Travel Awards

Popupla Travel Awards: The Most Romantic Hotels 2018

by Team Popupla
Cheval Bliss awaits at the end of the earth. Photo courtesy of Cheval Blanc Randheli.

We had escape on the brain when we compiled this list of the Most Romantic Hotels of 2018. This is the second installment of our new Popupla Travel Awards, a year-long celebration of our favorite places, people, and products in the world. 

These hotels seem to have a few things in common beyond great appeal when love is on the brain. Many evoke (and stoke) our travel fantasies. Many are located on or near water, the most soothing of all elements. All are hotels that once seen are not easily forgotten because, if nothing else, they make us feel blessedly remote.

Blame the everyday stresses that just keep mounting. Blame how tense global politics has become. Blame the strange unease we feel about the future. Blame it all, but then please forget it. Toss your cares out the window, grab your lover, and hold tight. For now, when you're here, everything is right in the world. So. Very. Right. It turns out a little escapism was just what we all need to change our outlook on life. And to explore the world we love.


Villa Feltrinelli
Your own private villa. Photo courtesy of Villa Feltrinelli.

Lake Garda, Italy

What's to Love: Lake Garda may not be as well known as Lake Como, and that's all the better for you if your idea of amore involves a sumptuous, 19th-century lakefront villa with a long (and at times notorious) history. Much as you'll want to gaze into each other's eyes, you might be distracted by the restored antiques, the centuries-old lemon trees, and the Michelin-starred meal on the pergola. Don't fight it. You're in Italy: You're supposed to be in love with everything you see.

The Other Side
Laid-back luxe. Photo courtesy of The Other Side.

Eleuthera, Bahamas

What's to Love: A romantic compound of exquisite tented structures (think Out of Africa meets Mustique), this is the place to truly disconnect from the outside world. Accessed by private launch, the property has a chic house party vibe; guests wander in and out of the great house for simple meals of grilled fish before retiring into the stunning pool that juts out over the turquoise bay, with views of Harbour Island beyond. Proprietors Ben Simmons and Charlie Phelan have thought of every understated detail so the food is delicious, the honor bar well-stocked, and morning yoga is available for those who don't sleep in. Low-key luxury at its very finest.

Ready to go? Email the Popupla Travel Desk at [email protected] to book these amazing hotels. Read more about why you should book with us.
Longitude 131
Uluru awaits. Photo courtesy of Longitude 131.

Uluru, Australia

What's to Love: The hotel the only place where you can sit under the stars and look directly at Uluru (Ayers Rock), one of two World Heritage-listed natural icons, along with Kata Tjuta (The Olgas), in this stunning and spiritual setting. Go soon for two reasons: After October 2019, visitors will no longer be permitted to climb to the top of Uluru. (Because this is sacred Aboriginal land, it's considered disrespectful.) But the twinkling installation at the base of the rock, Field of Light by British artist Bruce Munro, which looks as if someone flipped the night sky onto the ground, has recently been extended for a few more years. Longitude may be tented wilderness camp, but it's one of the Luxury Resorts of Australia and recently had a multi-million-dollar revamp. Roughing it, you're not, mate.

La Sultana
An Arabian Nights fantasy. Photo courtesy of La Sultana.

Marrakech, Morocco

What's to Love: If Marrakech is famous for its many charming riads, La Sultana dazzles the senses by offering several differently themed riads in one. The interconnecting buildings feel like an elaborate warren where no detail is too ornate or too fantastical. Yes, you have just stepped into the pages of 1,001 Arabian Nights. Just don't forget to spend at least one of them having dinner on the rooftop and another in the steamy hammam. If you want add even more to love, spend a few days at its beachfront sister property, .

Read more on Popupla: Big Luxury at Marrakech's Smallest 5-Star Hotel

Clos Alpata Lapostolle
A winery of dreams. Photo courtesy of Clos Alpata Lapostolle.

