Villa d'Este

All you need is love—these swoon-worthy hotels take care of the rest.

No. 8 (tie) Villa d’Este, Cernobbio, Italy

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Perhaps the only thing more irresistible than George Clooney is his adopted home of Lake Como, Italy. It’s ringed with a procession of ornate villas, with the majestic Alps as backdrop. Built in 1568, this grande dame has romanced couples from Clark Gable and Carole Lombard to Ava Gardner and Frank Sinatra (with Brangelina thrown in for good measure). It could be the heady scent of camellias, jasmine, and magnolias as you stroll past terraced water gardens, 500-year-old plane trees, and topiary. Or the moonlight glowing on the water as you sip Prosecco on your terrace. Or a slow dance as a jazz band plays lakeside each night beneath the stars. The old dame has taught couples a thing or two about romance in her near half-century on these shores.

World’s Most Romantic Hotels

No. 8 (tie) Villa d’Este, Cernobbio, Italy

Perhaps the only thing more irresistible than George Clooney is his adopted home of Lake Como, Italy. It’s ringed with a procession of ornate villas, with the majestic Alps as backdrop. Built in 1568, this grande dame has romanced couples from Clark Gable and Carole Lombard to Ava Gardner and Frank Sinatra (with Brangelina thrown in for good measure). It could be the heady scent of camellias, jasmine, and magnolias as you stroll past terraced water gardens, 500-year-old plane trees, and topiary. Or the moonlight glowing on the water as you sip Prosecco on your terrace. Or a slow dance as a jazz band plays lakeside each night beneath the stars. The old dame has taught couples a thing or two about romance in her near half-century on these shores.

Villa d'Este

World’s Most Romantic Hotels

A good hotel, much like a good relationship, has that perfect alchemy of comfort and excitement, intrigue and indulgence. The trick is in finding your match.

Fancy a heart-pounding hike followed by a hot mud bath? California’s Calistoga Ranch may be your hotel soul mate. If frozen margaritas in a beachfront hammock are more your thing, we’d like to set you up with the Four Seasons Punta Mita in Mexico. Virginia’s Inn at Little Washington, meanwhile, sets the mood nightly with its award-winning tasting menus and wine pairings.

These are a few of the top-ranking hotels for romance, as chosen by Travel + Leisure readers in our annual World’s Best Awards survey. No. 1 on the list: Big Sur’s Post Ranch Inn, where rooms appear to float above the forest floor and alfresco hot pools seem to flow into the wild Pacific. Other hotels that seduced readers provide over-the-top pampering. At Tuscany’s Castello di Casole, for instance, couples get massages in a former wine cellar and cozy up for classic films beneath the stars at an on-site amphitheater.

Italy, not surprisingly, has a strong showing, as do Hawaii, California, and Mexico, with their irresistibly simple pleasures of sun, sand, and frozen drinks. Yet T+L readers also fell for hotels in some less-expected destinations like Tennessee—where the rambling Blackberry Farm delivers candlelit barn dinners and breakfast in bed—and Budapest, where you can channel Art Nouveau glamour at a gorgeously restored property on the Danube.

And there’s no need to commit to just one enchanting hotel, so go ahead and indulge your wanderlust this winter with your favorite travel companion. These hotels are heating things up.

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