8 Romantic Hotels to Escape to This Winter

Looking for a romantic getaway for you and your sweetie? There’s nothing like escaping the nagging to-dos of everyday life to remember why you fell in love. We’ve traveled far and wide to help you find eight of the world’s most romantic hotels, from Hawaii and California to Fiji.

Kauai

Kauai has been the lush backdrop for Hollywood romance ever since South Pacific and Blue Hawaii, and couples can’t help falling in love with the Garden Island’s stunning foliage, beautiful beaches and gentle rhythm of living. 

Stay: Hanalei Colony Resort

Photo courtesy of Hanalei Colony Resort
Photo courtesy of Hanalei Colony Resort

Toward the end of the road on Kauai’s breathtaking North Shore, this 5-acre, 52-suite beachfront resort is easier to reach now that highway repairs have been completed. It’s still a serenely tranquil enclave — the loudest noise comes from waves hitting the sand. Get a permit from gohaena.com to visit nearby Kee Beach or hike the Kalalau Trail in the morning, and relax afterward with a massage from the day spa.

Table for Two: The on-site oceanfront Opakapaka Grill & Bar caters to hearty appetites with ribeye steak, fresh catch specials and Wagyu roasted bone marrow among the highlights. Toast your ku‘uipo (sweetheart) with a mai tai featuring Kauai-made Koloa Rum, and save room for chef Charles Steppe’s chocolate mousse.

From $419, two-night minimum; hcr.com

Stay: Ko‘a Kea Hotel & Resort

Photo courtesy of Koa Kea Hotel
Photo courtesy of Koa Kea Hotel

This sophisticated gem on the sunny South Shore lies discreetly between Poipu and Kiahuna beaches. The 121 rooms all come with private lanais, dual showerheads in the marble baths, and plush robes and slippers, but spring for an oceanfront room to savor the views. The lagoon-style pool and spa are on the smaller side, but like everything else here, exquisitely done. 

Table for two: Award-winning chef and Kauai native Noelani Planas has preserved Red Salt’s status as one of the island’s very best restaurants since becoming executive chef in 2016. The vanilla bean-seared mahi mahi with forbidden black rice remains a classic, while the adjacent sushi bar brilliantly showcases local seafood.

From $639 (including $40 resort fee); meritagecollection.com/koa-kea

Fiji

A trip to this tropical nation of archipelagos, reopened in December to fully vaccinated travelers, begins with a nonstop flight from San Francisco. Private shuttles then whisk you to exclusive island resorts with even more options for private time.

Stay: Royal Davui Island–Fiji

Photo courtesy of Royal Davui Island
Photo courtesy of Royal Davui Island

This adults-only, all-inclusive oasis off Fiji’s main island of Viti Levu offers 16 bungalows and villas with plunge pools dotting a 10-acre islet with gorgeous vistas. Snorkel amid a kaleidoscopic reef, relax with soothing massages, and book a private picnic on a sand cay for a getaway within your getaway. 

Table for two: All meals are included, with multiple delectable options, much of them locally sourced, highlighting Pacific Rim cuisine. You can also opt to dine in the ocean-view restaurant under a sprawling banyan tree, in your room or (by advance arrangement) on the beach.

 From $1,103, including meals; royaldavuifiji.com

Stay: Vomo Island Fiji

Photo courtesy of Vomo Island Fiji
Photo courtesy of Vomo Island Fiji

On its own 225-acre island in Fiji’s pristine Mamanuca chain, Vomo Island Fiji hosts 34 luxurious residences and villas. Besides hiking, golfing and diving, book the romance package that includes a half-day on your own islet, a cabana at the adults-only beach club with infinity-edge pool and a massage for two, among other perks. 

Table for Two: Breakfast, lunch and dinner at the main Reef Restaurant, featuring executive chef Michael Fosbender’s gourmet Pacific Rim cuisine, are included in room rates. Couples can also enjoy daily lunch or a twice-weekly Southeast Asian dinner at the adults-only beach club; private dining is also available.

