Most Romantic Hotel Fireplaces
After a day out in the snowy Adirondacks, you pull up two chairs and a bottle of Cognac by the crackling fireplace at New York’s Whiteface Lodge, where a golden glow suffuses the dining room.
If you’ve been stuck in the winter doldrums, nothing will change your outlook on the season faster than a dose of heartwarming fireside romance—and that doesn’t require booking a trip some place frigid. We’ve road-tested hotel fireplaces the world over, from the California coastline to Chile’s starkly beautiful Atacama Desert, and added irresistible newcomers in Newfoundland, Australia, and Argentina. The most bewitching include historic hearths whose stones could tell a thousand stories as well as contemporary fireplaces in urban boutique hotels.
Some hotels treat guests to a gas fireplace in the privacy of your room, while others use a roaring fire to make a bold design statement at the center of the lobby or restaurant. Then there’s the hip, art-filled Hotel Matilda in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. It’s most famous for the spa, which sports its own apothecary—and its own fireplace.
“The fireplace area in the lounge is a favorite spot for couples, who enjoy quiet, private time together before and after a couples’ massage or a hammam experience for two,” says Alondra Saldarriaga, manager of Spa Matilda. “The ambience is so intimate and romantic, with many candles burning, that one guest proposed to his girlfriend there.” Her answer? Sí, of course.
The love stories date back centuries at Ireland’s Ashford Castle, which was once the Guinness family estate. “The Ingelnook wooden fireplace surround has two Irish mythology figures carved into the wood,” explains Paula Carroll, Ashford’s director of sales and marketing. “These two figures are Diarmuid and Grainne, who were involved in a love triangle with Fionn MacCumhaill.” The imposing fireplace has inspired modern-day lovers—and also witnessed many proposals.
Whether your idea of the perfect fireside tryst involves snowy slopes or the African savanna, there’s just something about snuggling up with your loved one while gazing into the flames and nursing hot chocolate—or something a wee bit stronger—that sets the mood, on Valentine’s Day and every day.
Read on for the hotel fireplaces that are heating things up.
Calistoga Ranch, CA
This Napa Valley gem is a favorite among wine-country-touring lovebirds. Each of the 48 freestanding guest lodges centers around a double-sided, indoor-outdoor fireplace. That means you can snuggle from the plush comfort of the lounge room on one side to the private outdoor terrace on the other, below the canopy of stars and breathing in that pine-scented Napa air.
Tierra Atacama, Chile
The activities at this high-design lodge in Chile’s Atacama Desert include exploring vast salt flats and bubbling geyser fields, climbing volcanoes, and hiking through some of the world’s most arresting and otherworldly terrain. So it’s thrilling to come home to a convivial lounge area where the waiters mix perfect pisco sours and there’s always a fire burning in the artful modern hearth—a long stone bench on which flaming twigs are piled. Even more gratifying: sitting fireside or on the terrace (which has its own fire pits) and watching the sun set behind the brooding Licancabur Volcano.
XV Beacon, MA
One of Boston’s hippest hotels, this boutique player in Beacon Hill sports modern gas fireplaces with brushed stainless steel in every room, along with other top-shelf luxuries like cashmere throws, private bars stocked with premium spirits, and Italian marble bathrooms with rain showers. Reluctant to leave the comforts of your room? The hotel can arrange an in-room massage fireside.
Cottar’s Camp, Kenya
There’s nothing quite like a sundowner overlooking the savanna at dusk, as the African wilderness comes to life. That treat comes daily along with guided game drives at this lovely lodge at the edge of Kenya’s legendary Masai Mara game reserve. The camp meticulously re-creates the romance of the 1920s safari experience, down to individual tents filled with turn-of-the-century antique furnishings and liveried waiting staff. Four family-size tents come with crackling log fireplaces in the lounge area, an idyllic spot to gather for story swapping as night closes in on the Mara.
