Romantic Retreats

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Funky Accommodations at The Attwater in Newport, Rhode Island
Funky Accommodations at The Attwater in Newport, Rhode Island

Asia is alluring, Europe is naturally romantic and Africa is so very tempting, but for newlyweds who don’t want to travel far and wide, we’ve got five dreamy honeymooning spots right in our backyard.

epicurean, florida

This newly opened, 137-room boutique hotel located in South Tampa, in Florida, is made for couples who want to cook up a steamy romance in the kitchen, so to speak. As its name implies, the Epicurean, which is part of Marriott’s Autograph Collection, is paradise for food and wine lovers featuring rooms that reflect the area’s culinary heritage and unique nature, with butcher-block-style cabinetry and reclaimed wood bathroom doors designed by local craftsmen. There’s also an in-room personal artisan pantry stocked with premium liquors, locally crafted beers, Perrier, a selection of San Pellegrino and a diverse selection of 5 1/2 bottle varietals with suggested pantry pairings such as prosciutto, chocolate and sea salt caramels and chevre (goat cheese). And what’s a true culinary hideaway without a few cooking classes? At the Epicurean, newlyweds can cozy up to each other during a cooking class as they learn the fine art of Thai or Italian cuisine, learn how to pair artisan cheese with local craft beers, and delve deep into the goodness of chocolate with a Chocolate 101 class. Tasty morsels are also found at the onsite Elevage Restaurant, which “reexamines classic cuisine from around the world and elevates it with a modern twist.” Here, honeymooners can share items such as lobster & bacon hash, a “Duck, Duck, Goose” foie gras burger, and tuna casserole with trofie pasta and shimeji mushrooms, and then they can swing by Chocolate Pi for handcrafted sweets. Complementing this feast for the palate is Evangeline, “a Delectable Spa,” which offers treatments such as the Honey & Wine Wrap and Tres Leches Hydration Facial. And when couples step outside these charming walls—or hop on one of the hotel’s bikes that are available for rent—they’ll be greeted with the picturesque waterfront of Bayshore Boulevard just down the road, as well as high-end boutiques, and top-rated restaurants, bars and nightclubs. Recommend the 700-sq.-ft. Balcony Suite with a wet bar area, soaking tub and private balcony. Call for rates.

the attwater, rhode island

Charming doesn’t even begin to describe the cozy and hip 17-room Attwater boutique hotel that ups the fabulous-o-meter with a design-driven concept featuring bold colors and fabrics, drift wood walls, modern furnishings and eclectic accents, all evoking the “form and function of a boat.” This Newport darling made it to the 2013 Conde Nast Traveler’s Hot List, and the recent additions of the Urban Beach House and the Lark Suite to its accommodations list are making travelers swoon. Stylish honeymooners, in particular, will be titillated with this Lark Hotel property located within walking distance of Newport Harbor and just a block off lantern-lined Bellevue Avenue, where the town’s former wealthy industrialist residents built opulent country homes. This New England property showers its guests with delightful amenities such as designer linens, gas fireplaces in select suites, iPads, waffle robes, and beach bags and chairs. Couples will love starting their day at the onsite cafe, serving up warm baked goods and pastries (homemade oreos, anyone?), complemented by coffee and tea (no hipster could possibly do without). Recommend a suite at the new Urban Beach House, with outdoor style showers in the rooms, and a sand lounge gathering spot in the front yard. Rates at the Urban Beach House are $199 to $489 per night for King accommodations. For even more pampering, the new Lark Suite in the main building spreads out over 670 sq. ft. and the decor is very easy on the eyes. Rates go from $179 to $589. The Good Life package, which is ideal for honeymooners, includes 2-hour private sailing charter on the Lyra sailboat; “vineyard vines”-branded beach bag and items; a six-pack of Newport Storm Ale; and a $100 gift certificate to Tallulah on Thames, a local restaurant. Rates start at $696, depending on room choice, date and length of stay.

