We asked our slew of globe-trotting contributors: Where would you stay if you could go anywhere on a romantic getaway? Here, their favorite romantic resorts.
British Virgin Islands: Peter Island Resort & Spa
Why I Love It Five separate stretches of sand hug this private-island resort. Mile-long Deadman’s Beach, the most popular, is steps away from cocktails, fine dining and motor-free water toys such as paddle boards, kayaks and snorkeling gear. The quietest, Honeymoon Beach, can be reserved for a private morning or afternoon, complete with a gourmet picnic spread.
Best Room Set along a corner of Deadman’s Beach, the Junior Suites lull lovers to sleep with the sound of the waves and include appreciated perks such as private patios or balconies, double showers and Jacuzzi tubs for two.
Romantic Perk Honeymooners receive a complimentary bottle of sparkling wine, best enjoyed in the above-mentioned tub. A visit to the spa for a couples massage in an open-air treatment room is a must. The just-wed can also arrange for a tiki-torch-lit private dinner on Deadman’s Beach. — Brooke Morton
St. Vincent & The Grenadines: Buccament Bay Resort
Why I Love It Nestled among mountains of St. Vincent, the 95-villa property is that perfect paradox: off the beaten path, yet boasting all the amenities of a big-name resort. Sure, half a dozen gourmet restaurants, a lavish spa, a sports academy and a performing arts center will keep couples busy — but only if they can extract themselves from the resort’s best part: its plush white-sand beach, the only one on island.
Best Room You can’t go wrong in any of the villas, which all have private plunge pools, loaded mini-bars and range in size from one- to four-bedroom. My pick: Deluxe Beachfront Villas for their ideal seaside location, plus each comes with two complimentary treatments at the ESPA spa.
Romantic Perk Love chocolate? The hotel teamed up with British chocolatier Gerry Wilton to offer “Chocolate Experiences” — four-day trips where couples can taste and make everything from truffles to chocolate cocktails, indulge in Wilton delicacies and feast on a chocolate-themed Gala Finale Dinner. — Baz Dreisinger
Ambergris Caye, Belize: El Secreto
Why I Love It This new eco-chic boutique on the tip of San Pedro Island is so secluded, it doesn’t even have an address — just GPS coordinates. A luxe speedboat drops you off on a dock over the turquoise water, thus rendering all future arrivals anywhere else hopelessly mundane. In an instant, wide stretches of white sand seductively beckon you to relax and just be.
Best Room A spacious sea villa lets you slide out of bed right onto the beach and feels so private you won’t even realize you have neighbors. Each of the 13 villas comes with a sexy outdoor Jacuzzi, yummy Malin + Goetz bath goodies and a cozy sitting area with a library. Don’t miss the fresh watermelon juice waiting outside your door every morning.
Romantic Perk Spend a morning snorkeling at Hol Chan Marine Reserve on Belize’s famed barrier reef to glimpse an amazing rainbow of marine life. Afterward, speed by boat over for lunch at the blissfully bohemian, off-the-beaten-path Caye Caulker. If you still need more action, pop over to San Pedro town for dinner at local hot spot Elvi’s Kitchen. — Brooke Showell
Why I Love It This Four Seasons — one of two on Lanai, the private Hawaiian island owned by Oracle billionaire Larry Ellison — sits on a bluff facing protected Manele Bay. It boasts killer views and a sandy stretch where you can snorkel and Snuba right off the beach. Add tropical gardens, unusual activities such as creating a signature scent, and an outpost of Nobu restaurant (the first for a Four Seasons), and you’ll never want to leave the grounds.
Best Room The Oceanfront Terrace rooms have sliding glass doors that open to private patios and the Pacific below; you can see migrating whales during the spring, as well as dolphins year-round.
