Luton Hoo Hotel Golf And Spa – near Luton, Bedforshire
Majestic country house lovingly restored with the main building housing a number of grand bedrooms as well the remarkable Wernher restaurant, inspired by the Hall of Mirrors in the Palace at Versailles. A golf course (18 hole) and spa in the grounds make it a perfect retreat.
All the suites and rooms in the main building reflect the long and colourful history – Winston Churchill and Queen Elizabeth are just some of the visitors who have passed through the imposing entrance hall of the house which stands on the site of a 17th century manor.
Bedrooms in the modern Parkland Wing are contemporary but simpler – this is reflected in the price difference – and the Flower Garden rooms – also modern – are ideally situated for using the spa which is a short walk (or buggy ride) from the main building.
These rooms might more easily suit guests wheelchair users or guests with a mobility impairment although there is a lift in the main house
The small spa has a good sized, light and airy indoor pool and the upstairs treatment rooms are little havens of calm. Head therapist Becky is a skilled and considerate masseuse.
Dinner starts with drinks and nibbles in the salon (beware the squashy sofas – they are deep and hard to climb out of) but the real wow factor is provided by food wizards working under Executive Head Chef Kevin Clark at the Wernher where dinner arrives under huge silver domes. The food and service match the stunning décor – the AA gave it 2 Rosettes – and the wine list ranges from the affordable to the ridiculous.
The hotel also deserves brownie (or greenie) points for a genuine commitment to sustainability and offering little touches such as late check outs – subject to availability – at no extra charge.
If you have to share the love with the younger members of the family (children under 14 stay free) there are travel cots, high chairs and milk and cookies in the room as well as complimentary DVDs and scooters or cycles – not to mention the all important baby sitting service…..
By Elizabeth Mistry
Castle Venlaw – near Peebles, Scottish Borders
Castle Venlaw epitomises the elegance and romance of a Georgian country house hotel, with its spiralling towers, four poster beds and open fireplaces.
The Glenturret Suite nestled in the Castle’s turret, is the essence of opulence, with a super king four poster bed, double bath, heated floor tiles, fibre optic lighting, music system, bath robes and your personal Champagne cooler.
The Library Bar with its open log fires and generous selection of malt whiskies, is an enchanting place to relax and unwind before a sumptuous meal in the award winning ‘Le Cépage’ restaurant. Enjoy the very best locally sourced Scottish produce, complimented with expertly chosen fine wines and champagnes.
And for those more adventurous couples – take a day trip down to the famous Glentress Mountain biking school for private tuition followed by an afternoon exploring the Scottish Borders.
Castle Venlaw has it all… superb food, beautiful surroundings, history and heritage, a hidden gem where romance always blossoms!
By: James Walter
Crazy Bear – Beaconsfield, UK
One of the most outrageous hostelries you are ever likely to come across. If you can’t have a completely debauched romantic night here, you’re probably not human.
Drive down Beaconsfield High Street and you’re not likely to find the Crazy Bear – although it’s there on the high street, right by the town’s biggest roundabout… It is as discreet outside as it is indiscreet inside. Two restaurants (one English, one Thai) serve excellent food at pretty reasonable prices in what can only be described as dining rooms akin to those on a Sheik’s Mega Yacht. The bar area has more Crystal and gilt than your average posh lighting shop and their range of drinks is extensive.
What really sets the Crazy Bear apart, however, are its bedrooms. Sexy is an understatement and Sumptuous does not do them justice. The signature point of each room is a free standing copper bathtub in the middle of the bedroom which fills…..from the ceiling. Add in huge flat screen TVs, large walk-in showers in most rooms, big chairs and sofas to relax in and, in several rooms, the chance to watch yourself falling asleep in bed (although not all of the rooms have mirrored ceilings..) and you have what is likely to be an overnight stay to remember….
By: Simon Maurice
Hanbury Manor Hotel Country Club – Ware, UK
If you don’t fall in love with each other, you’ll fall in love with the place. This Jacobean manor house, set in 200 acres of Hertfordshire parkland is built for romance.
Long known as London’s original country retreat, it’s full of airy, roomy suites with endless views and massive beds with Egyptian cotton pillows. Throughout March, a Romantic Escape promotion features Champagne on ice for each couple, who’ll find chocolate trulles in their room, bouquets and even a rose on the bed when they return to their room every night.
