By Evie Carrick
February 01, 2020
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If Valentine’s Day has never meant more than a nice dinner or a box of chocolates, it’s time to up your expectations. That’s because not only do you deserve more — but this year, Valentine’s Day falls on the Friday before Presidents’ Day weekend. So if you have Monday off for Presidents’ Day — and an extra day of PTO waiting to be used — you could cobble together a solid four-day, Champagne-filled weekend.

And what could be better than an over-the-top experience with your significant other, family, or favorite single pal? This Valentine’s Day we challenge you to forget about traditional — and dare we say, boring — gifts and splurge on an experience you’ll never forget. Not only are you guaranteed to have more fun, but according to a 2020 survey by the vacation rental company Vacasa, over 70 percent of those surveyed — from Baby Boomers to the Gen Z crowd — said they prefer unique experiences over material gifts for Valentine’s Day.

That means it’s time to get planning. To help you out, we’ve pulled some of the most over-the-top Valentine’s Day experiences we could find.

Hollywood Romance in Mexico — Elizabeth Taylor Style

Courtesy of Casa Kimberly

When it comes to old Hollywood romance, arguably no one did it better than Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. Today, Casa Kimberly, a nine-suite property built from the lovebirds’ former home in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, is offering that old Hollywood romance with the best in modern amenities.

You’ll travel in one of PrivateFly’s on-demand private jets, where you can relax in your own private cabin and enjoy Champagne and caviar. In Mexico, you’ll be transported to the property in a 1960s classic car or limo, before checking in to the stunning Elizabeth Taylor Suite — a 2,500-square-foot sanctuary with a private terrace, pool, Jacuzzi, and Elizabeth’s pink marble, heart-shaped bathtub.

Courtesy of Casa Kimberly

The romantic-filled package also includes a private sunset sail, yoga on the terrace, a spa treatment for two, and a private mariachi serenade on the terrace with dinner in suite.

Write a Love Message in the Snow, Then View It by helicopter

Courtesy of Grand Geneva Resort & Spa

When you have something important to say — a proposal, a statement of love, or some big news — you’ll want to make sure you say it in the right way. To give you a helping hand, the Grand Geneva Resort & Spa in Wisconsin has announced their Written in Snow Valentine’s Day Package. They’ll write a message up to 15 characters long in the snow on the resort’s heart-shaped pond, then take you and your loved one in a helicopter ride so you can view your message from the sky.

In addition to helping with your grand Valentine’s Day gesture, the package includes a keepsake photo of your message, a private winter photo shoot on the grounds, a five-course dinner prepared by the resort's award-winning culinary team, breakfast in bed, and stay in the luxurious Grand Suite.

Art, Design, and Love in Barcelona

Courtesy of Almanac

With a location near Passeig de Gràcia, the city’s main shopping boulevard, and La Sagrada Familia — Almanac Barcelona is the perfect home base to explore the best of Barcelona. That is, if you ever want to leave.

The property’s year-round rooftop bar has comfy lounges and knit blankets, and their special Valentine's Day package includes dinner for two at the new, on-site VIRENS restaurant. When you’re not busy enjoying the property or exploring the city on your own, you can visit the Picasso Museum (tickets included), book a couple’s spa treatment, or take a walking tour of the Gothic Quarter, the former stomping grounds of literary legends like Ernest Hemingway and George Orwell.

Rosé All Day With Your Favorite Gal Pal

Courtesy of The Restoration Hotel

Grab your favorite gal pal and head to The Restoration Hotel in Charleston, South Carolina for a one-of-a-kind Galentine’s Day weekend. With a location on the city’s iconic King Street, there’s no shortage of galleries and boutiques to explore, but first you’ll want to sit back and enjoy your complimentary bottle of sparkling rosé and book your in-suite facial or massage.

The package also includes a candle making class for two at Candlefish, and a $50 gift card for The Mercantile — the property’s on-site boutique and gallery. When you have downtime, hop on one of the property’s complimentary bikes and explore the city or book a beach yoga class.

