From tropical Tahiti to dramatic Death Valley, these seductive escapes are perfect for sweethearts
on February 7, 2019
From a cozy cruise to a dreamy destination to a private rail car, romantic vacations can keep the flame burning and create memories of a lifetime.
There’s no better way to share a special experience with your sweetheart than on a getaway for two. From a cozy cruise to a dreamy destination to a private rail car, romantic vacations can keep the flame burning and create memories of a lifetime. Whether you’re celebrating Valentine’s Day, a special anniversary, an engagement, or a vow renewal, whether you’re tying the knot, or whether you’re just escaping with each other, here are four romantic getaways that are guaranteed to stir your passion.
Celebrate Love in the Desert
Though its name may sound intimidating, Death Valley National Park is an incomparable destination for a romantic getaway or a unique wedding. Stay in a genuine oasis at the historic AAA Four Diamond Inn at Death Valley and experience pampering and luxury in one of the world’s most dramatic desert landscapes — a place of shifting sand dunes, multi-hued rock formations, and hidden canyons perfect for hiking à deux.
Enjoy your special time together in one of the recently renovated Inn rooms with fireplaces or for even more privacy, in one of the new garden casitas. Wake up before dawn to watch the rugged mountains turn pink with the sunrise. After a morning of exploration in the park, pamper yourselves with a spa treatment, including salt scrubs and hot stone massages. Take a dip in the spring-fed pool — perfect any time of the year at a steady 84 degrees — or bask in dry saunas. Warm up by the poolside wood-burning fireplaces, then watch the sunset light up the valley from the terrace overlooking the pool.
The Dining Room, decorated with paintings of Western scenes, is the valley’s most romantic restaurant. If the weather permits, toast each other from a table on the veranda to enjoy the starry night skies.
After dinner, stroll through the Oasis Gardens and find a spot away from the lights to gaze up at the star-filled skies as the desert wind rustles the palms. There’s nothing more romantic than sharing the sight of a brilliant sky twinkling with stars, which earned Death Valley recognition as a Gold Tier Dark Sky National Park.
How to Explore
The inn offers a Romantic Getaway Package that includes overnight accommodations for two, welcome bottle of sparking wine and sweet indulgences, and use of tennis courts and spring-fed swimming pool.
The Oasis at Death Valley is situated in a lush oasis surrounded by the vast and arid desert of Death Valley National Park, Calif. — just 120 miles northwest of Las Vegas and 275 miles northeast of Los Angeles. This is one resort with two hotels — the historic, AAA Four Diamond, 66-room Inn at Death Valley and the family-oriented, 224-room Ranch at Death Valley. The entire resort has undergone a complete renaissance with an extensive multi-million renovation. The resort includes natural spring-fed pools, an 18-hole golf course, horse and carriage rides, world-renowned stargazing, and is surrounded by Death Valley National Park’s main attractions. Visit oasisatdeathvalley.com for more information or call or call 800-236-7916.
Sail Away to Tahiti
Bora Bora. Moorea. Raiatea. Exotic and ephemeral, the names beckon, like sighs in the tropical breeze. You and your significant other can enjoy these sensual paradises on a seven-day cruise, “Dreams of Tahiti,” with Windstar Cruises, voted “World’s Most Romantic Cruise Line.” Or you can charter an entire 310-passenger Windstar yacht for a private and unforgettable wedding cruise to Tahiti.
With its billowing sails and sleek lines, a graceful Windstar yacht is the perfect way to experience one of the most romantic destinations in the world. Let the trade winds take you from one legendary island to another, where you can swim and snorkel in crystal-clear lagoons, wander through lush rainforests, and experience the fascinating Polynesian culture from tikis to tiare flowers. Discover Moorea, the inspiration for South Pacific’s mystical Bali Hai. Harvest your own black pearl in Raiatea. Enjoy an evening beach feast on Bora Bora with just other Windstar guests. Witness a fiery sunset as you toast the perfect moment with your loved one.
