Weekend Trip: Six Romantic Getaways To Book Right Now

Even in the best cities in the world, there are times that escape feels so desperate a necessity that any borrowed friend-of-a-friend’s dilapidated cottage upstate seems like it would do the trick. From dreamy and not-too-far-away to dreamy and across-the-pond, these six romantic getaways are sure to get your imagination, and your heart (and libido) stirring. Book one now. You won’t regret it.

1. Gurney’s Montauk Resort & Seawater Spa, Montauk

Just a quick Jitney trip away lies Montauk–which sheds the pretension of the neighboring Hamptons, but keeps the pristine oceanfront real estate. Thanks to a spa, salt water pool (with ocean views (!)), and yoga classes offered, you can get the perks of a tropically detoxifying retreat in just a 2.5-hour trip. End the night watching the sunset or sipping champagne by the fireplace.

Gurney's Firepit
Photo: Courtesy of Gurney’s Montauk Resort

Gurney's Montauk Resort & Seawater Spa, New King Room
Photo: Courtesy of Gurney’s Montauk Resort

Gurney's Property - Sunset Image
Photo: Courtesy of Gurney’s Montauk Resort

2. Ace Hotel and Swim Club, Palm Springs

For a west coast romantic getaway, look no further than Palm Springs: this desert mecca of mid-century modern architecture doubles as a hip destination for anyone who wants California weather, sans the glitz of L.A…and should you want for just a hint of glitz, The Ace Hotel might just be the perfect resolution. If it’s pure, unadulterated relaxation you seek, “The Feel Good Spa” offers couples packages–in fact, anything from facials and seaweed body wraps, to earth clay wraps and body brushing can be done in twosome form. And, since no vacation has ever felt long enough, couples can indulge in a personal massage lesson to learn inspired, professional techniques to use at home. Outdoorsy types can soak up the SoCal sunshine via bike rentals–even better–the hotel can arrange a private dinner on the stargazing deck, which overlooks the pool and mountains.

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Photo: D.L. Thompson and Jon Johnson

aceps-spa-indoorroomPhoto: Douglas Lyle Thompson

Ace_Palm_Springs-OverviewPhoto: D.L. Johnson and Jon Johnson

3. The Prairie by Rachel Ashwell, Round Top, TX
Looking for a romantic American getaway that’s truly off the beaten path? Try Texas. Just 75 miles from ultra-hip Austin lies mecca, as told by the queen of shabby chic. Each cottage offers privacy and comfort. Couples spend time reconnecting with long walks and quality time spent together.  Trying to win some extra boyfriend/girlfriend points? Flowers can be added to the room for an extra special touch.

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Photo: Courtesy of “Rachel Ashwell Couture Prairie and Flea Market Treasures,” Cico books

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Photo: Courtesy of “Rachel Ashwell Couture Prairie and Flea Market Treasures,” Cico books

Prairie Driveway Exterior
Photo: Courtesy of “Rachel Ashwell Couture Prairie and Flea Market Treasures,” Cico books

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Photo: Courtesy of “Rachel Ashwell Couture Prairie and Flea Market Treasures,” Cico books

4. The Berkeley Hotel, London 

Here’s one for the sartorially inclined couple. If you missed the jaw-dropping Alexander McQueen retrospective when it debuted at the Met’s Costume Instutute in NYC in 2011, fear not–the corsetry, the chance to be thisclose to pieces from the groundbreaking Highland Rape collection is just one reason to head to the UK. It’s now at the V&A–a British institution, if you’ve never been. (Plus, even if you’re going for just an extended weekend, a flight to England is a solid hour less than almost any other country in Europe and the same goes for the time difference). If the exhibit isn’t enough, revel in the quirky spirit of English fashion at The Berkeley Hotel (that’s Rachel Zoe’s favorite to you) where you can enjoy Pret-a-Portea–proper high tea that pays homage to McQueen favorites. Of course, The Berkeley is more than just cookies and tea sandwiches…there are the balcony suites overlooking Hyde Park, duos can enjoy treatments at the Bamford Haybarn Spa, and unwind from the buzz of London by the rooftop pool.

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Photo: Courtesy of Maybourne Hotel Group

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Photo: Courtesy of Maybourne Hotel Group

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Photo: Courtesy of Maybourne Hotel Group

Pret-A-Portea, Spring/Summer 2015Photo: Courtesy of Maybourne Hotel Group

5. St. Regis Bahia Beach, Puerto Rico

Though leaving the premises of the St. Regis Bahia Beach would be, by no means, necessary, the couple who likes their vacation with a healthy mix of the highest-end luxury (think: a Jean-Georges restaurant on the premises) and a bit of authentic culture, look no further than this gorgeous Puerto Rican retreat, where the ocean is warm, the pool is massive and the cabanas are made for making out–but the charm and pastel colors of Old San Juan are just a short drive away. Kayak in the on-property lake, hike holding hands through the nearby El Yunque rainforest, or simply read by the pool, you’ll leave having enjoyed a restorative serving of both piña coladas and Vitamin D. Though adventure on and around the premises abounds, rooms come equipped with sun-drenched patios and walk-in showers. Even better, giant baths that are an insanely simple dial-zero to the butler away from filled with bubbly–in the bath and your glasses. Prepare for 24/7 romance.

