When romance is on the brain, you want to find yourself in the right place. We've been compiling our lists of the World's Most Romantic Hotels since we launched, a feature we consider a public service because love, as they say, make the world go round.
We are happy to present the 2014 edition. Some are new hotels, some are classics. Not that this matters. A great romance is timeless.
Where: Mozambique, Africa What's to Love: The hotel consists of 16 private villas on a semi-private island accessible only by helicopter. Most of them have their own infinity pool. All of them come with two full-time butlers who make it their job to surprise you throughout the day. You can have lunch served on a desert island off-shore one day and in an abandoned old fishing boat another day. The snorkeling nearby is world-class. The accommodations are perfect and the service is warm. Good to Know: Splurge for a luxury villa with private pool, and be sure to take advantage of the exceptionally well curated activities offered
Where: Beirut, Lebanon What's to Love: Location, location, location. Located in Achrafieh, the historic, Christian quarter, the Albergo has old world charm and new world access to all the sites. It's like time travel to the 19th century with Wi-Fi included. Good to Know: The rooftop garden is unbeatable. You can sightsee in Beirut, but it's darn fun to kill two hours playing "marry, fuck, kill" with a couple of bottles of local rose. Be sure to order the Lebanese breakfast for room service.
Where: Puglia, Italy What's to Love: A sexy boutique hotel with major amenities — a great beach club; a nice spa; olive groves; sun-drenched, white-washed love nests; it's like staying on an old olive plantation mere steps from Bari's scenic towns. Good to Know: As for the room with the private hot tub and patio: It's the sexy business. Order pasta at the beach club. So delicious.
Where: Marrakech, Morocco What's to Love: Beautifully decorated private villas with fireplaces and outdoor bathtubs in your own private garden. Good to Know: This is a great place for romance but an awful place for business. There is no internet in the rooms. Read More on Popupla:The Garden of Eden Is in Marrakech
Where: The slopes of Mt. Etna, Sicily What's to Love: A boutique hotel set on an old vineyard estate with about ten rooms. The pool is cut into steppes in Mt. Etna, and olives from the nearby trees bob in the pool. You can hike through their organic farm, getting lost under orange trees, or just sit on the mountain by the pool, staring off to the ocean in the distance. Good to Know: The double deluxe Floreale has a terrace and a very cool modern bathroom with a big tub. Definitely eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the hotel. The orange and grape juices, pressed from the estate's orchards, are fantastic.
Where: St. Lucia, The Caribbean What's to Love: None of the rooms have a fourth wall, so you wake up every morning with the sun rising over the Piton Mountains. Good to Know: Get a room with a plunge pool so you never have to leave.
Where: Talpa, Texas What's to Love: The award-winning farmhouse restaurant now has a ho five carefully curated rooms with Bigelow toiletries, great bedding, and Nespresso coffee. The house cocktail served upon arrival sets the mood right. Good to Know: Take that house cocktail and wander over to the archery sets. More than a bit of fun can be had when you mix bows, arrows, and gin. Don't forget to ask about s'mores or a fireside snack with a view of the ranch pasture at sunset. Read more on Popupla:Love Letter to Rancho Loma
Where: Ma'in, Jordan What's to Love: This is THE place to stay in Jordan. The spa includes a sensational natural hot spring, and the view through the rocky hills onto the Dead Sea is unbeatable at sunset. The local cuisine, as prepared by the hotel kitchen, is delicious. Good to Know: Jordan is an extremely drivable country: You can go from end to end in about six hours. There is a shortage of chic accommodations, so spend your entire trip at Evason and arrange for day trips through the hotel. The guides and drivers are exceptional. Ask for George!
Where: Scottsdale, Arizona. What's to Love: An intimate 1929 Spanish Revival villa at the foot of Camelback Mountain. Outdoor fireplaces, winding walking paths, and tranquil fountains cover the grounds. Guest rooms are decorated in lovely Mediterranean style. The on-site restaurant, T Cook's, prepares rustic cuisine like rotisserie in a 1930s fireplace. There's no reason to leave this kind of serenity. Good To Know: Book a room with a fireplace and soaking tub. The Arizona air is very healing, and the Alvadora Spa does outdoor treatments in their lush garden.
Where: Holbox, Yucatan, Mexico What's to Love: Sunrises and sunsets. The eco-charming hotel sits on a very quiet beach and has spectacular sun shows. To ensure you get the point that relaxing is fundamental, there are hammocks in prime locations along the beach, and every room has a hammock on the terrace. Good to Know: Holbox is a hot house of amazing flora and fauna. You'll be getting in touch with nature, so pack a camera, sketch pad, binoculars, and a comfortable pair of pants. Look for whale sharks, dolphins, birds, pumas, and flowers, then comb the beach via horseback. Yum Balam Nature Reserve, a protected natural area perfect for walks, is part of the small island.
