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Oh, the Places You'll Go!
Are you the type of couple that revels in being first on the scene? Then it's likely you'll be ahead of your friends in experiencing the dozen best new hotels, resorts and a cruise ship built for romance. Some in the USA, Canada, the Caribbean, Mexico and Europe have already opened, others will welcome their first guests in 2016.
The best new places are all different and range from a rustic lodge (no TV!) outside of Yosemite to the ne plus ultra of elegance, the Ritz Paris. Like the latter, several scooped out old buildings (which typically had an optimal location) and reconceived them for a new generation. Caesars' Julius Tower and Denver's intoxicating Nativ hotel also are among those.
Crave a beach? Sandy settings for romance include new digs in Anguilla, Playa del Carmen, and Costa Rica. And Miami tempts with three new playgrounds.
Hoteliers have also caught on to the fact that a rooftop is more than a way to keep out the rain; they're furnishing theirs with pools, cabanas, and al fresco restaurants, all to appeal to young lovers just like you. So what are you waiting for?
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Four Seasons Resort Lanai
What's your vision of a Hawaiian honeymoon or romantic holiday? If all you desire is beach, this is the right state to visit. But if you think sandy shores are overrated, consider the cool highlands on the island of Lanai.
The Four Seasons Resort Lanai isn't a new property, but it's been "newly reimagined" after a multi-million-dollar, lobby-to-roof renovation. It welcomes guests back after reopening on February 1, 2016, just in time for some Valentine's Day romance.
At Four Seasons, nothing but the best will do. So here you can dine here at Nobu Lanai as well as the authentic Hawaiian Seafood restaurant. The spa has been renovated, too. And if you want to dress for dinner without toting a lot of luggage, you can outfit yourself at retailers that include Missoni and Jimmy Choo.
Since Four Seasons doesn't believe in depriving guests of in-room entertainment, there's a 75-inch, platinum bezel LED TV panel, a BluRay player and an in-room iPad Air. If you can extract yourselves, there's hiking up to Puu Pehe (Sweetheart Rock) next to Hulopoe Bay at sunrise, horseback riding and off-road adventures to entertain you outdoors. And if the beach beckons, jump in a 4x4 and head to nearly deserted Halepalaoa Beach with a picnic lunch.
As the hotel is open to all guests, they've set aside an adults-only Retreat. Its waterfalls and lava rock grottos echo Lanai’s dramatic cliffs and offer stunning views of Hulopoe Bay, where dolphins frolic at sunset — and so can you.
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Nativ Hotel in Denver
It had to happen: Colorado decriminalized marijuana for recreational use in 2012, so it was only a matter of time for a hip hotel to welcome aficionados. Opened in spring 2015, the 16-room Nativ Hotel Denver occupies a century-old structure updated for trendy tokers.
There's no smoking indoors, but half the rooms are designated smoking ones since they include a private patio. They also feature a 50-inch flat-screen HDTV, minibar, free wi-fi, city view and butler service. Suites with a patio also allow smoking from a private aerie. Twenty-four-hour room service is on call for when you've got the munchies.
A lobby bar with a 20-tap, pour-your-own craft beer wall, an "infused" coffee & champagne bar, a stereo lounge, and an on-site nightclub offer ample opportunities to socialize with like-minded locals and guests. When the rooftop lounge opens, there'll be one more venue.
Nativ Hotel Denver is located in LoDo, lower downtown, three minutes from Union Station and right across the street from LoDo Wellness, which sells medicinal and recreational marijuana, edibles and accessories.
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Esplendor Tamarindo in Costa Rica
Costa Rica is the go-to Central American country for couples eager for an active, nature-focused romantic getaway. And Esplendor Tamarindo, which opened in mid-2015 on its Pacific Coast, provides a full-service setting from which to explore this diverse and peaceable destination.
Standing high on a hill, the hotel provides endless views of the ocean and the tropical foliage surrounding the property. All 104 air-conditioned rooms at Esplendor Tamarindo have a balcony, and the hotel boasts that its complimentary wi-fi is exceptionally strong.
Guests are entitled to a daily uffet breakfast and complimentary shuttle service to Langosta Beach Club, where beach chairs and umbrellas are provided. Restaurants in laid-back Tamarindo (also reachable by the hotel's shuttle) are known for local seafood and romantic water views.Continue to 5 of 13 below.
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Julius Tower at Caesars Palace
Fifty years ago, Caesars Palace opened and quickly became the place to stay and play on the Las Vegas Strip. Lots of competition has appeared since then, yet the brand's reputation remains undimmed. It helps that Caesars occupies the best location in town and hasn't stopped growing and evolving since 1966.
