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Best Romantic Getaways, vacation ideas

Luxurious Locations for Romantic Getaways

words and photos by
Tom Wuckovich

It's often been said that "absence makes the heart grow fonder." But then, it's also been said "absence is the wind that fans the flames of love-or outens the dying embers." So what are we to believe? Why not just err on the side of caution and not only spend more time together, but make certain that it's really quality time.
One proven way to get closer, and fall more madly in love, is to vacation to some idyllic location where romance is...well, inevitable. While there are myriad places in this great, big, wide wonderful world that makes those tender hearts skip a beat, we can't list them all. So here are a few of our top favorites.

A Yacht Charter

A sailboat vacation helps you get away from it all.
Vacation by sailing away from it all - just the two of you.

Bet you never considered this one. Imagine boarding a sleek, white, elegant yacht, complete with captain and cook and sailing to anywhere in the Caribbean your heart desires. Think it's too expensive? Meant only for the rich and famous? Not so. This very affordable vacation is definitely within your budget. A seven-day sailing trip on a fully provisioned Moorings Yacht starts at about $165 per person per day and is all-inclusive.

The Moorings, a Clearwater, Florida, company with offices worldwide, has yachts ranging in size from 27 to 75 feet. You can plan your own itinerary and decide how much time you want to spend at each island. You can be dropped off on a secluded beach where there are no other footprints except your own, snorkel in a nearby cove, or drop anchor in a quiet bight where you can sample the incredible food served up by the cook while the gentle waves lap at the boat. At night, with the brilliant stars as your canopy, you can laze on deck, sipping a glass of wine or champagne after dinner, nestled in each other arms with nothing to disturb the tranquility. If you're into snuggling, you're definitely up for this.

Hotel Guanahani, St. Barts

While we're still thinking Caribbean, think St. Barts, that absolutely French Island that lures the commoners as well as the Jet Set. On this verdant landscape, just over the hill from the main town of Gustavia, is the Hotel Guanahani. This cozy resort complex, which features individual cottages decorated in Creole style is nestled in a coconut grove between the Atlantic Ocean and a lagoon. It's not only a place to begin your love life, but a spot to rekindle it.

The resort offers a host of amenities, including a fitness center, beauty treatments, and sports that include sailboating, catamaran rides, helicopter rides, horseback riding, and shopping in Gustavia. If you really want to splurge, opt for the double room suite that comes with its own swimming pool. Privacy, serenity and intimacy is assured in this delightful setting.

There are several packages to choose from, including a "Romance on the Waves" offering that includes, among other things, a French champagne toast, car rental, several meals and choice of cottage.

South Seas Plantation, Captiva

Florida folklore is ripe with stories of pirates, buried treasure, and hidden cays, inlets and harbors that provided refuge to buccaneers who plundered the gold-laden ships of the Spanish Main.

In Southwest Florida, off the coast of Fort Myers, Captiva Island nurtured its reputation as once a haven for treacherous pirates such as Jose Gaspar, who was rumored to have buried gold deep in the sandy soil and kept pretty women captive on the five-mile-long barrier island-hence the name.

Gaspar was certain he had found the perfect sanctuary. And so did South Seas Plantation, which sits at the very end of the tiny barrier island and the ideal place to enjoy the company of your favorite companion. The beaches are still pristine and relatively secluded, the vegetation thick and lush, the wildlife numerous and varied. Carefully blending in to the landscape is South Seas.
Accommodations, more than 600, range from deluxe hotel rooms and villa suites to three-bedroom beach homes and cottages.

Amenities include a full range of water sports, aerobics, tennis, golf on a tight, but fair 9-hole course, a fitness center and cruises through the barrier islands aboard the Lady Chadwick. Off-property excursions also consist of trips to the J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge, or renting a bicycle and pedaling off to explore some of the nearby shopping and restaurants.

Slip away to South Seas. It will captivate you.

Paris

couple enjoys a private moment
A couple enjoys the romance of the Seine during a trip to Paris.

For lovers, Paris can be anytime, not just April! Strolling the Champs Elysées arm-in-arm, past the notable landmarks such as the Arc de Triomphe, tuning in to the magical charm generated by the people of this city, or sipping delightful French wine at a quaint outdoor cafe as Parisians and visitors walk by can be an exhilarating experience. Paris just seems to exude romance. Everywhere you look, lovers embrace. Whether it's in the numerous parks, along the banks of the famous River Seine, on street corners, or even atop the inspiring Eiffel Tower, love is in the air.

No matter where you stay in Paris, it's just being there that matters. Accommodations can range from the very affordable to the very expensive, such as the Hotel Plaza Athenee, but to really experience the City of Lights, spend as little time as possible indoors. There's too much for lovers to do. Tour the very places that are always mentioned: the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, Montmartre, Notre Dame Cathedral, a dinner cruise on the Seine, Avenue de Montaigne, where all the fashionable Paris boutiques are located, and the famed Moulin Rouge.

Magical Tahiti

Tahiti is one of the most romantic places in the world.
Tahiti offers one of the most romantic getaways in the world.

Tahiti. No other word so stirs the soul, or tugs at the spirit of romance and adventure within us — or offers such hope of mystery and escape. Escape from worldly cares, from the mundane, even from civilization itself. It opens its arms like a beautiful temptress to lovers, dreamers, artists, romantics - the quintessential haven for those seeking true happiness.

The islands of Tahiti, Moorea, Huahine, Raiatea and Bora Bora together, comprise the Societies, one of five archipelagoes which make up French Polynesia. The others are the Tuamotus, a series of coral atolls; the Marquesas; the Australs; and the Gambiers. The islands are often mistakenly referred to collectively as Tahiti, probably because it is the largest and most populated.

The thoughts of Tahiti can be slightly dramatic, due in part to the illusion created in books and films. You envision bronze-skinned natives fishing from outrigger canoes, and beautiful, flawless women clad in the familiar pareus, with the fragrant, porcelain tiare blossom placed behind their ear and the strains of sweet, drum-driven Polynesian music providing the backdrop. Still somewhat true. But the outside world has come to Tahiti. Beneath this new exterior beats the same, vibrant heart of the true Tahiti, the one so many tried to capture in words and pictures.

Beyond Papeete, in the emerald-green hills, flush with swaying palms, waves of pink bougainvillea, and cool mountain streams and valleys are as pure as the day they were created. The simplicity, the beauty, will make you think of Paul Gauguin who had preserved this grandeur on canvas. The sea can make you forget daily cares.

The water changes colors dramatically with the depth-alternating from indigo to Alice blue, and you can see coral heads, sea grass and schools of fish. Couples can walk along the shoreline groves of banana trees and palms, separated from the sea by a hem of beige, powdery sand. As the sun fades, the jagged volcanic peaks draped in sunset hues signal a perfect end to the day. Amid this startling kaleidoscope of changing colors, romance burns brightly.

If You Go...

The Moorings
19345 US Highway 19 N #4
Clearwater, FL 33764
Phone: 1-888-952-8420

Hotel Guanahani, St. Barts
Grand Cul De Sac
97133 St. Barthelemy
Phone: 1-800-216-3774
guanahani@wanadoo.fr

Visit Florida: Captiva Island

Tahiti Tourism
Phone: 1-877-GO-TAHITI

Paris Toursim

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