Where: Arusha, Tanzania What's to Love: It's tribal meets luxury with rich, velvety curtains, a heated bed, French crystal glasses (for a fireside glass of sherry, and a view of the crater that would make even the most heartless brute weep. Good to Know: After a day on safari, you'll come home to a rose-petal strewn hot bath and chilled champagne. Is there any better prequel to a romantic romp?
Where: St. Barts What's to Love: Le Sereno attracts the loveliest of rich bohemians and filters out the island's tres gauche (think: Nikki Beach). But none of that really matters because you're too busy kissing your dreamy lover, tossing off your Missoni bikini top, and melting into the latest French Vogue to notice anything but your nonstop, pinch-me-now, inner-bliss at this gorgeous paradise of a hotel. Good to know: Ask the hotel to arrange a motorbike (if you have any biking skills whatsoever) and use it. Grab baguettes and fromage at the local grocer and discover St. Bart's ultra beautiful beaches.
Where: Rioja, Spain What's to Love: This high-art structure designed by Frank Gehry is a "romantic getaway" fave of Brad and Angelina, has a serious beauty-inducing Caudalie spa, and is situated on a vast and glorious vineyard. Good to Know: For serious wine drinkers and those looking to experience a proper wine-tasting trip, Rioja is more exotic than Napa and less pretentious than Burgundy. And everyone here looks like the cast of Vicky Cristina Barcelona.
Where: Petit Saint Vincent, The Grenadines What's to love: The 115-acre private island was developed in the 1960s, with 22 free-standing Blue Bitch (that's really the name) beach chic stone cottages. It has always attracted a moneyed, famous, and infamous crowd who seek a tropical hideaway where they can check in and be left alone. Good to know: Ask for #117, the most secluded cottage at the southernmost tip of the island, for its private beach and (perhaps) a clothing-optional frolic-filled stay. (Allegedly, it's a favorite of Daniel Craig.) If you're feeling antsy, charter Beauty, the property's wooden sloop, to sail to Tobago Cays for snorkeling and turtle-watching or a jaunt to Union Island for lunch.
Where: Venice, Italy What's to Love: The 24-room hotel inside Palazzo Papdopoli dates back to 1555, home to the count and countess who now live on the top floor. The opulent palatial interior features a labryinth of elegant rooms, neo-baroque library, reading nooks, and a vast salons in a variety of styles. Good to Know: Have dinner on the piano nobile, the most elegant floor in the palazzo home. Read More on Popupla:Cinderella for a Night in Venice
Where: Canyon Point, Utah What's to Love: Perhaps one of the most romantic spots on earth due to the surrounding dramatic canyons and plateaus, spare aesthetic (starchitect Annabelle Selldorf designed the adjacent villas), and lovely, understated swimming pool. Enormous soaking tubs, rain showers, and all kinds of stone, leather, and wood finishes make it an ultimate oasis. Good to know: The setting 600 acres overlooking Escalante National Monument makes for all kinds of guided hiking and biking options. And since this is an Aman resort, the Zen spa with its flotation room is not to be missed.
Where: Venice, Italy What's to Love: If you could go back in time and be the Venetian noble — with the masks, the illicit affairs, the incredible home overlooking the Grand Canal — this is what your life would look like. Check in to live the fantasy. Good to Know: The hotel, which has always been a noble family's palazzo, is a master class in Venetian art. Those paintings are by Nicolò Bambini, Giambattista Tiepolo, and Pietro Longhi.
Where: Capri, Italy What's to Love: Oh sweet bay of Naples laid out before me, how lovely you look from this chic and serene perch on the hill. How far I feel from the crowds of Capri, how smart I feel that I found this vantage point. Good to Know: As beautiful as the rooms are, get out of bed in the morning. The hotel's breakfast spread is a sight to behold. Read more on Popupla:Love Letter to J.K. Place Capri
Where: Beverly Hills, California What's to Love: What isn't? Sumptuous suites in lush gardens are pure old Hollywood glamour, just updated with every electronic gadget imaginable. The hotel is the kind of escape from reality where no detail is overlooked, from the silent spa (try the Duet Moonlight Massage, which is also available in a poolside cabana) to incredibly high thread counts to delicious breakfasts in the sun at the Roof Garden restaurant. Good to Know: Feel no pressure to be cultural — or engaged in the world in any way. You're in LA, and this is a hotel to be checked into and thoroughly enjoyed. Besides, the room service is so excellent, you don't even need to leave to eat.
