50 Best Romantic Getaways

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Courtesy of Riad Laaroussa

From wine-country retreats to Balinese beach idylls, 50 enchanting vacations to swoon over.

Fez, Morocco

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Desert Escape Though often overshadowed by Marrakesh, its fashionable neighbor to the south, this medieval city is the real soul of Morocco. And with new boutique hotels opening in restored riads and dars, Fez is quietly coming into its own. Housed in a 17th-century palace, Riad Laaroussa (doubles from $194, including breakfast) has seven suites with mosaic floors and antique Fassi furniture, all looking out on an orange-tree–shaded courtyard. At Dar Roumana (doubles from $109), a century-old manse on a hillside, you can take Moroccan cooking lessons. The restaurant at Riad Ibn Battouta (dinner for two $88) serves traditional dishes, such as lamb tagine, on a glass-roofed marble patio. Within the city’s crumbling walls, 30,000 artisans fill the streets, brandishing everything from exquisite tiles to handworked leather goods. For a traditional Berber rug, head to Coin Berbère. At the newly opened Arganza, you’ll find shelves of argan oil—derived from a native tree—which is known as “Moroccan liquid gold” for its ability to diminish dry skin and wrinkles.

 

 

50 Best Romantic Getaways

 

 

50 Best Romantic Getaways

Fez, Morocco

Desert Escape Though often overshadowed by Marrakesh, its fashionable neighbor to the south, this medieval city is the real soul of Morocco. And with new boutique hotels opening in restored riads and dars, Fez is quietly coming into its own. Housed in a 17th-century palace, Riad Laaroussa (doubles from $194, including breakfast) has seven suites with mosaic floors and antique Fassi furniture, all looking out on an orange-tree–shaded courtyard. At Dar Roumana (doubles from $109), a century-old manse on a hillside, you can take Moroccan cooking lessons. The restaurant at Riad Ibn Battouta (dinner for two $88) serves traditional dishes, such as lamb tagine, on a glass-roofed marble patio. Within the city’s crumbling walls, 30,000 artisans fill the streets, brandishing everything from exquisite tiles to handworked leather goods. For a traditional Berber rug, head to Coin Berbère. At the newly opened Arganza, you’ll find shelves of argan oil—derived from a native tree—which is known as “Moroccan liquid gold” for its ability to diminish dry skin and wrinkles.

 

 

50 Best Romantic Getaways

 

 

Courtesy of Riad Laaroussa

50 Best Romantic Getaways

If love is a many-splendored thing—a multifaceted, kaleidoscopic experience that’s different for every couple—then so is the romantic vacation. There are almost as many definitions for a “great couples’ getaway” as there are destinations to travel to.

Still, certain trips are almost guaranteed to conjure ideas of togetherness. We’ve seen the images countless times—of pairs strolling together along empty, sugary beaches; snuggling in front of fireplaces at mountaintop chalets; wandering hand-in-hand through foreign, cobblestoned streets—yet they manage to retain their magic. There are simply some places, some kinds of adventures, that make us want to fall in love.

Almost everyone agrees, for example, that there’s a certain romance to being near the ocean. And there are plenty of places to make those magical sunset beach strolls happen—like the South Pacific island of Bora Bora, where resorts have thatch-roofed bungalows set on stilts over crystal-blue lagoons, and where the powdery sand stretches for miles. Even for couples who worry about sunburn or who hate the feel of sand between their toes, smelling the salt air and watching seabirds dive from the deck of a tiny ferryboat—like on the ride across Puget Sound to Whidbey Island, just off the coast of Washington state—can be pretty dreamy.

It’s also hard not to feel starry-eyed among the rolling hills and fragrant vines of wine country. California’s Napa Valley, for instance, is a honeymoon favorite for some very real reasons—intimate boutique hotels, superb French restaurants, and world-class Cabernets among them. Oenophiles who prefer to get a little more off the beaten track can find just as much charm in Chile’s Colchagua Valley, where wineries that turn out robust Merlot, Carmenère, and Malbec abut blossom-covered haciendas.

Even big cities, where we take our vacations surrounded by thousands of other people, can offer some surprisingly romantic retreats. Sharing a Cognac in a historic, wood-paneled New York City bar while gazing over Central Park, for instance, or strolling through the snowy streets of St. Petersburg, past the imperial Russian Winter Palace, has inspired amorous thoughts in plenty of couples (and just as many movie directors).

So, take your pick: metropolis or sleepy mountain village? Sun or snow? Desert sand or beach sand?All of them can be enchantingly romantic.

Just make sure you take the right person with you.

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