What will it be – Europe, French Polynesia, the Caribbean, Canada or a safari in Africa?
Take Her to Tahiti
Breakfast arrives in an outrigger canoe if you book an overwater bungalow at the Intercontinental Tahiti Resort, Papeete, Tahiti. You’ll have a private sundeck and platform for diving into the natural aquarium below or gazing at the volcanic peaks of Moorea just 12 miles across the “Sea of Moons.” Come ashore to swim with manta rays in the Lagoonarium, loll on the private beach or swim up to the bar in one of the finest infinity-edge pools in French Polynesia.
Choose a standard guest room and you’ll have a view of the ocean or tropical gardens. If you snag a reservation on the Lotus Restaurant, which sits over the water on a point at the far end of the resort, you can start your evening with Champagne, fine French wines and inspired dishes from the gourmet or chef’s tasting menus.
Nightly rates from $200 to $800; (800) 496-7621.
Medieval Abbey Now a Luxury Hotel in France
Cistercian monks once slept on straw mats at Abbaye de la Bussiere, built in 1131, but you’ll find comfy beds piled with pillows. At this luxury hotel in the Burgundy countryside of France, rooms and suites have antiques and contemporary soft furnishings and overlook a 15-acre park with lake, topiary garden and lawn where Shetland ponies graze.
Eight of the abbey’s buildings remain, including the church, a consecrated crypt and 14th-century wine press. The best guest room, the Hermitage Suite, sits apart from the main building in what was once the abbey’s infirmary. Located 30 minutes from Dijon or Beaune, you can easily organize a wine tour with tastings in Burgundy’s famous Cote d’Or vineyards.
Nightly rates range from $260 to $665; 33 (0)3 80 49 02 29.
Marilyn Monroe an Inn Guest in Ocho Rios, Jamaica
Marilyn Monroe and Arthur Miller spent their honeymoon at the Jamaica Inn near Ocho Rios, Jamaica,and Winston Churchill and his wife booked the White Suite where the prime minister painted watercolors on the terrace.
All of the inn’s suites overlook the beach or the Caribbean. Many of the private cottages, set away from the main property, are perched on bluffs with huge verandahs above the surf, luxurious bathrooms with indoor and outdoor showers and private entrances from the beach. Some have their own infinity-edge swimming pools. There’s no TV to disturb you, but if you must touch base with the real world, wireless Internet access is provided.
Nightly rates range from $310 to $1,935; (800) 837-4608.
See Lions, Elephants and Hippos in Tanzania
Cuddle up and listen to the night sounds of the African bush. At Selous Impala Camp, Selous Game Reserve, Tanzania, an elephant may snap branches while walking outside your tent and a lion may roar off in the distance. Not to worry, a spear-carrying Maasai escort will guide you to breakfast in the morning and bring you back safely following dinner in the camp’s thatched building with its bar, open-air dining area and fire pit where you can toast your adventure with a sundowner cocktail.
The camp has eight luxury tents with verandahs on high wooden decking that are scattered around the grounds for privacy. Each contains a bathroom with shower and flush toilet, dressing area and electric lighting.
Game drives and boat safaris on the Rufiji River are organized each day if you want the chance to spot hippos, Nile crocodiles, elephants and more than 400 species of exotic birds. Walking safaris are offered between July and October. Cool off afterward with a dip in the swimming pool.
Nightly rates include all meals, transfers from the park airstrip and game viewing excursions and range from $395 to $500 per person, park entry fees not included, closed April 1 through May 31; (255-22) 245 2005
Seals Sun by Your Room in British Columbia, Canada
The work of Vancouver Island artists adorns the public spaces and guest rooms at Sooke Harbour House, Sooke, British Columbia.This French country inn overlooks the Strait of Juan de Fuca where you might see otters frolicking in the water or seals sunning themselves on the rocks. Choose a room with an outdoor hot tub for two and toast the sunset.
All rooms have wood-burning fireplaces, wet bars and port to sip by the fire. Enjoy breakfast delivered to your room on your balcony or terrace. Do tear yourself away from your love nest for dinner in the restaurant, rated among the best in British Columbia. Meals are made with fresh, local ingredients, many from the inn’s own herb and edible flower garden. Order a box lunch to explore Victoria, 25 miles away.
Nightly rates from $245 to $625; (800) 889-9688.
Relax at a Lake Como Villa in Italy
Old World opulence oozes through the public spaces and guest rooms of Villa d’Este, agrand resort overlooking romantic Lake Como north of Milan, Italy. Built in 1568 as the summer residence of Cardinal Tolomeo Gallio, it was converted into a hotel for European aristocracy in 1873.
Later renovations and modern amenities have kept it up to date, but you’ll still find antiques in the guest rooms, all different in decor with oil paintings and silk draperies and upholstery. The largest room, the Cardinal Suite has a 969-square-foot private terrace, Venetian chandeliers and two marble bathrooms – just in case you don’t want to share with your honey.
Spend a morning or afternoon strolling along the shore for a classic view of northern Italy’s Lake District or pop into the 25 acres of gardens and play hide and seek around the statues and landscaping.
Nightly rates March through November, including breakfast, from $560 to $1,900; 39 031 3481.