In the movie How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, magazine writer Andie Anderson sets out purposely to offload a new boyfriend by committing the worst possible dating sins. She buys matching clothes for the two of them, phones up his mother and asks for his baby photos, crashes his poker game and starts moving her toiletries into his bathroom.
The moral of the story is that romantic gestures should take into account the stage of the relationship. In the first flush, you should avoid anything that implies you are thinking too far into the future. Men can make the same mistake, too, by buying outrageously sexy underwear in those early courting days or, at the other extreme, being too comfortable with a woman and taking her to a football game with his buddies on Valentine’s Day.
For the guys, even some of the reliable Valentine’s stand-bys might be suspect. Flowers? (maybe she’s allergic); candy? (probably on a diet); a CD? (are you absolutely certain she likes Meatloaf?). The fail-safe is always, always the romantic (and, ideally secret) getaway. Luxique.com can help you choose a luxury hotel or a boutique hotel – something right out of the ordinary. Picture it – cocktails in a shared spa bath, his and hers fluffy white bathrobes, rose petals on the pillows …
So … think Valentine’s Day, think Paris. Or is that a cliché these days? Apparently not. Every survey you read insists that it remains Europe’s most romantic city by a distance. You probably did the 2-star pension in your student days, so head for the luxury of the Hotel de Crillon, a palace commissioned in 1758 by Louis XV. Let’s face it, if it was good enough for Churchill, Teddy Roosevelt, Elizabeth Taylor and Madonna among others, you might like it there too. One lucky lady from south-east England whose boyfriend proposed to her there on Valentine’s Day said: “The Crillon treated us like royalty and went out of their way to make the two days absolutely unforgettable.”
There can be no more romantic gesture than Shah Jahan’s 17th century 20-year labour of love to his beloved late wife Mumtaz – the magnificent Taj Mahal. Many cities in India have a romantic aura, but perhaps the pick is Udaipur in Rajasthan. If you’ve more than a weekend to spare, you’ll love the 18th century Taj Lake Palace, a fairytale of white marble and mosaic that shimmers over four acres on the calm waters of Lake Pichola. Parts of the James Bond film, Octopussy, were filmed there. You can have dinner on a ceremonial barge and be pampered by staff dressed in immaculate tunics who will treat you like a maharajah. “An exquisitely exotic spot,” said a New Yorker. “It should be on your ‘before I die’ list.”
New York itself may be bright and brash, but it has its romantic side – for instance, a picnic in Central Park, a walk hand-in-hand over the Brooklyn Bridge or ice-skating at the Rockefeller Center. But many Americans, it seems, would prefer to head down to the Hawaiian islands if love’s on their mind. Who could blame them when you have a paradise such as the Four Seasons Maui at Wailea? Rooms are furnished in a contemporary Hawaiian design and there are amazing places to share views of the ocean and the sunset. Apart from the facilities and services you’d expect from a top name like Four Seasons, there’s a world class spa and an impressive art collection. “Wow, this was a truly memorable stay – the personal attention was impeccable,” said a visitor from Atlanta.
OK, I’ve whetted your appetite, just one more suggestion before I let you loose on our luxury hotel website to make your choice. The Burj Al Arab in Dubai has been called an ‘Arabian Nights Fantasy.’ With its famous design resembling a billowing sail, it’s surrounded by choreographed colour sculptures of water and fire.
There are 202 duplex suites, the largest a substantial 780 square metres and all featuring remotely-controlled lighting, curtains and air conditioning. You get a 42-inch plasma screen, a choice of 13 pillows and, if you and your credit card are up to it, a chauffeur-driven Rolls Royce shopping experience. Nick from Seattle said: “They say this is the only 7-star hotel in the world and now I know why!”
There have been many surveys about what makes a romantic trip a success. Ocean views, big comfy bed, great food and discreet service usually make the top ten. But up there at number one is generally: ‘quality time with the one I love.’ Enjoy!
by Andy Moreton