Metropolitan Life: The Shortlist

TEN PLACES TO GO FOR A ROMANTIC WEEKEND
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Indy Lifestyle Online
Bath The Royal Crescent is the romantic hotel in Bath. A favourite for honeymoon couples and lovers is the Sir Percy Blakeney (aka the Scarlet Pimpernel) suite, which has a four-poster bed. One remark in the visitors' book reads: "Any weekend in this hotel would be like a honeymoon." Ask for a corner table in the hotel's award-winning Dower House restaurant for a romantic dinner. Royal Crescent Hotel, Royal Crescent, Bath, Avon BA1 2LS (01225 319090).

Brighton Raffish, racy and never quite respectable, Brighton has long been a well-fancied resort for a naughty weekend. Parking a car demands metropolitan cunning, unless, of course, you are staying somewhere as swanky as the Grand Hotel, where the doorman will relieve you of the chore. The Grand stands on the seafront, flanked by the picturesquely defunct West Pier and the all singing, all dancing Palace Pier. The Grand Hotel, Kings Road, Brighton BN1 2FW (01273 321188).

Buttermere Valley The Lake District is one of the most beautiful and romantic parts of Britain, not only because of its picturesque scenery but also for its associations with romantic poets - Wordsworth, Southey and Coleridge. Pickett Howe is a tiny but delightful hotel - it has just four bedrooms, all decorated in different styles. Pickett Howe Country Guest House, Buttermere Valley, Cumbria, CA13 9UY (01900 85444).

Connemara The Cashel House Hotel was a favourite of President and Mme de Gaulle; it occupies an old Connemara mansion and is surrounded by sub- tropical gardens and a 40 acre estate. For further inspiration, try the Blue Book, the annual guide of the Charming Country Houses and Restaurants Association, available from the Irish Tourist Board (0171 493 3201). Cashel House Hotel, Cashel, Ireland (00 353 95 31001).

Deauville Lively, fashionable and stylish, Deauville has slipped off the map used by the British abroad, and ought to be restored to it. The town is a maze of villas and luxury hotels, behind which lie streets full of fashionable shops and small restaurants - and the famous Hippodrome race track. The Hotel Normandy, rue Jean Mermoz, 14800 Deauville (00 33 31986622) and the Hotel Royal, 14800 Deauville (00 33 31986633) both overlook the beach.

Isles of Scilly This little offshore paradise hardly seems like part of Britain at all. The islands have attracted a host of romantic legends; some say that they are the last of Lyonesse, the kingdom of King Arthur. There are as many as 300 isles, islets and rocks; but only six are inhabited, and St Martin's, is home of one of the finest hotels in the west of England, with its own private yacht for cruising. St Martin's Hotel, The Island of St Martin's, Isles of Scilly, Cornwall TR25 0QW (01720 422092).

Paris The Hotel de Crillon is rather a grand place, and the last major hotel in Paris to be privately owned (it belongs to the Taittinger family, of champagne fame). Furnished with Sevres porcelain and Aubusson tapestries, it is on the Place de la Concorde, which could hardly be more convenient for romantic strolling along the boulevards. Hotel de Crillon, 10 place de la Concorde, 75008 Paris (00 33 1 44711501).

New York In spite of its noise, glitz and glamour it oozes romance. Try the Mark Hotel on Madison Avenue - small, stylish and glamorous without being ostentatious. It is as comfortable and attentive as you would expect a smart hotel on one of New York's most fashionable streets to be, and has a very good restaurant and bar. The Mark Hotel, Madison Avenue at East 77th Street, New York, NY10021 (00 1 212 744 4300).

St Keyne, Cornwall The Well House is a small, intimate, seven-room hotel in the Looe Valley, a few miles from the sea, not far from the pretty town of Liskeard. The restaurant is excellent - the menu includes Cornish fish soup, lobster and Cornish cheeses. There is a friendly bar, a snug guest lounge, and the bedroom over the turret has the best views. The Well House, St Keyne, Liskeard, Cornwall PL14 4RN (01579 342001).

Verona The medieval city of star-crossed lovers is exquisite, with wonderful squares such as the Piazza dei Signori and Piazza delle Erbe, housing splendid buildings. Try the Hotel Gabbia d'Oro, a small, discreet and beautiful eighteenth-century palace, with original panelling and frescoes. Hotel Gabbia d'Oro, Corso Portoni Borsari, Verona (00 39 45 800 3060).

8 Extracted from the 'Martini Brut Guide to Romantic Weekends' by Robin Neillands (Good Books, pounds 6.99). The book contains pounds 86 worth of vouchers redeemable against travel and hotel bookings, plus pounds 1 off a bottle of Martini Brut

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