Colchagua Valley, Chile

What's to Love:If you love to eat and drink as much as you love each other, check into one of the four suites (each named for a wine varietal) in the heart of Chilean wine country. The beautiful setting amid vineyards and mountains is timeless, the Lapostolle winery is cutting-edge, and the cuisine amazing enough for Relais & Chateaux designation.

Sao Loureço do Barrocal
Simple pleasures. Photo courtesy of Sao Loureço do Barrocal.

Monsaraz, Portugal

What's to love: The stylish family-run farm estate in Portugal's sleepy Alentejo region is a short two-hour drive from Lisbon but feels like its own planet. Explore the nearly 2,000-acre-estate by foot, bicycle, or horseback; dine on farm-fresh cuisine; or unwind with a massage at the . If you prefer to do absolutely nothing at all, this happens to be an excellent place for that kind of thing.

Fogo Island Inn
Solitary, but so very warm. Photo courtesy of Fogo Island Inn.

Newfoundland, Canada

What's to Love: The island is remote and rugged, but the retreat is a hyper-modern salt box with solar panels and steel stilts that rise up from craggy mores and Arctic Ocean ice floats. Every textile and piece of furniture is made locally by hand; the kitchen scours the island for every meal. The characters at the bar (woodworkers, fishermen, foragers) are priceless. If ever a hotel were to rival your one and only for your heart, this would be it. You will have to go to the (other) end of the earth to find a hotel (or an innkeeper) more committed to their world and its preservation. We should all take such care of the things we love.

Read More on Popupla: When You're at Fogo Island Inn, You're Family

Jicaro Island Lodge
Eco chic on an island. Photo courtesy of Jicaro Island Lodge.

Granada, Lake Nicaragua, Nicaragua

What's to Love: The eco resort, ranked as one of National Geographic's Unique Lodges of the World, sits quietly on a lush tiny island in pristine Lake Nicaragua, a short boat ride from Granada, a charming Colonial town. If you want to do nothing more than walk from your treehouse to a pool lounger to the restaurant and the bar, you'll have a great time reconnecting with nature, yourself, and each other. If you want to get more active, the excellent and knowledgeable activities team can take you hiking up the Mombacho volcano that looms in the distance, zip-lining and horseback riding, or sea kayaking to see what all those birds and bees are getting up to.

Hotel Union Øye
Fjords and mountains. Photo courtesy of Hotel Union Øye.

Norangsfjorden, Norway

What's to Love: I'll follow you to the ends of the earth and for all eternity, you promise. And who can blame you? Just look at those mountains towering over you as you try to stare into the deep and magical fjords. Feel the presence of the luminaries who have stayed here before you, likeKaren Blixen (she of Out of Africa, that monument to undying love), Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (master of mystery), and Princess Victoria (who loved her Albert forever). Don't fight anything. Just give in.

Ready to go? Email the Popupla Travel Desk at [email protected] to book these amazing hotels. Read more about why you should book with us.
Delaire Graff Estate
The owner's lodge. Photo courtesy of Delaire Graff Estate.

Stellenbosch, South Africa

What's to Love: If it's privacy, good wine, and a beautiful setting that you're after, look no further than the intimate, villa-only estate. Nestled in the Cape Wineland's scenic Helshoogte Mountain pass, amid the area's many vineyards, the view from your private plunge pool is one to savor. A state-of-the-art winery, two outstanding restaurants, and a world-class spa make it ideal for a romantic getaway.

La Réserve
The opulent library. Photo courtesy of La Réserve.

Paris, France

What's to Love: What's not to love? This is the place to live your if-I-were-French-royalty fantasies. The mansion, mere steps from the Grand Palais in the 8th arrondissement, was originally home to the Duc de Morny (Napoléon III’s half brother) and more recently to designer Pierre Cardin. Its hotel incarnation retains the lavish opulence, with antiques and silks and marbles and paintings filling the inrimate public spaces and 40 light-filled suites and rooms. The excellent spa in the basement infused with warm red light has a pool, a rarity in Paris, and the two-Michelin-starred restaurant will be one of the best meals you'll have in Paris. Your only challenge here will be leaving.