Where: Montecito, Santa Barbara, California What's to Love: We're talking an outstanding experience. A 12 on a scale of 1-10. Laid-back atmosphere, scrupulous attention to detail, a hilltop pool, scenic hiking trails surrounding the sprawling, 500-acre spread. You're greeted in the driveway, and whisked straight to your lovely yet low-key cottage. No pesky paperwork. The bungalow-style cottages are individually designed, with big sitting rooms, peaceful terraces, and soaring ceilings in the bathrooms. Good to Know: For dinner, try the wood-fired pizzas and sashimi at Plow & Angel. Or the Stonehouse is a more formal option. Read More on Popupla:History, Hollywood, Heaven in San Ysidro Ranch
Where: Trancoso, Brazil What’s to Love: A beautiful Bahia beachfront retreat with a handful of casas: Some are restored fishermen's cabins, some are built with local artisans in neo-rustic and eco style, one is a treehouse. Good to Know: The Quintal Da Gloria casa has a mini-kitchen, canopy bed, and a second-floor balcony overlooking the garden and aventurine stone pool.
Where: Kennebunk Beach, Maine What's to Love: Located in coastal Maine, which is by definition wicked far, the hotel is part of the luxurious yet laid back Relais & Chateaux hotel group. No detail is overlooked, from the names of the private cottages (such as Gull and Loon) to the fireplaces, sumptuous linens, and every imaginable amenity. Good to know: Foodies pilgrimage here for chef Jonathan Cartwright's inventive takes on New England cuisine served in a reimagined barn setting, complete with flattering candlelight and impeccable (read: unobtrusive) service. This is one of the most romantic meals you'll likely ever share. And local lobster on fettucine is a must.
Where: London What's to Love: Nothing is more glamorous (at least, not in London) than the one and only Clardidge's. The root of its eternal splendor is the impeccable service. There's even a personal butler, if you're splurging. The staff makes you feel like Lady Mary or maybe even Kate Moss. Good to Know: The esteemed chef Simon Rogan is taking over the kitchen come spring, but, before trying his food, have the hotel book you for cocktails at nearby sister hotel .
Where: Newport, Rhode Island What's to Love: Imagine Americana wallpapered in luxury and plastered in WASP. The Chanler is the only hotel on Newport's breathtaking, crazy romantic Cliff Walk. It's surrounded by rugged nature, endless ocean, and OMFG mansions — and has an exquisite food program has all the fancy (and wannabe fancy) New Englanders aflutter. What to Know: Every room has a jacuzzi which can be filled with rose petals upon request. Yes, really. And with ongoing series like "Scotch & Cigars" and "More Bubbles," it seems that every hour is cocktail o'clock. Here's to that.
Where: Harbour Island, Bahamas What's to Love: It's in the details, the textiles, the wicker settees, the glamorous pool deck that screams, "Slim Aarons in Palm Beach." Bougainvillea and night jasmine line the lush walkways leading to the sixteen cheerful guest cottages. Good to Know: The patio dining area can be accessed from the beach below. If you don't live here, at least go for a meal. Read More on Popupla:Pretty Little Secret: A Chic Bahamas Retreat
Where: Venice, Italy What's to Love: One of Venice's most incredible places, now a Luxury Collection Hotel, with striking views, an esteemed history, an incredible Acqua di Parma Blu Mediterraneo Spa. Good to Know: It's not all classic Venice: The massive Donghia suite sets the mood with black-and-white snapshots of disco days and boogie nights, dramatic chandeliers, groovy '70s sconces, a massive marble bathtub, and, of course, a butler. Read More on Popupla:In Love and in Venice
Where: Kalahari Desert, South Africa What's to Love: Nestled at the foot of the Korannaberg Mountains, subtly luxurious lodgings and top-knotch guides come together to perfectly redefine "safari." Get flown in on their luxurious Pilatus plane from Johannesburg airport. Stay in one of the eight spacious legae, little houses, with outdoor showers and big open fireplaces. Good to Know: It's intimate, only twenty guests stay at a time. Read More on Popupla:Safari Redefined: Wildlife and Low-Key Luxury in Tswalu
Where: Paris, France What's to Love: Everything. Period, full stop. Start with the low-key yet incredibly efficient stable of concierges that recommend interesting restaurants and score hard to come by reservations (at Yam'tcha and Spring, to name but two). Next up, the peaceful, traditionally appointed rooms which make you want to stay inside and revel in the luxuriousness of it all. Mind-numbingly expensive but so worth it. Good to know: Ask for a corner room on a higher floor which affords beautiful light as well as substantial sitting and bath rooms. The latter are outfitted with Hermes toiletries, enormous bathtubs, and steam showers the size of an average NYC apartment. Added bonus: The hotel's chef, Eric Frechon, is a three Michelin-starred chef. A meal here is a must.
Where: A private island, Cambodia What's to Love: Fly in via seaplane from Phnom Penh or by boat from Sihanoukville to reach 27 fisherman-style, over-water and jungle bungalows on the Koh Rong archipelago. All have outdoor showers and private pools. Good to Know: No matter how you spend your days, at midnight, you should be skinny-dipping in the bioluminescent waters.
