50 Romantic Escapes
Published: May 2009
From the serpentine canals of Venice to the untamed savanna of South Africa, we've found dozens of destinations where you can steal some time together.
It could happen on a barefoot beach in the South Pacific. On a cobblestoned street in a crowded
city. Over lobster in a turn-of-the-19th-century baronial estate. That's when it hits you:
you can't imagine being anywhere else, with anyone else. Here are 50 places that inspire those
kinds of moments, with insider tips on how to guarantee them.
ST. BART'S Le Sereno
Ever since Christian Liaigre signed his name to Club Med Bora Bora, about a decade ago, style-obsessed
hotel junkies from Hong Kong to Hoboken have dared to hope that the French designer might
bring his handsome and spare sensibility to another beach resort. The wait is over. Le Sereno,
with 37 rooms that blur the distinction between indoors and out, stands on a small but exquisite
stretch of sand on the east end of the Caribbean island where the bling-bling crowd still
goes to get a tan.
T+L TIP Book the Villa Vue Mer, over 1,000 square feet of streamlined Liaigre
loveliness (teak furniture, wooden tubs) and swoon-worthy ocean views. Grand Cul-de-Sac; 590-590/298-300; www.lesereno.com; doubles from $709.
ITALY Casa Angelina
In the Amalfi Coast's first design hotel, Philippe Starck furniture and colorful
Murano-glass sculptures pop against white surfaces but don't distract from vistas of the Gulf
of Salerno and Positano. Along with all the expansive views, there are plenty of hidden nooks—the
private beach, the junior suite's enviable terrace, and the indoor whirlpool.
T+L TIP For an evening adventure to remember, arrange for a boat trip
to the tower of La Capperina, where a couple can dine outside on the roof. 147 Via Gennaro
Capriglione, Praiano; 877/783-4600; www.casangelina.com;
doubles from $270.
Formerly an Ottoman mansion, A'jia feels more like a Zen retreat, but with all the comforts
an ascetic would shun: lofted guest rooms, in-room massages—spare design with every
modern amenity. Most indulgent of all is the restaurant, where you can have a lamb fillet
smothered in pistachios and mushrooms with a bottle of Chianti on a patio beside the sparkling
T+L TIP Jump aboard A'jia's private wooden launch and be ferried across
the strait to the Sakip Sabanci Museum (Picasso is on view through March 26). 27 Çubuklu
Caddesi, Kanlica; 90-216/413-9300; www.ajiahotel.com;
doubles from $350.
Phi Phi Island is finally emerging from 2004's tsunami and embracing a future of luxury. Fragrant
orange jasmines and panoramic views of the Andaman Sea envelop Zeavola resort's sprawling
re-creation of a mythically wealthy rural Thai village—complete with crooked paths,
a faux folk theater, and 52 bungalows crafted of tropical balau wood, rattan, and thatch.
T+L TIP Take a barefoot stroll through the fishing towns sprinkled
along the beach. Phi Phi Don; 66-75/627-000; www.zeavola.com;
doubles from $388.
MALAYSIA Bagus Place Retreat
At the southern tip of tropical Tioman Island, where virgin rain forest meets a sliver of
soft white sand and soaring, misty peaks, a narrow jetty leads to three chalets and a palm-roofed
restaurant. Accessible only by private boat, the tiny Bagus Place Retreat gives guests bedside
views of the glittering South China Sea and the chance to beachcomb in splendid isolation.
T+L TIP Take a spot at the bar and watch as stars pepper the sky above
and phosphorescence streaks the water below. Mukut; 44-7740/358-020; www.bagusplace.com;
doubles from $140, meals included.
The ashram meets the Amanresort at Shreyas, a farmland yoga retreat 22 miles outside Bangalore.
Its four cottages and eight tented chalets—with all the typical luxuries (but no television)—are
drizzled with jasmine, frangipani, and rose petals. Couples spend most of the day indoors,
recharging with rigorous twice-daily Hatha yoga classes and vegetarian dishes prepared with
produce from the gardens.
