What makes a romantic retreat?

We all know there’s a huge variety of special hotels out there, each offering a great deal of choice as to how guests enjoy their stay. Now that you’re planning a Valentine’s Day break, however, what should you look for in a hotel to ensure a truly romantic break? As Chic Retreats knows our hotels intimately here are our pointers…

DO NOT DISTURB

Valentine’s Day is a good chance for couples to get away and remind themselves of the important things. In that sense, location becomes very important. A hotel for a romantic break needs to be set apart, away from the everyday, fast-paced world. This could mean a country house hotel surrounded by gardens, like Lime Wood Hotel or set in a stunning medieval village, such as Il Borro (left). It could even mean that you have the run of the place, with no other guests, like Boathouse, 5 The Lawn, Villa Metato and Carter’s Yard – no need to get dressed!  Further afield, St Pierre de Serjac in Languedoc, Dar Zamora in Morocco and Senses Villa Ornos on Mykonos either feature, or are self-catering apartments that ensure privacy. Butler service, provided by many boutique hotels, is a further incentive to never leave your room. Outside, natural space for long winter walks allows couples to unwind and reconnect.  

NO RUSH

Similarly, the ideal romantic break is one that is relaxed and languid. To spend a Valentine’s Day break is to revel in a lie in, with no demands on your time. It’s worth making sure that you have late check out and the ability to not be disturbed during your stay. JK Place Rome, Gigli D’Oro and Gentleman of Verona (right) are hotels that especially excel in this regard.   

While we’re talking about sleep…

COOL THREADS

Good bedding and linen is an essential component of a romantic break. Sheets, ideally with a high thread count, should feel smooth and cool as you slide between them.. A good quality mattress allows a good night’s sleep and helps you wake refreshed. Call ahead to ask your hotel what they offer in terms of mattresses – some even work together with manufacturers to exclusively fit out their rooms with special mattresses. They may even have a pillow menu to suit your particular preference. In terms of beds, we are particularly fond of Hotel Terravina (left) in the New Forest for their attention to detail.

FIRST APPEARANCES

It is hard to enjoy a romantic break when your surroundings are ordinary or humdrum. The ideal romantic break involves a hotel that goes above and beyond in terms of its decor – think fashionable fabrics, marble bathrooms and plush sofas. Some hotels, such as L’Hotel (right) in Paris and Prestonfield in Scotland have a theatrical opulence that gives a feel of decadence and glamour, undeniably adding to the romance of a weekend away.

THE WAY TO THE HEART…

Many hotels pride themselves on their dining options, some truly stand out in terms of the experience they offer. They offer a smaller, more intimate dining environment, or that they employ the services of a renowned/talented chef to take you on a culinary journey. It could be as simple as a stunning view from a dining terrace. A couple, such as Lime Wood in the New Forest, tick multiple boxes, with the acclaimed chef Angela Hartnett MBE presiding over the cooking. Those planning a Valentine’s Day break would benefit from checking the menus provided online by hotels to see what they offer. Do they have a wide variety of options, in particular breakfast? We can all be a bit picky in the morning.

DETAILS MATTER

In the end, it’s the small things that matter most. A hotel that understands your needs will provide fresh flowers daily, pick up whether it is sparkling or still water that you prefer and provide local artisanal chocolates. A bottle of your favourite champagne chilling in a bucket on your arrival lifts a hotel stay and makes it truly special. Hotel staff should be listen and pick up on your preferences and if it’s local knowledge you need, a concierge should be at hand.

Of course, Chic Retreats have a long list of boutique hotels that provide all of the above and more – just have a look at our Hide & Chic Collection! We would love to give you handpicked suggestions, so just pick up the phone and call.