There’s an oak-panelled cocktail bar and a formal restaurant with two AA rosettes to its name. But it’s outside in the grounds where love is in the air: among the floral walled gardens and secret hidey-holes waiting to be discovered.
And if your man decides he really can’t resist just one round on the 18-hole championship golf course, there’s always the spa, complete with Romanesque pool and more than 100 beauty treatments to choose from. Now, isn’t that irresistible?
By: Richard Burton
The Hundred House – Norton, nr Ironbridge, Shropshire
Family run Inn, with excellent food and “unusual” room features…. Set in the Shropshire countryside just far enough from Telford and Wolverhampton to be peaceful, but still not hard to reach, the Hundred House is an excellent gastro pub/small country hotel. The Phillips family make sure that you are well catered for in every respect and a great night in the restaurant should be topped off with staying the night in one of their quaint and in most cases, extra-ordinary bedrooms. To say that this Inn caters for swingers is quite literally the case, as most of the superior bedrooms feature four poster or half tester beds and swings that are firmly fixed to the ceiling..
Don’t mistake this for some kind of weirdos hang out, everything about the Hundred House is tasteful and the extra “furniture” in the bedrooms, is great to relax on or, alternatively, might just rekindle the romantic in you.
The Hundred House also offers a great base from which to explore the Shropshire and the Black Country.
By: Simon Maurice
The Shelbourne Hotel – Dublin
In days gone by carriages would draw up in front of this imposing Jacobean mansion and liveried staff would greet wealthy guests with parasols. Not much has changed since it was built in 1824, although it has undergone a fabulous restoration and is one of THE places to be seen in this thriving and most romantic of cities.
Take a stroll across the road and you’re in St Stephen’s Green, arguably Europe ’s grandest garden square. A few yards to the right and you’re in the bustle Temple Bar with its throng of street entertainers and pubs.
Back at the hotel, you can mingle with the odd celebrity in the trendy Horseshoe Bar or enjoy one of the best meals I have tasted in quite some time in the Saddle Room. Ask for one of the booths and enjoy the intrigue on people’s faces as they pass you by.
By: Richard Burton
Malmaison’s converted prison – Oxford
It would be a crime to have never been an inmate at this converted Victorian prison. Located in the heart of the newly re-developed Oxford castle, you enter this quirky boutique hotel through the original studded doors where the atrium still has the wrought ironwork stairs and three-inch steel doors.
There are 94 deluxe cells and suites located in various wings and rooms are lushly furnished with huge plump beds, moody lighting, sumptuous drapes, heavenly bathroom goodies, delicious wine and naughty nibbles that all make for a totally hedonistic stay worth locking yourself away for.
The private champagne bar on the first floor is ideal for pre-dinner drinks before dining at the swanky, gastronomic and highly atmospheric restaurant in its basement.
Your bedroom may still have its original steel bars and the oak door may still have its original peep hole looking glass but doesn’t that just add to the excitement?
By: Sharron Livingston
Ettington Park Hotel – Alderminster, near Stratford-upon-Avon
Ettington Park Hotel is set in 40 acres of beautiful parkland in the peaceful Warwickshire countryside, just 5 miles from Shakespeare’s birthplace, Stratford-upon-Avon .
The spectacular Neo-Gothic mansion has a conjoining 19th century Chapel and is the ideal location for a cosy romantic break, furnished with exquisite antiques, fine paintings, and dozens of friezes that trace its centuries of tradition and heritage.
Snuggle up by a roaring log fire, meander along the river Stour which runs through the hotel, or refresh in the new indoor swimming pool, sauna or steam room.
For a magical romantic evening, share decadent regional delights such as pan seared king scallops and loin of Wiltshire venison in the hotel’s superb restaurant, The Oak Room; venture into Stratford to visit Shakespeare’s houses; take a romantic stroll along the banks of the river Avon or relive a tale of star-crossed lovers at the renowned Royal Shakespeare Company Theatre.
By: Katy Rouse
Rhinefield House Hotel – The New Forest, Hampshire
Set deep in 40 acres of luscious greenery in the New Forest National Park , Rhinefield House Hotel is an ideal location for an exciting romantic getaway.