T+L TIP Visit the stilted thatched hut on the edge of the gardens, built
for meditation; it resembles the lookout platforms used by colonial tiger-hunters. Nela Mangala;
doubles from $375, meals included.
VIETNAM Evason Hideaway & Six Senses Spa at Ana Mandara
After a day of islet-hopping in Ninh Van Bay or shopping in bustling Nha Trang, grab a bottle
from your villa's private wine cellar and soak in the wooden bathtub with a view, or plunge
into your own free-form rock pool. Or take advantage of the property's perks: stroll past
the water lily lake to the beachside spa and get an Adam-and-Eve massage that ends with a
whirlpool dip and a glass of bubbly.
T+L TIP Request a candlelit barbecue with a personal chef and waiter
and views of the South China Sea. Nha Trang; 84-58/829-829; www.sixsenses.com;
villas from $400.
Thalassa's 58 elegant suites—crisp white furniture, Brazilian-marble shelves, African
iroko-wood floors—hover above the rhythmic waves of Coral Bay on Cyprus's west coast,
but it's the Anagenisis Spa that most soothes the soul. Ask your multilingual butler to book
one of its Greco-Roman treatments, such as the yogurt, olive oil, and herb-infused Trahana
T+L TIP Follow your wrap with a meal at Psari, Thalassa's seafood grill
overlooking Mycenaean ruins dating back to the 13th century B.C. Coral Bay, Paphos; 800/525-4800
or 357-26/881-500; www.thalassa.com.cy;
doubles from $205.
SCOTLAND Skibo Castle
Andrew Carnegie's former estate—set on 7,500 rugged highland acres—finally has
a spa to match its spectacular setting. Sleek and state-of-the-art, each room is equipped
with a marble shower and heated treatment table, where you can start every session with a
scalp rub. Spoil yourself with an oil-rich hot-stone massage, then relax fireside or
stroll through the grounds where Madonna was married.
T+L TIP At this members-only club, you can stay only once before joining,
and rumor has it that this won't last forever. Clashmore; 44-1862/894-600; www.carnegieclubs.com; doubles from $1,258, all-inclusive.
ARGENTINA Patios de Cafayate Hotel & Spa
You don't just get to drink the fine vintages at the Patios de Cafayate in the northern Argentine
province of Salta—you get to bathe in them. The ultraslick Winespa at the 30-room Spanish
colonialstyle property draws on ancient vinotherapy techniques that include soaking in bubbling
water treated with Cabernet Sauvignon and moisturizing the skin with a preparation of grape
syrup, seeds, and oil.
T+L TIP Take the bacchanalian experience further with the 45-minute Romantic
Massage—administered at night, in the vineyards. Cafayate; 800/325-3589; www.luxurycollection.com;
doubles from $229.
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
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.
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.
This year may be Mozart's 250th birthday, but Vienna's most fashion-forward hotel isn't buying
into Amadeus schmaltz. At Le Meridien, all is as mod as the nearby MuseumsQuartier—from
the lobby's light projections to chef Michel Rostang's Cuisine Mondiale in the Shambala restaurant.
T+L TIP Snag one of the six top-floor back rooms: their big terraces
have heavenly rooftop views. 1315 Opernring; 800/543-4300; www.vienna.lemeridien.com;
doubles from $381.
PALMA DE MAJORCA
Palma's Old Town, a warren of narrow alleyways, ancient mansions, and lively bars (not to
mention fantastic shoe shops), has recently been revived, and at its heart lies the Hotel
Tres. Behind the 16th-century façade you'll find 41 modern rooms—with
cowhide benches and platform beds—and couples lingering over breakfast beneath a shady
palm tree in the courtyard.
T+L TIP Book a massage and meal at Purobeach, a stylish seaside hangout
10 minutes by taxi from the city center. 3 Calle Apuntadores; 34-971/717-333; www.hoteltres.com;
doubles from $206, breakfast included.
