhaps the most spectacular skyline you could hope for, especially if you enjoy it at sunset from nearby Fiesole.

Edinburgh

Wrap up warm and head to a city that has history at its heart.  There’s no one more patriotic than the Scots, and their capital, with its cobbled streets, boutique shopping, spectacular castle and ample opportunities to snuggle up with a dram of whisky, makes for one heck of a passionate escape.  It might not have been the first city you thought of for Valentine’s Day, but you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find it has all the makings of an epic romance.

Vagabond Hotel - Miami

Miami

Another curveball to throw into the mix, while moving still further away from all things stereotypical, comes in the form of a trip to the heat and buzzing atmosphere of Miami.  Romance here isn’t about staring into one another’s eyes, but partying until sunrise and absorbing the unique social climate in this vibrant city.  If you’re lucky enough to stay somewhere like The Vagabond Hotel then you can also absorb a little of that 1950s Hollywood-esque history that it does so well… it’s like stepping out into your very own silver screen.

Romantic Ideas for Valentine’s Day

What makes for a perfect Valentine’s Day? The right two people, certainly, but where you are and what you do can also play a role. Your perfect setting may be wild or sophisticated, tranquil or exotic — you have a vast choice.

A Perfect Valentine’s Day Break

Most hotels and restaurants offer a special Valentine’s service, and you might find the perfect dinner at the restaurant round the corner — as long as you’re not just being given a red rose with your chips and told to make do.

For a really special experience, though, you can have your candle-lit dinner in real style as part of a complete romantic break giving you a night or two in luxury. Packages vary a little, but a good hotel will probably offer chocolates and champagne in addition to dinner, as well as breakfast in bed.

Valentine's Day - Columba Inverness
Columba Inverness

You might only have eyes for one another over dinner, but the surroundings make a romantic occasion more memorable. If your tastes run to the rugged splendour of the Scottish Highlands, for instance, the Dunollie Hotel on the Isle of Skye is set against the background of spectacular mountains, while the Columba Hotel in Inverness offers picturesque views overlooking the River Ness and across to Inverness Castle.

For a bit of English tradition, on the other hand, the Rutland Arms Hotel in Newmarket and the George Hotel in the village of Piercebridge near Darlington are both venerable coaching inns, though the facilities have been fully modernised. The Carnoustie Golf Hotel, on the other hand, gives you the opportunity to supplement romance with a round on one of Scotland’s greatest golf courses. Or, if greens and fairways aren’t really your thing, you can be pampered in a top-class spa centre.

Further Afield

A one or two night break in a fine British hotel can be a wonderful experience, but perhaps you want a more exotic location. Valentine’s Day is a worldwide phenomenon and hotels all over the world offer romantic packages, whether you’re looking for a short break or to incorporate your romantic escape into a longer holiday.

Destinations for an exotic Valentine’s break range from Los Angeles to Phuket in Thailand, but you don’t have to go that far. There’s always Paris — a romantic break in the city of love still does the trick!]

Valentine's DAy 2016 - Columba Inverness
Columba Inverness

Whatever you decide, it’s still about being with the right person, but choosing the best place can make it more special. You bring the romance, and the setting and service will do the rest.

What makes a romantic getaway?

 boutique hotel bedroom

Ask any couple what they think makes the ultimate romantic getaway and you will probably get slightly different answers from each partner.  Speaking to a friend recently she said her husband’s idea of the perfect break was sun, sea, sand and surfing, while hers was sun, sea, sand and no surfing.  We will leave it to you to figure out what happened on the honeymoon.

There are a few silver screen standards that go without saying when it comes to romance, candlelit dinners and beautiful views for example.  On the flip side, while it’s highly entertaining, the upcoming release of the 50 Shades of Grey film on Valentine’s Day probably isn’t high on the serious priority list for most.

Nonetheless, at Bespoke we have our own ideas about what is a truly romantic getaway in a hotel, many of them actually, but here’s a few to whet the appetite.

A waterside location

At The Lugger Hotel in Cornwall there are a lot of things that make it special – it is really a chocolate-box perfect kinda romantic getaway.  Y’know, service, sea and utterly timeless.

Bespoke Hotels - The Lugger
The Lugger Hotel Cornwall

It is a toss up as to whether the best part of The Lugger Hotel is the beautiful pared-down luxe design or the location overlooking the sea, cliffs and headland.  Perhaps it’s a combination of the two – either way, it’s perfect.

Historic atmosphere

A lot of the time what really makes a hotel stand out is something intangible – a combination of the history, the architecture and the service, all of which make up an enchanting atmosphere.  The Grosvenor Arms in Shaftsbury has atmosphere in spades.