Hotel Matilda, Mexico
A relative newcomer to the artsy Spanish Colonial town of San Miguel de Allende, this boutique hotel is already renowned for its avant-garde contemporary art collection and a groundbreaking spa—guests can have locally sourced ingredients blended into customized formulas for treatments. The fireplace in the tranquil relaxation area is a favored spot for guests to bliss out before or after a couples massage or soak in the hammam.
Whiteface Lodge, NY
Inspired by the Adirondacks Great Camps of the 1920s that served as refuges for the Gilded Era titans of industry, this upscale lodge on Lake Placid is the perfect marriage of grandeur and coziness. A slew of winter wonderland activities—from ice skating on the resort’s own rink to cross-country skiing—become even more appealing when a roaring log fireplace (presided over by a solemn stuffed stag head) in the Kanu restaurant beckons. There are also nightly bonfires with s’mores on the grand patio, which is heated in winter.
The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe, CA
The fabulous circular fireplace at this Lake Tahoe mountain hideaway is surrounded by Adirondack-style lounge chairs—so you and your paramour can lay back and gaze into the flames to your heart’s content, although you’d be forgiven if your gaze is drawn outward to the sweeping views over the Northstar slopes. Feeling chilly? Head indoors to the Manzanita, the French-inspired Californian restaurant that also sports a crackling fireplace.
When the desert chill descends on Canyon Point in the cooler season, the fireplaces in each of these 34 spectacular low-slung suites provide welcome warmth, but romantics will appreciate the feature any time of year. Concertina glass doors open from the sitting area to a lounge in which that central fireplace is flanked by cushioned window seats that give you a front-row view of the hauntingly beautiful landscape—all mesas, mountain ridges, and vast desert.
Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel, Peru
Whitewashed pueblo casitas cluster together in a cloud forest at the foot of Machu Picchu. After an expedition to the ruins, cuddle up in a soft alpaca blanket and gaze into the crackling fire—there’s one in every room, as well as in the lobby—before dining on contemporary Andean cuisine in the restaurant, with its views of the Vilcanota River. For extra privacy, book a hilltop casita.
Post Ranch Inn, CA
This supremely romantic Big Sur institution has everything a love-struck pair could ask for: a cliff-top setting high above the Pacific Ocean; beautifully designed rooms you never want to leave; and thoughtful touches like complimentary mini-bars stocked with wine and gourmet Californian treats. All of the 39 rooms (some set into the cliff, others in sweet treehouses) feature cozy wood fireplaces, as does the outstanding Sierra Mar restaurant and the award-winning spa.
Uma by Como, Bhutan
Traditional Bhutanese sensibility and minimalist modern design come together at this luxurious mountain resort. As the cool Himalayan evening descends, snag a table for two at Bhukari restaurant—named for the Bhutanese-style fireplace at its center—then linger over drinks in the butler-serviced open-air courtyard, with warm light from the fire pit illuminating the Paro Valley spread out below.
La Posada de Santa Fe Resort & Spa, NM
Rooms here embrace the Southwest, from works by local artists to the traditional kiva fireplaces—adobe beehive-style, with a distinct arched firebox door. The resort offers other warming inducements as well, such as “Handcrafted Winter Warmers” cocktails at the Staab House bar and Mexican Chocolate Chili Wrap treatments at the spa.
The Greenbrier, WV
This landmark hotel on the National Historic register has been wooing guests to White Sulphur Springs since 1778. Its tranquil, wooded setting in the Allegheny Mountains and features like grand staircases and the working antique fireplace in the Victorian Writing Room seem pitched at romantics. No surprise that the hotel witnesses many proposals and weddings.
The Chatwal, NY
Once a private club designed for New York City’s theater royalty, this legendary gathering place is now enjoying a renaissance as a luxury hotel. Nods to the building’s gilded Art Deco past abound, from guest room closets resembling vintage luggage to oak-paneled walls. But the pièce de résistance is surely the Stanford White limestone fireplace—gifted by the architect to his fellow club members—that holds pride of place in Geoffrey Zakarian’s Lambs Club restaurant, where today media movers and shakers gather to power-lunch.