In an ancient city crowded with historic mosques, museums, and Silk Route bazaars, designer
Pierre-Yves Rochon pays homage to the Persian empire with locally crafted mother-of-pearl
inlay mirrors and hand-painted ajami doors at the Four Seasons Damascus.
T+L TIP Ask the concierge to arrange a day-long excursion to Palmyra,
an early Roman oasis on the UNESCO World Heritage list. Shukri al-Quwatli St.; 800/223-6800
; www.fourseasons.com; doubles from $155.
SAVANNAH The Mansion on Forsyth Park
In this Victorian house in Savannah's Historic District, each of the 126 rooms mixes the classical
(carved rococo headboards, red velvet curtains) with the sleek (mirrored bedside tables, clear-glass
lamps). Request one on the Bohemian Floor facing Drayton Street, with a freestanding claw-foot
tub draped in taffeta and views of the 100-year-old oak trees in Forsyth Park.
T+L TIP Don't miss a private lesson at the hotel's state-of-the-art cooking
school. 700 Drayton St.; 888/711-5114; www.mansiononforsythpark.com; doubles from $289.
Nothing says hot like Versace, and with the opening of Casa Casuarina, Gianni's
former mansion, anyone willing to pay $1,500 a night can sleep, wine, and dine like a fashionista.
The original structure, built in 1930 in extravagant rococo designs, now houses a 10-room
hotel and club that is a kaleidoscope of colors and tastes, starting with a mosaic-tile pool
and ending at the Caviar Creator Lounge, where farmed roe is spooned onto guests' hands for
$100 a "lick."
T+L TIP Now that the property is part of Leading Hotels of the World,
anyone—not just invitation-only members such as Oliver Stone—can be a guest. 1116
Ocean Dr.; 800/745-8883; www.lhw.com; doubles from $1,500.
This cultural capital is guaranteed to make your heart pound—whether from a hike up
one of the staggeringly steep streets (at sunset, head to the top of Twin Peaks for 360-degree
views of the surrounding city and bay), or from a meal made with locally purveyed ingredients.
T+L TIP Carved out of the turn-of-the-century Williams Building, the
new St. Regis Hotel is perfectly placed for artistic outings: the Museum of the African Diaspora
shares the property's ground floor, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is next door,
and the hotel itself has an art collection that rivals those of nearby galleries. 125 Third
St.; 877/787-3447; www.stregis.com; doubles from $539.
Get the best view of the town's cobblestoned streets, tropical gardens, and dazzling plazas
from a suite at the 14-room Hacienda San Angel. Colonial art decorates the
secret patios and nooks, where you can steal away for a candlelit dinner.
T+L TIP Hit the plaza after hours and get caught up in the carnival spirit
of the Vallartenses who stroll the boardwalk. 336 Calle Miramar; 415/738-8220 or 52-322/222-2692;
www.haciendasanangel.com; doubles from $250.
RIO DE JANEIRO
Rio's sensual pleasures satisfy all agendas: those seeking natural beauty, Mid-century architecture
buffs, and, of course, anyone looking for the Ultimate Good Time. For a retreat from the chaos,
book one of the seven bright rooms at La Suite. They're a short walk down
a sandy lane in Rio's swanky Joatinga area—a well-kept secret of local surfers.
T+L TIP See the city from every angle by joining the pilgrimage to the
top of Corcovado mountain, strolling through the lush Jardim Botânico, and stepping
into the party on Ipanema Beach. 501 Rua Jackson Figueiredo; 55-21/2484-1962; www.chicretreats.com;
doubles from $330.
In this former imperial capital, traffic still means three bicycles side by side, or a huddle
of motorboats plying the languid Perfume River. Hire one of the latter to take you to the
secluded tombs of the Nguyen Dynasty kings, then drift back to the 122-room La Résidence
Hôtel & Spa. Each lamp, tile mosaic, and settee was meticulously crafted
to flatter the original Art Deco design of the hotel's main building.
