Saint Valentine has a lot to answer for. Thanks to him, one day a year we are cuckolded into spending our hard-earned dough on presents, cards, and flowers - all bought in a desperate attempt to tell the person we love just how bloody splendid they are.
There was a time when a single red rose was all it took. A time when a romantic dinner made a partner weak at the knees, and a simple breakfast-in-bed had them eating from the palm of your hand. Now though - if you want to impress a loved one - you have to fly them around London in a private helicopter, or fill a plunge pool with champagne. I told you the soppy saint had a lot to answer for.
The Exhibitionist Hotel in South Kensington is first on the list, living up to its name with a £35,000 Valentine’s Day Luxury Package, including a pool filled with bubbly, a bath of oysters, and no less than 30 bouquets of roses. The glitzy package also comes with a selection of “aphrodisiac delicacies”, including asparagus with truffle oil, strawberries dipped in chocolate, ginger candies, and raspberries served with whipped cream.
Guests will also have access to a bespoke iPad which is programmed to allow guests to customise the scent of the rooms. Handy after the oyster bath, I’d imagine. If that seems a tad too excessive - or you simply don’t fancy bathing in seafood – the hotel also offers a budget £3000-a-night romance package, which is similar but without the champagne-filled pool or tub of oysters.
Not to be outdone, the Conrad New York is offering a VIP Valentine’s Day Package worth £6566 ($10,000), including luxury car transfers to and from the airport, lavish accommodation in a 1,500 square-foot Conrad Suite, a customised present for your loved one from jewellery designer David Yurman – ordered and designed prior to your stay - a private helicopter tour over Manhattan, dinner for two with specially selected wine, and a one-of-a-kind floral arrangement brought to your suite with champagne and chocolate covered strawberries. Phew.
If money’s tight but you still want to splash out, head to The Lancaster in London, where loved-up guests will be greeted with “a wonderful surprise” upon arrival. No, not Ryan Gosling wrapped in a bow straddling a Nebuchadnezzar of Champagne, but a bedroom lavishly decorated with rose petals and balloons.
20 best Valentine's getaways in the UK
20 best Valentine's getaways in the UK
1/20 The Ducket, Northumberland
If you’re looking for somewhere truly magical, this lovingly restored five-star 18th century fairytale stone tower is perfect. With five rooms on five floors, all connected by a hand-crafted spiral staircase, it is spell bounding and has views over the sea and local island of LIndisfarne on one side and tranquil green fields on the other. Sleeps two. From £480 for three nights www.rosscottages.co.uk
2/20 Out of the Valley, near Exeter, Devon
Sneak off to your very own secluded love nest - a beautifully made, open-plan cabin with a snugly king-size bed, shower room, loo and living area with wood burner. Rupert, the owner, is a skilful furniture designer, so expect style and chic, whilst the location could hardly be more peaceful or beautiful, with the covered veranda overlooking the pasture and river below. From £108 per night http://www.canopyandstars.co.uk/britain/england/devon/weir-mill/out-of-the-valley
3/20 Lyme Park, Cheshire
This magnificent park, which nestles on the edge of the Peak District, is the setting of the famous scene of Darcy in his wet shirt coming face to face with Elizabeth Bennett in the TV adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. The 1,300 acres of stunning moorland are grazed by medieval herds of red deer and the elegant country house boasts lavish interiors, giving you more than enough to do for a romantic day out. From £6.30 per adult http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/lyme-park/
4/20 Lainston House, Hampshire
This magnificent 17th century William & Mary country house is offering a Valentines package of an overnight stay, with a champagne and canapé reception and candlelit dinner with an eight-course tasting menu created by Head Chef Olly Rouse, plus breakfast the following morning. Nestled in 63 acres of beautiful Hampshire parkland, even the driveway has a wow factor. From £225 per person per night www.lainstonhouse.com
5/20 YHA Grinton Lodge, North Yorkshire
It might sound a bit on the frugal side to be whisking your partner off for a romantic weekend at a youth hostel, but the Youth Hostel Association has some wonderful “Poshtels” offering private ensuite bedrooms in some fabulous locations. This one, in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales, has held weddings and even has an impressive honeymoon suite, which anyone can book. From £49 per night www.yha.org.uk/hostel/grinton-lodge
