Flowers are played out, and a heart-shaped box of chocolates is just plain lazy. To really wow your partner this Valentine’s Day, try whisking them away for a romantic weekend.
This year’s annual celebration of romance coincides with a three-day weekend for many people (Presidents Day falls on Monday, February 15), and that extra day off is the perfect excuse for you and your significant other to get out of town. Best of all, your thoughtful surprise gesture doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg, provided you’re smart about picking your destination and booking travel.
“There are two right times to book” your Valentine’s Day getaway, Cheryl Rosner, the co-founder and CEO of Stayful, a site that helps travelers find the best prices on independent and boutique hotels, told The Cheat Sheet. If you want to jet off to a more distant destination – say, for skiing in the Rockies or fun in the sun on Miami Beach – you’ll want to book about three weeks in advance of the holiday, since you’ll find the best deals on airfare that way.
All is not lost for procrastinators, though. Waiting until the last minute can help you score a deal on one-of-a-kind accommodations, as you benefit from people cancelling room reservations just before the hotel’s deadline. Between 72 and 24 hours in advance of your anticipated stay is the time to look. “All of the sudden there’s a bunch of rooms available that might not have been available [previously],” Rosner said. Those last-minute, one-night bookings are especially popular with guys who want to surprise their significant other with an in-town staycation, she added.
When booking a hotel, look for one that offers lots of standard inclusions, Rosner suggested. A hotel that provides complimentary champagne upon check-in, in-room chocolates, or free transportation around town as part of its base price will save you both money and hassle, so that you’re free to focus on romance. You’re more likely to find those perks – plus the little details that make for a memorable weekend, like in-room fireplaces or rooftop pools – at a boutique property than a big chain, Rosner said.
“It’s a very different experience than staying at a Marriott or Hilton,” she said.
Finding those unique hotels is easier than ever too with sites like Stayful, which not only lets you make an offer for what you think is a fair nightly rate, but also highlights the little extras that might not be so obvious on other booking sites. Still, with a world of options at your fingertips, it can be hard to decide where to go, so we asked Rosner to share her picks for a few of the best hotels for a romantic Valentine’s Day weekend getaway.
1. XV Beacon
Boston’s XV Beacon is located in a historic Beaux Arts building in the city’s Beacon Hill neighborhood. Rooms at this stylish luxury hotel feature gas fireplaces, cashmere throws, and Frette linens. “The rooms are romantic, and the hotel is just classic Boston,” Rosner said. Plus, there’s no need to brave the traffic or find a cab if you’re heading out for a romantic dinner, since the hotel provides complimentary black car service so guests can get around the city with ease.
2. Hotel Madeline
With mountain views from your room, hot tubs on the “sky terrace,” and an ice rink, you may not even get around to hitting the slopes at this Telluride, Colorado, hotel (if you do, there’s a complimentary ski shuttle to get you there, plus a full-service ski valet). You can also indulge in a couples aromatherapy massage at the on-site spa, or call on the hotel’s “bath barista,” who will draw a relaxing in-room bath for you with customized bath salts and essential oils.
3. Sanctuary Hotel
“Spending a long weekend in New York City is always a great call,” Rosner said, and you’ll be in the center of it all when you check in at this Times-Square-area hotel. The Haven rooftop bar offers stunning views of the Manhattan skyline and is the perfect spot for cocktails after a Broadway show. Rooms are sleek and stylish, with red accents and chandeliers, and complimentary breakfast is served every morning.
4. The Lodge at Torrey Pines
Even non-golfers will relish a stay at the Lodge at Torrey Pines, which is adjacent to the Torrey Pines Golf Course. The Craftsman-style hotel overlooks the Pacific Ocean, and the smallest guest rooms are a spacious 520 square feet. Chefs at A.R. Valentien – one of the best-rated restaurants in San Diego — turn out fresh California cuisine (think Dungeness crab spaghetti or grilled Niman Ranch hangar steak) so you can be sure you’ll have a Valentine’s Day dinner to remember.
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