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Contest: Win a Trip to Santa Barbara with Vacationist.com

Win a Trip to Santa Barbara

Missed out on a romantic getaway this past Valentine’s Day? T+L’s flash-sale site, Vacationist, will help you make up for it. From now until March 10th, Vacationist is pairing up with experts Snooth and Food & Wine magazine to bring you a seriously romantic prize: a trip for two to Santa Barbara Wine Country. Just sign up for Vacationist and you'll be entered to win.

The Prize: Round-trip airfare for you and your plus one, three nights cozying up to the fireplace in a premier bungalow suite at the recently remodeled El Encanto Hotel, complimentary breakfast, VIP winery tours, and airport transfers. 

Sound like a California dream? Join Vacationist (it's free!) and enter now for your chance to win.

Photo Courtesy of El Encanto.

Baby, Please Don’t Go: Man Calls in Fake Bomb Threat to Ground Girlfriend’s Plane

airplane

Admit it, if this were part of a movie, it might be kinda awesome: Lovers have a fight just as the girl is about to leave town, perhaps for good. The guy must stop her from leaving—he sprints through the airport, of course—and then tries one last desperate move: Calling in a bomb threat so that her plane has to be evacuated. Girl de-planes, boyfriend apologizes. "You’re crazy!" she tells him. "Crazy about you," he replies. They kiss, music swells, credits roll.

We cannot vouch for any reconciliation, but a 31-year-old Chinese man reportedly did indeed call in a fake bomb threat to his girlfriend's flight to Shenzhen, because they had had an argument before she left. Her plane had actually already gotten some distance from Hefei Luogang International Airport and had to make an emergency landing at Nanchang Changbei. We're guessing that ruined their cinematic reunion. Perhaps even more disturbing, though, is that China has apparently endured a number of fake bomb threats lately: two within one week during fall 2012, and one last spring involving an 18-year-old man imitating the rules of a game; in fall 2011, a 28-year-old woman apparently even called one in on her own China United Airlines flight, to "make her husband worry."

If this trend continues, nervous fliers everywhere will have their own reasons to worry.

Photo by iStockphoto

Tech Thursday: Foursquare Launches Best of Lists

romantic cities

According to Foursquare, your feelings about Valentine’s Day may be totally dependent on where you live. As part of a new series of “Best of” lists, the social media company has crunched its data to find America’s most—and least—romantic cities, based on the number of check-ins to date-friendly spots. The results may not surprise you. Topping the list for most romantic is San Francisco, with its postcard-ready bay views and artisan patisseries, followed by New Orleans and New York City. But survey says: if you live in Trenton, NJ, or Akron, OH, don’t count on dazzling your date with a night on the town. For those living in America’s least romantic cities, we recommend homemade sweets and champagne cocktails.

Valentines or Galentines, we’re digging the new Foursquare feature—and with over 30 “Best of” lists for different US cities, it’s our new destination guide on the go. Browse the lists online before you fly, and save any hotspots to your profile: They’ll be waiting for you as soon as your plane touches down.

Nikki Ekstein is an Editorial Assistant at Travel + Leisure and part of the Trip Doctor news team. Find her at on Twitter at @nikkiekstein.

V-Day Suites Come Dressed in 27,000 Flowers

flower suite

How many flowers does it take to say I love you? Renaissance Hotels thinks 27,000 should do the trick. That’s the number of multicolored blossoms bedecking the $15,000-a-night Valentine’s Day suites, which are available for the remainder of February at any of their worldwide properties. Upon booking, almost every inch of a room's interior becomes awash in a mélange of brightly-hued petals, from the bed to the walls to the nightstand.

If you can’t stomach parting with enough cash to buy a new car for a one-night stay, Renaissance is offering romance packages for the big weekend at a more palatable rate ($299.) Breakfast, cocktails, and candles are included, along with a designer floral arrangement. A conventional bouquet of roses will just have to suffice. 

Nate Storey is an editorial assistant at Travel + Leisure.