Ashford Castle, Ireland
The Emerald Isle specializes in windswept romance, and Ashford Castle—which dates back to 1228 and was once owned by the Guinness family—taps right into that appeal. The present-day luxury hotel offers endless outdoorsy diversions, including kayaking, golf, and falconry. We’re more partial to indoor activities, though, especially when they involve sipping a pint by one of the castle’s magnificent fireplaces, located in the Ingelnook Bar and Prince of Wales Bar.
Forty 1° North, RI
While Newport often brings to mind summer and its yacht season, the town is also a cozy winter retreat—especially if you’re holing up at hip Forty 1° North. Each guest room gets its own gas fireplace surrounded by custom marble. There’s a public fireplace in the hotel’s library, too, but nothing beats staying in: settle into one of the plush, oversize chairs, mix up a batch of cocktails from the room’s large wet bar, order a picnic from the 24-hour in-room dining menu, and let the romantic mood sail you away.
Ritz-Carlton Georgetown, Washington, D.C.
The heat is on at this Georgetown hotel, a former industrial-era incinerator that pays homage to the building’s unusual history with its names: Degrees (the bistro/bar) and Chimney Stack, Fahrenheit, and Brickyard (meeting rooms). The plush digs naturally feature a wood-burning fireplace, located in the Living Room Lounge, which retains echoes of its past—red-brick walls, wide-plank floorboards, and mullioned windows—while hosting butler-passed s’mores every evening fireside.
Château de Bagnols, France
This grand estate in the Beaujolais countryside near Lyon, built in the 13th century and restored by Lady Hamlyn in the 1980s, is a romantic escape par excellence. At the heart of the landmark château—surrounded by vineyards and approached via an authentic drawbridge—awaits the magnificent Salles des Gardes dining room, site of France’s largest Gothic fireplace. The coat of arms above the hearth marks the royal visit of Charles VIII in 1490.
The Equinox, VT
The fathers of the American Revolution met up at this hotel in the Green Mountains (open since 1769), which has also hosted U.S. presidents Taft, Grant, Harrison, and Teddy Roosevelt. See if any of their ghosts still linger by the fire at The Chop House, located at the original site of the Equinox House Hotel, which contains the original 1853 Orvis stone hearth. For more old-school fun, try your hand at falconry at the resort’s off-site British School of Falconry.
Ludlow Hotel, New York
Leave it to hip hotelier Sean MacPherson (The Bowery Hotel, The Maritime, The Marlton), along with Greenwich Hotel masterminds Ira Drukier and Richard Born, to create another New York hot spot, this one on the Lower East Side. Prior to joining the beautiful-people scene in The Ludlow's of-the-moment restaurant, Dirty French, grab cocktails in the Lobby Lounge, whose centerpiece is a grand distressed-limestone fireplace. The vibe lies somewhere between an Old New York loft space—avant-garde art, punky custom chandeliers, whitewashed brick walls—and a swanky gentleman's club.
Fogo Island Inn, Canada
Celebrated for giving back to the community and for a beautifully minimalist design (courtesy of local architect Todd Saunders), Fogo Island Inn has put Newfoundland’s remote northeast on the radar of the jet-set crowd. When you're done Instagramming the jaw-dropping exterior—sleek white boxes on stilts on a rocky coastline—and exploring the island’s art scene, settle in beside the old-fashioned cast-iron wood-burning stoves. They turn up in the 29 guest rooms and lobby, while more contemporary fireplaces keep the restaurant and library cozy. Gaze out the window, and you just might see an iceberg in the brooding Atlantic Ocean.
The Alpina Gstaad, Switzerland
The Alpina Gstaad opened in this tony Alpine ski town in 2012 and continues to set a high bar for contemporary Swiss design. The resort features a varied and extensive art collection, including a 1700s Baroque wooden ceiling and 3-D reproductions of Van Gogh works courtesy of Amsterdam's Van Gogh Museum. For an après-ski high, ask the bartender to mix up the house cocktail made with Ricola-infused vodka, elderflower liqueur, and fresh fruit juice, served over rose-petal ice cubes. It’s the perfect accompaniment for gazing into the flames of the lounge’s massive stone fireplace as snow falls outside.
