It’s not just about sending your clients off to a beach resort and calling it a day. As a travel advisor, you need to create memorable travel experiences for couples—whether it’s their first romantic getaway or their umpteenth one. As Laura Frazier, travel agent and founder of Bliss Honeymoons, says, “Couples today are looking for privacy and unique rather than touristy experiences. We’re finding more couples want to get out and experience local cuisine,
cooking classes and more.”
The Charleston Area CVB, for example, offers a 12 Hours of Romance, Relaxation & Resplendence itinerary that begins with a culinary class with Charleston Cooks! where couples learn what it takes to whip up tasty Southern cuisine. There’s also a private carriage tour with Palmetto Carriage Works that passes by historic landmarks, as well as a couples’ massage at the Amethyst Spa at The Restoration hotel. The day tops off with a wine tasting at Mira Winery, and a candlelit dinner at Peninsula Grill. Best part is couples can do as much or as little from the aforementioned as they’d like while exploring the city, which, says Dan Blumenstock, chairman of the Charleston Area Convention & Visitors Bureau and director of hotel operations for Fennell Holdings, is “home
to nationally recognized restaurants, cobblestone streets, and a romantic atmosphere; it’s a beguiling, one-of-a-kind destination for couples.”
Where to Stay: Planters Inn, a Relais & Chateaux property, offers Love in the Heart of Charleston’s Historic District that comes with chilled Champagne; a private carriage tour around town; breakfast for two; and a plush teddy bear souvenir. Package rates start at $481.50 on weekdays; $571.50 on weekends.
“What could be more romantic than a city by the sea, with rolling hills and gentle fog tumbling over the Golden Gate Bridge…. Than elegant Michelin-starred restaurants and intimate neighborhood cafes…. Than world-class museums, symphony, opera and ballet, plus made-you-think theater and dance companies? San Francisco is all of that and more,” says Tom Kiely, San Francisco Travel’s executive v.p. of tourism. “Clients looking for a romantic getaway will love the agent that books them to San Francisco.”
For a truly unique option, recommend a pairing of chocolate and wine with Recchiuti Confections, which collaborates with local winery Dogpatch WineWorks to offer guests a chocolate and wine flight or pairing menu served at WineWorks’ intimate tasting room.
Where to Stay: Tops is the InterContinental Mark Hopkins San Francisco, located in the popular Nob Hill neighborhood and home to the Top of the Mark lounge with 360-degree views of San Francisco—a perfect spot for on-property romantic dinners. The lounge offers guests various romantic packages including the It Looks Like Love package ($100 per couple) featuring a table with a view, martinis and a plate of tuxedo strawberries. For hotel stays, recommend the Leisure Escape ($299 per night) with accommodations, cocktails at the Top of the Mark, breakfast at Nob Hill Club, valet parking, and a 2 p.m. late check-out.
For clients who want to add a Napa Valley stay, suggest The Meritage Resort and Spa. It’s home to the country’s only spa in a wine cave—the Spa Terra at The Meritage Resort; the cave also houses the Trinitas Cellars Tasting Room. This 322-guestroom/9-suite property offers A Tale of Two Valleys package (for a minimum 2-night stay starting at $339 per night) that includes tastings at Napa’s Foley Johnson and Sonoma’s Sebastiani, plus a $100 resort credit and a souvenir.
“Miami arouses the senses, with its warm, sultry breezes, white sandy beaches, fragrant tropical flowers and gently swaying palm trees,” says William D. Talbert III, president and CEO of the Greater Miami CVB. “Fueling the fire are our dreamy hotels, delectable restaurants, stimulating culture, and steamy nightlife—all presided over by a golden tropical sun and the famous moon over Miami. For the ultimate in seclusion, try the Miami entrances of the Everglades, where couples can opt to hike or bike into the heart of the park and stay for a spectacular sunset over this subtropical wilderness. Whether you’re newly enamored lovebirds or long-term partners, Greater Miami and the Beaches inspires couples to escape their routines and reignite their passion.”
For some “only in Miami” activities recommend a picnic at Crandon Park in Key Biscayne; nature hikes and butterfly walks at The Deering Estate at Cutler; moonlight tours of stunning Vizcaya; a visit to the lush Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden; a hot air balloon ride; and a visit to Coral Castle, built in the 1940s as a declaration of love.
Where to Stay: When it comes to beach stays, not just any room with an ocean view will do. That’s where the luxurious Fisher Island Club hotel, only accessible via yacht or private 24-hour passenger vehicle ferry service, departing from Terminal Road just off Miami Beach’s MacArthur Causeway, steps in. This Leading Hotels of the World property features a private beach, a championship golf course, tennis courts, two deep-water marinas, dining venues, a spa and an aviary. The property’s Romantic Retreat package ($2,350 for a 2-night stay) starts with breakfast in bed followed by time to relax in a private cabana at the resort’s exclusive Beach Club coupled with lunch for two. After lunch, there’s a couples’ massage at the Spa Internazionale, and the day ends with an alfresco dining experience with views of the city’s skyline.
The city known for bead throwing and Mardi Gras has more to offer than a week of partying. New Orleans is also recognized as one of the most romantic cities in the world, and to help your clients get in touch with their amorous side, the New Orleans CVB has compiled a list of activities to help ignite the romance flame. This list includes breakfast at Cafe Amelie; visiting various art galleries on Royal Street; a carriage ride through the French Quarter; cocktails at Arnaud’s French 75 Bar; and a late night jazz show at the Irvin Mayfield’s Jazz Playhouse followed by dessert at Cafe du Monde. Or, suggest a stroll in Crescent Park, a bike ride through the Faubourg Marigny and Bywater neighborhoods, a swing dance class, or a ride on the St. Charles Streetcar.
Where to Stay: For a romantic getaway that won’t soon be forgotten, the Windsor Court Hotel New Orleans offers a Royal Stay package, priced at $119,236 for a 3-night stay, that includes accommodations in the Presidential Penthouse Suite; afternoon Royal Tea in Le Salon; a tasting dinner in The Grill Room with wine pairings by an onsite sommelier, plus a $90,000 dessert; a 4-hour private day at the spa; a private tour of the Windsor Court Art Collection; a private tour of M.S. Rau Antiques with a Champagne lunch; drinks at the Cocktail Bar; daily breakfast in The Grill Room or in-suite, and a welcome amenity.
Charleston Area CVB: charlestoncvb.com
Greater Miami CVB: miamiandbeaches.com
InterContinental Mark Hopkins San Francisco: intercontinentalmarkhopkins.com
Fisher Island Club: fisherislandclub.com
The Meritage Resort and Spa: meritagecollection.com/meritageresort
New Orleans CVB: neworleanscvb.com
Planters Inn: plantersinn.com
San Francisco Travel Association: sanfrancisco.travel
Windsor Court Hotel New Orleans: windsorcourthotel.com