St.Regis Bahia Beach Resort Puerto Rico
Photo: Courtesy of St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort

St. Regis Bahia Beach Pool
Photo: Courtesy of St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort

Suite Room
Photo: Courtesy of St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort

The St. Regis Bahia Beach private beach
Photo: Courtesy of St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort

6. KiCHIC Resort, Peru

Located on the edge of a traditional Peruvian fishing village, Mancora is fast emerging as one of the world’s best beach destinations (you heard it here first)! KiCHIC offers a unique hideaway where guests find call rooms, located between gardens of coconut palms and maye pepper trees facing the northern ocean breeze, home. For an especially romantic indulgence, spring for the Piedra room which has its own open-air bathtub on a private terrace made out of local flagstone, or the Himalaya. Should you decide (and no judgement, if not) to ever get out of bed, you can take your pick of surf lessons, kayaking, and outdoor movies every weekend.

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Photo: Courtesy of KiCHIC

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Photo: Courtesy of KiCHIC

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Photo: Courtesy of KiCHIC

Industry Insiders: Harry Handelsman, Renaissance Man

Remember the castle in the Harry Potter movies? Want to see the Grand Staircase from the Spice Girls video Wannabe? Then head to the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel in London, located next to St Pancras Station, which offers high-speed Eurostar trains to Paris and Brussels. We caught up with Harry Handelsman, the hotel’s owner and developer, at an opening- night party in May hosted by Adrien Brody. On that night, heartthrob Ed Westwick stayed in the Royal Suite, which is reputed to be the largest suite in London and costs a whopping $16,000 per night.

BlackBook: The five-star St Pancras is a magnificent undertaking. What’s yet to come? Handelsman: From a point of view of service, the pursuit of excellence doesn’t stop. For me, the question is: What do I do in order to make it a gateway to Europe? How do I become the custodian of this building on behalf of Londoners? How often does one have an opportunity to open a building from the turn of the last century as a hotel? It had lost its halo, so to speak. Now, all of a sudden, we have the opportunity to reawaken it.

What do you have planned for the interior? I just bought at auction a wonderful sculpture of actress Jean Harlow by George Lang, a contemporary of Rauschenberg and Lichtenstein. Decorating the interior is something that I continue to explore.

Another focus is how, from a cultural point of view, can we create a rapport between this building and nearby museums? I’m speaking with representatives at the Tate, the Foundling Museum, and the Victoria and Albert Museum. We are also in conversation with the British Library. The question being considered is: How can we collaborate? How can we create an experience that gives them a memory of London that is special?

Is this hotel is a labor of love? I can see you love the project, and you put so much money in … Far more than I needed to. I recognized I had an unequal opportunity to really reintroduce a masterpiece into London.

How much money did you put into this? A lot, a lot.

Do you expect to make money from it? Not in the short term. But I’m not in it for the short term. I am an atypical hotel developer. The financial motivation isn’t a primary thing.

Where do you – when you’re not at your own property – like to hang out? In London, we are spoiled with restaurants. We have Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley, by the Michelin-starred chef who now opened The Gilbert Scott in St Pancras, as well. And Locanda Locatelli, Scott’s, and Hix in Soho. Dinner by Heston Blumenthal in the Mandarin Oriental is fantastic. I’m a member of the Groucho Club. It’s where my friends are. It’s where I hang out.

Tell me about your project with Andre Balazs. There is a fire station which I’m going to be converting to a really lovely, boutique hotel in Marylebone in central London. The hotel is going to be very small, but exquisite. It’s due in about two years.

Do you have any other hotels? One that’s going to be a 43-story building in the East End of London with double-height rooms. The order to the architect was: ‘Build me the best new building in Europe, possibly the world.’ It will have a lot of glass.

You’re an hotelier, a developer, a collector. Any category I’m missing? I’ve got a film studio, called Ealing Studios, which is the oldest studio in Britain, possibly the world. It began in 1902. I bought it around 2000. Madonna did her film there, as well as Woody Allen. I’ve got partners that do the creative side. I do more of the commercial side.

Any other new developments? I know that you are the CEO of Manhattan Lofts, which has brought residential loft space to London. I’m looking for another opportunity, but it’s in the very early days. It’s on the Thames and very ambitious. At the moment, it’s just the beginning of a dialogue.