From $905, including meals; vomofiji.com

Guerneville, California

One of the most popular LGBTQ+ oases for years, Guerneville is getting lots of media attention these days. For active couples, there are plenty of options here, from stand-up paddling or kayaking the Russian River to rambling hikes through the redwoods; it’s also known for antiques and really good food.

Stay: The Stavrand 

stavrand

Perched on a hill just minutes from downtown, the former Apple Tree Inn has been reimagined by veteran hotelier Emily Stavrand Glick and her team, who worked through the pandemic to refresh the 21-room white stucco property. Many rooms have large soaking tubs or hot tubs, ideal for a romantic getaway. Walk the grounds or borrow one of the complimentary bikes to head into town, just minutes away. 

Table for Two: Start the morning off with Hedonic coffee and offerings of avocado toast, eggs and bacon from the celebrated culinary team led by Jeremy Clemens, formerly of Chalkboard in nearby Healdsburg. Lunch can be taken to go, or eaten in the dining hall, and dinner is a culinary event for the books.  

From $251; thestavrand.com

Stay: Farmhouse Inn

farmhouse inn

From the moment you check in and are offered your tasty complimentary snack, possibly paired with a glass of wine, this roadside-farmhouse-turned-hip-getaway will transport you and your person into your own luxe universe. Meticulously run by brother-and-sister team Catherine and Joe Bartolomei, who grew up nearby, the property has evolved into a noteworthy luxury boutique hotel since they took the reins back in 2001. It has won national accolades for its Michelin-starred dining room and lodgings that define farm chic. 

Table for two: Be sure to book your mealtimes as soon as you make your reservations. Chef Steve Litke’s following is beyond wine country, and people travel to be wowed by his daily changing menu. Bonus for nondrinkers: With a bit of advance notice, the chef will prepare a tasting menu with nonalcoholic beverages sourced from the Bartolomeis’ farm. 

From $735; farmhouseinn.com

Mendocino, California

Winter and spring draw mushroom foragers and whale watchers to Mendocino, but any time of the year is ideal for a romantic idyll. That’s because the getaway starts with the journey here, via slow and sinuous Highway 1 or wooded Anderson Valley.

Stay: Brewery Gulch Inn

romantic getaways
Photo courtesy of Brewery Gulch Inn

Framed by the redwoods and meadows of 48,000-acre Jackson Demonstration State Forest, the location of this 11-room inn is prime for exploring the Mendocino Coast, but it also contains everything you need to stay cozy on blustery days. The light-filled living room with a massive fireplace includes Stickley-style furnishings, games, books and DVDs to watch in your similarly comfy quarters.

Table for Two: New executive chef Stephen Smith, whose credits include San Francisco’s Stars, prepares a thoughtful array of “wine hour” appetizers that can serve as a light dinner, and appealing breakfasts are served in custom redwood boxes to savor in your room or, weather permitting, on the patio overlooking Smuggler’s Cove.

From $490, two-night minimum; brewerygulchinn.com

Stay: The Harbor House Inn

Photo courtesy of Harbor House Inn
Photo courtesy of Harbor House Inn

Of all the stunning views from Mendocino’s many inns, the panorama of enormous beehive rock formations in the ocean below the bluff where the 10-room Harbor House Inn sits might be tops. Terraced gardens and some 200 steps lead down to the beach, a walk worth making before dinner in the renowned restaurant.

Table for two: Chef Matthew Kammerer earned two Michelin stars in 2021 for his ambitious multicourse tasting menus (up to 12 courses!), showcasing local seafood and vegetables cooked with fire, steam and smoke, and inventively paired with regional wines and craft beverages. Overnight guests receive earlier opportunities to nab a reservation, but book both room and table well in advance.  

From $367, including breakfast; theharborhouseinn.com


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