Southern Ocean Lodge, Australia
The location of this luxurious lodge is spectacular: along a rugged ridgeline on the coast of Kangaroo Island in South Australia. And it plays up the drama in the glass-walled lounge area, with its futuristic "floating" fireplace and dreamy ocean views. Some suites also feature private fireplaces handcrafted from limestone: sit with your sweetheart and contemplate the majesty of nature through the floor-to-ceiling windows.
&Beyond Okavango Safari Lodge, Botswana
This luxurious lodge on the banks of the Santantadibe River emerged from a head-to-toe makeover in late 2014, and the results are head turning. The striking architecture and swooping lines of the main lodge were inspired by a pangolin, a scaly anteater native to Africa, while the eight individual tents take their forms from weaver bird nests. Each of these tented suites features a wood-burning fireplace to ward off wintertime chills, while the main lodge’s elegantly curved wooden roof supports a dome-shaped fireplace surrounded by lounges and lanterns.
The Keppler, Paris
After a day out sightseeing, guests gather around the white marble fireplace in The Keppler’s library lounge for champagne cocktails—and a glorious view of the twinkling Parisian skyline through the lounge's glass roof. It’s one of many gracious design touches at this boutique hotel, given a contemporary-meets-classic look by interiors legend Pierre Yves-Rochon. An added plus: the Champs-Élysées and the Arc de Triomphe are within strolling distance.
The Sebastian, Vail, CO
Vail’s newest luxury boutique hotel (est. 2011) has already been through a facelift, leaving the 100-room art-filled hideaway fresher than ever. After hitting the slopes or taking a dip in the heated mountain-view swimming pool, head inside to the lobby, where a cozy fireplace surrounded by couches is the spot for guests to read a book, sip cocktails, or even stoke some romance. This fireplace has become the resort's go-to locale for wintertime proposals.
Salish Lodge, WA
Experience quintessential Pacific Northwest tranquility at this classic resort set beside the impressive Snoqualmie Falls—just 30 minutes from Seattle. Love is always in the air here, helped along by oversize two-person jetted spa tubs, dramatic views of the Snoqualmie River, fireplaces in each of the 84 guest rooms, and even a dedicated romance concierge. If the interiors feel strangely familiar, that's because Salish Lodge starred in David Lynch's cult series Twin Peaks.
Aman Canal Grande Venice
Romantics everywhere have a soft spot for Venice (even if the reality sometimes falls short). The many charms of La Serenissima include this breathtaking hotel within a magnificent 1500s palazzo on the Grand Canal. Every corner features some fetching Neo-Renaissance or Baroque detail. Of special note is the sweeping staircase leading up to the piano nobile, where a bar overlooking the canal features an intricately carved marble fireplace. Order some Bellinis and settle in for an unforgettable evening.
Edson Hill, VT
This Stowe newcomer has all the ingredients to heat up a weekend getaway, starting with freestanding fireside tubs, farm-to-table cuisine, and fireplace butlers. The revamped inn—reimagined by high-end Boston design firm Gauthier Stacy—blends classic country charm with pared-back interiors and high-tech features like the ALICE app, which guests can use to order late checkout, request turndown, and most important, summon that fireplace butler to build the perfect fire.
The Vines Resort & Spa, Argentina
In the shadow of the Andes Mountains, this 22-villa retreat sets a new standard for agritourism in the Mendoza wine region. A stone-surround fireplace in the lounge provides the ideal ambience for cocktails before dining at Siete Fuegos (“seven fires”), where chef Francis Mallmann's team works its magic on a collection of open-flame cooking techniques inspired by Argentine gauchos. High drama meets haute cooking—a fine recipe for romance.