In order for a hotel to be considered romantic, it doesn’t have to be luxurious – but it does need character. That could mean a unique set of physical features. Perhaps the property used to be mansion, or a historic landmark, or a stable. Perhaps the location is everything. When your windows open out over a quaint little street in Paris, for instance, a leaky faucet is easier to forgive. Some of the best romantic experiences have a rustic and unexpected quality about them, and the right quirks can add charm.
Today’s experience-hunting and Instagram-happy culture demands more than chilled champagne and roses – that’s the reality. What defines an outstanding romantic hotel stay in the 21st century? I think the answer is more about location and character, with a little luxury thrown into the mix. To show you what I mean, let’s take a look at three examples.
Perivolas – Santorini, Greece
You don’t need a photo to imagine the panoramic views at this property, but that’s not what makes it stand out from the many other hotels on the island of Santorini. It starts with the fact that Perivolas is built from a series of 300-year-old stables and fishing shacks. This is a boutique property with less than thirty rooms, owned and operated by the local family that built it. Interiors are sparse, characterised by white hand-brushed concrete, simple furnishings, and oversized cushions. Visual flourishes are few and striking. The property flows perfectly into the scenery around it, providing guests with an unhurried, relaxed Mediterranean feel. This is one hotel that inspires guests to leave distractions behind. What could be more romantic than that?
Qualia – Hamilton Island, Queensland
There are a lot of romantic hotels in Australia, but Qualia routinely sits atop of the list. What is it about this hotel that captures the romantic spirit so well? For starters, each room is conceived as a spacious pavilion with open-living concepts and uninterrupted views over the sparkling Coral Sea. Private decks and plunge pools allow couples the time and space to frolic undisturbed. Interiors are understated and open, with soothing contemporary touches. The restaurants and wine cellars at Qualia won’t leave much to be desired, either. This property is secluded, luxurious, hypnotic. It’s easy for couples who stay here to lose themselves in romance amidst the pristine surroundings.
Levin Iglut – Lapland, Finland
There’s more to romance than breezy sea views. If you’re in the mood for something a little more adventurous, stay in a glass igloo in Lapland Finland. Some of the igloos at Levin Iglut have more amenities than others – but all have heated floors, posh beds, and panoramic views of the Arctic sky. The landscape is cold and snowy during the winter months, and guests can have meals from the property’s fine dining restaurant – Aurora Sky – delivered to their igloos if they wish. If curling up together under the shifting colours of the Aurora Borealis doesn’t amount to a romantic hotel stay, I don’t know what does. For extra comfort and romance, guests can book the Northern Lights House with its private sauna and fireplace.
In search of the romantic hotel experience
These are outstanding examples with extraordinary qualities – but romantic hotel experiences don’t have to be flashy or expensive. Some of the best romantic stays are the ones that don’t appear in travel magazines or top-ten lists – but they succeed in becoming part of a couple’s unique story, delivering impressions that stand out through time.
A romantic hotel is a gifted hotel – a property that makes use of unique characteristics, both natural and architectural, to create an unforgettable atmosphere. It’s a property that blends into its environment, whether urban or rustic, and inspires two people to slow down and focus on each other. Romance isn’t about perfection – it’s about character, inspiration, and attention to detail. By that token, any hotel could stand to be a little more romantic.
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