St Valentine's Day holiday ideas

Wednesday, 7 January 2009 12:00 AM

Where will you celebrate this year?

Where will you celebrate this year?

By Chris O'Toole

With St Valentine's Day fast approaching and loved ones waiting expectantly for that magical surprise, here takes a look at some of the dream destinations for cupid's arrow this spring.

Look to the Skye

Firstly, the Ullinish Country Lodge invites guests to make this Valentine's Day one to remember, offering a chance to snuggle up with a loved one in front of a crackling open fire on the dramatic Isle of Skye.

Far away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, the Isle of Skye offers lovers a nest of luxury along the rugged coast. The package on offer includes two night's accommodation, Champagne and hand-made chocolates in the room on arrival.

There will also be a chance to celebrate with a gourmet dinner for two (both nights) in the award-winning, fine dining restaurant - all for £195.00 per person.

For more information head over to the Isle of Skye website.

Short-breaks in Europe

For more of a short-break holiday idea, why not check into the La Grange à Nicolas and stay in Baume les Messieurs one the most beautiful villages in France?

Featuring five individual rooms with such enchanting names as Morning Dew and Desert Rose, this newly renovated 18th century property has kept many of its original features; including antique tile flooring and period stones.

With its dramatic scenery and 9th century abbey, Baumes les Messieurs - located in the Franche-Comte region of France - is a place where natural beauty and history come together. And, for those looking to pop the question, the stunning Hérisson waterfall provides the ideal backdrop to win him or her over.

Double rooms, including breakfast, start at ?90 (£80) per night, with more information available at La Grange à Nicolas.

For something a little more eco-minded, hop on the Eurostar and head for the Maison at Home.

Combining such green credentials as recycled rainwater, solar heating and the use of local materials - including Jura stones - in its construction, and with all modern creature comforts such as Jacuzzis included, Maison at Home ticks all the right boxes for a nature loving rendezvous for two.

Green travellers can also make the most of the bed and breakfast's location at the foot of the Jura Mountains.

Double rooms, again including breakfast, start at ?95 (£85) per night, with guests able to find out more at the location's website.

Over in Italy, the villa L'Affresco makes the perfect retreat for couples wishing to spend some quality time with one another in a secluded and beautiful setting.

Located nearby to the picturesque city of Siena and the charming villages of the Chianti area, couples can cruise the romantic winding Tuscan roads in style, with the use of a luxury car - including a Bentley and Aston Martin VE, both of which can be delivered to guests' villas.

Guests also have access to the beautiful gardens of Villa di Geggiano, which includes an open-air theatre with two late-baroque arches surmounted by statues. Here, Sanctuary Retreats can organise a private classic music concert for an extra special Valentine's Day treat.

L'Affresco is available to rent from 14th-21st February 2009, with prices starting from £5,831 on a Tailor Made (villa only) basis. Luxury vehicle rental, music concerts and private dining can be arranged on a bespoke basis, subject to supplements.

Take a look at Sanctuary Retreats for more information.

In Rome PV-Holidays is offering discounts on a number of its properties - allowing courting couples to enjoy Valentine's Day in style in one of Europe's most vibrant cities.

For example, a studio apartment at the Adagio Rome Dehon is available from Friday February 13th until Sunday 15th for £175. Situated in one of the biggest and greenest parks in Rome, the Dehon Residence is based very close to Saint Peter's Basilica and offers relaxing and comfortable accommodation in the middle of the Eternal City.

Also for hire is a studio in the Adagio Rome Garden, which is now £195 over the same dates, based on two people sharing a studio. The majority of the apartments are on two levels offering guests a wonderful view over the unique architecture of the Castelli Romani (Roman hills).

Valentine's Day around the World

A special three night romantic package - which includes a hot air balloon safari and half-price spa treatment - at Olonana, a luxury lodge in Kenya, is also on offer from Sanctuary Retreats.

The destination is a small luxury camp perfectly nestled in the heart of Kenya's big game country, which is home to Africa's largest concentration of lion, cheetah and giraffe. Resting on the banks of the Mara River, the camp consists of 14 spacious permanent tents, each featuring an en-suite bathroom with shower, as well as large verandas with picturesque views and fantastic star gazing opportunities.