Known by the locals as the ‘Jewel in the Forest ‘, the 19th Century country mansion is the ideal base for romantic walks or bike rides through The New Forest’s adventurous trails, including the stunning Tall Trees Trail, to feast their eyes on breathtaking views, blossoming wildlife, and wild deer roaming under canopies of oak and beech.
After a long day of adventure, relax in the hotel’s exclusive health club and indoor pool, and dine in the two AA Rosette Award winning Restaurant, The Armada. This stunning oak restaurant offers a selection of locally sourced gourmet food in an atmosphere of relaxed decadence and serves specialties such as twice baked cheese soufflé, warm salad of pigeon and a delicious Chateaubriand.
For an after-dinner tipple, couples can retire to beautifully adorned smoking room, The Alhambra Room, an exact copy of the Alhambra Palace in Granada, Spain, recreated at Rhinefield by Mabel Walker-Munro as a Christmas present for her husband following their honeymoon.
By: Katy Rouse
Coombe House Hotel – Gittisham, Devon
Well away from the main roads, surrounded by rolling parkland and pheasant-filled woods this glorious old house – parts of which date back to the 15th century – is the ultimate romantic hideaway.
Each room is different – choose from traditional or contemporary – with many still boasting the hand painted frescoes by the house’s previous owners.
The piece de resistance is the wonderful Linen Suite, a sprawling one-bedroom haven with its own sitting room complete with state of the art entertainment system, your own private courtyard and an enormous handmade circular copper bath.
But if the thought of filling the gigantic tub seems a little over indulgent, your bath butler will draw up a cosy, candlelit tub in the original Victorian bath – conveniently located just outside your own private entrance.
Foodies will be tempted by the local game – the venison is delicious – and the eclectic wine list.
By: Elizabeth Mistry
The Penthouse @ The Chambers – Leeds
Seriously sexy urban chic, this gorgeous top floor pad proves that you don’t have to head for the hills to find romance!
Enjoy the glorious panoramic views of the city skyline from your bedroom or from the hot tub on the vast wooden deck. A fully-fitted kitchen means you could cook up a special meal for your honey – or arrange to bring in a bespoke caterer to do it for you.
Lovers with eyes for each other probably won’t need the flat screen TV in the bathroom (or the huge one in the lounge) but the second room might come in handy for keeping those special purchases. Leeds is choc-full of fantastic independent designers and there is nowhere nicer to treat your loved one than Rose and Co, just around the corner from the Victorian Quarter.
Staying here brings an added glow as The Chambers aims to show luxury can also be responsible by working with local businesses as much as possible.
By: Elizabeth Mistry
Titchwell Manor Hotel – near Brancaster, North Norfolk coast
Romance is in the air at Titchwell Manor Hotel, near Brancaster, North Norfolk you can dine by candlelit in the two AA rosette Conservatory Restaurant where head chef Eric Snaith has created a special menu with tastes and textures sure to put you in the mood for love.
For a special treat book a seaview room or the Potting Shed, an individually designed wooden house with views into the garden, in-room slipper bath and remote-controlled stove. Romantic extras include fresh flowers, handmade chocolates, chilled champagne and breakfast served in your room with a late check-out.
If you and your loved one want some fresh air, take a walk along one of the nearby sandy beaches, so wide and so few people that it can feel as though you have the beach to yourself. Or visit the nearby RSPB Titchwell Marsh nature reserve and see which birds you can spot.
By: Pat Edgar
Lumley Castle Hotel – County Durham
With over 600 years of history steeped in chivalry and honour, this 73 bedroom castle may be just the place to take your prince or princess for a right royal romance. Enjoy four poster beds surrounded by beautiful parklands and overlooking the River Wear and Durham County Cricket Club ground.
For the chance to really feel like the king of the castle, there’s the exclusive King James Suite featuring a magnificent 20ft high four-poster Queen Anne bed, private reception room and whirlpool bath.
Lumley Castle’s elegant Black Knight restaurant offers classical dishes with an original twist, and diners can choose from the Table d’Hôte or the A la Carte menu. For a real taste of history the hotel also regularly hosts traditional Elizabethan banquets on weekends.
Packages on offer at Lumley Castle Hotel include Murder Mystery weekends, romance breaks with champagne and chocolates, the Knights of Lumley which includes discount on future stays and special rates on Sundays.
