Like a veritable love potion, travel can reignite the flame. Breaking routine for a new experience summons all those emotions we associate with falling in love: mystery, anticipation, awareness and excitement. Call it love at first sight, but some destinations rise above the rest to captivate us. We’ve sussed out a few of our favorite alluring hot spots. Let the romancing begin.
BUBBLY BLISS ROMANCE IN FRANCE
Experience true art de vivre in France’s spellbinding Champagne region, just 45 minutes by train from Paris. While it’s possible to embrace this fantasy wine land on a daytrip from the City of Lights, true Champagne lovers will want to immerse in the destination’s culinary glory. As a gastronomy-focused traveler, you’ll base in tony Reims, famous for its cathedral but most renowned for its surrounding vineyards, abundant Champagne cellars and Champagne-making history.
Unequivocally, you should make Domaine les Crayères, a Relais & Châteaux property, your home — as it was for members of the Champagne-making Pommery/De Polignac clan more than a century ago. A Belle Époque gated manor house topped by a mansard roof and surrounded by 17 acres of verdant parkland, Domaine les Crayères and its elegantly indulging staff welcome guests as revered family members — always with a glass of Champagne. Choose from 20 rooms (soon to be 27 after an upcoming renewal), each a symphony of classic French elegance and gentility as directed by designer Pierre-Yves Rochon. Throughout the intimate interiors, refined art and antiques keep the regal aura alive; impossibly sumptuous fabrics, from damask to velvet, coddle in both the common areas and suites; spacious marble bathrooms, complete with deep soaking tubs, invite; and peerless service rules the day. Don’t miss a long, languid, moan-eliciting dinner at Restaurant Le Parc (two Michelin stars) and a perusal of the award-winning Champagne list in the bar, which boasts more than 600 labels. Rely on staff to reserve VIP entrance to the area’s various Champagne houses, two of which — Champagne Pommery and Veuve Clicquot — lie just steps away.
TROPICAL IDYLL ROMANCE IN BORA BORA
Forget cars. When your plane lands in Bora Bora, you’ll be whisked to your hotel by boat, and while at Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora, which occupies its own island, you’ll mostly traverse the resort’s winding paths on foot, the fragrance of flowers in the air. Synonymous with paradise, girdled by a Monet palette of blue waters, this most extolled island comprises a series of motus that surround Mount Otemanu, an otherworldly volcano that pierces the center of the translucent lagoon. Famous for overwater bungalows, diving and snorkeling adventures, its French ambience, friendly locals and a romantic spirit, Bora Bora actually translates to “created by the gods” in an ancient Tahitian dialect.
You’ll feel that intensely at Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora, which embodies the Tahitian spirit. On property, lovebirds will cherish leaping into the water from their overwater bungalow or eating breakfast from a floating tray in their plunge pool. The team will fill your bath or smother your bed with flowers while you dine, deliver breakfast by canoe, take you for an evening snorkeling excursion or set up a private dinner on a private island beneath the stars. Ready to renew your vows? Do it under the tiki torches with drummers and fire dancers by your side. For paramours who like to bring their kids along, Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora offers two-bedroom overwater bungalow suites as well as seven two- and three-bedroom Beachfront Villas Estates with private pools, some with outdoor kitchens.
REGAL ROMANCE IN INDIA
Known as the Land of the Maharajas — or Land of the Kings — Rajasthan reigns not only as India’s largest state but also its most Instagrammable. A pastiche of glorious palaces, striking temples, ancient forts, glimmering lakes, rugged mountains, bustling markets, manicured gardens and brightly dressed inhabitants, it boasts cities as legendary as Agra, Jaipur and Udaipur. Visit them on a tour led by a storied outfitter such as Micato Safaris for the romantic trip of a lifetime.
In Agra you’ll tuck into the majestic Mughal-style Oberoi Amarvilas, located about a third of a mile from the Taj Mahal. That stunning marble and jewel-inlaid mausoleum was built as an homage to love, so honor yours with a splurge in Oberoi’s Kohinoor Suite, a favorite of besotted couples as glamorous as William and Kate. With multiple rooms, ornate décor, priceless art and a princely tone, the suite features close-enough- to-touch views of the Taj Mahal from every window, including the bathroom, where a tub overlooks the icon, framed by the window.
