I’ve always been in love with Asia, but recently Africa has started to catch my eye: the landscapes, the wildlife, and the sense of space and peace is supremely romantic. This Valentine’s Day, my pick is the Pinnon Safari Lodge in Kafue National Park in Zambia, run by British couple Ruth and Lyndon Pinches.
It’s intimate — maximum occupancy is just eight guests — and you’re completely secluded in the wilderness. You can sit on the deck with a glass of wine in hand, watching the puku and impala graze, take a game drive through the park to see cheetah, elephant, and lion, and then enjoy a sundowner by the river. It’s a place to get away from work and the bustle of everyday life, and spend endless sunsets with the one you love. And at $150 per person per night, it’s incredibly affordable for safari.
If your idea of romance is walking hand in hand along white sand beaches, occasionally dipping your toes in an azure sea, come to Eskaya on Panglao Island in the Philippines. One of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World, the incredible villas look out across the water, and many of them have their own infinity pools. Drink cocktails on the lawn, treat yourselves to a his and hers massage in the Handuraw Spa, and then feast al fresco beneath the moon and stars with a candlelit dinner for two, or beside a roaring bonfire.
If you can drag yourself away from the beach, taking the butterfly watching tour is a pretty cute excursion, and likewise booking lunch and a river cruise on the Loboc, with musicians serenading you whilst you eat, is guaranteed to earn you brownie points.
Secluded from the holiday crowds, and almost hidden above the quintessential Dodecanese fishing village of Lindos, one finds the unique Melenos Lindos Hotel. A labour of love, by owner and island local Michalis Melenos, this truly romantic property offers tranquillity and privacy, with eclectically decorated, bohemian-style guest rooms and honeymoon suites where lovers can be cocooned from the outside world.
The hotel feels more like a perfect Rhodian village, lost in time, full of creative and artistic details inspired by early 17th century Lindian Mansions. Explore the nearby ancient acropolis, meander through the hotel’s jasmine scented gardens, flirt over a candle-lit dinner in the rooftop restaurant; and watch the sunset from your private terrace, decorated with charming black and white ‘kochlaki’ pebble stone mosaics. Or just order the delicious room-service and put ‘Do Not Disturb’ on the door.
Buenos Aires, Argentina is one of the most romantic cities in the world, and the gorgeous Recoleta Grand (formerly Buenos Aires Grand) is the only place we’ll stay when we’re in town. This hotel has a perfect location in the heart of tree-lined Recoleta and the hotel has everything you need for a relaxing, romantic stay, including top-of-the-line finishes, and an in-house spa, pool and sauna free for all guests to use. It’s also one of our most recommended destinations for solo travelers visiting the area. Book the breakfast included option when you stay, it’s well worth the extra few dollars to have access to their killer buffet spread of local and international breakfast options.
Since your’e in the heart of Recoleta, take a stroll through the famous Recoleta cemetery, where Eva Peron (Evita) is buried, and walk hand-in-hand down the street as you snack on medialunas and empanadas. At night, head out to a steakhouse for wine and Argentina’s most famous dish: steak. Our favorite is La Brigada in San Telmo.
By Kelly Lewis
I stayed here during my first holiday with my boyfriend, which was a 7-day road trip around Tuscany. We drove from Pisa to Florence via San Gimignano and Siena and it was the rustic Italian adventure people you might dream of. Castello di Casole is a beautifully restored Italian castle based on a country estate in Tuscany.
We were surrounded by green rolling fields, vineyards and olive trees and it really felt like an undiscovered slice of Italy. We indulged in fresh Italian pasta, drank rich red wine and spent peaceful quality time together. Maybe it was thanks to the red wine, but this trip was romantic for me as it was the place where I first realised that I was in love.
If you’re planning to visit this part of Italy, be sure to hire a car for guaranteed freedom and adventure.
By Jess Gibson
Three hours drive north of Auckland, Hokianga mixes edge-of-the-world back country vibe with stupendous scenery and rich history. This is where legendary Polynesian explorer Kupe settled after his arrival in New Zealand 1000 years ago, beguiled by a place he christened “the spring of the world of light” (Te Puna O Te Ao Marama).
Overlooking the vast Hokianga Harbour, Kokohuia Lodge is a chic wood-and-glass hideaway above the coastal township of Omapere. Think luxe styling, impeccable eco-credentials plus the blissful seclusion of a place that hosts one couple at a time. Get owners Steve and Suzanne to rustle up a romantic dinner to enjoy on a deck above fragrant native bush, where dazzling starry skies are the only distraction from each other.