Isle of Skye
The rose on your pillow is just one of the more obvious romantic accoutrements at Kinloch Lodge. The rest are piled on like the details of a cheesy romantic novel, but who’s complaining? Scotland’s reigning Romantic Hotel of the Year and one of the country’s most lauded inns is nestled lakeside on the remote Isle of Skye on Scotland’s northwest coast, about a five-hour drive from Edinburgh. If you’re looking for love, this is the real thing. The Kinloch is a combination of ambiance and pampering that should be much better known than it is. Imagine snuggling up in one of just 15 rooms in a century-old lodge with incredible scenery of the highlands, and after breakfast, heading over for the Kinloch Signature Body Massage in their spa or out to the nearby Talisker distillery for a whisky tasting of some of the world’s most respected Scotch. Go to the hotel gardens for a photo shoot by a renowned local photographer and get a CD of the images. Dinners include one meal from the in-house chef’s signature menu and the other a five-course meal from a changing daily menu. Back in your room, oysters, a bowl of Belgian chocolate-dipped strawberries and Champagne are waiting for you, as is a bathroom full of L’Occitane goodies. The romantic package starts at about $1,450 per couple and does not include airfare.
Historic Old Town Key West is a great place to walk, a great place to fish and a great place to just hang out in tropical weather and romantic seclusion for a few days. Smack in the middle of old town is the Marquesa Hotel. After a full renovation, the conch house, built in 1884, mixes high-end amenities with classic touches in this award-winning hotel that doesn’t show its 129 years. Considered one of the best small hotels in the world, the Marquesa is one block from famous Duval Street, just a few blocks from Mallory Square and the Gulf of Mexico on one side and a mile from the Atlantic Ocean on the other. No car is necessary here, but if you drive to Key West, the hotel has free parking. No smoking, no pets and no kids (under 14) are allowed in the hotel either. The Café Marquesa is also Zagat’s top-rated restaurant on the island, featuring local seafood as well as duck and Australian lamb. Junior suites start at $495 per night.
When he wasn’t playing American pioneers Davy Crockett or Daniel Boone in the 1950s and 1960s, actor Fess Parker was trying his hand in real estate. Eventually, he built what’s now Fess Parker’s Doubletree Resort in 1986 on one of Santa Barbara’s nicest beaches. In 1987, he bought more than 700 acres in the Santa Ynez Valley and started what has since become an award-winning winery. The following year he bought the Grand Hotel nearby. Now called the Fess Parker Wine Country Inn & Spa, it’s the valley’s top getaway, a boutique hotel in Santa Barbara wine country and a 20-room temptation for the quick romantic retreat. And once you’re there, you don’t have to leave the premises to fill your weekend. With the Champagne Spa, you can get a massage, facial for men or women, hot stone or aromatherapy before heading out to one of the four family-owned vineyards for a tasting. Three of the vineyards are within walking distance of the inn. Or you can just stop by the wine shop, BiN 2860, for a tasting or to get some beer or wine to take back to your room. By dinner, modern Greek food is on the menu at Petros Los Olivos, the inn’s restaurant. Packages include the Ride, Wine & Dine for $645, Wine Tasting & Spa Getaway for $995 or the Wine Country Ultimate Getaway for $1,445.