Shandon 1884, AUSTRALIA Once guests pass through the imposing gates of this Italianate mansion they leave their cares behind. With no televisions or telephones and just four rooms (plus the one-bedroom Stables apartment), the focus at Shandon is on Slow Food (local shellfish with Yarra Valley salmon roe and celery nage, for example), excellent wines (more than 450 from around the world), and absolute calm—though it's just a quarter of an hour from downtown Melbourne.
Doubles from $125; 361 Beaconsfield Parade, St. Kilda, Victoria; 61-3/9534-0080; www.shandon1884.com.au
Remove yourself from daily distractions and succumb to expert hands. At a luxury spa, there's time to focus on simple pleasures—and on each other
Four Seasons Resort, SANTA BARBARA Promise your love a rose garden (or just a stroll through one) in the historic Spanish colonial-style resort's newly landscaped grounds. Pledge your passion among Italian marble benches, wall fountains, and tree orchids. Or keep it intimate and sign up for a soothing treatment in one of the lavish new spa suites with a fireplace, oversized whirlpool, paired massage tables, and terrace above the Pacific. Either way, you'll be California dreaming.
Doubles from $475; 1260 Channel Dr.; 800/819-5053 or 805/969-2261; www.fourseasons.com
Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea, HAWAII A favored hideout for Hollywood types in search of a Polynesian interlude, the 380-room resort caters to every pleasurable whim. Stroll in a traditional Hawaiian healing garden to the recently expanded spa, where you can soothe sunned skin with an avocado mask in a treatment room for two. Then make your way to a bedroom suite decorated with tropical accents, facing the Pacific or the dramatic Haleakala volcano.
Doubles from $335; 3900 Wailea Alanui Dr., Maui 800/334-6284 or 808/874-8000 www.fourseasons.com
Hotel & Spa Rosa Alpina, ITALY Though snow streaks the craggy contours of the surrounding Dolomite Alps until midsummer, no one feels the cold at this chic spa hotel. The spare, mountain lodge-style rooms have beeswaxed wood furniture, pale marble and antique wood floors, and creamy linens; the recently refurbished St. Hubertus restaurant serves dinner in a candlelit, wood-paneled room with a blazing log fire. To warm things up further, have a lavender- or rosemary-infused sauna followed by a milk or rose-petal bath for two.
Doubles from $350; San Cassiano, Alta Badia, Alto Adige; 39-0471/849-500; www.rosalpina.it
Pangkor Laut Spa Village, MALAYSIA Once you settle into your stilt-raised suite with picture windows facing the Strait of Malacca, consult an Ayurvedic or Chinese physician for a special "prescription"—such as the Navarakizhi, a massage using wrapped bundles of rice, or Gu Fang Xun Shen, a technique in which herbs are used to smoke negative energy out of the body. The resort, designed by American spa guru Sylvia Sepielli, isn't just about individual healing. Couples can book the open-air pavilion and spend quiet time practicing asanas or soaking in the whirlpool.
Spa villas from $460; Perak, Malaysia; 877/851-3144; www.pangkorlautresort.com
Swissôtel, ECUADOR Quito's most stylish hotel lures those craving urban coddling before or after a South American adventure (the equatorial city is a gateway to the Galápagos). Amrita, an eternal-youth elixir referred to in ancient Sanskrit writings, is the wishful eponym of the hotel's new spa. Stay young forever with a rejuvenating thermal mineral body mask or cellular-repair facial.
Doubles from $140; 800/637-9477 or 593-2/256-7600; www.swissotel.com