Where: Florianopolis, Brazil What's to Love: You can reserve a private island at night for dinner-for-two; approach by walking over a candlelit bridge. Good to Know: It's a secluded, adults-only retreat on a peninsula surrounded by rainforest.
Where: Cape Town, South Africa What's to Love: The home-away-from-home feeling wrapped up in a stately, manicured Cape Edwardian mansion. Good to Know: Considered to have the most spectacular view in Cape Town, overlooking the Atlantic, yet only ten minutes from the action of the city.
Where: Capri, Italy What's to Love: It's perched atop the cliffs at the very end of the lovely, flower- and tree-ensconced pedestrian-only road and was sculpted out of the rock face and designed by Le Corbusier. The cavernous, arched ceilings create a tranquil and elegant space where modern and old world pieces are smartly combined. The terrace overlooks the famous Faraglioni rocks and the impossibly blue Tyrrhenian Sea. Good to Know: October is a perfect time to go, tourist season would down, but the weather is still perfect. Read More on Popupla:Love Letter: Hotel Punta Tragara, Capri
Where: Jalisco, Mexico What's to Love: Still a relatively unpublicized secret, the ecoresort is made up of nine casitas and four private villas set on a sprawling 25,000 acre estate of land, lagoons, and beaches. La Loma, the impressive Moorish oceanfront castle with a colorful tiled dome roof, is the main residence. The zebras easily outnumber the guests. Good to Know: There are no set times to arrive or leave. Requests are dealt with on a case-by-case basis and are seemingly always met by the cheerful staff who outnumber the guests several times over. Read More on Popupla:Cuixmala, The Epic Pacific Coast Hideaway
Where: Paris, France What's to Love: Sumptuous décor by Jacques Garcia that makes you feel like you're living in a jewel box. The small spaces are endearing and cozy; every detail is a delight. Good to Know: Request a room with a balcony and start the day with your flaky croissant and espresso outside in the morning. Have a drink in the the lounge and browse their extensive library of French authors.
Where: Montalcino, Italy What's to Love: A working wine estate owned by Massimo Ferragamo and the definition of a luxury resort. From suites in the borgo to the restored rustic villas in the countryside, the design and attention to detail is impeccable. You could check in and never leave, as the estate has everything: several delicious restaurants, a luxurious day spa, and extensive grounds. Good to Know: Rent a car to explore the breathtaking countryside, unless you only want to soak up the Tuscan dolce vita full time at the estate.
Where: Mustique, The Grenadines What's to Love: Location, location, location. This hard to access island is a couple's paradise with crystalline waters, white sand beaches, and killer cocktails. Add to that chic simple rooms with views of spectacular sunsets, and Firefly is about as close to nirvana as it gets. Good to Know: Book a table on the cliff-hanging terrace for fresh, imaginatively prepared seafood. Local barracuda, Caribbean crab backs, and delicious curries are all wonderful. Star sightings often include the likes of Mick Jagger and the odd royal, which adds to the overall mystique of this magical place.
Where: Essaouira, Morocco What's to Love: An ultimate one-time romantic getaway. Many rooms have open moucharabieh woodwork onto the courtyard, ask for a room on the top floor. The rooftop pool overlooks the smashing sea. Plenty of private corners in which to snuggle. Good to Know: The best table in town is in the hotel restaurant, ask to be seated in front of the fireplace. Read More on Popupla:A Naughty Weekend in Essaouira
Where: Santa Fe, New Mexico What's To Love: A warm, cozy spot nestled in the heart of Santa Fe, with Navajo rugs, hand-carved doors, beamed ceilings, and sandstone walls. A pinion wood fire burns in the lobby, making for an intoxicating scent of the Southwest. The lighting is low; the mood is relaxed. You will feel exceptionally cozy. Good to Know: Book a superior room with a balcony for the an enticing kiva fireplace. Yes, you'll feel like you're on fire in the best possible way.
Where: Sayulita, Mexico What's to Love: A sexy, boho paradise in a charming town with well-worn thatched roofs, mosquito netting, and white linen curtains blowing in the ocean breeze. Insane seaside views, affordable prices, ocean-front suite with endless views of the blue-on-blue Pacific. The hotel's Italian restaurant serves amazing wood-burning pizzas and fresh ocean catches. Good to Know: Request a villa with a private plunge pool. Bathing suits optional.
Where: Colca Canyon, Peru What's to Love: Total seclusion from the outside world. (You may never feel as far away from everything as you do here.) The spa overlooking the dramatic River Colca, which runs through the entire property. The naturally heated thermal springs. Good to Know: Be careful of altitude sickness. It's the ultimate mood killer.