Photo courtesy of Renaissance Hotels

V-Day Chemistry at the Four Seasons Los Angeles

Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills

We always like to hear about spa treatments that are a little different, like reiki on horseback, or getting tapped with wooden pegs. The spa at the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills offers some interesting treatments, too, like a Biomeditation Therapy meant to remove energy blockages. And for Valentine's Day, they're introducing another.

Their couples' Spellbound Massage, available only February 14–17, uses products containing pheromones—those naturally occurring chemicals that are elemental in occurrences of natural "chemistry."

It's $175–$250 for the 60- or 90-minute versions; on V-Day itself you and your partner can even opt to have the treatment in a "Valentine Suite" decked out with (what else?) candles, rose petals, soft music, and chocolate truffles.

From the spa it's just a few steps to the hotel's fantastic restaurant, Culina, Modern Italian for the special four-course menu ($85 per person) featuring oysters and lobster. (Look for Larry Flint—he's a regular). And from there, of course, you're just steps away from the spacious rooms upstairs overlooking the City of Angels.

Photos courtesy of Four Seasons Los Angeles

T+L Twitter Chat Tomorrow: Romance + Travel

romance

Chocolate and roses may be Valentine’s Day staples, but travelers know there’s nothing more romantic than a trip with the one you love—whether you're on a gondola in Venice, a pink-sand beach in Bermuda, or the plains of the Serengeti. Our panel of travel, honeymoon and wedding experts will discuss the best destinations, hotels, and booking strategies for a romantic trip, whether it's on Valentine's Day or in the future. Let them help you figure out where Cupid's arrow will strike you!

The tweet-up will take place Wednesday, February 13th, from 2–3 p.m. EDT.

The Hosts
Irene Edwards, Travel + Leisure special projects editor (@irenenewyork)

Kate Appleton, Travel + Leisure senior digital editor (@k_appleton)

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Top 10 Most Romantic Spots in Barcelona

Barcelona

If Barcelona were a boyfriend, he’d be the guy who whisks you away on his motorcycle for date night, buys you flowers from the man selling them on the street, wines and dines you at a dimly lit bar, then kisses you effortlessly as he drops you off at the end of the night.

That is to say, Barcelona is very easy to fall in love with.

Go for the architecture and gastronomy, but stay for the romance.

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Just Back: San Francisco and Wine Country

201210-b-san-francisco-breakfastjpg

Earlier this year, I took a weeklong anniversary trip to San Francisco, Napa, and Sonoma with my husband, Lee, an academic who gets hives at the thought of anything luxurious. Keeping him comfortable meant mixing extraordinary meals with unexpected finds and cheap local favorites. Here’s the best of our high-low itinerary that kept both of us satisfied.

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Sleep Under the Stars in NYC

20120606_akablogjpgOpportunities to sleep outside in NYC, safely removed from traffic and filth, are few: The Bronx Zoo offers summer overnight family safaris with a sea lion wake-up call. On select summer nights, families can sleep out in the city parks, watched over by rangers. But for the most part, unless you drag a mattress onto your fire escape like the Kramdens, you’ll probably be sleeping inside.

Except if you go five-star. AKA Central Park, a luxury residence/hotel combo, is offering a night out on the 1,000-square-foot wrap-around terrace of its 17th-floor penthouse suite. You’ll get cocktails, s’mores (ingredients from Jacques Torres) to toast in front of the fireplace, champagne, a Nook e-reader loaded with campfire stories, a telescope, a TV (really?), and a bed under the stars.

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Video: GloboMaestro Goes to The Frick


It's easy to get swept away by early 20th-century opulence. In our last installment in Valentine’s Day video series with GloboMaestro, Michael Bordenick, the in-the-know concierge at The Surrey hotel, takes us to one of New York City’s most intimate, and dazzling, museums in town—The Frick Collection. The former 18th-century French-style mansion home-turned-museum on the Upper East Side is home to countless European masterworks, sumptuous décor, and even a fun little secret in the basement. Watch and join Michael as he takes you behind the scenes of the former titan of industry’s residence. If nothing else, it will make you fall in love with Gotham’s Gilded Age. 


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