The most romantic hotels are more than just luxury destinations; they’re places that help create more moments for true connection.
Keeping that in mind, we scoured the internet for hotels that were not only romantic in the traditional sense, but also offered opportunities for new shared experiences. And OK, yes, some are luxurious — but check out this list of best travel cards so you can earn points when you splurge on that romantic trip. (Millionaires shouldn't have all the fun!)
NIHI Sumba, Sumba Island, Indonesia
With its lush surroundings and proximity to Bali, this beach resort could have easily stayed in the category of luxury tropical island destination. But the owners are committed to providing guests with an “off-script vacation” that can include surf lessons, weaving classes with local artisans, jungle bird-watching expeditions, learning how to throw traditional spears atop Sumbanese ponies on the beach, waterfall hikes, and many others. The villas and treehouses at NIHI Sumba are open-air, wood, and thatched roof dwellings with private pools, decks, and canopied beds.
Borgo Santo Pietro, Palazzetto, Tuscany region, Italy
Set in the hills of Tuscany, Borgo Santo Pietro is an expansive, 300-acre estate with a luxury hotel, organic farm, vineyards, Michelin-starred restaurant, spa, and cooking school. Guests can stay in the original 13th-century villa, a private villa with its own pool, or in suites adjacent to a 13-acre Mediterranean-style garden.
Although the rooms reflect some characteristics of their history with fresco paintings, chandeliers, and antiques, they are anything but stuffy with natural light, fireplaces, and terraces surrounded by lavender. This is a destination for the culinary-minded, with activities such as truffle hunting, chocolate making, and Italian cooking lessons with a local.
Bubble Terlingua, Terlingua, Texas, U.S.
This part of southwest Texas — close to Big Bend National Park in the Chihuahuan Desert — has some of the lowest light pollution in the lower 48 states, which makes it the perfect place for stargazing.
When you stay in one of the clear domed bubble pods at Bubble Terlingua and Basecamp Terlingua, you can view the desert stars together all night. Even though you’ll be staying in a pod, this is a far cry from glamping. The furnishings are hip and stylish, and the two deluxe pods come with a hot tub and a pool.
Museum Hotel, Uçhisar, Cappadocia region, Turkey
The Museum Hotel in Turkey’s Cappadocia region sits atop a plateau overlooking a valley of volcanic rock formations, Byzantine-era cities cut into stone, and, often, a multitude of hot air balloons floating in the sky. Here, you can sleep in a stone room carved out of an ancient cave with Turkish carpets and your own private underground pool. And when you decide to emerge from your cave, there are several hot air balloon tour operators just down the road.
Awasi Patagonia, Patagonia region, Chile
At Awasi Patagonia, a resort on a private reserve at the edge of Torres del Paine National Park in Chile, guests are in charge of their own explorations: every villa comes with its own personal guide and four-wheel-drive vehicle to use whenever they want.
There are just 14 dwellings on the property, and though they were inspired by old Patagonian shelters and ranching outposts, they are anything but rustic. The modern wood dwellings sit on stilts above the pampas with incredible views of the Torres del Paine mountain peaks and Lake Sarmiento. Each one has large windows in every room and a wood-fueled hot tub just outside.
Alila Ventana, Big Sur, California, U.S.A.
Set on 160 private acres in the foothills of the Santa Lucia Mountains, surrounded by redwood forests, with the Pacific Ocean in the distance, is the luxurious but unassuming Ventana Big Sur resort. This cozy haven is plush and romantic without trying too hard.
The sun-bleached cedar dwellings blend into the environment and are designed for privacy. All guest suites have expansive decks with hammocks to take in the mountain views, and many have hot tubs and fireplaces.
The resort has a wide range of guest activities, from spirituality hikes to a clay “playing” workshop, but one of the most interesting is the falconry experience, where you’ll join a master falconer to learn about the role of raptors in the environment and witness these amazing creatures take flight up close.
Arctic TreeHouse Hotel, Rovaniemi, Lapland region, Finland
Journey into the Arctic Circle in Finland’s Lapland region, where — cozied up in a modern wood and glass dwelling perched on stilts in the middle of a forest — you can watch the spectacle of the aurora borealis, the glittering snow during “polar night,” or the magic of the midnight sun.
At the Arctic TreeHouse Hotel, the fourth wall of each suite is made entirely of glass and the bed is positioned for optimal views of nature’s best shows. If you decide to leave your nest in the sky, the village of Rovaniemi is also the “Official Hometown of Santa Claus,” with all of the Santa and reindeer-themed sights you can imagine.
Phinda Rock Lodge, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
At Phinda Rock Lodge, you’ll stay in one of six contoured stone and wood chalets perched on a hill inside the expansive Phinda Private Game Reserve. Each private, free-standing suite opens onto a deck with views of the Zululand hills and valleys, plus a plunge pool, intimate dining area, and cushioned loungers.
The main lodge has a rooftop terrace with low-slung chairs and lanterns. The Phinda Private Game Reserve is a protected wildlife refuge and home to lions, leopards, elephants, rhinos, and cheetahs, some of whom may even pay you a visit.
AZULIK Tulum, Tulum, Mexico
On the Yucatán Peninsula, AZULIK Tulum takes its inspiration from the sea, sky, jungle, and Mayan and Aztec cultures, incorporating natural elements into dwellings that are both freeform and traditional.
You’ll sleep in whimsical quarters with bamboo decks overlooking the Caribbean, canopied beds, shallow pools, and tubs made from small stones. The creators wanted a place where people could dream and play, and a key element of AZULIK Tulum — and its sister resort, Francisco Uh May — is SFER IK Museion, contemporary art spaces at both locations where you can take workshops and view cutting-edge artwork.
When booking that romantic destination trip, first compare credit cards to make sure you’re using one best suited to your needs. Then look for hotels that offer more than just luxury accommodations. Find hotels that can give you and your loved one unique, shareable experiences.
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