By: Claire Buchan
Fishmore Hall – Ludlow, Shropshire
Nestled within the stunning Shropshire countryside, with stunning views stretching out of each of the 15 bedroom windows, is this opulent hotel.
Couples can indulge in bed and breakfast in an executive or luxury room, and a 7-course tasting menu on Saturday night with matching wines. There’ll be pink Champagne to greet you in your room, rose petals for a romantic bath, and some special chocolates to spoil you rotten.
By: Sophie Rogers
The Black Swan Hotel – North Yorkshire
Nestling in the picturesque market town of Helmsley on the edge of the North Yorkshire Moors National Park, the beautiful Black Swan Hotel has been a place of escape since the 15th century. Over the years its traditional Elizabethan, Georgian and Tudor architecture and interior luxury has captured the hearts of guests like John and Caroline Kennedy, the children of JFK and Jackie Onassis, who stayed here regularly during the 1960s. Today the Black Swan offers a choice of 45 beautifully furnished bedrooms, all of which are named after local dales.
Dine at is AA rosette Rutland Restaurant brought to you by award winning Chef Andrew Burton and his team or take time out for tea in its tearoom recently chosen to become a member of TheTea Guild alongside other elite hotels including the Ritz, The Four Seasons, Claridges and The Dorchester.
Sheen Falls Lodge – Co. Kerry, Ireland
Romance is in the air at Sheen Falls Lodge with the sound of the falls tumbling over the scattered sandstone boulders, the roaring log fires and the ‘curl up and sigh’ sofas.
Set in 300 acres of fairytale woodland with cascading waterfalls a backdrop of purple heathered mountains and views over the ever changing Bay of Kenmare this 5* country house hotel boasts a location of unrivalled and spectacular beauty.
By: Jo Murphy
I Casali di Monticchio – Umbria, Italy
The birth place of Casanova , Italy has long been associated with love and passion – and so where better than here to celebrate your love! Located in the never ending rolling hills of north Umbria near Orvieto you will find I Casali di Monticchio, where four beautiful farmhouses have been converted into a stunning 12-room country hideaway.
This romantic retreat includes two nights accommodation with daily breakfast, a bottle of champagne, a relaxing massage for two in front of the fire and a romantic candle-lit dinner with a bottle of Italian Prosecco.
Be sure to whisper sweet nothings into the night and watch the amazing sunrise over the Umbrian hills.
By: Anna Rajah
Hotel Gritti Palace – Venice, Italy
The Gritti, a splendid 16th century palace overlooking the Grand Canal, is renowned and illustrious and once the home of Doge Andrea Gritti. It has the elegance of an age gone by, pure luxury and the view from its terrace and front facing rooms is the most famous of Venice. Frequented by VIPs and celebrities, it is perfect for enjoying a Bellini cocktail (invented and immortalised by the owner of Harry’s Bar) on the terrace, or enjoy that extra special dinner. The rooms, 80 double, and 9 suites, are all gloriously furnished.
By: Jane Seddon, veniceevents.com
Ca Sagredo Palace Hotel – Venice, Italy
This palace typifies the perfect Venetian hotel, with its exceptional decoration, style and quality. It’s a 15th century building where history intertwines with the destiny of the city itself. It has the most amazing staircase with fabulous frescoes. For top romance, you have to stay in one of the suites with the Grand Canal view.The suites have original decors and paintings from the most well known Venetian artists and all express the magnificence, eclecticism and style of the Republic of Venice as it was. When you enter the Music Ballroom, you will be astounded at the décor and it truly shows the Segredos family were great lovers of the arts. Request the Library suite, yes its like sleeping in a library, but so so sumptuous!
By: Jane Seddon, veniceevents.com
InterContinental Aphrodite Hills Resort Hotel – Paphos, Cyprus
Fall in love with Aphrodite, Goddess of Love. Lovers looking for the ultimate romantic getaway should consider the InterContinental Aphrodite Hills Resort Hotel in Paphos , Cyprus – the birthplace of the ‘goddess of love’. Located on two plateaux which are divided by a dramatic ravines the InterContinental Aphrodite Hills Resort Hotel overlooks the exact spot where Aphrodite is said to have emerged from the sea. Legend has it that if you swim around Aphrodite’s Rock with a partner you will have everlasting love….
