Valentine’s trips: Our favourite romantic places for loved-up couples

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Take your loved one on glamorous dinner dates at its on-the-beach and over-water restaurants where local dishes and specialities from Sri Lanka, the Mediterranean and East-meets-West fusion flavours are prepared by award-winning chefs. Or live like a local with a trip on a Dhoni boat, traditionally used for fishing, ferrying and trading. After a day in paradise, experience the stillness aboard your own private sundowner cruise, then enjoy magic under the moonlight at the resort’s star-spangled infinity pool.

That’s amore

Famous as the setting for Shakespeare’s 16th-century play Romeo and Juliet, love is always in the air in the captivating city of Verona.

This was proven when locals Michele D’Alpaos and Paola Agnelli made the front pages when they fell for each other across their balconies in lockdown last September.

And if music be the food of love, the magnificent must-see Roman amphitheatre Arena di Verona plays host to the world-renowned summer Opera Festival.

After a moonlit stroll across the Adige River, over the Ponte Pietra, festooned with love locks, cosy up in the riverside Terrazza Bar al Ponte over a bottle of Valpolicella, produced from the region’s fine vineyards.

In the heart of the medieval city and just a stone’s throw from Juliet’s balcony, the five-star Due Torri Hotel, housed in a 14th-century Venetianstyle palazzo overlooking the pretty Piazza Sant’Anastasia is the perfect love nest.

The Pig – at Bridge Place

A warming log fire, a steaming bath, a cosy, rustic interior – what’s not to love about The Pig – at Bridge Place’s Hop Pickers’ Huts just outside Canterbury in Kent? Dotted along a wooden walkway, complete with little letterboxes for the morning papers, these romantic hideaways are set along a babbling stream.

With beautiful bedding, velvet sofas, cushions and recycled wood-panelled walls, they’re definitely somewhere you won’t want to leave in a hurry. This Jacobean gem sits in the Nailbourne Valley and, amazingly, was once a top rock venue hosting the likes of Pink Floyd, The Kinks and Led Zeppelin.

A huge kitchen garden is the focus of the property and the food is all locally sourced from within a 25-mile radius.

There’s also a cosy bar with roaring fire and a restaurant and spa. It’s only rock and roll, but we like it. 

Romantic bolthole

I never hesitate when people ask me which is my favourite hotel – Grand Hotel a Villa Feltrinelli on Lake Garda. Its location is unsurpassed, set on a divine lakefront in the gorgeous little village of Gargnano.

This stupendous pink Belle Epoque mansion was built in 1892 for the Feltrinellis and it still feels like a private family home surrounded by immaculate, discreet grounds.

It personifies Grand European old money at its best, without shouting about it. Rooms in the main house reflect just how decadent life once was – when Mussolini was “imprisoned” here (he hated it), whereas Churchill was so enamoured, he painted it. Frescoed ceilings, parquet floors and antique furnishings abound, along with thoughtful touches such as fresh fruit and roses by the bedside which make this one special place.

The slate pool is set into manicured lawns and chairs are placed just so at the water’s edge. It’s the most romantic spot to sip a Campari at sundown before moving under the adorable red and white striped gazebo for a Michelin-star dinner you’ll never forget.

Hubbard Glacier, Alaska

You’re standing on the balcony of your cruise ship, a glass of fizz in hand, taking in the scale of the dazzling, lustrous turquoise-blue ice before you.

The majesty of the six-mile wide, 600ft-high glacier is best enjoyed a deux. Of course, you are not alone on a cruise ship, but on the privacy of your balcony you can feel alone with the glory and might of nature as chunks of ice the size of a 10-storey building break away and crash into the waters of Yakutat Bay.

Romantic? For sure, your souls will sing together at this Eastern island escape. Enjoy sweet seclusion with your soulmate on the island of Phu Quoc, Vietnam’s secret beach paradise.

Also known as The Pearl Island of Asia, its beauty lies in its natural surroundings with 70 percent of the land dedicated to lush greenery and exotic plants.

The boutique Salinda Resort is an intimate family-run property with plenty of romantic settings, from the restaurant garden with its rich tropical foliage, to the lantern-lit mango garden, which is often used for weddings.

Make fabulous memories with a ride on the world’s longest sea cable car to Hon Thom, also called Pineapple Island. Or simply drink from coconuts while swinging in a hammock on the beach as you witness the island’s famous purple sunsets.

Alaska cruises are available with major lines such as Princess, Holland America, Celebrity, Cunard, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian. 

Nile sunset at Luxor

Chilled drinks gather beads of condensation on the hotel terrace table while the languid Nile flows in front of you, while across the water, beneath the fiery hues of the setting sun, lies the Valley of the Kings, the glorious resting place of the pharaohs.

It’s a balmy place for contemplative silence with your loved one, drinking in that view and idly wondering if the mighty kings and queens of Ancient Egypt watched these sunsets 3,000 years ago.

To view this, try the Nile Bar and Lounge at the five-star good value Steigenberger Nile Palace Hotel.

Seductive Seychelles

Impossibly azure blue waters lap up against powdery white sand beaches fringed by swaying palms, against a backdrop of lush greenery – it’s no surprise couples fall head over heels for the Seychelles.

And lying just south of the equator, its 115 islands are blessed with a warm, tropical climate all year round.

The idyllic Indian Ocean archipelago was given the royal seal of approval by Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge when they honeymooned there.

Snuggle up with your loved one in a luxurious private villa at Hilton Seychelles Northolme Resort & Spa on the main island of Mahe, soaking up breathtaking views of the ocean.

Overlooking Beau Vallon Bay and set in a exotic garden paradise, some of the treehouse-style villas come with their own infinity pool. 

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