T+L TIP Through the arc of louvered windows in La Suite du Resident,
you can gaze across the infinity pool and river to the 19th-century Citadel. 5 Le Loi St.;
84- 054/837-475; www.la-residence-hue.com; doubles from $130.
On the Sea
Retrace the old East African spice route on board this luxuriously restored 1910 schooner,
which navigates the turquoise waters off the coast of Tanzania. A typical five-day
cruise for up to six guests takes in Zanzibar's Stone Town and Pemba Island's exquisite Fundu
Lagoon, and you might get a chance to race migrating humpback whales.
T+L TIP If you find you just can't bear to disembark, you can extend
your trip all the way up to Lamu Island, off Kenya.www.sailafrica.net; 435/649-4655; from
$4,500 per night,all-inclusive.
The Maldives' latest slice of seclusion is an exclusive-use resort that comes with an 86-foot-long
luxury ship. Guests spend days cruising to nearby islands, swimming in the eye-dazzling blue
waters, then sleeping either in the three-suite villa on the island or, better yet, on the
four-bedroom boat itself.
T+L TIP Get scuba certified with the resort's PADI-licensed instructor.
960/ 333-6522; www.raniaexperience.com; $8,000 per night for one couple, all-inclusive, plus
$500 per night for each additional person.
AUSTRALIA Barrier Reef Seafaris
Now you can explore the world's largest coral reef aboard the most decadent of yachts. The
newly minted 130-foot-long boat comes equipped with a hydrotherapy spa, helipad, movie theater,
and your own staff—ready to wait on you hand and foot. Chartered tours through the Great
Barrier Reef are tailor-made to fit your fancy, whether that means a helicopter flight over
ancient rain forests or tracking sea turtles.
T+L TIP Go spearfishing off one of the reef's 900 islands, then
have the yacht's chef whip up dinner from your catch. 61-7/3720-8554; www.epicexpeditions.com;
from $112,000 per week.
Meals to Remember
Nearly every ingredient on Chef Matt Weedon's sublime menu can be found in the area surrounding
this 19th-century castle on Scotland's winding southwestern coast. Roasted Ballantrae lobsters
are caught by fishermen from town. Dense cheeses are produced by local artisans, and
the game, beef, and lamb are raised at nearby farms. Share the dessert tastings for two in
the all-red dining room, then take your digestifs to one of Glenapp's 17 guest rooms.
T+L TIP Request table No. 4 and savor views of the mist-shrouded
sea, the Mull of Kintyre, and the isles beyond. Ballantrae; 44-1465/831-212; www.glenappcastle.com;
dinner for two $190.
LONDON Dorchester Grill Room
A Scottish baronial fantasy comes to one of London's grandest hotels. Under a giant mural
of Highland guardsmen outfitted in Stewart tartans, waiters carve Aberdeen rib roast and Welsh
lamb from a tableside trolley. Even Anglophiles will applaud the Gallic twist new chef Olivier
Couillaud gives classics such as Yorkshire pudding and Dover sole.
T+L TIP Save room for the ultimate dessert: sticky toffee pudding with
pecan praline ice cream. Parklane; 44-20/ 7317-6336; www.thedorchester.com; dinner for two
Michelin three-starred chef Michel Bras continues to bring big-city cooking to his hometown
of Laguiole in this high-tech, glass-walled restaurant. From a table overlooking a dramatic
bluff, you can watch the sun set over the French countryside while sampling Bras's legendary
fried foie gras, fillet of Aubrac beef, and herbed ice cream made with wild local meadowsweet.
T+L TIP After dinner, head upstairs to one of the 15 rooms. 33-5/65-51-18-20;
www.michel-bras.com; dinner for two $275.
FRANCE La Ferme du Mont-Mussy
The rustic Ferme du Mont-Mussy, in the foothills of the Jura mountains along the Swiss border,
has neither running water nor electricity, but that doesn't stop the chef-owners from tempting
visitors with guinea fowl and mushrooms in the fall, strawberries and young asparagus in the
spring. Sip a brandy and make sure you have nowhere to go afterward—fast food is definitely not part of the local lexicon.