6/20 The Cottage, Longnor, Peak District National Park
This romantic one-bedroom cottage was once the Old Bakery for the village and dates back to the 1700s. The exposed beams and stone flagged floor are just a couple of the features that make it such a joy to stay in and the location is ideal for exploring all the Peak District has to offer. At the end of the day, snuggle up by the log burner in this charming, cosy and characterful home. From £39 per night http://www.holidaylettings.co.uk/rentals/longnor/331170
7/20 The City of Bath
The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Bath is renowned as a romantic city, thanks to its beautiful Georgian architecture, stunning scenery, luxurious accommodation and top notch restaurants. In fact, the streets and Assembly Rooms feature in a good few of Jane Austen’s novels, notably the budding romance between Catherine Morley and Henry Tilney in Northanger Abbey. http://visitbath.co.uk/
8/20 Hotel Portmeirion, Gwynedd
Made famous as the set of the cult 1960s TV series The Prisoner, the picturesque tourist village of Portmeirion also boasts this romantic four star hotel with magnificent lake views, fine dining and 19 miles of footpaths, which are ideal for lovers’ strolls. Their Valentine package includes candlelit dinner, bed and breakfast, as well as a half bottle of pink champagne in your room on arrival. From £194 per night www.portmeirion-village.com
9/20 Asphodel Cottage, Cotswolds
Thatched cottages don’t get more quintessentially English than this 17th century chocolate-box country home in Tarlton, near Cirencester. With low-beamed ceilings, an inglenook fireplace, big velvet sofas, free-standing bath and chic decor, this one-bedrood home is the perfect romantic bolthole. The Cotswolds’ rolling hills, meandering streams and country inns are the icing on the cake. From £80 per night http://www.coolstays.com/property/asphodel-cottage/16752
10/20 Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham
This up and coming area of Birmingham is the UK’s number one destination for wedding and engagement rings and where 40 per cent of Britain’s jewellery is crafted, making it the perfect day out for adoring couples. With more than 100 shops, you won’t be short of window shopping opportunities and you can even design your own handmade jewellery. It’s a vibrant area that’s steeped in history and has plenty of lovely eateries. You’ll probably have time for a visit to a gallery or museum too. www.jewelleryquarter.net
11/20 The Ampersand, London
With glorious oversized velvet bedheads, seemingly endless pillows and rolltop baths in some of the rooms, this award-winning boutique hotel is as romantic as it gets on the London hotel scene. We love the quirky Mediterranean-themed restaurant too. This year, guests are invited to personalise their pillows for the ultimate romantic stay. Can’t afford to stay the night? Why not try their scrumptious Valentines Day Afternoon Tea. Valentines Afternoon Tea £32.50 per person; rooms from £192 per night www.ampersandhotel.com
12/20 Karlotta, Scottish Borders
Karlotta is a Gypsy caravan with a bold and elegant Moroccan-influenced decor that makes it unique, fascinating and exotic. As if that isn’t romantic enough, it’s located in a wildflower meadow just below the Eildon Hills, with its very own lochan and jetty. At night, listen to the owls and in the morning, watch the deer. From £95 per night http://www.canopyandstars.co.uk/britain/scotland/scottish-borders/roulotte-retreat/karlotta
13/20 The Forge, near Hay-on-Wye, Herefordshire
Originally the blacksmith’s workshop for the 10 carriage horses that were housed in the stables of this 800 acre estate, this open fronted stone barn has been stylishly converted into a light and airy living space with huge main bedroom. Nice touches include the Swedish woodburner, open plan layout, rolltop bath in the bedroom and pretty terrace. The owners throw in a romantic basket of goodies including a bottle of the estate’s famous British Cassis and a bottle of fizz to make a Kir Royale. From £400 for three nights http://www.whiteheronproperties.com/property/forge
14/20 Warwick Castle, Warwick
This is one of the most impressive medieval castles in the UK. It’s pretty much straight out of a fairytale book, with its towers and turrets, knights in shining armour and romantic grounds. No wonder it has been voted the UK’s hottest place for a date. And because there’s so much to it, there’s easily enough for lovebirds to fill a whole day. From £14.40 per person www.warwick-castle.co.uk
15/20 The Gunton Arms, Thorpe Market, Norfolk
