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Romantic Escapes

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Whether you’re looking to ignite, maintain, or resuscitate a romance—these spots kind of do all the work. And a long weekend is sometimes all it really takes to get the job done. Depending on where you live, many of the destinations below are within striking distance.

NorthIsland

North Island

Victoria, Mahé, Seychelles | +248.4.293.100

Part nature and wildlife conservatory, part exclusive resort, North Island is a tropical paradise the likes of which you’ll be hard pressed to find anywhere else. Taking up prime real-estate along the shores of the Indian Ocean, the 11 individual villas allow for unlimited access to the crystalline waters. An on-site dive school allows novices to hone their skills while experienced scuba divers explore the legendary coral reefs solo. On their way to or from the restaurant on the western side of the island, guests are encouraged to detour to the Seychelles Historical Museum or visit with the Island’s oldest inhabitants at the tortoise sanctuary.

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The Brando

Teti’aroa Private Island, Arue Tahiti, French Polynesia | +689.40.866.366

Much like Marlon Brando fell in love with Tetiaroa while filming Mutiny on the Bounty (he purchased the land for him and his wife Tarita in 1967), guests are instantly charmed by the island’s coconut palm groves and white-sand beaches. To further his commitment to sustainability, Brando enlisted the help of hotelier Richard Bailey to build the world's first ever post-carbon resort. Though by no means cheap (the all-inclusive rates start at $2,700 per night) The Brando’s lengthy list of activities (snorkeling, kayaking, paddle boarding) and indoor/outdoor accommodations—complete with sleek decor, plunge pools, and outdoor bathtubs—mean the pricetag makes sense. The island’s restaurants serve dishes comprised of ingredients plucked from the resort’s own organic fruit orchard and veggie garden.

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The Sanchaya

Jalan Gurindam Duabelas, Plot 5Lagoi Bay, Pulau Bintan, Riau Islands, Indonesia | +62.770.692200

With less than 20 private villas and even fewer suites, this colonial estate takes up a surprisingly vast stretch of a particularly stunning white–sand beach on the Indonesian island of Bintan. While all modern-day creature comforts are accounted for—an Olympic size infinity pool, Bang & Olufsen in-room gadgets, and a world-class spa that harvests healing herbs from the on-site garden—the communal lounges, libraries, and dining rooms (the Tasanee grill serves up killer Thai street food) are decked out in Southeast Asian antiques and traditional heirlooms. Once you’ve had your fill of uninterrupted down time, consider venturing out to explore the neighboring rainforests.

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One & Only Hayman Island

Hayman Island Great Barrier Reef, 4801, Australia | +61.2.9308.0500

Otherworldly sunsets and unfettered access to the Great Barrier Reef aside, historically, One & Only resorts are all about the experience, meaning that a stay on this private island at the northernmost tip of the Whitsunday archipelago isn’t just part of a trip, it is the trip. Of the 150+ guest rooms, a good chunk of the suites are designed so you can roll out of your four-poster bed and step directly into a private pool before heading out to snorkel nearby Blue Pearl Bay or hopping a seaplane to explore the reefs from above. The four on-property restaurants can quell just about any hankering from Italian to Pan-Asian, but to really up the wow factor, ask for a gourmet picnic to-go and enjoy it on a remote island. Thanks to a recent top-to-bottom overhaul (the property has existed in various incarnations since the 1950’s) this is also one of the more modern-looking of the One & Only outposts, a huge plus for those with a minimal aesthetic.

Le Quartier Francais

Le Quartier Français

Corner of Berg & Wilhelmina Streets, Franschhoek, South Africa | +27.21.876.2151

Surrounded by the hills and vineyards of the Franschhoek Valley, this little boutique hotel (there are only 21 rooms on the property) is just an hour from Cape Town, but it feels worlds away. While the quaint, comfortable suites by themselves justify a trip, this location is really all about the food. Chef Margot Janse’s Tasting Room is one of (if not the) best restaurants in South Africa; it’s the winner of countless awards for its 8-course tasting menu, which serves a uniquely African-inspired style of food. The wait-list is notoriously long, so plan accordingly.