T+L TIP Take a table under the canopy of trees and catch a glimpse of
Mont Blanc across the lake. Then get a little lost on the nearby walking trails. Divonne-les-Bains;
33-4/50-20-24-52; www.montmussy.com; lunch for two $35.
CAYMAN ISLANDS Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman
Two new restaurants have chef Eric Ripert (of New York's Le Bernardin) at the helm, and no
one does fish better. Blue and Periwinkle, situated along the waterways that pulse through
the British-colonial resort's 144 acres, marry fresh seafood to Caribbean flavors in a modern,
T+L TIP Schedule a private sailing and have the captain drop you off
on Periwinkle's terrace for grilled shrimp in a papaya-orange vierge sauce. Seven Mile Beach;
800/241-3333; www.ritzcarlton.com; dinner for two $90 (Periwinkle), $170 (Blue).
HONOLULU The Hanohano Room
The 30-story ride in a private glass elevator to the grand Hanohano Room at the Sheraton Waikiki
is the perfect occasion to steal a kiss. Once you've arrived, settle into a table with views
of Diamond Head and the Waikiki surf breaks to the east and Honolulu's city lights and the
Koolau Range to the west. Chef Ron Amasol is winning fans for modernizing the menu with crisp-skinned
Hawaiian threadfish in cilantro-ogo sauce and rice crackercoated jumbo shrimp doused with
sesame tartar sauce.
T+L TIP Book a table for six o'clock on the west side of the restaurant
for the best sunset views in the winter months. 2255 Kalakaua Ave.; 888/488-3535; www.sheraton.com;
dinner for two $125.
ARGENTINA Cavas Wine Lodge
Chef Sebastián Flores runs the tiny candlelit restaurant of this 14-room property,
set on 35 acres outside Mendoza, offering plates such as rib-eye steak with a pepper chimichurri
sauce. Dine with a view of the mountains to the sound of chirping crickets, then sleep it
off in an adobe villa with a private plunge pool.
T+L TIP Order a bottle of Quimera 2002—an acclaimed blend from
the nearby Achaval Ferrer estate—from the lodge's well-stocked private cellar. Agrelo;
54-261/410-6651; www.cavaswinelodge.com; dinner for two $50.
Off the Grid
Chosen for the lightness of their footprint on 586 acres of unspoiled wilderness in Chile's
remote lake district, Amilik's 10 luxury guest suites (with billowing platform beds) are linked
together by elevated paths. Guided treks take you through emerald forest, and holistic treatments
emphasize mystical Mapuche Indian therapies.
T+L TIP Dine in the forest under a canopy of stars, or in the floating
restaurant, where dishes are prepared with ingredients from the resort's organic farm. Puelo
Lake; 877/532-6737; www.amilik.com; doubles from $1,000, all-inclusive.
NAMIBIA Ntwala Island Lodge
It doesn't get much more out there than this: at the junction where four African countries
and two major rivers meet, a series of islands are linked by floating walkways. On one
of the islets stand the four spacious villas that make up the Ntwala Island Lodge. Each one
comes with its own plunge pool and private beach. Can you say bliss?
T+L TIP February through April is the rainy season, the best time of
year to soar over Victoria Falls, only a 30-minute charter flight from Ntwala. Kasane; 27-11/706-7207;
www.islandsinafrica.com; doubles from $610.
SRI LANKA The River House
Set above the mighty Madhu River, half a mile inland from the Indian Ocean, every suite of
the River House is a private compound—each has an oversize courtyard, and some have
private pools and outdoor showers. All are precisely decorated with Southeast Asian and Indian
antiques sourced by owner and local design guru Nayantara Fonseka.
T+L TIP River House boatmen lead long, lazy tours of the Madhu, where
some 100 species of birds as well as yard-long lizards share tiny islands with Buddhist monasteries
and cinnamon plantations. Balapitiya; 94-11/472-4363; www.taruvillas.com; doubles from $313.