How to Explore
Recognized by the readers of Condé Nast Traveler on the 2016 Gold List of Favorite Cruise Lines and by USA TODAY readers for Best Boutique Cruise Line, Windstar’s fleet of small luxury sailing ships and all-suite power yachts with 148 to 310 guests bring you closer to smaller ports and exclusive local experiences around the world. Visit windstarcruises.com or call 888-460-5098 for more information.
Walk Through Provence, France
Scented lavender fields. Vibrant country markets. Fertile olive groves and vineyards. Indulge all your senses on a seven-day VBT walking tour through Provence, one of France’s dreamiest regions. On “France: Slow Road Through Provence,” you’ll immerse yourselves in the scents, colors, and tastes of this storied region.
Wander hand-in-hand through medieval lanes and rural villages considered some of the most beautiful in France. Pause to sample regional wines and olive oils and learn about their production at family-run farms. Sample Provençal cuisine during a picnic at a potter’s studio and lunch at the home of a pastry chef in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence. Marvel at the Avignon landscapes immortalized by Vincent van Gogh, and the town’s Gothic architecture and Palais des Papes, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. And stay at an 18th-century chateau and charming country inns along the way. Just be sure to bring home some lovely lavender as a colorful reminder of your scenic interlude.
How to Explore
VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations offer more than 55 deluxe, small-group bicycling, walking, and barge & sail vacations in 27 different countries and 10 U.S. states. They are the value leader in active biking vacations and have been rated among the “World’s Best Tour Operators” by the readers of Travel + Leisure for seven years. Each trip includes all accommodations, many meals, two expert local trip leaders, unique sightseeing and cultural activities, and full van support. Unlike other companies, VBT also includes round-trip international airfare from more than 30 U.S. cities and select Canadian cities for all overseas vacations. Visit vbt.com or call 800-245-3868 for more information.
Charter a Private Railway Car
Looking for a unique wedding celebration that’s hard to match? Charter your own private car — or the entire train — of the legendary Grand Canyon Railway.
Much more than just transportation, the iconic train offers a once-in-a-lifetime experience for your own wedding party. On the 65-mile, two-and-a-half hour journey between the retro-cool town of Williams, Ariz., and Grand Canyon National Park, you’ll scale the massive Colorado Plateau and witness the constantly unfolding drama of the American Southwest on a uniquely American journey.
Revel in views of red buttes, scrub brush, and the pinyon pines that stretch from horizon to horizon as the train slides into long curves and wraps around corners. With the wheels clicking a steady cadence, along the way cowboy singers stroll between the train cars to serenade passengers with songs of the West, the lyrics firmly linked to the views just outside your window. On board your own private car, your wedding party can thrill to this taste of Old West atmosphere enhanced by modern accents.
The train itself boasts a commanding presence with its stylish interior and unique historic railway cars that have been fully refurbished to their original authenticity.
Seating choices include Coach Class, First Class, Observation Dome, Luxury Dome, and Luxury Parlor Class. All classes above coach feature attentive staff, who serve soft drinks, mixed drinks, and an assortment of complimentary snacks, sweets, pastries, and hors d’oeuvres.
The train’s gorgeous views, historic ambiance, and personalized service make for an incomparable wedding reception that won’t soon be forgotten.
How to Explore
There’s no better way to make a grand trip grander than on the historic train to Grand Canyon. Travel over 120 round-trip miles through beautiful northern Arizona while being entertained by historical cowboy characters and strolling musicians. The Grand Canyon Railway has been departing daily from Williams, Ariz., since 1901. Spend a night in Williams next door to the train depot at the AAA Three Diamond Grand Canyon Railway Hotel. Just walking distance from quaint downtown Williams and Route 66, the modern hotel has a grand lobby, indoor pool, and hot tub as well as Spenser’s Pub with its handcrafted 19th-century bar. Since high demand can create limited inventory, you need to charter an individual car or the entire train at least six months — and as many as 10 months — in advance, and even then some dates may be unavailable. For more information and reservations on chartering the Grand Canyon Railway, visit thetrain.com or call 800-THE-TRAIN (843-8724).
For more travel experiences available from Xanterra Travel Collection and its affiliated properties, visit xanterra.com/explore.