The background of Valentine’s Day
Valentine’s Day, when lovers express their affection with greetings and gifts, has origins in the Roman festival of Lupercalia, held in mid-February. The festival, which celebrated the coming of spring, included fertility rites and the pairing off of women with men by lottery. At the end of the 5th century, Pope Gelasius I replaced Lupercalia with St. Valentine’s Day. It came to be celebrated as a day of romance from about the 14th century.
So, how to make this worldwide famous day a really special one? Enough with boxes of chocolate, it’s time to get your valentine what he or she really wants — a truly romantic retreat.
From sipping wine in the Tuscan countryside to pampering on a tropical beach, here are ten breathtaking and ultra-romantic getaways that your one and only will love:
Grand Hotel Fasano – Lake Garda, Italy
In its fabulous setting on the beautiful Lago di Garda, Grand Hotel Fasano is the perfect place from which to explore the picturesque landscape of the lakes of upper Italy. Embedded in a 12,000-square-metre park landscape with palms and banana trees, this oasis of relaxation radiates an exotic flair.
Created for a luxurious stay of the mid-European élite traveller, today, enriched with modern comforts, it is enjoyed by a cosmopolitan clientele.
Soori Bali – Indonesia
Set on the edge of the ocean between the Mount Batukaru and terraced rice fields, Soori Bali is a hidden refuge, rejuvenating and peaceful. Located in the southwest Tabanan Regency, this is the last true frontier of Bali; it is Bali as it should be.
Designed by renowned architect Soo K. Chan and his wife Ling Fu, each villa is crafted out of local materials, fusing authenticity and modernity to create their inimitable atmosphere.
Villa Geba – Montenegro
Hidden away in the wild Montenegro countryside, perched over the shores of the Adriatic, Villa Geba whispers refined luxury.
Sink into large, sumptuous sofas, before the far-reaching views of the Sveti Stefan peninsula tempt you out onto the terrace. Have a bespoke cocktail prepared for you at the bar, followed by a gastronomic meal in the chic Parisian style restaurant. Then, as evening draws near, take a dip in the hotel’s heated infinity pool as the sun sets below the azure horizon. When the time comes to explore further afield, take your pick from Montenegro’s National Parks, sacred mountains and Medieval fortress cities, steeped in culture and history.
San Clemente Palace Kempinski – Venice, Italy
A tranquil sanctuary on the doorstep of Venice, San Clemente Palace Kempinski is one of Italy’s most enchanting secrets. Set on a private island in the heart of the Venice Lagoon, it’s just a complimentary ten-minute boat ride from Piazza San Marco via private launch.
The stately resort immerses guests in the drama, glamour, and heritage of Venice. The 900-year-old landmark property is comprised of a series of beautifully restored monastery buildings, as well as a 12th-century chapel, which reminds visitors of the monastic settlement that once flourished here.
Palacio de Villapanés – Seville, Spain
Hotel Palacio de Villapanés is a converted 18th century palace, built by the Marquis of Torreblanca del Aljarafe, that does traditional elegance with a modern twist. You’ll find baroque architecture, marble columns and tiles, ornate archways and parquet floors.
Yet, there’s also an exclusive, modern feel with contemporary furnishings, sumptuous fabrics and sleek bathrooms. This is authentic Andalusian opulence brought into the 21st century, combining most of its original details with international design pieces by GCA Arquitectos and Patricia Urquiola.
Byblos Art Hotel Villa Amistà – Verona, Italy
Byblos Art Hotel Villa Amistà is a classic Venetian-style villa of the XVI century, inspired by the tradition of the Veneto region and re-interpreted to become an elegant luxury hotel and hosting an impressive permanent exhibition of contemporary art.
Sitting in a beautifully manicured five-acre garden, it boasts ultra modern design by renowned architect and designer, Alessandro Mendini, that stands out in stark contrast to the historic building.
Villa & Palazzo Aminta – Lake Maggiore, Italy
Housed in a Belle Époque mansion from the early 20th century and facing the Borromean Islands, Villa & Palazzo Aminta exudes an air of timeless romance with breathtaking views of Lake Maggiore, often considered the most peaceful of northern Italy’s lakes.
The concept of luxury is reinvented and renewed at Villa & Palazzo Aminta, where the refinement of the most classic styles blends with a modern and attentive mentality, creating an intimate dimension in which you can let yourself be pampered while surrounded by the most exquisite and sensual materials.
Palazzo Seneca – Norcia, Umbria, Italy
A home in an Umbrian Palace: this is the atmosphere of Palazzo Seneca, charming property in Norcia, in the heart of the most secret part of Umbria, the region of the black truffle.
Palazzo Seneca was built in the 16th century by the homonymous family from Piedivalle, whose inhabitants were famous as skilled wood carvers. Today it’s a fusion between design and tradition: the search for unique materials and objects, combined with the know-how of the most renowned Umbrian craftsmen, make it a unique and charming destination.
Zanzibar White Sand Luxury Villas & Spa – Tanzania
The archipelago of Zanzibar, with its impressive history, cultural diversity and stunning beaches, is one of the most exotic destinations remaining in the world. In this corner of paradise, crystalline waters, pure white sands and tropical gardens are the canvas for an exclusive yet authentic experience at Zanzibar White Sand Luxury Villas & Spa.
A sanctuary of peace and intimacy located on the pristine sands of Paje beach, on the East coast of Zanzibar, and surrounded by crystal-clear waters.
L’Andana Resort – Tuscany, Italy
The former hunting lodge of Leopold II of Lorraine, Grand Duke of Tuscany, L’Andana Resort is located in Italy`s stunning Maremma region, celebrated for its lush countryside that stretches to the Tyrrhenian Sea.
L’Andana`s long driveway is lined with cypress trees, with vistas of olive orchards and vineyards in the distance, immediately evoking Tuscan beauty and its timeless charm.
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