After an exclusive, early morning visit to the Taj, partake of the hotel’s expansive nine acres of manicured grounds, a captivation of reflection pools, terraced lawns, bright fountains and grand pavilions, replete with a colorfully tiled pool. Your butler can arrange an array of indulgent experiences from rose petal-filled baths to a multicourse breakfast on the balcony and dinner beneath the stars in the garden.
WINE AND WILDERNESS ROMANCE IN CHILE AND ARGENTINA
Dubbed the Land of Fire and Ice, Patagonia simply sounds like a place to ignite passion and cuddle together on a furry rug in front of a crackling fireplace. At the southern tip of South America, a composite of craggy coastline, glacial fjords and soaring mountains, this untamed landscape appeals to outdoor-loving couples. In Chile join cowboys (gauchos) on a horseback ride through the Andes, cruise icy waters close enough to touch glacier walls, kayak, hike or try your hand with sheep herding at a characteristic ranch. For your abode, choose The Singular Patagonia, an eco-consciously reimagined 19th-century storage plant, sure to thrill design buffs.
As your grand finale, “wine” down in Malbec Country in Argentina, where you can explore the Mendoza countryside by bike, horseback or hot-air balloon. You’ll sleep enveloped by a vineyard at Entre Cielos, which spreads across 20 vine- covered acres, where you can restore with a wine bath in the spa before a moonlit, private dinner served amid the vines. Seductively secluded, rising above the grapes on stilts, the signature Loft Suite – Limited Edition awaits. With contemporary flourishes, it features panoramic windows and a private Jacuzzi.
MILE-HIGH ROMANCE IN UTAH
Just 30 minutes from Salt Lake City and 10 miles from Park City in Utah’s heart-rending Wasatch Mountains, The Lodge at Blue Sky Auberge Resorts Collection offers a high-altitude nirvana far from the madding crowd. A remote expanse that spans 3,500 acres of pine-forested, hilly terrain, this ranch entices with poetic inspiration based deeply in nature. Feeling rural and immersed in the outdoors, Blue Sky exudes both a modern-chic and an intimate aura with just 40 sleekly designed, sustainable suites planted across the property.
Each guestroom manages a cozy but stylish vibe. Panoramic windows welcome the outside inside, creating a sense of communion with the Earth. Couples seeking a transformative romantic foray with an eco theme will find fulfillment at Yuta, the farm-to-table restaurant; at Edge Spa via a couple’s treatment; in Sanctuary, a secreted glamping tent in the wild; and at Gracie’s Farm, where they can meet, care for and connect with rescued animals from horses to goats. In winter guests can snowshoe to mountaintop yurts for private dinners, or explore by dog sled or fat-tire bike; in summer they can partake in archery, a wildlife trek or study at the retreat’s organic farm school.
There’s no reason to shiver your way through the holidays this month. Family travelers can escape to Mexico for the season with family-friendly Christmas offerings at Velas Resorts in Los Cabos, Puerto Vallarta, and beyond.
As the only major U.S. airline to own a flight school, United Airlines already hit a major milestone, and now the carrier celebrates another important — and historic — step as the inaugural class of United Aviate Academy pilots graduates, leading the next generation of aviators. The 51 students in the graduating class were majority, at 80 percent, women and people of color — another stride toward United’s goal of training 5,000 new pilots by 2030 with half women or POC.
As family travelers get ready for the holiday and gift-giving season, this thrilling and unique offer from SkyBridge Michigan at Boyne Mountain Resort should be on all travelers’ radar. The new SkyBridge Michigan Flex Ticket is the perfect experience-style gift for your adventure-loving loved one.
The end of the year is a great time to plan family travels — kids have time off and the holiday season is the perfect time for bonding and making memories. But while there are plenty of destinations known for big New Year’s Eve parties, it can be tough to find just the right spot for a family-friendly trip to celebrate this annual milestone. This year, Door County in Northern Wisconsin offers the perfect solution.
Filled with hidden treasures waiting to be discovered, Seoul invites travelers to unearth its many gems, and Seoul Tourism Organization is here to help travelers do just that. Through thoughtfully created initiatives like the Theme Tourism County Competition, Seoul Tourism Organization works closely with local districts to identify and showcase what makes each district unique and charming in all seasons.
Vintage Christmas in Portsmouth is a colorful, festive time filled with holiday spirit, a perfect choice for a couples’ getaway to shop without the whole family in tow. It’s worth traveling to this historic seacoast city to be part of the weeks full of twinkling lights, decorated shops and streets, holiday music, theater and merriment, all of which led Portsmouth to be called the Christmas Capital of North America.