Worldwide romance

We explore some romantic adventure travel options for Valentine's Day

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    White Valentine's - Grand Hotel Kronenhof Image Credit: Supplied
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    Luxury local - The brand-new St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, Abu Dhabi Image Credit: Supplied
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    Love train - The Eastern and Orient Express Image Credit: Supplied
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    Escape to Africa - Singita Sweni for Sweethearts Image Credit: Supplied
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    View from the top - resorts of Kirimaya and Muthi Maya Image Credit: Supplied
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    Verdant idyll - Britain's Forestry Commission-maintained forests Image Credit: Supplied
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    Gourmet escape - Jumeirah Lowndes Hotel Image Credit: Corbis/
GN Focus

In the early days of a relationship, every date is a romantic adventure. However, as the years go by, the novelty wears off. For many couples, moments of romance are confined to occasions like Valentine’s Day, when couples tend to celebrate with gifts and flowers or by spending an evening out without the kids.

Valentine’s Day can be more than a Hallmark-created event. It can be a day to bring back some of the passion from the start of your relationship. Nothing shows you really care for someone like taking time out of your busy schedule for them. So with the weekend ahead, why not book yourself and your partner on an exciting break away? Any of the following holiday ideas will help repair and rejuvenate your relationship.

White Valentine’s
At Pontresina, guests are taken by a chauffeur-driven car to the Grand Hotel Kronenhof a majestic building constructed in a neo-Baroque style in the late 19th century. Here, the loved-up couple will check into a cosy room with a superb view of the Roseg glacier; bubbles on ice will be waiting to toast the start of their romantic break. During their stay, the Valentines can enjoy a private horse-drawn coach ride to Val Roseg and take a telecabin up to 3,300 metres, for a stunning 360 degree view over the French Alps and the Italian Dolomites.

Price: The three-night package starts at
CHF1,220 (about Dh4,897)

Luxury local
The brand-new St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, Abu Dhabi, unveils a two-night package — Luxury Romance — a blissful escape for two. On arrival at resort, guests will be greeted by their personal butler, a bottle of bubbly and a gorgeous bouquet of flowers. The pampering continues for the rest of the stay with the 24-hour on-call services of a personal butler, offering guests the rarest of all privileges — time. Adding to the intimate experience, guests can enjoy breakfast in the privacy of their own room. The personal butler will be delighted to set up breakfast on the balcony whilst guests look out for the bottlenose dolphins that are often seen at playing along the shoreline.

Price: Dh2,800
Book: 02 498 8888 (Valid until March 31)

Love train
Get your love life back on track with an epic train journey across South-East Asia. The Eastern and Orient Express plies between Bangkok and Singapore over a six-day journey that offers snapshots of the lush and verdant tropical countryside along the way. In between these frenetic and exciting metropolises lie coastal communities, houses on stilts, patchwork paddy fields, swaying coconut palms, relics of colonial splendour, historic Chinatowns and an ethnic diversity that encompasses Thai, Malay, Indian and Chinese.

Price: £2,895 (about Dh16,777) per person, from Peregrine Adventures, for a six-day journey departing February 11.

Escape to Africa
Africa is guaranteed to create memories that you will treasure forever. Singita Game Reserves, an operator of charming, picture-perfect lodges on the continent, captures the Africa’s unforgettable romance at a variety of vastly diverse, majestic wilderness locations. Singita Sweni Lodge, which has been cited as one of the most romantic places on earth, is located in a remote wilderness area amongst dense foliage on the banks of the Sweni River along the far Eastern reaches of the Kruger National Park. Six exclusive suites dressed in the colours of chocolate and pistachio are elevated on stilts with decks of timber. On request, the team can also create luxury safari getaways.
The ‘Singita Sweni for Sweethearts’ promotion offers Valentine beloveds the ultimate — a three-night, all-inclusive experience at Singita’s most intimate lodge. The deal includes seductive treats such as a couples massage, a personal tour of an art gallery along with a gift and an exclusive dinner for two beneath the starlit sky.

Price: The ‘Singita Sweni for Sweethearts’ package costs 36,750 rand (about Dh17,900) per person for three nights.

View from the top
For a new perspective on your romance, take a hot-air balloon ride over some of nature’s most wonderful sights. Two hours away from Bangkok in the eastern Khao Yai district are the resorts of Kirimaya and Muthi Maya, embedded in 800 acres of lush greenery bordering a UNESCO World Heritage National Park, a rainforest and a majestic mountain range. The cool, crisp, clean mountain air is as much of an attraction as the 18-hole golf course, designed by Jack Niclaus. The luxurious accommodation includes tented villas, forest-pool villas and a variety of rooms and suites with private terraces. The resorts’ Valentine’s Day hot-air ballooning experience for two includes a two-night accommodation at either resort, a balloon ride, a sumptuous breakfast following the ride served in a private cabana and the choice of a 90 minute spa treatment or a set dinner for two.

Price: Rates start from 28,500 baht (about Dh3,386). Additional nights are priced at 5,015 baht (about Dh595).

Verdant idyll
There is nothing more romantic than hunkering down in a cosy yet beautifully-furnished forest cabin with a wood burning stove and your own private outdoor hot tub with views of greenery and the sounds of nothing but the leaves swishing. For a unique and romantic break far away from the UAE’s deserts, try one of the luxury contemporary glass-fronted cabins in Britain’s Forestry Commission-maintained forests. Choose from cabins and tree houses decorated by designer Laurence Lewellyn-Bowen at forest sites in Stathyre and Argyll in Scotland, Keldy in Yorkshire, Deerpark in Cornwall or the Forest of Dean site in Gloucestershire. The en suite-equipped lodges contain upgraded kitchens, a master bedroom where a huge floor-to-ceiling window ensures incredible views whilst lying in bed, and wonderful natural light. Most cabins come with a flat-screen TV and a DVD player. As a special treat, organiser Forest Holidays will arrange for bubbly and rose petals in the bathtub for your loved one.

Price: Prices for a three-night weekend in February start from £309 (About Dh1,790)

Gourmet escape
London is always a hot favourite for UAE residents, its wide variety of luxury restaurants and dining experiences making it a veritable treat for foodies.
Jumeirah Lowndes Hotel, the luxury boutique hotel in the heart of Belgravia, has partnered with leading chocolatier Pierre Hermé this year for its ‘Be My Valentine’ package. The deal offers a delicious tasting of the famous macaroons and chocolates at the Pierre Hermé store with an expert team on hand to explain the array of flavours and tastes. Included in the deal are one night’s accommodation for two people, a bottle of bubbly in the room, a full English breakfast, the tasting session and a gift box with chocolates or macaroons from Pierre Hermé.
To elevate the experience, the hotel’s concierge will book a table at any of London’s top restaurants, where Valentine’s deals are aplenty. Apsleys at The Lanesborough hotel, for example, is offering a seven-course tasting menu devised by three-Michelin-star chef Heinz Beck, that is priced at £160 (about Dh927) per person.

Price: The package is available from February 10-19 from £220 (about Dh1,275) per room, per night, excluding VAT and service charge.