Asia & South Pacific

Far-Flung Romance

written by | Posted on June 1st, 2009

The Asia-Pacific region seduces romancing couples who pant for a taste of the truly exotic.

Resorts in this region were designed with love in mind—palatial accommodations, white sand beaches, overwater bungalows and even castle-like settings once meant for a maharaja and his maharani.

A travel consultant, whose romancing clients want the most exciting and exotic bang for their traveling buck, can recommend with certain confidence a number of faraway hideaways that will delight clients with stunning spreads they might not be able to find closer to home.

taming the elephants in thailand For clients who want a taste of the wild while contributing to the welfare of the jungle and its inhabitants, Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle in Thailand provides a bonding memory that brings in the element of “never forgetting.”

The camp’s 15 inside/outside bungalows evoke the era of 19th century explorers but with amenities that range from wood-burning fireplaces, private terraces over the rainforest, outdoor showers and copper tubs for two, to jungle walks through the cliffside resort expanse, jungle-shrouded side-by-side spa treatments, and a swimming pool overlooking the river. But the camp offers something not found elsewhere—mahout lessons. The all-inclusive nature of this luxury camp extends to adopting an elephant and riding it, talking to it, feeding it and caring for it during the couple’s visit. Each elephant is a rescue elephant that was abandoned by loggers or farmers and left to wander the streets of Thailand’s cities with dim prospects for survival. A portion of each booking at the camp goes to an active elephant rescue foundation in Thailand.

“We get a lot of honeymooners here. It is a very romantic place. There is a lot of alone time as you are pretty isolated in this area at the border of Burma, Laos and Thailand with nothing but the sounds of birds and wildlife around you. But you are really not alone at all as you are out there exploring the jungle every day and forming a bond with the elephants,” says Maria Kuhn, spokesperson for Four Seasons properties in Thailand.

An all-inclusive 3- or 4-night package with all meals and (house) libations plus arranged activities, mahout training and elephant excursions, one 90-minute spa treatment per guest and roundtrip air transfers from Chiang Rai International Airport, starts at $1,994 per night plus tax and service fees through August.

For those clients who would prefer an island experience in Thailand, the Four Seasons Koh Samui has it all—the villa guestroom expanse, the white sand beaches, the exquisite resort grounds and the nearby towns for local wandering.

The property takes up a hillside so each villa comes with stunning views of the Gulf of Siam that can be enjoyed from a private patio furnished with a double day bed, a plunge pool and fountain, and a personal outdoor barista bar. A private dining cove on the beach set up with a sumptuous table in the shallow warm waters, a fire pit, candles in the sand and doting, albeit “invisible” wait staff, is a winner with romantics of all stripes (a day’s notice is needed to reserve and put into action).

A 3-night romance package starts at $1,118 per night and includes daily breakfast, a 3-hour Romance Spa session for two, private dinner on the beach, champagne, airport transfers and a keepsake photo album with disposable camera.

Or, recommend the East Meets West package that allows couples to marry in Thai tradition with a Buddhist ceremony blessed by monks. The package starts at $5,250 for three nights and includes daily breakfast, a 90-minute spa treatment for the bride and groom as well as manicures and pedicures for both parties; a blissful and blessed Buddhist ceremony; a romantic dinner in villa or private cove, a bottle of champagne and a rose petal path to the villa.

into the land of krishna India excites the senses with its diverse array of colors and scents, and sensual cultural traditions. The Taj Hotel chain is able to employ these elements for an attractive collection of exotically romantic moments. The recently restored Taj Lake Palace in Udaipur and the Umaid Bhawan Palace in Jodhpur might be the top choices for romance with an exotic flair. Both are authentic colonial-era palaces offering plenty of heady atmosphere to stoke the imagination.