Bespoke - The Grosvenor Arms Shaftesbury

Once a medieval posting inn, it now has the gravitas of a building with a past, but, having had a nice contemporary makeover.  There is a cosy pub vibe throughout and is situated so that you can explore Salisbury, Bath, and the Dorset coastline with ease.  It’s the ideal place to potter along for the weekend hand-in-hand.

A fairytale castle

What can we say?  Cinderella would have been proud of this one.  No matter how ball busting you happen Stonefield Castle on the shores of Loch Fyne is the sort of fairytale location that will make you go weak at the knees.

Bespoke - Stonefield Castle
Stonefield Castle

With a history dating back to 1837 it showcases Scottish baronial architecture at its finest and still has original touches such as wood paneling and marble fireplaces.  Visit when there’s snow on the ground or flowers sprouting along the water’s edge, it’s a magic romantic getaway.

 A private hot tub

If all else fails, a private hot tub is always a bit of a winner, and Bermondsey Square Hotel in London has a suite (Lucy) with its own hot tub overlooking the city.  The hotel is utterly contemporary with design inspired by the Beatles and all suites named with a nod to their most famous songs.

Bespoke - Bermondsey Square Hotel
Bermondsey Square Hotel

It is located for couples wanting to spend a little time exploring the sites, but then again, you can see the London Eye from the hot tub, so what you do with your time is up to you!

 

Bespoke Hotels version of the Valentine’s Day History

Bespoke-Hotels-Valentine's-Day-OffersPeople often ask about the history of Valentine’s day – that time of year when people open their hearts and spoil the special person in their lives.  Well here at Bespoke Hotels we’ve researched the matter extensively. And that’s just as well, seeing as all our properties are very much involved in this wonderful occasion.

Roman Roots

We’ve learned that the history of Valentine’s Day is obscure and rather clouded by various whimsical legends. The holiday’s roots are in the ancient Roman festival of Lupercalia, a fertility celebration commemorated annually on February 15. This was subsequently recast by Pope Gelasius I around 496 as a Christian feast day, declaring February 14 to be St. Valentine’s Day.

Which St: Valentine, Bespoke Hotels would like to know?

Which St. Valentine this early pope intended to honour remains a mystery: according to the Catholic Encyclopedia, there were at least three early Christian saints by that name. One was a priest in Rome, another a bishop in Terni, and of the third almost nothing is known except that he met his end somewhere in Africa! Rather astonishingly, all three Valentines were said to have been martyred on Feb. 14.

Most scholars believe that the St. Valentine we celebrate was a priest who attracted the disapproval of Roman emperor Claudius II. However, after this initial point of agreement, the factual ends and myths have a tendency to intertwine. According to one legend, Claudius II had prohibited marriage for young men, claiming that bachelors made better soldiers. Valentine continued to secretly perform marriage ceremonies and was eventually apprehended and put to death. Bespoke Hotels has discovered another legend that Valentine, imprisoned by Claudius, fell in love with the daughter of his jailer. Before he was executed, he allegedly sent her a letter signed “from your Valentine.” However, the most plausible story surrounding St. Valentine is one centred on religious love, rather than passion, in which the unlucky Val was martyred for refusing to renounce his beliefs.

In 1969, the Catholic Church revised its liturgical calendar, removing the feast days of saints whose historical origins were questionable. St. Valentine was one of the casualties.

Chaucer’s Love Birds

Valentine's-day-offersBespoke Hotels’ investigations now move to the 14th century when this Christian feast day became definitively associated with love. According to the scholars, it was Chaucer who first linked St. Valentine’s Day with romance.

In 1381, Chaucer composed a poem in honour of the engagement between England’s Richard II and Anne of Bohemia. As was the poetic tradition, Chaucer associated the occasion with a feast day. In “The Parliament of Fowls,” the royal engagement, the mating season of birds, and St. Valentine’s Day are linked:

“For this was on St. Valentine’s Day,  When every fowl cometh there to choose his mate.”

Hardly the most romantic of images!

Tradition of Valentine’s Cards

Over the centuries, the holiday has evolved, and by the 18th century, gift-giving and exchanging hand-made cards on Valentine’s Day had become common in England. Hand-made valentine cards of lace and ribbons, featuring cupids and hearts eventually spread to the American colonies. The tradition of Valentine’s cards did not become widespread until the 1850s, when Esther A. Howland, an American national, began mass-producing them. Today, of course, the day has become a booming commercial success with around 25% of all cards sent each year being associated with Valentine’s Day.

Bespoke Hotels‘ Dinner and Overnight Stay Offers

Now this is a more modern tradition that has its roots in the 20th century. Restaurants and hotels use the evening and night to encourage love! Bespoke Hotels is no different, and all our hotels offer special Valentine’s menus and special room rates that have added features like Champagne, roses and chocolates for that special someone.  Check out your local hotel here to book dinner, or here for a great break.  But hurry it’s barely a week away!