Romantic Perk The resort caters to couples with private dinners arranged oceanfront and spa treatments in hales (upscale versions of the traditional thatched hut) overlooking the water. Bottom line: If it’s good enough for Bill Gates — who said I do to Melinda here — it’s good enough for me. — Chris Gray Faust
Why I Love It Beachy, jungly and thoroughly hip, author Ian Fleming’s former estate is tucked on Jamaica’s less-traveled northeast coast, where the air virtually crackles with romance. Amenities in the 19 villas and cottages include a gift of Blackwell Rum, a minibar stocked with Jamaican snacks, and a sound system pre-loaded with music from Island Records — you know, the people who discovered Bob Marley (label founder Chris Blackwell owns the hotel).
Best Room All of GoldenEye’s island-chic beach cottages open up to the gentle arc of Low Cay Beach and its sheltered lagoon. But the five-bedroom Fleming Villa, the author’s former home, takes top honors: Its discreet stone steps lead down to its own private mini-cove — hands down my favorite beach in all of Jamaica.
Romantic Perk Even if you aren’t staying at the Fleming Villa, couples can arrange for a candlelit dinner for two in the author’s memento-filled seaside home when available (Fleming’s original writing desk, where he wrote his Bond books, is in the master suite). The experience guarantees a romantic evening — and bragging rights with the folks back home. — Peter Zaremba
Antigua: Jumby Bay
Why I Love It This private-island Rosewood resort gets everything right, from the bicycles waiting outside your suite for easy exploring to candlelit beach barbecues where a chef grills freshly caught fish under the stars. The vibe is utterly Caribbean: palm trees, a sweep of perfect beach — even a historic sugar mill. My wife lost her wedding ring here while paddle-boarding, which was initially heartbreaking but later, strangely, became a romantic memory — we always say we left our hearts in Jumby Bay.
Best Room While the beachside courtyard suites, strung along the oceanfront, lend the best close-up water views, I prefer the private ocean-view pool suites, which offer the best of both worlds: a huge plunge pool in your garden, with a short path that leads to the beach. I’m also partial to the outdoor showers and antique soaking tubs set in the tropical courtyard.
Romantic Perk The Privileges of Privacy program offers treats such as stargazing, beach dinners, after-hours spa evenings or visits with a local artisan. Choose what you want; leave out what you don’t. — Adam McCulloch
South Carolina: The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island Golf Resort
Why I Love It If you’ve ever dreamed of having the run of a seaside mansion, you’ll adore this luxury hotel, part of private resort community Kiawah Island Golf Resort. From the cushy rooms and restaurants to the near-prescient service, everything is welcoming and unfussy — just what you need for a romantic postwedding wind-down. Award-winning golf (at five championship courses) and tennis await, and don’t miss kayaking on the Kiawah River — there’s a better-than-average chance dolphins will join you.
Best Room I always ask for room 478, an oceanfront corner suite on the quieter north side of the hotel, away from the pool. The balconies — three in all — have sweeping views of the sea, woods and golf course, so there’s no noise but the waves.
Romantic Perk Honeymoons get off to a sweet start with chocolate-covered strawberries, sparkling wine and a rose-petal turndown. — Katie McElveen
Costalegre, Mexico: Las Alamandas
Why I Love It It’s hard to believe that a quiet paradise like this can still exist in well-traveled Mexico. Situated on a 15,000-acre nature reserve, this 16-villa hideaway made my hubby and I feel like the ritzy owners of our own fabulous Costalegre estate from the moment we arrived. Everywhere we went, it was easy to pretend we were the last two souls on earth: floating in the shallow waters just off the coast of one of the resort’s four private beaches, wandering along lush jungle paths, or simply sitting back with margaritas in hand.
Best Room Each colorful Spanish-style villa comes with perks like a private Jacuzzi and secluded patio, but couples who splurge for the Casa del Sol suite might never leave their room, thanks to a sparkling infinity-edge pool, a full bar and an expansive outdoor terrace overlooking the ocean.
