14 romantic hotels in Europe for couples on a Valentine's Day getaway
Get ready to fall in love all over again.
There are few better ways to show your very special someone how much you love them than by whisking them away.
Somewhere where the scenery is stunning, the history tangible, the culture vibrant and the cuisine sublime ‒ in other words, where romance just comes naturally.
Although February isn't the warmest season in Europe, there are plenty of roaring fires to snuggle by, selfies to snap in the snow and glorious sights to behold. Getting away before travellers return in vast numbers this spring and summer is also a seriously smart move.
So dust off the Spanish guitar, clench a rose between your teeth and serenade your beloved at these 14 unforgettable European destinations to spend Feb 14.
EL PALACE BARCELONA, SPAIN
Barcelona's most famous and beloved hotel ‒ its previous incarnation was The Ritz, which opened in 1919 ‒ El Palace's opulent interiors are romantic and historic in equal measure. Salvador Dali famously asked for a horse to be sent up to his room and to this day service remains exemplary.
Over Valentine’s Day weekend, the hotel’s legendary rooftop will transform into a Winter Cinema featuring classics like The Grand Budapest Hotel and The Great Gatsby. Cosy up with your Valentine in wood cabins decked in cushions, tartan blankets, hot water bottles, sipping on cocktails and munching on popcorn. Later, don't miss breath-taking cuisine from Chef Rafa Zafra at their restaurant Amar, which has a stellar reputation among foodies in-the-know.
BEAVERBROOK, SURREY, ENGLAND
In the rolling countryside just about 32km south of London sits Beaverbrook, the quintessential British estate. The former home of the newspaper baron, politician and great friend of Winston Churchill, Lord Beaverbrook, it reflects bygone grandeur with every modern luxury and comfort.
Nowhere is that more apparent than in the glamorous Elizabeth Taylor suite that features a four-poster bed, antiques, a balcony overlooking the elegant Italian fountains and a bath previously owned by none other than ballet legend, Rudolf Nureyev. Restaurants include the intimate Garden House and cosy Robin's Nest Bar, while their Coach House Spa promises therapeutic massages to ensure that blissful feelings linger even longer.
CIRAGAN PALACE KEMPINSKI, ISTANBUL, TURKEY
Ahhh, Istanbul. The perfumes, the flavours, the souks, the colours. Few cities are as enchanting, beguiling or romantic and few hotels move the heart like Ciragan Palace Kempinski, the only Ottoman imperial palace on the famed Bosporus which separates Europe from Asia.
The expansive 310-room resort hotel is offering a luxurious getaway where you may want to avail of their spa and pool before sitting down to a seven-course dinner at their Michelin recommended Tugra restaurant. You'll be serenaded with live music before taking special gifts back to your Grand Deluxe room with a Bosporus view and waking to a sumptuous breakfast served in-room.
ASHFORD CASTLE, IRELAND
While you won't be guaranteed days of endless sunshine in February, Ireland more than makes up for it in atmospheric beauty, especially when you stay in a castle. Dating back to the 13th century, Ashford Castle in Ireland’s County Mayo is a stunning retreat set in 350 acres of ancient woodlands and lakes.
The experience and feel is definitely more Downton Abbey than Game of Thrones, thanks to impeccable service throughout the 83 elegant rooms and suites, six restaurants and three bars. Try your hand at archery, clay pigeon shooting or even falconry before a stroll through their woods. Then it's back for luxurious spa treatments, champagne by the roaring fireside, a seven-course dinner and a retreat to your suite in a castle turret.
PASSALACQUA, LAKE COMO, ITALY
Given that Lake Como is good enough for George Clooney to call home, the chances are the romance quotient is already pretty high. The wonderfully-named Passalacqua is a spectacular 18th century villa on the lake's shores, where 24 opulent, entirely individual suites have hosted guests from Napoleon Bonaparte to Winston Churchill.
The biggest heart-stealer is undoubtedly their Bellini Suite ‒ the largest on Lake Como, natch ‒ which is a masterpiece of grand Baroque style. Wander the majestic terraced gardens filled with fountains, take a boat trip on the lake and return for a candlelit diner to create memories of la dolce vita sure to last a lifetime.
MATILD PALACE, BUDAPEST, HUNGARY
Budapest is one of Europe's most underrated cities, one where the romance factor is high thanks to stunning Art Nouveau buildings, Danube cruises and more. Matild Palace sits just a stone's throw from the mighty river and this year it is offering guests a special Valentine's Cabaret. If swing and jazz are your thing, then there's nowhere better to be as the evening takes guests back to the 1920's with live music and dancing ‒ while you're also encouraged to hit the dancefloor and join them.
Dinner includes everyone's favourite aphrodisiac of oysters, venison fillet and a dessert intriguingly called 'red lips' to seal the evening with a kiss. Retreat for a nightcap to The Duchess, their decadent rooftop bar for romantic cocktails overlooking the domes and spires of this dazzling city's skyline.
