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Romantic City Getaways


ROMANTIC APPEAL La dolce vita gets updated as a clutch of hip bars and boutiques put their stamp on the baroque Eternal City.
WHERE TO STAY At the top of the Spanish Steps is the luxurious Hotel Hassler (6 Piazza Trinità dei Monti; 39-06/699-340; www.hotelhassler.com; doubles from $639), where the owner often greets guests at the door. Art Deco furnishings, a birdcage elevator, and old-fashioned bicycles have transformed the Hotel Locarno (22 Via della Penna; 39-06/361-0841; www.hotellocarno.com; doubles from $210, including breakfast) into a popular cinematic backdrop (directors love it here).
TABLE FOR TWO Heinz Beck, Rome's best chef, presides over La Pergola (Rome Cavalieri Hilton, 101 Via Alberto Cadlolo; 39-06/3509-2152; dinner for two $380). Try his spectacular fried zucchini flowers. Rome's fashion set adores the simple fare and outdoor terrace at the Santa Lucia (12 Largo Febo; 39-06/6880-2427; dinner for two $80).
SEXIEST SHOP Sweep down the red-carpeted staircase past evening frocks and dizzyingly high-heeled pumps at Valentino (13 Via dei Condotti; 39-06/679-5862).
STEAL A KISS Grab a spot on the edge of the Trevi Fountain while snacking on a chocolate-rum cone from Il Gelato di San Crispino (42 Via della Panetteria; 39-06/679-3924), a shop that's run by intellectual ice cream-making brothers Pasquale and Giuseppe Alongi.

New York

ROMANTIC APPEAL The Big Apple can't be beat for dramatic moments: shopping on Madison Avenue, strolling hand in hand through Central Park, or basking in the megawatt glow of Times Square.
WHERE TO STAY After sipping champagne on the terrace, ask your bellman at the Lowell (28 E. 63rd St.; 800/221-4444; www.lowellhotel.com; doubles from $575) to light a lavender-scented blaze in the wood-burning fireplace. The view of the park from the Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park (50 Central Park S.; 800/241-3333; www.ritzcarlton.com; doubles from $650) is feng shui for your heart.
TABLE FOR TWO The hottest toque in town is soon to be Joël Robuchon, who will open L'Atelier (57 E. 57th St.; 212/758-5700; dinner for two $250), an haute branch of his Paris restaurant, at the Four Seasons Hotel. When you want a low-key dining room with a high-concept menu, head downtown to Tocqueville (1 E. 15th St.; 212/647-1515; dinner for two $90) for poached Maine lobster and seasonal game.
SEXIEST SHOP Share the sweetness at Vosges Chocolates (132 Spring St.; 212/625-2929), which has blissful truffles.
STEAL A KISS Skip the overpriced carriage ride through Central Park and take a $1.25 spin on a hand-painted wooden horse at the 100-year-old carousel, at 64th Street near the middle of the park, close to the Dairy and Sheep Meadow.


ROMANTIC APPEAL While Renaissance art, history, and a stunning riverside location remain the city's main draws, a slew of hot hotel and bar openings has added a 21st-century buzz.
WHERE TO STAY For a steamy sojourn, check into the panoramic Brunelleschi or Signoria suites at the Hotel Savoy (7 Piazza della Repubblica; 39-055/27351; www.hotelsavoy.it; doubles from $589)—both come with private Turkish steam rooms. The 11 quirky chambers at Casa Howard Florence (18 Via della Scala; 39-066/992-4555; www.casahoward-florence.com; doubles from $196) have individual themes, like the Hidden Room, with erotic prints and a sunken bath.
TABLE FOR TWO Dine on squab with white-grape sauce at Florence's most romantic restaurant, Alle Murate (16R Via del Proconsolo; 39-055/240-618; dinner for two $86), in a 14th-century palazzo with spectacular frescoes. Book a table on the terrace overlooking the Arno at the Ferragamo-owned Borgo San Jacopo (Hotel Lungarno, 62R Borgo San Jacopo; 39-055/281-661; dinner for two $61), where chef Beatrice Segoni serves an aphrodisiac fish and prawn soup.
SEXIEST SHOP On a quaint hillside street, florist La Rosa Canina (1R Via dell'Erta Canina; 39-055/234-2449) displays offbeat arrangements, such as bouquets of wildflowers and berries.
STEAL A KISS Walk off dinner with an evening stroll to the tranquil hamlet of Bellosguardo, 20 minutes from the city center. Sit on the crumbling medieval walls to soak in the amazing views of the Duomo and the Church of San Miniato.


ROMANTIC APPEAL Vienna is a magical European wonderland, with its amorous frenzy of architecture and coffeehouses serving up Kaffe mit schlag and cherry strudel.
WHERE TO STAY Built in 1845, the 35-suite Palais Coburg (4 Coburgbastei; 43-1/518-180; www.coburg.at; suites from $566, including breakfast) appeals to all sorts of tastes, whether they run to rich silks and Empire furniture (in the Imperial suites) or Art Deco dark woods and silvery satins (in the City suites). Across from the opera house, Staatsoper, the traditional façade of Le Meridien Vienna (13 Opernring; 43-1/588-900; www.lemeridien.com; doubles from $437) belies the 249 high-tech rooms, decorated with playful colors and fabrics, within.
TABLE FOR TWO Overlooking the Grabe, the elegant pedestrian shopping street, Julius Meinl (19 Graben; 43-1/532-3334; dinner for two $158) serves dishes such as crayfish with grapes and cauliflower. Art-lovers and foodies are wild for Do & Co Albertina (1 Albertinaplatz; 43-1/532-9669; dinner for two $147), in the Albertina gallery. Dine on wienerschnitzel and sushi while gazing at the super-sized Egon Schiele prints.
SEXIEST SHOP Bring back a piece of prewar Vienna from Marcel Wang Antiques (25 Spiegelgasse; 43-1/512-4187), which carries jewelry and decorative objects from the Vienna Secessionist and Jugendstil eras.
STEAL A KISS Watch the twinkling lights from your luxury cabin on the Giant Ferris Wheel (90 Prater; 43-1/729-5430; $120 for the first half hour) in the Prater amusement park.


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