View from balcony at Palazzo Avino in Ravello, Italy
Choosing the right hotel for a romantic getaway can make or break your love celebration.
In a labor of love, my husband and I reminisced to come up with our list of the 10 most romantic hotels we’ve found over our travel years. What better way to celebrate the summer of our 10-year anniversary.
Ignite your passionate side by booking one of these swoon-worthy stayovers.
Palazzo Avino in Ravello, Italy
Ravello is a charmer with its sunset-perfect views situated above the Amalfi Coast. The UNESCO World Heritage site gives you just enough sightseeing options, but not so many that you feel compelled to rush around to see them all.
Around town in Ravello
That’s a good thing considering you’ll be tempted to never leave the Palazzo Avino. The pink villa’s history dates back to the 12th century when a noble Italian family owned it. If those walls could talk, I have no doubt they’ll reveal many love stories that have unfolded in its arms.
Bar at the Palazzo Avino
Palazzo Avino is ideally located to take in the vista from your room or its one-star Michelin restaurant, Rossellinis. We loved dining on this restaurant’s terrace so much, we ate there twice during our four-night stay. Why mess with perfection?
Chateau Eza in Eze, France
The jasmine-scented and bougainvillea-lined narrow stone pathways of Eze are packed with tourists during the day. If you linger longer, its true beauty blooms as this hilltop town along the Cote d'Azur transforms into a seriously romantic place.
The hardest decision you’ll make when booking your stay at Chateau Eza is from which of the 14 rooms and suites to choose in this 400-year-old former residence of a Swedish prince.
Book dinner at its restaurant and ask for a seat on the balcony overlooking the Mediterranean Sea and nearby Saint Jean Cap Ferrat.
In addition to your own fireworks, don’t be surprised if you witness the real thing during your dining experience. It seems everyone has a reason to celebrate when visiting the French Riviera.
Villa Gallici in Aix-en-Provence, France
As you walk into Villa Gallici, you realize you are smack dab in the center of Provence. Lavender wafts in the air, flowers bouquets spill out of fountains and every square-inch of the place is cheerfully and lushly appointed.
Our room at Villa Gallici
You feel as if you’ve walked into a spectacular villa off the beaten path, yet you’re close enough to allow for romantic walks into the town of Aix-en-Provence. Dine along the town’s grand tree-lined Cours Mirabeau boulevard, but also carve out time for a romantic dinner at Villa Gallici. Whether you decide to dine on the candlelit outdoor terrace or in its living-room-feel restaurant, soak in the Provencal life.
During the day, there are plenty of markets to frequent and nearby towns to explore. Be sure your car rental is equipped with a GPS, so you don’t lose that loving feeling debating directions.
Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle in Chiang Rai, Thailand
I love the memories of my camping youth, but I’ve grown to appreciate a good night’s sleep in a comfy bed. In true glamping style, the Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle pulls on my inner-camper heartstrings, while catering to my desire for more luxurious accommodations. Just a few of the romantic features of our tent included a freestanding tub in the center of the tent, outdoor shower and Jacuzzi-equipped balcony.
Did I mention the elephants? This all-inclusive experience includes morning feedings with these lovely creatures, elephant riding experiences, open-air massages overlooking the jungle and excursions into the surrounding areas including a Myanmar border town.
Vumbura Plains Camp in Okavango Delta, Bostwana
You’ll sing to a different tune after experiencing the music of the night at Vumbura Plains Camp. As the sun melts into the horizon, tiny tree frogs serenade with their tinny croaks throughout the night at this safari lodge. Combine that with the grunts of hippos wading through nearby waters and the occasional lion roar and you’ve got plenty of reasons to cuddle tight.
Other fun experiences included enjoying a traditional boma dinner under the stars followed by dances through fire. Now that’s a little too hot for this couple to handle, but the locals performed it beautifully – and quickly.
More our speed was chilling in a mokoro boat and taking in the scenery at water level. There’s nothing better than bonding over amazing animal sightings. As we skimmed the water in our mokoro boat one afternoon, an elephant walked across our path. Simply awesome.
Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur, California
We finally made it to Post Ranch Inn a year ago. The minimalistic style of this retreat built to blend into a woodsy area off of the Pacific Coast Highway instantly appealed to us. While luxurious, it puts front and center to your experience the beautiful coastal view and surroundings.
Our room offered a dizzying overlook to the Pacific Ocean. It almost felt as if we could drop directly into the ocean from our balcony view.
And, oh, those starry nights. They’ll be remembered as some of our most vivid Milky Way sightings.
Jenny Lake Lodge in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
You can be as adventurous or lazy as you like at Jenny Lake Lodge. A scattering of historic cabins with modern amenities perfectly blend new and old.
Our favorite vacations include a little work and reward. Jenny Lake Lodge gets your days started with hearty gourmet breakfasts and ends them with amazing five-course dinners. What you do in-between is up to you.
All you have to do is walk out your door for horseback riding, bicycling or hiking from one of many nearby trailheads.
Inn at Little Washington in Washington, Virginia
If your idea of romance revolves around food, the Inn at Little Washington offers the perfect setting.
Every nook and cranny oozes romance – and that just covers the inn and its grounds.
Our room paid homage to Julia Child with a cozy French feel.
A short stroll through this romantic town surveyed by George Washington himself is the perfect warm-up to the main event, a multicourse dinner by Patrick O’Connell.
This place is all about the details, from the welcome cocktails and afternoon tea to the chef-inspired rooms and expertly structured six-course tasting menu.
Leave some extra packing space because you won’t leave empty-handed. They’ll give you plenty of treats by which to remember your experience.
Inside this house are tasty sweets by which to remember our visit. To mark the occasion, our hostess pinned a boutonniere on my husband before dinner. Nice touch.
La Casa Que Canta in Zihuatanejo, Mexico
Seclusion wrapped in sea breezes awaits you at La Casa Que Canta. This hotel built into the cliff overlooking the Zihuatanejo Bay offers multiple levels from which to find a lounger and bask in the sun.
Grab a margarita and watch the sun dip below the ocean’s horizon from the hotel’s infinity-edge pool. Dine al fresco and witness the twinkling lights of the town emerge at night. Hang out on your private balcony, many of which include plunge pools. Or walk into town to explore the fisherman’s village. It all adds up to romance by the sea.
One&Only Palmilla in Los Cabos, Mexico
Last but not least, One&Only Palmilla has been our spot to celebrate Valentine’s Day for the past eight years. It’s the only place we have made it a point to return to every year since our first stay.
From the staff’s hand-over-heart greeting and complimentary poolside foot massages to the conch shell calls to alert guests to whale crossings, there’s nothing better for an annual romance checkup than a visit to the One&Only Palmilla.
What are your favorite romantic hotels?