Aaaahhh, Romance! Don’t we all need more romance in our lives? The word “romance” is one of my favorite words. Wikipedia defines it as “a feeling of excitement and mystery associated with love and remoteness from everyday life.” I think of it as a moment in time that you not only experience love with someone else, but you are creating it for yourself as well.
Because of my passion for travel, I found that my most magical moments of romance were when I planned and organized vacations for my husband John and I well in advance. But also, it was important to always allow yourself to be open to those times when a romantic opportunity appeared and it was spontaneous and occurred without planning. In other words, when you put yourself into feeling romantic even before your trip begins, you will automatically bring excitement into your travel experience!
John and I travel extensively as it a passion for both of us. I find that our travel experiences, as well as our memories, are more profound when I focused on romance in the trip planning. This can be achieved a variety of ways and should not just be limited to the obvious gestures of romance. For example, looking for a beautiful location, including ways to encounter nature, staying at a luxury hotel, having luxury dining experiences, and even adding some challenging adventures, all help to amplify the romance of a trip.
Be sure to make an agreement before you leave on your vacation, that your focus will be on each other. Leave the stress and to-do lists behind. Make it a goal that you both prioritize and place emphasis on each other!
I recently reflected on the top ten places where we experienced Always5Star romance. I was moved to share them with you that you might be inspired to create your own romantic vacations! My list is not prioritized by importance or the level of romance. Each were special in their own way!
With each destination on my list, I also offer the various elements/criteria that made these my top 10 romantic destinations. I have coded each destination with the following key to let you know what I experienced, and the criteria that added up to make them each a profound romantic travel experience.
D - Destination – The destination exemplified romance
C - Culinary – A special meal or meals that created an intimate moment
L - Luxury – An Always5Star luxury recommend – exceeds expectations!
W - Wine – Wines that we remembered and treasured as being special
S - Spa – Another Always5Star luxury recommend
A - Includes special adventure opportunities
I- Individual – Focusing on romance and creating a relaxing, rejuvenating experience
🌟 1. Africa
John is a true lover of nature and seeing the big animals in their unspoiled, natural environment. I decided to creat a vacation in Africa where he could embrace that desire and have such an experience. I arranged for several private safaris in which we were able to see all the animals that he had on his list. He in turn arranged for us to have several special meals which included a champagne toast (of course)! We had many life-altering moments.
This picture was taken in Vumbura Plains Resort in the Okavango Delta, Botswana. This resort has two seven-room groupings in a private animal reserve contained in over 150,000 acres. Talk about exclusive! The meals, safari drives, and private room made this such a romantic place it was really an Always5Star luxury trip.
🌟 2. Chiang Mai, Thailand
Seeing the lantern lighting festival in Chiang Mai was on my romantic bucket list for a while. What better experience can there be to travel to the luxury Four Seasons Chiang Mai resort to enjoy the Yi Peng and Loy Krathong Festival? I knew from past stays at the Four Seasons, that their concierge team would create an ultimate, romantic stay. This was especially important to me as we were celebrating a big anniversary.
The Four Seasons really delivered the most memorable and exciting experience. The evening started with a private dinner at the resorts Rice Barn (it was not a barn!). This included a superb five-course meal which we enjoyed at the resort’s rice paddies and lake. Candles were scattered everywhere as well as an abundance of flowers. Wine or champagne were paired with each course. Music softly played in the background as we enjoyed a perfect full moon rise right in front of our table.
At the end of our dinner, we were each given our own Krathong. We lit the candle and released it into the beautiful lake with a wish.
After dinner, our private driver whisked us off to the lantern lighting ceremony. When the lanterns were lit and released, I cried tears of joy. This was truly a remarkable and an ultimate, romantic moment!
Our private villa included several rooms, an infinity pool, and an outdoor shower. It was very Alway5Star luxury room and soooo romantic too!
🌟 3. Maldives
The Maldives is another favorite romantic destination that we had the good fortune to experience. The color of the water, the undisturbed nature, and the isolated location make this a very special and romantic place. I doubt you can go wrong with most of the resorts in the archipelago.
