Travel Picks: 10 top romantic hotels
LONDON (Reuters Life!) - In need of a romantic break, but don't know where to go? Boutique hotel connoisseurs Mr & Mrs Smith (www.mrandmrssmith.com) play Cupid with a hand-picked selection of 10 of the most seductive stays worldwide.
1: Seaside chic: La Réserve Ramatuelle, St Tropez, France
High on a hill above the waves of the Mediterranean and the megayachts of St Tropez, perches La Réserve Ramatuelle -- a recently opened hotel that's already clawed its way to the top of spa aficionados' to-do list. The 23 bedrooms are all about chic simplicity, with bright, white interiors and floor-to-ceiling windows ushering in the sunlight while letting the ocean views take center stage. There's a jet-set coastal feel here, with a destination spa and detox-friendly cuisine, but this sophisticated seaside sanctuary is still perfect for private getaways and relaxed tête-à-têtes. Order champagne cocktails for two and sink into a beanbag by the heated outdoor pool. Just don't forget your superstar-in-waiting sunglasses.
2: Luxury: Eagles Nest, Bay of Islands, New Zealand
If you like your romance served with one part James Bond to two parts Jacques Cousteau, then you'll love Eagles Nest. The five secluded villas, hidden away on a verdant peninsula in northern New Zealand's scenic Bay of Islands, blend breathtaking modern design with jaw-dropping ocean vistas. Intimate one-bedroom First Light is recommended for couples, but all feature minimal contemporary furniture, abstract art and glam gadgets, including flatscreen TVs and home cinema systems. Prepare your own meals in the kitchen or arrange for a private chef to whip you up a spread out on the spacious deck. Afterwards flop in the Jacuzzi, cocktail in hand. Beyond your luxe pad, acres of subtropical bush and beaches beckon, with 144 islands promising pristine swimming, sailing and whale-watching.
3: Spa seduction: Capella Singapore, Singapore
Putting a fresh spin on a stay in this buzzy southeast Asian city, 112-room Capella Singapore is a seductive getaway on tropical Sentosa Island. Although it's easily reached by car over a causeway from the main island, you'll feel far removed from the metropolis here, with lush lawns, roaming peacocks and artfully appointed sculptures surrounding a heritage hotel. It's not all old world charm though, as Capella's bold modern extension by Foster & Partners brings the interiors bang up to date. Constellation rooms come with an alfresco terrace tub, ideal for soaking up South China Sea views. Get in the mood for love with a lunar cycle-inspired treatment at award-winning Auriga spa, then sip rare teas together at the Knolls diner before feasting on Chinese fusion dishes at Cassia.
4: Decadent drama: Palazzo Barbarigo, Venice, Italy
If anywhere deserves an 11 out of 10 for romance, it's misty, magical Venice and where better to hole up with your honey than converted 16th-century Palazzo Barbarigo, right on the Grand Canal? Blending modern boudoir glamour with Twenties deco chic, each of the 18 rooms offers a dreamy canal view. Voluptuous four-poster beds add to the drama, with sexy smoky ceiling mirrors drawing reflected light in from the water outside, so that despite the dark color palette, the whole space feels sensual. There's a velvety lounge bar and small dining room serving light snacks, but venturing out for food is a pleasure in this vibrant neighborhood near the Rialto bridge. Continued...