As of January 1, 2016, Caesars welcomes guests to its Julius Tower. It's not exactly new: it's the former Roman Tower, the hotel's original lodging. Yet guests who visited half a century ago are unlikely to recognize it after the $75 million renovation.
Located at the heart of Caesars Palace, 587-room Julius Tower has easy access to the casino floor and the resort's world-class amenities including Qua Baths & Spa, the Forum Shops' 160 boutiques and restaurants, and the showroom headlined by top stars including Celine Dion, Elton John, Jerry Seinfeld and Bette Midler.
Rooms are decorated in a soothing neutral palette with freesia yellow and Aegean blue accents. Adding a sexy touch are mirrored headboards, Beautyrest Bouvet Island mattresses, a shower big enough for two, a curated minibar and saucy artwork that juxtaposes photos of Roman statues and showgirl finery.
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Mandarin Oriental Marrakech
Combine the exotic charms of Marrakech with the world-class Asian elegance of a Mandarin Oriental hotel, and you've got the formula for over-the-top romance.
Erected upon 50 acres of land with olive groves and towering Atlas mountain views, the Mandarin Oriental, Marrakech has been seducing romantics with its jasmine-scented, landscaped gardens planted with more than 100,000 roses since it opened in October 2015.
Accommodations consist of 7 splurge-worthy suites with a rooftop plunge pool and 54 private villas that come with a heated pool, hot tub and open-air shower in a private walled garden. All feature Bose sound and Apple TV systems. Two Infinity Pool Suites provide direct access to the spa.
The Spa at Mandarin Oriental, Marrakech has a couples suite, two hammams and can conduct treatments in a serene outdoor area under olive trees. A fitness center, indoor heated pool, and group classes from Yoga to Tai Chi are available.
Two restaurants serve Moroccan and international cuisine and guests can learn to prepare specialties at home via cooking classes. There's also 24 hour in-villa dining and a pool-side restaurant.
Close to the Medina and the city’s other major attractions, the hotel can arrange shopping tours to local markets where you can indulge in the richness of Moroccan culture.
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Renaissance Montreal Downtown Hotel
We'll use any excuse we can think of to visit Montreal, which we consider the most romantic city in North America. So the January 18, 2016 opening of the 12-story Renaissance Montreal Downtown Hotel fills our hearts with joy.
It's in the modern part of the city, close to St. Catherine Street shopping and plenty of restaurants. If you've got a yen for Asian food, the hotel's East restaurant is just an elevator ride away.
Wi-fi is free, and the hotel's 142 rooms are furnished with cozy pillow-top beds sheathed in premium linens. Walls are adorned with drawings by local artists and in-room espresso machines support wake-up calls.
We think we'll be spending time on the lounge terrace that overlooks the city; the rooftop space also contains a full bar, bistro kitchen, and heated plunge pool. Any time of year, from Montreal's summer of festivals to winter's sports and festivals, this city is a prime destination for lovers.
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Miami Beach, Florida has 3 New Romantic Hotels
Just when you think Miami Beach couldn't get any hotter, three new hotels have emerged to keep locals and visitors on the cutting edge:
Faena Miami Beach
Style is paramount at Faena Miami Beach, which opened in December 2015. Like its sister hotel in Buenos Aires, the decor evokes a fantastical movie set. Director Baz Luhrman and his designer wife provided inspiration. This South Beach hotel anchors the new Faena Arts District and contains several of its own Damian Hirst sculptures. Warning: It won't be cheap to stay here: 111 of the 169 guest rooms are suites, with a butler for each floor. The large spa features a hammam, ice room, and an ocean view treatment room for couples.
1 Hotel South Beach
At 1 Hotel South Beach you'll want a sleek, ocean-view room with a balcony that overlooks the hotel's 600-foot private beach club, where chaise lounges and warm waters await. There's also a main pool, a cabana pool deck, a huge south pool deck, and a rooftop pool deck for the sand-averse. The latter is adults-only and features sophisticated cabanas. Foodies will appreciate that Tom Colicchio conceived Beachcraft as a classic seaside grill that flame-grills the day's catch and adds farmstand-fresh veggies.
Nautilus, a Sixty Hotel
Originally designed in the 1950’s by famed Miami architect Morris Lapidus, the 250-room, oceanfront Nautilus, a Sixty Hotel extends from Collins Avenue to the Beach. Reconceived for a new generation of sun lovers, the Nautilus Cabana Club features a salt water pool and plenty of space to chillax. Celebuchef Alex Guarnaschelli devised the menus for the Driftwood Room, which marries the cuisine of Southern France with Miami tastes.Continue to 9 of 13 below.
