Category Archives: valentine’s day

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.