Put the romance back in your marriage with a vacation – sans Baby. We’ve found Instagram-worthy hotels to book in time for your next anniversary.
IF YOU LOVE ISLANDS
WHERE Grace Santorini, Greece
ROMANCE FACTOR A favourite honeymoon spot, this romantic hotel is perched high on a volcanic caldera. It’s the perfect vantage point to enjoy the famed Santorini island sunsets and the dazzling blue Aegean Sea. Providing a contrast is its whitewashed stucco, gently hugging the rim of the crater and cascading down the volcanic hillside.
The rooms are generous in size – most have a private outdoor terrace and a plunge pool for two, and decked out with all the modern gadgets you could need.
If money is no problem, book the Superior Suite, the highest on the hill, which boasts panoramic views and spacious outdoor terraces. The hotel’s piece de resistance is the infinity pool, which overlooks the Cyclades Islands. A restaurant, bar, fitness centre and spa round up the rest of the facilities.
If you manage to tear yourself away from the property, head to the charming town of Imerovigli. You can also ask the hotel’s concierge to arrange a boat trip to visit the volcanic rocks and hot springs, or even a helicopter flight across the island.
GETTING THERE The hotel is open from April till October and a three-night minimum stay is required. It doesn’t allow children under the age of 15, which means no whiny pint-sized guests.
Before your arrival, make use of the Bespoke by Grace service, which lets you personalise your stay. The hotel is a 15-minute taxi ride from the Monolithos Airport, which has daily flights from Athens.
IF SAND AND SEA ARE ALL YOU NEED
WHERE Komandoo Maldives Island Resort
ROMANCE FACTOR There are many family-friendly options in The Maldives, but since you’re here for we-time, book your stay at this adults-only resort (guests must be above 18 years old).
There are 65 villas, each a wooden bungalow designed to complement what nature has to offer. Some have partial open-air bathrooms, while others are set on stilts and just a few steps from the beautiful turquoise lagoon. Watch the ocean come to life beneath your feet at Aqua, a fine dining restaurant (with a glass floor!) that sits on stilts over the Kamondoo lagoon. You can also chill out with colourful cocktails and delicious nibbles at Kandu Bar, located right next to the infinity pool.
Had enough sun, sand and snorkelling? Check out its full-service spa for a spot of pampering.
GETTING THERE Transfer from Male airport by seaplane, which takes about 35 minutes. The resort arranges transfers for all guests. A minimum stay of six nights is required.
IF YOU’RE A GOURMAND
WHERE The Louise, Adelaide, Australia
ROMANCE FACTOR Barossa Valley – that’s a destination in itself, especially for the discerning gourmand. Wines produced here have graced the tables around the world and food from its soil has tantalised the palates of many a discerning diner.
If you’re making this your next holiday destination, stay at this intimate hideaway, set on a gentle hill surrounded by vineyards with breath-taking vistas. The star of this establishment is Appellation, regarded as one of Australia’s fi nest dining destinations – think fresh, locally sourced ingredients and harvesting from its own kitchen garden, all reflecting the best that each season has to offer. It even carbonates its own rainwater!
Here, the accommodation is the supporting cast to the dining establishment – an unusual set-up as it’s usually the reverse – but expect nothing less than luxurious suites (with artworks as a focus), generous en suites and breath-taking vineyard views.
Wine connoisseurs who are guests can arrange for private tastings and winemaker introductions, or you can also sign up activities as diverse as breakfast with the kangaroos or an adventure on an Oz Trike motorcycle.
GETTING THERE It’s just a little over an hour’s drive outside of Adelaide city. The resort’s website provides good self-drive instructions. You can also request to be picked up at the Adelaide airport.
Or for something a little more extravagant – drop in or leave by helicopter. The Louise has a helipad on property. This service is available only during daylight hours and there are baggage size and weight restrictions for helicopter carriers. Do also note that The Louise and Appellation close every July for renovations.
IF EXOTIC ESCAPADES EXCITE YOU
WHERE The Capaldi Hotel, Morocco
ROMANCE FACTOR Tucked in the foothills of the Atlas Mountain lies an oasis of calm and seclusion for parents who seek time to themselves. This luxury hotel, set on the site of a former olive farm, is bent on making “your stay exactly what you would wish for”.
And that it does: enjoy tantalising dishes specially prepared by its French chef using locally sourced ingredients, or head to the spa and indulge in a traditional Moroccan hammam (like a steam room or sauna).
From water sports to desert jaunts, there are many activities for you to try – camel rides at sunset or two-seater dune buggy rides in the Agafay Desert, trek the mountain foothills by bike or on foot, jet-skiing on the nearby Lake Lalla Takerkoust or take a stroll through the local Berber villages.
And if a picnic for two in the countryside is what you’re after – just ask the staff to pack you a basket. When aching feet cry for rest, head to the hotel’s 24-seat cinema (there’s no in-room TV) – with a cocktail in hand – and take in a movie or two. A private viewing can be arranged.
GETTING THERE The property is 35 minutes by car from the Marrakech Menara airport. Contact the hotel for airport transfers. Guests must be at least age 12. If time permits, stretch out your stay and take in the sights and sounds of the Medina in Marrakech, too. It’s an experience you will not want to miss.
IF YOU’RE ADVENTUROUS
WHERE Aleenta Hua Hin, Thailand
ROMANCE FACTOR How many hotels give you the option of a Harley Davidson bike transfer? Take in the sights along the way – stopping at a beachfront location for a picnic, freshly made by the Aleenta team who ride along en route; and pass through fishing villages, national parks and temples.
You won’t find a television set in your room, but this boutique resort has plenty of special activities to keep you occupied, such as the three day Gourmet Gliders retreat. Apart from a “farm to food” experience (you pick produce for the lunch you’ll be cooking under supervision of the head chef) as well as other culinary related activities, you’ll get to see the beautiful beaches and rolling farms of Pranburi – strapped to a paramotor!
And if golf is your game, there’s no better place to have a swing. After all, Hua Hin is known for its world-class golf courses – eight at last count. Ask for the Aleenta Wing, which is designated for adults only and set about five to 10 minutes away from the family-friendly Frangipani and Resort wings.
GETTING THERE The resort is a three hours’ drive from Bangkok, and 30 minutes from the town of Hua Hin. Check with its front desk for availability of bike transfer from Bangkok airport.
FINDING A MATCH
Your choice of accommodation could potentially make or break a romantic holiday, says Katherine Cole, regional director at Hotels.com. That’s because the experience of staying in a family-friendly resort vastly differs from one that caters primarily to couples.
“In fact, we see more hotels worldwide catering to this rising demand for couples-only vacations with specially designated facilities just for couples and adults in general. Some other hotels have taken it a step further to enforce minimum-age requirements,” shares Katherine.
So, look out for hotel packages that are designed specially for couples, such as honeymoon or anniversary packages. “One quick tip to ensure a memorable stay is to always inform the hotel if you are celebrating a special occasion like your 10th wedding anniversary. You’ll never know what complimentary surprises they might have in store for you,” she adds.
By Anita Yee, Young Parents, January 2015