Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. As we celebrate love with heart-shaped chocolates and pink balloons, there’s no time like now to plan a quick getaway. Just the two of you— no kids, nannies, diaper bags, or toys in tow. Think breakfast by your private pool, sans little hands tugging at your sleeve; long walks together with bare feet on soft sand; a deep slumber with only the sound of crashing waves lulling you to sleep. Whether or not you’ve got kids, these adults-only luxury hotels are havens for you to experience true R&R — and by that we mean, of course, Romance & Relaxation.
Al Maha Desert Resort, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
A stone’s throw — 45 minutes — away from Dubai, a tranquil Bedouin-style oasis awaits in the desert flanked by sand dunes and palm groves. The one-bedroom Bedouin suite makes a perfect base for your retreat. Furnished with rare Arabian antiques and furnishings, you’ve got a private temperature-controlled swimming pool, and large dining and living spaces complete with ornately carved chests and heavy wood Omani doors. In the day, take a dune drive outside the resort, or ride a camel to the crest of the dune, where you’ll watch the sunset with champagne, snacks and fruits. Bonus: Your romantic holiday may just be accompanied by four-legged friends, as the indigenous Arabian wildlife, such as the oryx and the gazelles, are free to wander in the reserve.
Live life like Robinson Crusoe castaways in Cempedak Island — albeit glamorous ones. Take a ferry to Bintan, where you have to next take an hour’s drive to a jetty. From there, you’ll be carted off on a half-hour speedboat ride. Your romantic holiday begins from the first step on Cempedak’s jetty. Spend your sojourn entirely barefoot if you wish as the island wants you to think of it as a “friend’s island hideaway.” Made entirely from scratch and by hand from alang-alang bamboo with roofs made from Cogon grass, the double-storey villas boast two bathrooms, a large bedroom, and a balcony that overlooks your private plunge pool. With no television, gift shops or restaurants here, there’s little to stop you from enjoying your partner’s company. Other than unwinding with a book by your private pool or the resort’s, trek or mountain bike through the forests, or explore the rock pools.
Ponta dos Ganchos, Brazil
On an isolated peninsula in South Brazil, a rainforest resort glimmers amid sparkling seas and framed by tropical trees. Twenty-five bungalows make up Ponta dos Gachos, each furnished with private plunge pools. For couples planning on never leaving the room, book the Special Emerald Villa Bungalow. It has everything you need for a romantic romp, including a sauna with sea views, and a spa bathroom and tatami beds for in-room massages. Outside, your private infinity pool awaits on the sun deck, while a floor below houses a wine cellar, and underground gym.
The Outpost Hotel
Little known to many, Singapore has has an adults-only paradise. The Outpost Hotel in Sentosa is perched on a hill that overlooks the coast. Check into the rooms decked in glossy black marble and white interiors, with floor-to-ceiling windows that frame your surrounds. Spend your afternoons lazing by its pools inspired by water and coastal destinations around the world, including Turkey’s famed Pamukkale saltwater pools and the Amazonian river. With its location in Sentosa, an island adventure without your passport is easy enough. Hop on board a kayak for a journey to Lazarus Island, where you’ll snorkel through a world of coral reefs. Spend your evenings on the white-washed sands, or drink your way to golden hour at a nearby beach club.
Take a deep breath as you enter an ancient fortress. Silence greets you the moment you step foot here, save for the gentle breeze that rustles the leaves and drifts through the courtyard. Cap Rocat, located in an isolated area of the Bay of Palma, is a large hotel with the plushest of nooks, transformed from courtyards, streets, secret watchtowers and battlements once carved from rocks. Transformed from the old citadel, the rooms here are quite a sight to behold. Suite El Cabo in particular, is the epitome of romance with its elegant canopied bed, enormous bathroom that resembles a small spa, and three different terraces with a private gazebo and a swimming pool for moonlight kisses. Especially for Valentine’s Day, book a private dinner over candlelight at The Lookout and The Panoramic Terrace which looks out onto the sunset at Palma Bay. Otherwise, there’s an abundance of Mediterranean-style dining spaces in the property, including the softly sunlit La Fortaleza, where the Majorean food is only eaten by hand from colonial-era porcelains, and the Sea Club which offers grilled meat and fish by the sea.
Monastero Santa Rosa, Italy
Dating back to the 17th century, Monastero Santa Rosa — perched on a cliff’s edge in the Amalfi Coast — is home to just 20 suites and rooms, all of them former quarters of nuns. Each room was designed by a local Neapolitan designer, and is graced by timeless antiques and high quality furnishings. Each differs in structure, with some featuring en-suite living and dining rooms, as well as bougainvillea-swathed private terraces overlooking the Gulf of Salerno and Conca dei Marini fishing village. Spend hours dipping in the infinity pool that appears to teeter into the horizon, or dine in its in-house restaurant where big Campania flavours are made with organic produce from the gardens.
The Wittmore, Barcelona
If overwater villas and private islands don’t exactly spell romantic for you, a getaway to one of the world’s most historic cities would surely please the most cosmopolitan of couples. The Wittmore, situated in Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter, is an intimate little bolthole. Like an exclusive private member’s club, it has an adults-only, no photography policy. Tartan motifs deck its walls, complemented by a fireplace, red velvet furnishings, and Bakelite telephones and other antique fixtures. Up on the sundeck, you’ve got front row seats to the city’s goings-on, while the garden patio, with its bar and dining room complete with a library, is perfect for conversations over coffee and cocktails. Hand in hand, wander into the thick of the Gothic Quarter, where some of the city’s most historic sights await.