Playa Grande Beach Club
Havana meets Palm Beach. Photo courtesy of Playa Grande Beach Club.

Playa Grande, Dominican Republic

What's to Love: Once you arrive you will not sign a single check, you will not see a single plastic lounge chair, you will not wear your shoes again. You will, however, be immersed in an enchanted beach hotel that is half Old Havana, half Palm Beach, all laid-back luxury. What to bring: your book, sundress, and lover. What not to bring: your iPad. Put that shit down.

Perivolas, Santorini
Santorini with a view. Photo courtesy of Perivolas.

Santorini, Greece

What's to Love: You won't be the first lovers to come to Santorini, and hardly the last. But there might be a reason, and that breathtaking view is one giant, unsubtle hint. Perivolas hotel is essentially a series of caves scattered along a winding path that leads to the infinity pool and, yes, the views. The 21 rooms are simple but chic, and you'll want for nothing while here.

Read more on Popupla: If It’s Romance You’re After, Try This Cliffside Hideaway in Santorini

Dar Ahlam
Lunch for two in the oasis. Photo courtesy of Dar Ahlam.

Skoura, Morocco

What's to Love: All the world’s a play at this magical North African Kasbah, French hotelier Thierry Teyssier’s fever dream of an escape. Twenty eight guests are tended to by a staff of over 100 who service every wish and make each day a different, theatrical, unexpected experience. Stargazing in a desert oasis, dining in a secret garden, taking a bath next to the fireplace, walking the Berber trails — whatever you fantasize can be done, and it will be special and sumptuous and laid-back in that cool French-Moroccan way. For a few days, you’ll feel like the only people who exist in the world.

Cheval Blanc Randheli
The ultimate island escape. Photo courtesy of Cheval Blanc Randheli.

Noonu, Maldives

What's to Love: If your idea of romance is a stealing away to an elegant overwater villa on tiny speck of an island with soft white sand in the middle of a big blue ocean, far, far, far away from the world in all its tortures, where money is no object and your whims are catered to by a discreet butler, and your days are spent reading, snorkeling, napping, and having a massage, then look no further.

L'Hotel Paris
Drama is everywhere. Photo courtesy of L'Hôtel.

Paris, France

What's to Love: Oscar Wilde lived and died here, and, indeed, the drama doesn't stop there. Enter intimacy, stage left: In a city rich with giant palace hotels, this five-star only has six elaborately decorated rooms with names like Bijoux and Chic. Enter awe, center stage: Those rooms are arranged around a striking circular atrium that begs for someone to sing an aria up to the heavens. Enter mystery, in the basement, where a small hammam will hide all manner of mischief. Enter decadence in the excellent restaurant, which opens onto a small garden, and the dark and moody bar, where you can spend hours canoodling after everyone else has gone home.

Read More on Popupla: L'Hôtel Is L'Ultimate Hotel in Paris

Healdsburg, California

What's to Love: It's a good time to give Napa and Sonoma a little love, as the area emerges from the fires that raged last fall. But there's no tragedy at this intimate nine-room hotel in the charming small town of Healdsburg. Evocative of 17th-century French chateau, the dreamy rooms have rich textiles, wood-burning fireplaces, deep marble bathtubs, and four-poster beds.

Read More on Popupla: The Road to Happiness Begins in Sonoma

Ravello, Italy

What's to Love: The Amalfi Coast is unabashedly romantic, and all the more so from Palazzo Avino's hilltop perch in Ravello, far, far away from the tourist hordes below. The sea is spread out before you, never-ending and serene. The hotel where you're nestled is gorgeous and intimate, formerly a 12th-century villa built for a noble family. The food is buonissimo, the spa is restorative — and it just doesn't get any better than this.

Ready to go? Email the Popupla Travel Desk at [email protected] to book these amazing hotels. Read more about why you should book with us.

Keep Romancing Around the World

The World's Most Romantic Hotels 2017
The World's Most Romantic Hotels 2016
The World's Most Romantic Hotels 2015

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