CHINA Banyan Tree Ringha
More than 10,000 feet above sea level, in the ancient heartland of Tibet's Bon religion, 32
traditional farmhouses have been revamped into decadently rustic suites. Guest quarters are
decorated with vivid thangkas and woolen carpets in the rich rust and maroon hues that are
a local trademark, and each has an open hearth for cold winter nights as its centerpiece.
Private balconies offer breathtaking views of the Ringha River and distant snowcapped peaks.
T+L TIP After a day's trek in the wilderness, rejuvenate with a hot-stone
treatment at the spa. Jian Tang Town; 65-6/ 849-5800; www.banyantree.com; doubles from $280.
FIJI Navutu Stars
You arrive by seaplane at this barefoot resort on remote Yaqeta Island, swooping down over
shimmering jade-green waters and a palmy white beach. In addition to a beautiful shoreline,
great diving, and glamorous thatched bures— some with stunning soaking tubs carved into
the smooth white-concrete floor—this South Pacific paradise has an adventurous chef
who serves up Asian dishes with Mediterranean flair.
T+L TIP Have a picnic on a nearby deserted island with a box lunch of
grilled lobster and chilled white wine. 888/345-4669 or 679-6/640-553; www.navutustarsfiji.com;
doubles from $346, including breakfast and massage.
In the Countryside
At Michelin-starred chef Arnaud Daguin's Hegia inn, ancient wooden beams and timbers have
been lovingly restored without losing their rough-hewn appearance. The interior, however,
has been completely transformed into a minimalist lair. Guests take their aperitifs into the
open kitchen to watch Daguin create elaborate dinners based on whatever was fresh at the local
markets that day.
T+L TIP Meander a few minutes through the foothills of the Pyrenees to
Ursuya, a small mountain that has an ancient path built by the Romans. Hasparren; 33-5/59-29-67-86;
www.hegia.com; doubles from $825, meals included.
MOROCCO Dar Zuina
About an hour's drive south of Tangier, a rugged country road through rolling hills leads
to this magical compound. Within its pastel mud walls and open-air pavilions, six rustic suites
mix Moroccan, Indian, and Middle Eastern fabrics and furnishings, collected over the years
by French owner Jean-Yves Ardiller. The activities are few; most guests are content to sit
back and take in the bucolic beauty.
T+L TIP Spend a day on nearby M'ghrirt beach, one of the least-known
and most magnificent in Morocco. Asilah; 212-61/243-809; doubles from $130, choice of lunch
or dinner included.
CAMBODIA Hôtel de la Paix
Traditional Khmer and Art Deco designs come together at this oasis four miles from Angkor,
with 107 guest rooms set around a firelit inner courtyard. Rooms come with terrazzo soaking
tubs, handcrafted furniture, wall mountings by local artisans—and iPods loaded with
Cambodian music and tales.
T+L TIP Book one of the duplex suites, which have rooftop terraces. Siem
Reap; 855-63/966-000; www.hoteldelapaixangkor.com; doubles from $360.
Worth the Splurge
MEXICO La Casa Que Canta
At thatched-roof, terra-cotta El Ensueño, the new villa at La Casa Que Canta on Zihuatanejo
Bay, your four-bedroom retreat comes with a private cabana club on La Ropa Beach, blossoms
that spell out romantic messages on the bed, and the surf serenading through open windows.
T+L TIP At cocktail hour, ask your personal butler to deliver soursop-nectar
daiquiris and tapas to the plunge pool on your patio. Camino Escénico, Zihuatanejo;
888/523-5050; www.lacasaquecanta.com; $4,500, double, all-inclusive.
VERONA Byblos Art Hotel Villa Amistà
Set in the tower of a Baroque villa four miles
from Romeo and Juliet's hometown, Mendini's Island Suite is a high-design hideaway for lovers
of art, architecture, and romance. Revamped by design guru Alessandro Mendini, the suite has
mirrored metal chairs by Philippe Starck, art photographs by Begoña Montalbán,
and Mendini's sail-shaped bed.
