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50 Romantic Escapes

Hugh Stewart

Photo: Hugh Stewart

Call of the Wild

SOUTH AFRICA Samara
In the malaria-free Great Karoo, the Eastern Cape's largest private reserve unfolds as far as the eye can see. Here, reintroduced springbok, eland, oryx, gemsbok, and endangered mountain zebra cavort in four of the country's seven biomes. With days of game drives spent tracking rare cheetah (sightings guaranteed) and evenings in a boma dining on local lamb, venison sushi, and bean salad (presented in a Hemingwayesque tin mug), you'll forget a world beyond the horizon exists.
T+L TIP Splurge on one of the three Karoo Suites, done up in Cape-style architecture (reed ceilings, tin roofs, ebony furniture), for total privacy. Graaf-Reinet; 27-49/891-0880; www.samara.co.za; doubles from $570, all-inclusive.

AUSTRALIA Lifetime Private Retreats
Scattered across 100 untamed acres on South Australia's Kangaroo Island, these three secluded houses take nesting to luxurious new heights. Each has beach access, telescopes to take in the jaw-dropping views, and thoughtful vacation extras like snorkel gear and board games.
T+L TIP If you're given a choice of the three, opt for the Cliff House, with its sensuous curves, glass-walled tower bedroom, and private path down to the ocean. Middle River; 61-8/8354-2368; www.life-time.com.au; doubles from $973, all-inclusive.

NEW ZEALAND Whare Kea Chalet
Get your skis serviced, then hop a helicopter—the only way to access this isolated alpine retreat 5,600 feet up in the Buchanan mountains. The owners don't make it easy for you—the sole bathroom is shared with two staffers—but then, how many other chalets do you know that have bedside glacier views?
T+L TIP For an unparalleled trekking experience, head out from Albert Burn Saddle to Galactic Bypass. Wanaka, South Island; 64-3/443-1400; www.wharekealodge.com; double from $1,284, meals included, guide and helicopter fees extra.

ARIZONA Sedona Rouge Hotel & Spa
In a break from typical Southwestern architecture, this 77-room hotel takes its design inspiration from 11th-century Andalusia. The Moorish fantasy plays out in the pool area, with its 500-year-old Tunisian wrought-iron gates, and in the guest rooms, where Syrian chests and jewel-toned curtains make for a seductive contrast with the red-rock landscape.
T+L TIP Be sure to request an unobstructed canyon view. Sedona; 866/312-4111; www.sedonarouge.com; doubles from $229.

MONTANA The Resort at Paws Up
In Tent City at Paws Up, a western Montana resort, "roughing it" means camping under the stars in a heated canvas bower with a king-sized featherbed. After your campfire breakfast of huckleberry pancakes, an expert guide will take you fly-fishing on the Blackfoot, then leave the two of you all alone.
T+L TIP The Camping Butler will light a campfire, deliver s'mores, or set up an outdoor movie screen. Greenough; 800/473-0601; www.pawsup.com; doubles from $595, meals included.

Sexy Cities

VENICE
At the intimate Ca Maria Adele, in a quiet corner of Italy's most intoxicating city, the only sound breaking the silence is the tolling of bells from the nearby Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute. There are just 14 guest quarters; book the Moors' Room with blue silk chenille wall coverings, antique Florentine-Moorish sculptures, and a balcony suspended over the adjacent canal. That way, if you never make it beyond the door, at least you can enjoy the view.
T+L TIP For a memorable tour of the city, take a gondola from the hotel's private moorings to the Grand Canal. 111 Dorsoduro; 39-041/520-3078; www.camariaadele.it; doubles from $318, breakfast included.

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