We booked a stay at the incredible Park Hyatt Hadahaa. We splurged for a couple of nights in the Over the Water Villas (which I highly recommend). They have a few of the villa’s that have a direct sunset view (others with a slight angle). This is not to be missed. We also tried the Romantic Evening package. This included your large soaking tub being drawn with candles, bubbling bath salts, appetizers and champagne served on your deck. All this, so you can appreciate the sunset before going in to enjoy the tub. With the full-length windows, the views were fantastic!
The resort is situated on a remote island paradise within North Huvadhoo. It offers a very private vacation experience that often feels like you are the only ones at the resort! A perfect romantic destination, especially for those of us who love the stunning turquoise water color, sand, beach, snorkeling/diving, and abundant reef life.
For more information about this extraordinary vacation: Park Hyatt Maldives Sunset Over the Water Villa
🌟 4. Santorini, Oia, Greece
I knew that Santorini would be a very romantic destination. Who doesn’t think of this island as a favorite for honeymooners and for those looking for a romantic escape? When I decided to create a special vacation for John and me, I wanted that quintessential feeling of romance. I had seen Instagram pictures of private plunge pools at resorts up on the cliffs.
I did a lot of research and found the perfect location for us. The Mystique Luxury Collection Hotel checked all the luxury boxes. An added benefit was the views that we were dreaming about.
Our room was ideally situated with a patio that offered a huge hot tub. We were able to enjoy wine and snacks as we gazed over the dramatic turquoise expanse of the Aegean Sea while high up the cliffs. The resort is nestled within the rugged caldera that makes up the islands. It is within walking distance to the main part of Oia, and yet sequestered enough that you feel a sense of privacy from tourists walking about. We went to the sushi restaurant for dinner which was quite romantic as well. It is a must! Be sure to make reservations for the best tables with views ahead of time. We opted for a sunset dinner and this made for a very special evening!
🌟 5. Sparkling Hills Resort
Sparkling Hills Resort Health and Wellness Retreat, Vernon, British Columbia Canada
This romantic vacation is all about having the ultimate in pampering, health, and relaxation. This beautifully designed resort literally sparkles because of the crystals from the famed Swarovski. The crystals are incorporated throughout the property. He participated in the architecture and interior design to ensure the resort had the look he envisioned. The resort literally glitters! The location itself is stunning and the rooms are laid out to maximize the amazing view of the lake. This is perfect for those romantic getaways.
The room itself is exquisite and you will be tempted to spend all your time relaxing and enjoying the beautiful soaking tub. Do not miss out on the European designed spa! With pools, spas, saunas, and other special features, it is a real treat. We booked several couple massages and threw ourselves into the entire experience. For more information read my post about our stay: Sparkling Hills Resort & Spa Is An Always5Star Amazing Romantic Destination!
One add-on to consider for this stay, that I highly recommend, is a helicopter wine tasting tour. You feel like a true rock star as you fly to the top wineries and arrive at each in Always5Star fashion! Cheers to this romantic undertaking!
🌟 6. Cairns, Great Barrier Reef, Australia
When I was designing our vacation to the Great Barrier Reef, I knew that this trip would check off another of John’s bucket list items. He was looking forward to snorkeling and experiencing the Great Barrier Reef. I, of course, wanted to infuse some romance in this moment as well. After lots of research, I created a vacation in Cairns including a helicopter ride to a private island in the middle of the Great Barrier Reef. The package included the helicopter flight, a nice picnic lunch with a bottle of champagne, towels, chairs, and a table. He also left us with snorkeling gear so that we could enjoy a few hours of snorkeling. This entire experience was magnificant and one that we will both remember and treasure for the rest of our lives.
🌟 7. Half Moon Bay, California
Half Moon Bay, California - Ritz Carlton
The Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay resort is in Northern California just 30 miles away from San Francisco. The beautiful, rugged coastline creates a fantastic romantic getaway. And when you add in a gorgeous luxury hotel, you have the perfect vacation for romance. The Ritz Carlton at Half Moon Bay is a beautiful and special property. John and I were celebrating an anniversary and wanted to add in a New Year’s Eve celebration. I decided this resort and location would more than meet our needs.