delano las vegas, nevada

The all-suite, non-smoking Delano Las Vegas boutique property, set to open its doors this September at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, is just right for those honeymooning couples who want to experience Las Vegas’ more sophisticated side. Each 725-sq.-ft., 1-bedroom suite, with its minimalist deep blue- and gray-toned decor and only hints of subtle colors, as well as unique art, will feature a private bedroom with a spa-style bath in addition to a separate living room with its own powder room. Outside their suites, newlyweds will encounter a scintillating world that evokes the feel of the surrounding desert—in fact, upon entering the Delano Las Vegas guests will venture down a walkway that features colors and textures inspired by the layered landscape of the Mojave Desert. Indulgent delights come in the form of the BATHHOUSE Spa, which will add Global Journeys—reflecting traditional rituals from regions around the world—to its extensive treatment list, as well as the Rivea, serving French and Italian cuisine by renowned chef Alain Ducasse, and with a bird’s-eye view of the Strip from its perch on the 64th floor. Delano Las Vegas will also feature its own lounge, Franklin, as well as a private pool area—scheduled to open in 2015—that will be located steps from the sand and surf of its older sibling, the Mandalay. Rates will start at approximately $200 and vary depending on season.

westin st. francis, california

This San Francisco haven, which is known as the “Grand Dame” of San Francisco’s Union Square, opened in 1904 and is celebrating its 110th anniversary this year with grand fanfare. Couples will be able to join in on historic hotel tours—held on the 21st of each month at 1:10 p.m.—that include perusing the property’s historic cases filled with relics that whisper secrets of the hotel’s past. They’ll be able to nibble on historic bites and sip on historic cocktails, and one of the new historic spa treatments is ideal for the new bride: the Milk Manicure & Pedicure, which is an ode to Anna Held—wife of theater performer Florenz Zeigfeld—who would only bathe in milk. Couples will find the hotel’s history to be a lovely complement to the recent $20 million renovation of the hotel’s Tower Building, which consists of 569 guestrooms and offers unparalleled views of the city’s skyline. Each room features custom-designed dark wood furniture, plush carpeting, large bay windows that invite the outside in, and the signature Westin Heavenly Bath with a rainfall showerhead, as well as the Westin Heavenly Bed—creating an idyllic setting for newlyweds. Of course, this being San Francisco, couples will have a bountiful amount of activities to choose from while exploring the city, and the hotel is located near high-end shopping, fabulous restaurants and the city’s famed theaters. The hotel’s 1-night Westin Indulge package includes a bottle of champagne, chocolate-dipped strawberries, and breakfast for two in The Oak Room Restaurant (or delivered in-room). Rates start at $299 per night.

the fairmont hotel vancouver, canada

We’re also steeped in history at The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, known as “The Castle in the City.” In fact, the hotel is in celebratory mode as it celebrates its 75th anniversary, having opened in 1939 as one of the country’s railway hotels. This 556-room property truly looks like an English castle, making it a perfectly romantic setting for a couple to start their married life together. Guestroom decor is quite opulent, although one recommendation we’d make to honeymooners would be to go for the spacious, 750-sq.-ft., 1-bedroom suite, with its comfortable sitting area separated by the privacy of a set of French glass doors from the bedroom to the living room and master bathroom—truly divine. When they aren’t lounging about in the comfort of their luxurious accommodations, couples can wander off to the Absolute Spa, where they can opt for a 90-minute couple’s massage or a B.C. River Stone specialty massage. Outside the hotel’s classic walls is a dynamic and young, hip city waiting to be explored. It’s a walkable city that offers up a range of distinctive neighborhoods, including Chinatown, with a classic Chinese garden, and Gastown, a historic area with cobblestone streets lined with Victorian buildings that house everything from souvenir shops and First Nations galleries to stylish clothing boutiques. The Art of Romance package includes overnight accommodations in Fairmont Gold with concierge service, private check-in and lounge; overnight valet parking for one vehicle; a chilled bottle of sparkling wine and chocolate-dipped strawberries; en-suite breakfast, and late check-out. Rates starts at $559 per night. ●