Romantic Perk Ask the resort’s attentive staff to arrange a private candlelit dinner for two atop Lookout Point, a soaring cliff with panoramic vistas of the Pacific. What could be more romantic than watching the sun dip into the ocean while sipping sparkling wine with the person of your dreams? — Jackie Caradonio
Florida Keys: Little Palm Island Resort & Spa
Why I Love It Think of it as a “drive-to” private island — a 5 1/2-acre, beach-fringed oasis of castaway style, accessible via a quick speedboat transfer from Little Torch Key. The luxury here isn’t pretentious: You can go barefoot all day, doing little more than sunning and spooning in an oversize hammock, dining feet-in-the-sand on lobster and then retiring to overnight in a dreamy king-size canopy bed.
Best Room You can’t go wrong here: All 30 suites are located in oceanfront thatch-roof bungalows with outdoor showers and privacy screens of lush palms and greenery. If you want to kick it up a notch, each secluded and aptly named Island Romance Suite offers a private deck with a Jacuzzi, daybed and fire pit.
Romantic Perk Enhance your shared relaxation as you surrender to the aromatic oils and rhythmic strokes of a Balinese couples massage at tranquil SpaTerre. Book a private sunset sail on the resort’s 38-foot yacht, and you’ll have the captain all to yourself, as well as wine and cheese to nosh. — Donna Heiderstadt
Riviera Maya, Mexico: Maroma Resort and Spa
Why I Love It Deeply rooted in Maya culture, this hotel presides over its own exquisite beach and feels like a hidden grotto amid the larger resorts along the Riviera Maya. Designed as if it were a grand home, the resort comprises 65 rooms featuring local artwork, plush king-size beds and bamboo-shuttered doors that lead to private terraces. A world-class spa (don’t miss the temazcal, a Maya-style sweat-lodge experience done beachside), three swimming pools (two of them reserved for adults) and various bars mean you never need to leave the premises.
Best Room I love the Oceanfront One Bedroom Suites; each comes with a patio plunge pool, a dining palapa and massage area, an outdoor shower and sea views.
Romantic Perk Book an Evening with the Moon and Stars, a treat that includes an oceanside massage for two, serenaded by the sea. While you relax, staff members outfit your suite with flowers, chocolate-covered strawberries and a bottle of chilled sparkling wine. — Becca Hensley
California: Montage Laguna Beach
Why I Love It It’s nothing short of a real-life coastal fairytale. Set atop a bluff within walking distance of the artsy downtown area, the idyllic 248-room resort features a to-die-for spa with a swimming pool that overlooks the Pacific Ocean. Its domestic location makes it easily accessible, yet it puts even the most far-flung locales around the globe to shame.
Best Room There’s no shabby view from anywhere on the premises, but the crème de la crème is the Catalina Suite, with a king-size feather-top bed, soaking tub, fireplace and a balcony with jaw-dropping views of the surrounding Goff Beach and the Pacific. Out of your budget? Request a room in the 380’s (on the south side of the property), which have a little extra privacy.
Romantic Perk Don’t miss dinner in the Sunset Room, an intimate 10-table dining area at five-star restaurant Studio. Another must: book a “Togetherness” experience at Spa Montage with side-by-side massages. — Jennie Nunn
Thailand: Six Senses Yao Noi
Why I Love It This rustic-luxe island hideaway, located 45 minutes by speedboat from Phuket, is my dreamy, exotic escape of choice. The 54 thatch-roof villas cascade down a pandanus-swathed hill to a white-sand beach, and sybaritic room amenities include private infinity-edge pools, spa-treatment salas, outdoor showers and gracious service courtesy of personal butlers.
Best Room Villas have more swing than Tarzan with their folding glass walls and eco-chic design (think dark woods and white gauze, with pops of yellow and orange throughout). There’s nothing like waking up in an Ocean Pool Villa to the sight of iconic limestone formations rising dramatically from the sparkling Andaman Sea.
Romantic Perk Charter one of the resort’s private yachts at sunset, and set a course for a deserted island nearby, where you’ll enjoy sundown cocktails in utter privacy. You’ll be the only two around, guaranteed. — Elizabeth Woodson