THE RITZ-CARLTON, ABAMA, TENERIFE, SPAIN
If there's one place in Europe you can pretty much guarantee sunshine in February, it's Spain Canary Islands. On the island of Tenerife's south-west coast, The Ritz-Carlton, Abama serves up an enticing cocktail of year-round warm temperatures, gorgeous volcanic views and lush gardens. Inspired by Moorish architecture, the resort's red hues are already pretty romantic, even before you embark on their special Valentines package.
It includes a two-night stay, a chocolate body treatment in their spa and dinner for two at their Michelin-starred Kabuki, a restaurant specialising in Japanese fusion cuisine. The adults-only Villa Club is a great choice for kicking back in tranquil surrounds with complimentary beers, wine and Cava included.
AMAN VENICE, ITALY
When you think of sumptuous and sensuous European romance, one city invariably comes near the top of the list: Venice. Known as La Serenissima ‒ the most serene ‒ it embodies the history, culture and beauty which have inspired artists for centuries. Only eight monumental palazzos remain on the iconic Grand Canal and one of them is home to Aman Venice.
Their two-night stay, Experience Aman Venice, immerses you in the world of art through a discovery of Tintoretto's paintings in their original setting, at Scuola Grande San Rocco, as well as the chance to take in the city's magical architecture from a sunset boat cruise which navigates the famed canals. Spa treatments, breakfast and a complimentary minibar are all included.
THE CYCLADIC ISLANDS, GREECE
There's a lot to be said for all-inclusive escapes and a personalised 12-night itinerary around the stunning Greek islands takes some beating for an ultimate Valentine's escape. This epic celebration of Greece's Cycladic Islands includes three nights on four separate islands, where picture-perfect white washed villages, secluded beaches and incredible cuisine await.
You'll learn secrets from artisans on Naxos, cook with locals on Paros, take a private helicopter to Folegrandos and cruise aboard their private yacht through the turquoise wates and golden beaches of Milos. Luxurious accommodation at every stop includes Parilio Hotel Paros and Milos Cove.
HOTEL DAME DES ARTS, PARIS, FRANCE
No romantic escapes in Europe can be complete without the City of Light, Paris. While there are countless fabulous places to stay, a new addition to the city's hotel landscape ticks all the boxes. The 109-room Hotel Dame des Arts is perfectly located in Saint Germain on the chic Left Bank, just a short stroll from the Seine and Notre Dame.
Unusually for Paris, many of the rooms boast stellar views over iconic rooves and towards Sacre Coeur, while the 360-degree views from the rooftop bar have to be seen to be believed. The Penthouse Suite Eiffel View is where you'll want to sleep, but chances are you'll be glued to the window or braving the balcony.
ROSA, ALPINA, DOLOMITES, ITALY
Back to Italy, which is not exactly short on romantic destinations, to Rosa Alpina. This family-run hotel sits within the charming mountain village of San Cassiano, in the jaw-droppingly pretty Dolomites. Unsurprisingly, it's a huge draw in winter thanks to its unmatched access to imposing slopes.
But there's much more to this Aman partner hotel than world class skiing, notably their renowned spa and a restaurant holding the Holy Grail of three Michelin stars. Restaurant St Hubertus takes its name from the patron saint of hunters and Chef Norbert Niederkofler's cuisine is based on his philosophy of “Cook the mountain”, in other words only using local, seasonal ingredients. They are offering a one-night stay, including the Cook The Mountain tasting menu for two and breakfast, available through Valentine's Day until the end of March.
W AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS
One of Europe's most exciting and engaging cultural destinations, Amsterdam is especially well known for its vibrant arts scene, museums and galleries. A special package from W Amsterdam lets you discover your own creative and artistic side in partnership with your beloved.
They are hosting a three-hour masterclass that will guide lovebirds through the basics of drawing and painting, letting them be inspired by live models ‒ or maybe self-portraits. Next up comes a chocolate tasting menu in W Lounge with 360-degree views over the city, where local chocolatiers share their finest creations, accompanied by a bespoke cocktail menu and live music. Where do we sign up? Two nights are included at the stylish hotel, the former Royal Dutch Post’s telephone exchange.
THE ORIGINAL FX MAYR, AUSTRIA
While Valentine's Day is a great excuse to let the champagne flow and the chocolates and cheese board be consumed with abandon, there are other much healthier options to spend quality time with your better half. Lake Wörthersee in Austria's Carinthia region is stunningly beautiful, with tranquil turquoise water backed on the horizon by snow-white Alps, home to The Original FX Mayr.
Their team of doctors and therapists prepare individual treatment plans focusing on a healthy gut and immune system, helping guests to look and feel in absolute tip top shape. A seven-day basic programme includes multiple diagnostics, examinations, massages and detoxes, personal nutrition and targeted therapies, while a world-class spa and further wellness facilities are also on hand. Leaving fully relaxed, recharged and regenerated with the love of your life sounds pretty tempting to us.
INTERCONTINENTAL CASCAIS, PORTUGAL
Finally to Portugal, another good bet for European winter sunshine, especially on the Portuguese Riviera overlooking the Atlantic. InterContinental Cascais-Estoril boasts a serene location which makes switching off and reconnecting easy, especially with their two-night Valentine's Day package.