Pangkor Laut Island Resort – West Coast of Peninsular Malaysia
Away from the madding crowd, this exclusive tropical island paradise will make you mad for each other. This perfect setting for a romantic interlude is spirited away in a 300-acre private-owned island cloaked in a verdant rainforest with dramatic coastline punctuated by sandy bays lapped by the emerald green waters of the Straits of Malacca. Elegant villas dotted along the beach among lush garden bursting with blooms, others are nestled among the forested hillside while the sea and spa villas are perched on stilts over the sea. The award-winning Spa Village offers special spa treatment for couples to experience the ‘King and Queen’ royal massages and pampering. Hidden in a secluded sandy bay are nine exclusive estates with chic villas each with a private pool and comes with a chef, butler and a maid to cater for your every whim. Each villa on the resort is stylishly designed to blend with the palette of nature and the island is vibrant with the sound and sight of hornbills, eagles, peacocks, monkeys and other wildlife. The five gourmet restaurants serve one of the best cuisines in the region. A romantic dinner and sunset drink by the infinity pool will definitely kindle the romance.
By: Helen Oon
Tanjong Jara Resort Tropical Beach Resort – Terengganu, East Coast of Peninsular Malaysia
Love is in the air in this tranquil romantic resort nestled along an endless stretch of pine-fringed golden sand caressed by the South China Sea. The 99-room resort is crafted in a traditional style to reflect the splendour and grandeur of 17th century Malay palaces and has won it the much acclaimed Aga Khan Award for Architecture. It is a complex of elegant chalets and buildings constructed in local timber and furnished in rich fabrics, each room commanding a view of the sea. Set in a beautifully landscaped garden of exotic tropical plants and coconut palms fringed by the beach, the resort is designed to work in harmony with the landscape, capturing the stunning vista of the magnificent golden sand right at the doorstep of the chalets with a huge infinity pool rising above the beach. The award-winning Spa Village offers traditional Malay spa therapies with special programmes of “Princess and Warrior” spa treatment for couples. The Anjung rooms are ideal for couples with their romantic outdoor baths for two to sip champagne while luxuriating in a warm bath under the star with the song of the waves echoing in the air.
By: Helen Oon
Spa Village Resort – Tembo, Northeast Bali
The secluded location in northeast Bali away from the hustle and bustle of the over -touristy southern Bali makes this the perfect romantic getaway for couples and honeymooners to light the fire of romance. An adult only resort (children under 16 are not permitted), this serene boutique hotel is dedicated to spa treatments and relaxing activities to entirely detoxify the mind, body and spirit. An enchanting avenue lined with bamboo groves leads to a beautifully landscaped compound verdant with coconut palms, mango trees and fragrant frangipanis that permeate the air with their intoxicating scent. A cluster of 27 chalets, 2 suites and 2 villas with plunge pools make up the accommodation. An infinity pool with Balinese gazebos is set right by the sea fringed by a black volcanic beach. Four Balinese shrines grace the ground conjuring an air of spiritualism and mysticism of Bali. Candle-lit dinner by the pool or by the beach sets the mood for romance while the unique ‘star-gazing’ meditation experience of relaxing on a rubber mattress floating on the pool gazing at the stars at night is the ultimate romantic moment for couples. The Balinese ‘bride and groom’ spa treatment for couples is the best way to share an intimate rejuvenating spa experience.
By: Helen Oon
Windjammer Landing Villa Beach Resort – Castries, St Lucia
Your relationship can’t fail to heat up at this idyllic Caribbean resort. The white sand beaches of St Lucia are the perfect setting for love and Windjammer Landing offers couples pure romantic luxury.
The resort’s brand new Anthurium Lily suites boast four poster beds, decadent Caribbean décor and sun drenched private terraces. The luxury Dragonfly restaurant serves up authentic St Lucian food alongside spectacular views of the sea, making it perfect for a candlelit dinner for two.
Surprise your man with a diving lesson or a helicopter trip over the tropical rainforest or visit the on-site Serenity Spa for a full body his and hers Swedish massage and a glass of champagne in the Jacuzzi. In the evening, sail away on a sunset cruise for two and watch night fall over the Caribbean.
If things go really well, why not plan a romantic wedding on the beach to make your stay the holiday of a lifetime?