The Valentine's Day getaway package also includes a champagne breakfast in the bush; game viewing drives with a professional driver; private breakfast on the tent deck by the Mara River; return flights from Nairobi, plus airstrip transfers in the Mara; all meals and drinks (excluding champagne and premium brands).

This special package is valid from February 1st until June 20th 2009 (except the Easter period). Prices start from £1,326 per person sharing and exclude park fees.

In America, Sarasota and Florida's Gulf Islands will be offering over 400 couples the chance to celebrate their second honeymoon with the 'Say I do Again' event - a renewal of marriage vows held on Siesta Key Beach in Sarasota.

The beach provides the perfect backdrop for the renewal ceremony, with soft, sugary sand and crystal waters. Couples can reaffirm their love as the sun sets and enjoy the live music and beach-side barbeque afterwards.

In order to celebrate the event the Captiva Beach Resort is offering the White Sand and Sunsets get away package. The deal includes a king-sized suite for three nights, breakfast for two at the famous Word of Mouth restaurant, one breakfast-in-bed delivery basket, two one-hour, in-room massages plus dinner for two.

This package costs £762 per couple and is based on two people staying in February 2009. To book visit Captiva Beach Resort. Flights are not included.

In Hong Kong an overnight stay, including dinner for two, is available at the ultimate 'urban lifestyle hotel', The Fleming.

The hotel is offering a Valentine's package for two, including a romantic candlelit dinner and breakfast at just HK$1,688 (£144) from February 7th to 15th.

Staying in a premium executive room or deluxe room, guests will enjoy a welcoming bottle of sparkling wine, a floral bouquet, home-made Valentine's Day cookies, an aroma selection of choice, luxury L'Occitane bath amenities and a selection of romantic DVD movies.

Dinner for two at The Fleming's intimate restaurant Cubix, alone valued at HK$999, makes the perfect setting for courting couples.

Along with continental breakfast, late check-out (until 15:00) is also included, subject to availability, and guests even have complimentary entry to nearby California Fitness.

In addition are complimentary extras that guests enjoy during every stay at The Fleming - including complimentary local calls, daily newspaper and both wired and wireless broadband internet access.

The Valentine's Day package is available on a first-come-first-served basis at the award-winning 66-room boutique hotel in Wan Chai and prices are subject to a ten per cent service charge. Head over to The Fleming for more information.

Cruise the Caribbean

For something a little further afield, how about a seven night cruise around the western Caribbean with NCL Freestyle Cruising.

Departing on Valentine's Day, couples are offered the chance to discover ancient Mayan ruins, dive hand in hand over the beautiful corals of Palancar Reef, or simply relax and unwind in each other's company with frozen margaritas to the sounds of the mariachi music in buzzing San Miguel.

Guests will fly from the UK to Miami to be greeted by the Norwegian Jewel cruise ship, before embarking on a journey taking in George Town and Cozumel - the Mayan island off the eastern coast of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula - before genially returning to Miami.

All meals and entertainment aboard ship are included in the price, along with government taxes and fees, economy scheduled return flights from London and all overseas transfers between airport, hotel, pier and ship.

An Inside Stateroom cabin can be booked for £759, while an Oceanview Stateroom or Mini Suite are priced at £899 and £1049 respectively. Head over to NCL for more information.

Back on dry land but still in the Caribbean, Nassau offers lovers a real paradise to explore - combining a beautiful tropical experience, with powder white sandy beaches, sparkling clear turquoise waters and the vaunted local charm.

On the island, the stylish Cove Atlantis offers a sophisticated and sensual experience. Using colours, sound, movement and beauty within its architectural themes, the Cove is nestled under the sway of exotic towering palms.

The resort has over 600 oversized suites, each with panoramic ocean views, king size beds, generous walk-in closets and the latest state of the art technology as standard. Guests also have full access to Atlantis resort's facilities, restaurant, pools and beaches.

The One&Only Ocean Club is also renowned - attracting the world's elite for over 45 years by lavishly catering to their every need.

Endowed with accolades, the graceful 35-acre property was inspired by the Château de Versailles and today it continues to impress a host of international mix of celebrities, politicians and royalty with its stunning 12th century Augustinian cloister.

Romantics can take in the breathtaking sunset views over Nassau Harbour, delicately fragranced by the gardens' flora and fauna.

For more information and Valentine's Day holiday ideas on the island check out the Paradise Island website.

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