The 6 Most Romantic Places in the Southwest

sedona red rocks
The magnificent Sedona red rocks earthscape.

 Andrei Stoica / EyeEm / Getty.

The American Southwest is one of the most beautiful regions in the United States. Within it, travelers can access mountains, deserts, national parks as magnificent as the Grand Canyon, and cities as artful as Santa Fe and as lively as Las Vegas.

Generally speaking, the Southwestern US includes Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, Colorado, Utah, and Texas. Among those destinations, these are the six most romantic spots for couples to explore in the great Southwest.

01 of 06

The Mystical Energy of Sedona, Arizona

Sedona Red Rocks

TripSavvy / Kathleen Messmer

The magnificent red rocks surrounding Sedona have inspired some to ascribe mystical powers to them. New Age believers regard the town's invisible vortexes as swirling centers of energy that promote energy and healing. Whether you buy that or don't, what's undeniable is the unique beauty of the setting. Sunny days, crisp air (elevation is 4,500 feet), and clear nights studded with billions of stars make it a true haven for romantics.

Sedona is also a popular stopping-off point on a journey through the Southwest, thanks its proximity to the Grand Canyon. That vast, natural wonder is 114 miles away and about a two-hour drive, depending on traffic.

The Most Romantic Place for a Couple to Stay in Sedona

Consisting of private cabins with outdoor balconies that have exceptional views of red rocks or Oak Creek, L'Auberge de Sedona is sequestered among tall, shady trees but still walking distance to the town's shops and restaurants. Luxury amenities including a wood-burning fireplace and down bedding and pillows can provide the setting for your own dreamlike journey in Sedona. 

02 of 06

The Desert Appeal of Phoenix, Arizona

taliesin west

Susan Breslow Sardone.

While it may appear that the city primarily consists of groomed golf courses, desert foliage, and sprawling spa resorts, there's more to engage couples. One must-see is Taliesin West, where Frank Lloyd Wright and assistants created an extraordinary group of structures among saguaro cacti and prickly pear trees. Others are the unique Musical Instrument Museum and 50-acre Desert Botanical Garden, especially romantic at the end of the year when luminarias light the pathways.

The Most Romantic Place for a Couple to Stay in Phoenix

Although Phoenix has an impressive selection of hotels, from the Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired Arizona Biltmore, which is a large Waldorf Astoria Resort, to the intimate Royal Palms, it's worth venturing further.

The adjacent town of Scottsdale is home to the one-of-a-kind Boulders Resort & Spa, a luxurious refuge set among ancient boulders and dotted with towering saguaros. Spacious casitas have a wood-burning fireplace, king-size bed, and a balcony to sip morning coffee and later observe the evening stars. While the spa has treatments to indulge those seeking spiritual awakening, massages offer genuine relief. Head outside to explore the desert trails or call for a golf cart to ferry you around.

03 of 06

The Sensuous Side of Santa Fe, New Mexico

Santa fe christo Ray

Susan Breslow Sardone.

Turquoise and sienna, shades of sky and earth, color Santa Fe, New Mexico. They're echoed in an adobe-brick church stolid in Santa Fe's bright daylight, in the bold geometric patterns woven into a Navajo rug, in a silvery Native American bracelet dotted with blue stones and sold in the Santa Fe plaza.

New Age meets Old West at Ten Thousand Waves, a Japanese-style hot-tub spa set in the hills high above Santa Fe. Reserve a private outdoor tub with its own adjacent plunge pool. A pre-dusk appointment guarantees an awesome view of the sunset. Follow up with his-and-hers massages that use Ten Thousand Waves' cedar-scented lotion. Then repair back down to town for a chile-infused meal at one of Santa Fe's best restaurants.

The Most Romantic Place for a Couple to Stay in Santa Fe

While many downtown Santa Fe hotels appear to be similar low-slung adobe expanses, there are differences on the inside. The landmark Eldorado Hotel & Spa, a few blocks from the Plaza, features a fireplace, balcony, and Jacuzzi in some rooms. Set on a corner of the Plaza at the end of the Old Santa Fe trail, funky La Fonda Santa Fe boasts one of the best locations, décor that evokes the Old West, and a tasty French bakery.

In the heart of Santa Fe’s most historic neighborhood, the Inn of the Five Graces, a Relais & Chateaux hotel, is truly outstanding. Its name refers to the five ways to experience the world—sight, sound, taste, smell, and touch—and the Inn sees to it that every sense is thoroughly sated. As one of the most romantic and hospitable hotels for couples looking for the ultimate getaway, its rooms are adorned with hand-carved armoires and painted cabinets, richly textured armchairs, embroidered bedspreads and ethnic rugs, king-sized feather beds, and baths with deep-soaking tubs and mosaic tiles, making it a luxurious home away from home.

