Whilst Valentine's Day has its drawbacks, it does afford a good excuse for a long weekend break with a loved one or friend! Below are my top picks for people who may have left any last minute gifts to the very last minute, or those who may be in need of a grand gesture, or simply those who want to get away to a great city. I have listed both traditional romantic destinations and spots a little bit more off the beaten track to suit a number of tastes - though I'd love to hear of any other ideas people have had in the past! Contact me here.
New York Americans do Valentine's Day as Americans do most things - bigger and bigger. New York is no exception, and though it makes a great destination at any time of year, the city is covered is snow in February making it even more of a stunning urban zoo. It is a perfect city for couples as there are a million and one wonderful restaurants to try out in between rambles around the different areas that the Big Apple has to offer. After the sun has set there are a million and two bars to frequent. Hotels that are offering good deals at the moment in good locations are Le Parker Meridien near Central Park, The Crosby Street Hotel in Soho and The Waldorf Astoria for some old fashioned glamour.
Paris This suggestion is almost a cliche. But Paris is romantic and worthy of a Valentine's Day trip for a reason. It is simply beautiful every which way you turn. If I was going on a weekend trip there, with a loved one or friend, my favourite area is the Marais and there are still some good deals to be had staying around the Place Des Vosges on Airbnb for the upcoming Hallmark holiday. I like the Marais for all its quaint little boutiques, sweet coffee shops and trendy bars. Other areas that are perfect for strolls are Montmartre with its winding cobbled streets and St Germain De Pres for its high end shops and classy eateries.
Venice Whilst Venice is overcrowded and downright smelly in the hot summer months, in February it is anything but - in fact it can sometimes be a little too cold. It still makes for a brilliant Valentine's Day bolthole though as it is a truly one of a kind destination. Its canals are so pretty and set off the surrounding Italian architecture. And let's not forget that Venice is in Italy, which means Italian food and wine. Cue two to three days of eating pizza and pasta non stop, washed down with bottle upon bottle of chianti. Whenever I visit Italy, I use this site, Citalia, which hasn't let me down yet. It may err on the more expensive side, but the hotels they recommend are never bad value.
Rye This picture postcard town in the south of England is an excellent idea for a few days away with a partner. There are loads of pubs to hole up in for hours at a time over booze and food, as well as nearby vineyards for some wine tasting. Recently, I stayed at The George and it is by far one of my favourite hotels I have ever stayed in. There are other options around the town, but the George is easily the most stylish, with all its individually styled rooms and a brasserie with yummy food.
Colmar Dubbed Little Venice, this place is almost dreamlike. The well preserved architecture means that the capital of the Alsace region looks like a set of a fairytale with its pastel coloured buildings and canals. It is perfect for a few days away - with or without your loved one! There are a myriad of hotel options in Colmar that will suit all wants and needs. Even for a couple of weeks' time there are options that range in price from £50 to £120 per night.
Marrakech This Morroccan city makes for a perfect long weekend. From most of Europe, the flight isn't too long, and once you are there the pound or euro will go a long way. Its souks, whilst excellent for shopping, are simply fascinating to wander around and the food on offer in the markets are all mouth watering. Additionally, after you have tired yourself out and satiated your senses buying all your leather goods and tagines, you can go back to a ludicrously good value spa hotel or riad for a hammam and other wonderful treatments. Mr and Mrs Smith have a great selection of places to stay with a wide range of prices for all budgets! I like a look of the Riad Due Hotel.
Happy Valentine's Day all!