2 February, 2012
Travel

Top 3 Romantic Retreats for Valentine’s Day

2 February, 2012

Get set to swoon this Valentine’s Day with these three hot tips from boutique hotel experts Mr & Mrs Smith. Impress your paramour with an idyllic island escape near Phuket, a gourmet getaway in Langkawi or an uber-glam Hong Kong city break.

Best for beachside bliss: The Racha, Phuket, Thailand

Style Luxed-up nature
Setting
Fantasy Island

For a tropical tryst on a postcard-perfect Thai isle, whisk your Mr Smith away to Phuket boutique hotel The Racha, a romantic resort on Racha Yai, a 35-minute speedboat ride south of the main island. Pared down and eco-chic, this modern oasis has been built in low-rise harmony with its environment, with serene whitewashed villas for clutter-free cool. Suites 101 or 102 are more secluded and have the most spectacular sea views, along with their own plunge pools. Splashing out? The Lighthouse is a five-storey, two-bedroom ‘villa’ with 360-degree island views.

Once you’ve slipped into island time, there’s no need to leave the hotel. Snorkel in pristine, fish-filled waters or pay a visit to Anumba Spa, where treatment rooms for two boast a sumptuous tub, steam room and outdoor shower. After an all-out pampering session, cradle a mojito as you watch the sun set over the sea at the smart Lobby Bar. When hunger hits, there’s a restaurant to suit all moods, including the relaxed Earth Café, poolside Fire Grill and casual Sunset Beach Restaurant. Private dinners are also on the menu – opt for a candlelit dinner on the Star Deck, then hit Ice Bar for a late-night vino, live music and karaoke if you’re game, or the Club del Mar Beach Club for chilled DJ-spun tunes.

Best for laid-back luxe: Bon Ton Restaurant & Resort, Langkawi, Malaysia

Style Rustic Malay restoration
Setting
Lagoon-side Pantai Cenang

If a mix of fabulous food, poolside sun-loungers and serene surroundings floats your boat, then set course for laid-back Langkawi boutique hotel Bon Ton Restaurant & Resort. Surrounded by manicured greenery on a former coconut plantation, Bon Ton is home to eight genuine Malaysian stilted wooden houses, most more than a century old. Each of these antique timber homes is unique; five have open-air bathrooms with freestanding wooden tubs that up the romance factor. Palm Villa tops our list with its ornate carved windows and dreamy decor in turquoise and green.

Gourmets will go crazy for renowned restaurant Nam, which blends Eastern and Western cuisine with a dose of spice to create an imaginative and inventive menu. Plump for the signature Nyonya platter of nine Malay and Chinese dishes served on a banana leaf. After dinner, you don’t have far to travel for smart sips. Housed in an antique-filled, 60-year-old Chinese shophouse next to the restaurant is Chin Chin lounge bar, where liqueur-coffees and cocktails are specialities – grab a Short Island Iced Tea to enjoy on the deck.

Best for city slickers: The Upper House, Hong Kong, China

Style Celestial sleek
Setting Admiralty eyrie

Sigh-inducing Valentine’s Day stays don’t all require a passport and a plane ticket, though. For a lavish love-in closer to home, check in to Hong Kong boutique hotel The Upper House. Lord it up over the city skyline from the luxury of your apartment-style abodes – be sure to book one of the Harbour View rooms, which flaunt bird’s-eye vistas of the city’s waterways, skyscrapers and lush green hills from the bedroom, living area and bath. But remember – just as you can see all of Hong Kong as you soak, so can all of Hong Kong see you. Those remote-controlled blinds will come in handy…

Choosing the top table for a tête-à-tête is a no-brainer – simply sashay upstairs to Café Gray Deluxe (book ahead to nab a window seat or intimate booth), where master chef Gray Kunz crafts modern European cuisine in sleek surrounds with jaw-dropping harbour views. Alongside the restaurant, powder-blue curved banquettes and a 14-metre-long marble bar make Café Gray Deluxe Bar and Lounge a suitably showy outpost. Snuggle up for an enticing cocktail from master mixologist Sam Jeveons, or head to the chilled-out Sky Lounge to savour a single-malt over a board game. Don’t feel like fleeing your suite? Dial up room service around the clock – once you’ve raided the maxi-bar, stocked with cookies, chocolates, juices and beer, that is!

To book any Mr & Mrs Smith boutique hotel, visit www.mrandmrssmith.com or call the expert Travel Team on 800 905 326. What’s more, BlackSmith membership is now free for life, so sign up today to receive life-enhancing extras and exclusive offers at more than 850 hotels and holiday houses around the world.

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