04 of 06

The Delights of Downtown Denver, Colorado

Denver Art Museum
  aimintang/Getty Images 

The freewheeling spirit of the Old West meets high times in the Mile-High City. Colorado decriminalized marijuana for recreational use in 2012, and since then Denver's appeal to visitors has blossomed.

Across from Union Station in lower downtown, LoDo Wellness is one source of medicinal and recreational marijuana, edibles, and accessories for couples who want to dabble without fear of arrest (as long as you don't smoke outdoors or leave the state with weed).

But don't let the haze keep you from experiencing the city's unique attractions. Dress yourselves in cool new duds at Cry Baby Ranch and Rockmount Western Wear. Couples who appreciate the fine arts should allot a few hours to visiting the sprawling Denver Art Museum, which has vast collections of American Indian, pre-Columbian, and Spanish Colonial art objects along with European and American painting and sculpture. Those who favor the lively arts will find entertainment in the Plex's six theaters and opera house.

The Most Romantic Place for a Couple to Stay in Denver

Walking distance to the shops and restaurants around Larimer Square, the Ritz-Carlton, Denver was the city's first five-star, five-diamond hotel. It's an exceptionally comfortable luxury hotel and the food and drink offerings in its concierge level lounge make the upgrade worthwhile. A spa with a couples suite plus Elway's namesake restaurant, and a vast gym with a lap pool make this an ideal perch for couples on a Denver honeymoon or romantic getaway.

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05 of 06

The Enduring Appeal of Las Vegas, Nevada

las vegas strip

The Las Vegas Strip was designed to dazzle the eye, and its many attractions make it one of America's most romantic places for a couple to stroll day or night (even though you can expect to encounter crowds). Thanks to the Las Vegas Monorail, you can ride the four-mile route in air-conditioned comfort, hopping on and off to take a closer look at attractions that catch your eye. Don't miss:

  • The Fountains of Bellagio
  • Stratosphere Tower Thrill Rides
  • Volcano at the Mirage Las Vegas
  • Eiffel Tower Experience at Paris Las Vegas
  • Gondola Ride at Venetian Las Vegas

The Most Romantic Place for a Couple to Stay in Las Vegas

The Mandarin Oriental, Las Vegas is a calm environment within the hectic city. Blessed by a feng shui master, the hotel’s Asian ethos and design are in contrast to noisy, jangling gaming hotels. 

Even the 500-square-foot, entry-level rooms have a king-size bed sheathed in soft linens, separate dressing area with a closet, and valet box. What’s a valet box? It's a place where you can have something safely delivered (daily newspaper, laundry, shined shoes) without being disturbed.

Couples who upgrade can book an Apex suite. Located in the corners of the hotel, the suite's bedroom is surrounded by glass on two sides, offering incomparable views of the Las Vegas Strip and CityCenter. The round marble tub in the bathroom inspires good, clean fun.

Worth a splurge: Twist restaurant, where triple-Michelin-starred chef Pierre Gagnaire conceives bold, inventive fare.

06 of 06

The Invigorating Seasons of Park City, Utah

park city utah
Jason Cameron/Getty.

There's no need to ever strap on a pair of skis to have a great time in Park City. In fact, it's as much fun to visit this free-wheeling mountain town in summer as in winter. Hike, bike, even horseback ride to explore the heights just 35 minutes outside of Salt Lake City. And in the lakes and rivers surrounding Park City, you can kayak, go tubing and river rafting, even waterski.

For a change of pace, visit one of the town's many art galleries, catch a musical or comedic performance at the Egyptian Theatre, or plan to attend one of the free outdoor concerts (pack a picnic).

The Most Romantic Place for a Couple to Stay in Park City

Park City offers a splendid choice of hotels, many of which have extensive spas. Yet the most romantic one is about 40 minutes outside of town. It's Robert Redford's Sundance Mountain Resort, which is infused with his spirit and sensibility—and you may just spot him on the ski line.

Although the complex spans 6,000 acres, it's limited to just 100 guest cottages in the shadow of 12,000-foot Mount Timpanogos, the highest in Utah's Wasatch Range. Crafted with native woods and local stone, these cozy units are decorated with hand-wrought furnishings, providing unique comfort and charm. You'll also appreciate that the staff doesn't accept tips.