Whisking your loved one to one of these romantic retreats will impress.
Valentine's Day is upon us and although some have no time for its commercialism, romantics have been planning something sublime. If you're in the latter team, ignore the curmudgeons and go for the wow factor. This list of hot destinations may need more planning (read "saving up for") but even if it takes you until next year, whisking your loved one to one of these romantic retreats will impress.
Dispel those Hi-De-Hi images of cringe-inducing group events and bland buffet food. Club Med has just rolled out its five-trident (star) villas in Mauritius. Your private love nest has, with its own infinity pool, two to four bedrooms with en suites, indoor and outdoor showers and a butler.
Order in from room service or visit the main resort's bars, restaurants and beachfront water sports.
This resort is hot after just taking a bow in the West Australian Tourism awards. A stone's throw from the red desert sands of Broome, it's won accolades for Unique Accommodation, the Qantas Award for Sustainability, Eco-tourism and a supreme honour for 2011, the Sir David Brand Award for Tourism. Eco beach is in vogue.
Book a luxurious eco villa among the dunes, with sunset views over the Indian Ocean. You'll have solar power and bamboo floors with a kitchen, living room, king-size bedroom and private deck. Or go feral (in an upmarket way) and stay in a semi-permanent tent with a king-size bed and en suite.
Activities in this remote part of Australia include whale-watching tours, fishing, or try a quirky mud and bubbles treatment a sand and estuary-mud exfoliation and body mask, washed off in seawater and accompanied by champagne.
It may be a bit far to go this year, but keep this romantic hot-spot up your sleeve because a one-hour flight from Abu Dhabi or Dubai lands you in amazing Muscat. Oman has a more traditional Middle Eastern feel than its glitzy Arabian sisters, yet is very progressive and easy to get around. Look around the ancient capital, shop at the souk, then travel two hours south by road to the Wahiba Sands Desert.
Desert Nights Camp is a Bedouin-style luxury tent resort between two stunningly golden sand dunes where camels run past as they train for racing.
Each private tent has a lounge, bedroom and bathroom around a centre pole reminiscent of a circus tent. On your veranda are colourful woven beanbags to laze in when you're not on top of the sand dune gazing at the amazing sunset.
If you're looking for the amour of France without the long flight to Paris to romance your true love, this spot is perfect. A half-hour ferry ride from Papeete you arrive at Moorea. Legends of Moorea is a villa resort spread down a hillside overlooking the coral reefs, where the sparkling ocean encompasses so many shades of blue you'll remember it forever.
You have your own outdoor dining area enclosed in floaty curtains, and your own cool-water Jacuzzi.
A self-contained kitchen means you and your lover need never leave the nest - except to shop at the nearby supermarche for supplies or to pick up a heat-in-your-room dinner from the resort restaurant.
During the day, drive around the island's 60km circumference and stop at white sand beaches, play golf on the Jack Nicklaus-designed course, or shop at handicraft and fruit stalls. For a permanent token of your love, get an authentic Tahitian tattoo from local artist James Samuela.
The ultimate destination for luxury with African charm, this colonial-style hotel stands beside the mighty Zambezi River only a kilometre from Victoria Falls.
Expect monkeys to play in the gardens (and in your room if you leave your door ajar), zebra to graze on the lawn by the pool at dusk and giraffe to lope silently among the trees next door.
By day, explore the falls and browse the many stalls at the entrance. Book an afternoon massage in a tent on the river's edge. Nearby are community projects that include a school, a hospital, and a market garden run by the blind and an orphanage. These are rewarding to visit.
At dusk over drinks in the Sundeck bar watch the sun slip over the horizon, dine under the trees, then relax with a nightcap in the resort bar before retreating to your boudoir.
If your Valentine is a petrolhead, you won't get hotter than booking a room with the jet-setters at the Yas Viceroy on Abu Dhabi's newly-created Yas Island.
This futuristic hotel, with its LED-lit roof is built over the Yas Marina circuit where the Formula 1 legends roar. Every room has a view of the excitement. Inside are 12 restaurants and lounges featuring Mediterranean fare, homemade Italian, South-East Asian, regional Indian and Japanese cuisines. This is the place to be seen if you're anyone worth seeing and international DJs feature in the lounges for those wanting to party.
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