This beautifully restored traditional pub with eight bedrooms overlooks 1,000 acres of stunning parkland. The chef Stuart Tattersall, who was the ex head chef at Mark Hix, cooks top-notch food using local ingredients including venison from the surrounding deer park. Visitors rave about the art stacked walls, the baying dear, warm and cultured atmosphere, staff, roll topped baths and horse hair soggy sofas. From £95 per night theguntonarms.co.uk
16/20 The City of Brighton
Brighton is the original home to the dirty weekend, with saucy seaside packages now having become an artform. Even condoms can be ordered on room service in this location that has been voted Brtitain’s flirtiest city. Stay at Hotel Una in the room with a private sauna and whirlpool bath or room 6 at Snooze, which has been decadently styled with risqué Victorian photos. There are plenty of budget options too. http://www.visitbrighton.com
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17/20 Laura Ashley The Belsfield, Bowness-on-Windermere, Lake District
Set in a spectacular location overlooking majestic Lake Windermere, this boutique Victorian hotel has been innovatively restored (including a stunning glass covered reception) by one of Britain’s best-loved brands, Laura Ashley. There are 62 individually designed rooms and suites and the Valentines package includes a two-night stay, with dinner (in both restaurants), bed and breakfast, plus flowers, chocolates and wine. From £425 per night for Valentines package www.lauraashleyhotels.com/thebelsfield/
18/20 Cliveden House, Berkshire
This is one of the most romantic destinations in the country. Explore the beautifully tended National Trust gardens with their secret walkways, book a Valentine’s lunch or dinner in the fabulous André Garrett Restaurant, enjoy a chocolate afternoon tea or a romantic spa day. Or push the boat out and book up the “Romance Package.” This overnight stay includes rose petals and candles in your luxury room, champers, chocolate dipped strawberries and a dozen red roses. Garden and woodlands from £9.50; afternoon tea from £50; spa day from £125; Romance package from £285 per person per night www.clivedenhouse.co.uk
After a windswept spot for romantic walks? This county has more Blue Flag Beaches and Seaside Awards than anywhere in the United Kingdom, with options ranging from the dunes at Poppit Sands to the two-mile beach at Newgale. As you head away from the coast, footpaths and bridleway unfold to lead you up hills, through ancient woodlands and down into secluded valleys. http://www.visitpembrokeshire.com/
20/20 The Montagu Arms Hotel, New Forest
This 22-bedroomed, traditional 17th century country house hotel is packed with English character and charm and it’s located in the scenic New Forest National Park. But the real treat is the Michelin star Terrace restaurant, whose six course tasting menu is included (along with wine pairing) in the Valentine’s Package along with two nights’ accommodation and breakfast each morning. Or why not visit for Valentine’s lunch or dinner in their more casual and rustic (but still special) Monty’s Inn? Valentines Package £302.50 per person www.montaguarmshotel.co.uk
The Ritz-Carlton in Dallas is offering a vom-inducing “Become Her Prince Charming” package for £328 ($499) per night, including deluxe accommodation and a rose petal turndown, complete with keepsake glass slipper and personalized love note. And if you’re thinking of popping the question, the Ritz-Carlton in New York offers a special proposal package which includes a suite, a private dinner on the 40th floor of the hotel, a couple’s massage, a trip to Tiffany’s for some exclusive ring shopping, champagne, a rose petal turndown, and breakfast in bed (not at Tiffany’s, unfortunately.) The package costs £1641 ($2,500) but does require a hefty £13,127 ($20,000) minimum purchase from the famous jewellery shop. You can save money on the hotel’s free overnight parking though, which is nice.
Probably the most extravagant, however, is the Rosewood London, which is offering a luxury Valentine’s package to the value of £100,000. Labelled the “ultimate romantic getaway”, guests will be collected and taken via a chauffeured Jaguar to their own private helicopter, in which they will fly across London. Upon arrival at the Rosewood, they will take part in a private cooking class to learn how to make the perfect aphrodisiac menu. More oysters? Probably.
After their meal, guests will return to their suite for a private fireworks display and live jazz music on the terrace, accompanied by champagne. The will have access to the hotel’s spa and will be treated to a special couple’s massage. Also included is a personally created candle, a bespoke piece of jewellery by award-winning jewellery designer Shaun Leane, and – of course - a bouquet of flowers.Reuse content