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Thompson Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Couples who revel in Mexico's warmth and sun can have two different experiences at Thompson Playa del Carmen along the Yucatán Peninsula's Riviera Maya. The main 92-room hotel — very social, with a rooftop infinity pool and views that stretch for 360 degrees, and a hot nightlife scene, opened in September 2015. Its nearby 27-room Beach House opens in early 2016 to deliver a more laid-back, Bohemian vibe by the sea with activities that include beach yoga, paddle boarding, and scuba dives.
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The Ritz Paris
The world's most eagerly awaited hotel reopening, The Ritz has been closed since 2012 to undergo a €200 million restoration. It will welcome guests back through its gilded doors in March 2016. Till then, most of the details remain under wraps. But be assured that the reborn Ritz will be the epitome of modern opulence.
Previous guests were disappointed by the bathrooms in the hotel, which first opened in 1898 and hadn't been updated since the mid-1980s. All 143 guest rooms and suites in the revived Ritz now have a bathroom with heated floors and a separate shower and bath.
Restored antiques and chandeliers will sparkle anew. Legendary favorites including Bar Hemingway, the Ritz Escoffier cooking school and L’Espadon restaurant will reopen. The biggest addition is The Ritz Club, which will house a pool, sauna, hammam and Chanel au Ritz Paris spa. It's named after the designer/Nazi collaborator Coco Chanel, who spent WWII ensconced at the hotel, a favorite with the Gestapo officers who occupied it.
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Zemi Beach House in Anguilla
Sometimes all a romantic couple wants is a clean, fresh, modern, uncrowded beach getaway. Zemi Beach House, open February 1, 2016, offers both style and seclusion on Anguilla.
The first upmarket resort built on this Caribbean island's northeastern end, it's set along 1,000-plus feet of Shoal Bay East's powdery sand and offers a beach concierge to ensure guests' time in the sun is optimal.
Prefer the pool? There are two with cabanas; the oceanfront pool features an underwater window facing the beach.
The posh Zemi Thai House Spa contains private couples villas, a co-ed House of Wellbeing with a heated gobek tasi (the raised marble platform found in hammams), a sun deck for mud and other treatments, outdoor showers and a small pool. In-room spa treatments are also available. The spa's Taino Bathing Ritual leads guests through waters of different temperatures infused with plants and herbs used by native Taino Indians.
In-room amenities include a bluetooth speaker so you can listen to your own playlists, a minibar, wi-fi, cable TV with international channels, and air conditioning that works with motion sensors.
Five eateries range from a breakfast buffet to all-day casual dining to a farm-to-table restaurant. Room service is also available. Want to drink something special? The Rum Room Bar and Library pours small-batch estate rum.
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Rush Creek Lodge in California
Nature lovers headed toward Yosemite can stay in the first resort to open near the park in 25 years. The 143-room Rush Creek Lodge, open spring 2016, is located half a mile from Yosemite's Highway 120 West entrance.
On 20 sylvan acres, this contemporary mountain resort's amenities include a 2,400 square foot salt water pool, healthy California cuisine, a general store to stock up on provisions, and a recreation program.
A creek meanders through the property as do a bike path and hammocks. Romantics will savor the sunset views from this hillside forest setting. There is an adults-only hot tub and a pool bar. (Note: The resort is family friendly, so expect lots of kids around, particularly in the summer months).
Modest rooms are rustic-casual, with a private deck overlooking nature. Inside find a couch, coffee table and coffee brewer, iPod dock, free wi-fi, satellite radio, mini fridge and a bed with feather pillows. If you want to watch TV, you'll need to head to the Tavern, where sports programming is favored. Couples can rent a DVD player and access the resort's DVD lending library.
If you've been on the road a while or packed lightly, laundry machines are available.
As you might imagine, Rush Creek is environmentally conscious and features solar panels, a water re-use program, and charging stations for electric vehicles.
Want to marry up here in the woods? There's a dedicated events hall designed for indoor/outdoor destination weddings.Continue to 13 of 13 below.
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The undisputed leader in river cruising, Viking introduced Viking Star, its first ocean-going vessel, in 2015 to great acclaim. Thanks to features that include all-balcony staterooms, two swimming pools (including an infinity-style one), a spa, "snow grotto" and sauna; fitness center, several restaurants, and two cinemas, reviewers and passengers alike hailed as a great success.
In the spring of 2016, her twin-sister ship Viking Sea sets sail. Both are idea for romantic couples who appreciate calm seas; there are no facilities for children and passengers must be at least 16 to board. In her inaugural season, she sails in Europe; we're particularly partial to her Romantic Mediterranean itinerary, which originates in Barcelona and calls at Toulon, Monte Carlo, Corsica, Florence and terminates in Rome.