Dine on Libido-boosting Dishes in a Designer Dress

Courtesy of Mondrian South Beach

You’ll get all the Valentine’s basics when you book the Mondrian South Beach’s Valentine’s Day package — a bed covered with rose petals, heart-shaped balloons, chocolate-covered strawberries, and Champagne. But this package takes romance to the next level with a five-course candlelit dinner in the hotel’s penthouse, with views of the bay and beach. But before you head to dinner, enjoy a couple’s massage and peruse the selection of designer dresses on Lady JetSet, where ladies can rent a designer dress from luxe labels like Valentino, Dolce & Gabbana, and Carolina Herrera.

Over the Valentine’s Day weekend the hotel is also offering an aphrodisiac room service menu to boost your libido. Lovers can indulge in oysters, truffle guacamole, chicken or salmon with a honey ginger glaze, and chocolate lavender cake. Both the package and aphrodisiac menu is available upon request and based on availability.

Valentine’s Day Fun for the Whole Family — at a Swiss Palace

Courtesy of Gstaad Palace

When you’re traveling with your family, a little extra care and a warm, welcoming touch goes a long way. So forget about that chain hotel and book a privately run property with a rich family history. The Gstaad Palace in southwestern Switzerland opened its doors in 1913 and has been owned by the Scherz family for three generations. The fairy-tale palace is not only beautiful, but it’s a five-star property with panoramic views of the Bernese Oberland.

Courtesy of Gstaad Palace

When not marveling at the mountains or the palace, your kids can test their skills at the hotel’s new outdoor winter complex — with a 60-meter zip line over an Olympic pool, a climbing wall, and archery grounds. On Valentine’s Day the entire family can experience a fancy gala dinner with a sparkling drinks reception. For an authentic Swiss experience, the underground La Fromagerie serves up a legendary Champagne and truffle fondue.

Shred Your Ex at This Anti-valentine's Day Celebration

Courtesy of Moxy Chelsea

Not every Valentine’s Day is full of romance — and some are just plain painful. For those who are recovering from a break-up, a single’s soiree may be in order. Moxy Chelsea’s Anti-Valentine’s Day package includes access to an exclusive Valentine’s Day game night in Bar Feroce where you can pin a photo of your ex on the dart board and play a game of “shred your ex” in exchange for a shot at the bar.

Then, for a little self-love, gift yourself to an underwear flower arrangement from the Moxy-hosted Hanky Panky flower cart. Hotel guests get a special discount on the arrangement of Valentine’s Day inspired thongs.

Visit the Elaborate Estate of a French Perfumer From a Luxe Marrakech Hotel

Courtesy of Royal Mansour

There is nothing quite as romantic as a long weekend in Marrakech, Morocco with your Valentine. The Romance Package at the Royal Mansour includes all the basics — a welcome amenity, romantic dinner for two, and daily breakfast — and then ups the stakes with an authentic Moroccan hammam followed by spa treatments.

Courtesy of Royal Mansour

But the real treat is the exclusive Royal Mansour guest access to the Marrakech home of Serge Lutens, an acclaimed French perfumer. Guests can book a trip to Lutens’ 2.5-acre retreat, which took decades of careful design and craftsmanship to finish. And getting there is half the fun — the tour kicks off with a ride through the medina in a vintage motorcycle sidecar.

Hand-picked Lingerie and a Sunset Cruise in the Florida Keys

Courtesy of The Gates Hotel

Two Key West properties — The Gates Hotel Key West and 24 North Hotel — are offering a romantic night on the water for Valentine’s Day. Nosh on a prepared wine and cheese basket while taking in the sunset by sailboat, then settle in with a private candlelit dinner and an outdoor movie.

Courtesy of 24 North Hotel

After dessert — key lime pie, of course — you’ll be welcomed back to your room with a bottle of Champagne, a rose petal bath, and hand-picked lingerie.