We reserved a room that had a view of the ocean as well as a firepit that overlooked the first-class golf course. We also upgraded to Club Lounge access, which is a private, dedicated lounge that offers complimentary culinary presentations throughout the day and evening as well as adult beverages. The resort also boasts a beautiful spa. Our romantic vacation included a dinner at their restaurant, spa treatments, use of their bikes to take rides along the amazing coastline path, drinks at sunset by their multiple fire pits, etc. Every evening a bagpiper strolls along the cliff's edge of the resort playing music as the sun sets. Wonderful!
The resort is a very special and enchanting place that doesn’t require you to do any additional planning. The location and luxury of the hotel in and of itself creates such romantic ambiance!
For more information about the Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay, click on the following links:
Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay Resort For Any Occasion
Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay Spa
Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay Activities
Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay Club Lounge Experience
🌟 8. Koh Samui, Thailand
As I mentioned previously, the Four Seasons resorts are idyllic for romance and are most often located within natural and beautiful surroundings. The Four Seasons in Koh Samui is in just such a place and delivers romantic bliss with its luxury and breathtaking views of the Gulf of Siam. The resort is surrounded by lush tropical greenery and is perched on a hillside so that all the room's views capture the beauty of the Gulfs gorgeous turquoise hues.
We booked a room with a private plunge pool as well as a soaking tub in the bathroom. The expansive windows offered great views of the ocean from the tub. It is easy to see why it is a popular destination for honeymooners. The room was designed to feel very private.
The resort offers several romance packages. We choose three packages - a private dining experience in our room, a rose petal and champagne set up for our tub, and a private dinner on the beach. The dinner was served in a private cove. Their chef prepared a custom menu for us. A personal butler lit candles and served the dinner creating such a romantic atmosphere. Soft music played in the background. This combined with waves gently lapping on the shore near the table was exquisite!
🌟 9. Costa Rica, Peace Lodge – La Paz
For those of you who enjoy nature and adventure while on a romantic vacation, Costa Rica offers this in abundance. We stayed at the Peace Lodge at the La Paz Waterfall gardens in a beautiful rain forest in the interior of the country. It is about a two-hour drive from the San Jose airport.
The property has fabulous trails to witness with several magnificent waterfalls. The rooms are somewhat Disneyland type rooms, but elegant. The room and bedding are luxurious; however, the décor is a bit kitschy. I loved it and found that it added fun to a romantic experience. The expansive bathroom with the large tub and separate shower was great. There was a jacuzzi tub located on our balcony as well. We booked several tours through the resort’s concierge.
We did 1,000 foot ziplines traveling over 70 miles per hour attached to 150 foot tall trees and across deep ravines. We repelled seven waterfalls and did several hikes that included a volcano. The grounds of the hotel are quite enchanting. The entire trip was a real romantic adventure!
🌟 10. Crete, Porto Elounda
The hotel Porto Elounda is a resort on the island of Crete in Greece. The private villas offer the feel of owning a part of this Greek island yourself. The villa has your own private access to the water and a small beach with chairs separate from other guests. The huge villa we stayed in had its own infinity pool and offered an amazing view of the sea. Contained within a larger hotel, you still have available all the restaurants, pools, and other amenities of the property. We took advantage of a cooking class at their sister Relais & Châteaux property nearby. With pools and restaurants having such incredible views, this is a very special and exciting resort for a romantic, relaxing and blissful week.
There are an endless number of glamorous destinations around the world. These are just a few of my favorites. I hope you are inspired to make your own Alwys5Star romantic trips. A little planning goes a long way. Think amour.... and you can’t go wrong! Cheers to your next Always5Star🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 romantic experience!
For creating special Always5Star romantic moments on your travels - Click on the following link to help kick-start some fun! Romance Is In The Bag!