T+L TIP Take breakfast in the tower's lounge (seats two) overlooking
the 1,000-year-old olive trees. 78 Via Cedrare, Corrubbio di Negarine; 39-045/685-5555; www.byblosarthotel.com;
suites from $528, double, breakfast included.
SOUTH AFRICA Phinda Getty Lodge
Tara Getty, grandson of John Paul Getty II, built this burnished sandstoneand-thatch lodge
on the 44,000-acre Phinda Private Game Reserve for himself and his wife, but when they're
"out of town," it's all yours. Comprised of four suites, a living room, a study, and a kitchen,
the lodge was conceived as a fantasy of Zulu artifacts, complemented with beanbag seating
by Chris Browne, the resident designer of Phinda's ace tour operator, CC Africa.
T+L TIP Visit the dry-sand forest to view suni and red duikers. KwaZulu-Natal;
27-11/809-4300; www.ccafrica.com; $4,420, double, all-inclusive.
MALDIVES Soneva Gili Resort & Spa
A boat is the only way to reach the Private Reserve at Soneva Gili, which stands on pillars
beside one of the Maldive archipelago's pristine coral reefs. Six thatched-roof buildings
include two master suites, a living pavilion, and a wine cellar. Splash into the turquoise
lagoon from a slide on the sundeck or paddle through your own personal water garden while
tropical fish glide by.
T+L TIP Try the couples massage in the Reserve's sequestered spa complex.
Lankanfushi; 949/640-1198; www.sixsenses.com; $10,000, double.
MONNICKENDAM, THE NETHERLANDS
This fishing enclave was lifted straight from a van Ruisdael landscape; it even has a tiled
church spire. It's 20 minutes from Amsterdam; its canals run beside cobblestoned lanes lined
with centuries-old smokehouses; and the bell orchestra in the 400-year-old belfry still rings
out every Saturday from 11 A.M. until noon, during the morning market.
T+L TIP Check into the Posthoorn, an inn where bespoke English furniture
sits beneath 18th-century wooden beams in the five guest rooms, and the restaurant (try the
roasted wild duckling with mashed parsley root) is drawing Demeulemeester-clad day-trippers.
43 Noordeinde; 31-29/ 965-4598; www.hotelposthoorn.com; doubles from $123, breakfast included.
Trace the secluded paths of the Route de Vignoble, pausing here to admire the architecture
of a church, there at a vineyard for a tasting. Rest your head at La Clé d'Or, an eight-room
hotel and restaurant in the heart of the thimble-sized village of Bursinel (population 350).
T+L TIP Visit the neighboring hamlets of Luins, Vinzel, and Bursins and
pop into a tiny auberge for a glass of the local Chasselas. 41-21/824-1106; www.cledor.ch;
doubles from $115, breakfast included.
With pine-scented air, a shoreline dappled with lemon trees and bougainvillea blooms, and
azure waters, the beauty that surrounds the sleepy Basilicata town of Maratea rivals that
of the Sorrento Peninsula. There's a small harbor, and built into a slope of 2,000-foot Mount
San Biagio is a pristine medieval center: a maze of cobblestoned streets, piazzas, and 44
T+L TIP Book one of the 29 rooms at La Locanda delle Donne Monache, an
18th-century convent that's been turned into an inn. The sparse rooms (wrought-iron beds,
vaulted ceilings) have views of the surrounding peaks and the town's tiled rooftops. 4 Via
Carlo Mazzei; 39-973/877-487; www.lalocandadelledonnemonache.it; doubles from $350.
Written by Richard Alleman, Jennifer V. Cole, Kimberly Fay, Anne Glusker, Granville Greene,
Jaime Gross, David Kaufman, Pim Kemasingki, Amy Marr, Heidi Sherman Mitchell, Shane Mitchell,
Anja Mutic, Clara Ogden, Attila Pelit, Christopher Petkanas, Sarah Maud Powell, Douglas Rogers,
Alex Salkever, Kate Sekules, Carol Wallace, Valerie Waterhouse, Freya Williams.