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Bahia Vik Jose Ignacio

Ruta 10 Kilometro 182, 500, Jose Ignacio, Maldonado, Uruguay | +598.95.444.451

Uruguay isn’t usually on the short list for secluded beach vacations, but the sleepy beach town of Jose Ignacio (just a few beaches away from the louder, better-known beach town of Punta del Este) makes a convincing argument for adding it. Bahia Vik's sleek, modern bungalows sidle right up to the beach, with wide windows looking out over the ocean. And while those bungalows offer private pools and manicured lawns as communal hang-out space suited to families or small groups, the couples-focused rooms in the main lodge are perfectly romantic. While it’s not likely that you’ll tire of lounging on the idyllic beach, the hotel’s significant art collection could keep you occupied all afternoon.

Fogo Island

Fogo Island Inn

210 Main Rd., Joe Batt's Arm, Newfoundland, Canada | +1.709.658.3444

The relationship between the Fogo Island Inn and the beautiful community and physical landscape in which it exists is pretty incredible. Conceived as a social enterprise to support the tiny, yet sturdy outport community on the island, it provides jobs, celebrates local cuisine, and donates all of its proceeds to community programming. The inn itself is a gorgeous, simple, modern building that juts out in juxtaposition to, yet somehow at harmony with, the rocky outcroppings of the landscape. For visitors, the quaint quality of the place inspires plenty of hand holding: In the summer and fall, you can hike the idyllic trails in search of wild berries and local wildlife, like caribou, foxes, puffins, and migrating whales—in the winter, you'll find ice fishing, picturesque snowfall, and plenty of cozy fires. The décor (not surprisingly, all of the furniture was built by the locals) is modern but cozy, with Scandinavian-feeling wooden shapes and warm, hand-made quilts. As you might expect, the views out of the wide, modern windows are nothing less than jaw-dropping.

Royal Mansour

Royal Mansour

Rue Abou Abbas El Sebti, 40 000 Marrakech, Morocco | + 212.5.29.80.81.56

This crown jewel of Moroccan hospitality is home to 53 separate riads, each with their own courtyard and fountain. Every room, spa, and common space is dripping in elegant Moroccan décor, including intricate tiles, colorful silks, and traditional chandeliers and lanterns. What’s more, the palace has more than 500 staff members, offering service that’s literally fit for royalty. The entire medina is a labyrinth of soothing water sounds (from the aforementioned fountains) and lovely scents that waft up from the well-tended garden, which spreads out over every inch of unclaimed space—it’s especially magical at night, when the winding paths are lit up with candles. When you’re not out exploring the city, book one of the couples’ treatments in the jaw-dropping spa.

Laucala Island

Laucala Island

Laucala Island, Fiji | +67.9.88.80.07

Malcolm Forbes purchased this Fijian island back in 1972 as a personal retreat, and for many years it was exactly that. It’s actually Dietrich Mateschitz (most famous as the billionaire inventor of Red Bull) who had the vision to turn the island into the exclusive resort it is today. The entire experience here is really intimate, with only 25 residences scattered across the property’s beaches and hills. Each one is more luxurious than the last, with amenities like personal butlers, private swimming pools, and hidden yoga platforms, and service that’s available to meet every possible need. When it comes to the classic private-island, white sand beach, luxury saltwater escape, you really can’t top this place.

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The Four Seasons Golden Triangle

Thailand | +66.53.910.200

This tented camp in Thailand is an excellent option if you like adventure. A stay here will prominently feature elephant treks, boat outings along the river, and visits to the local Thai market. That said, this isn’t exactly a NOLS outfit—luxury tents feel incredibly isolated in the jungle, yet feature outdoor showers and hot tubs, luxurious bedding, and comfortable porches for sipping your morning tea. The service and in-house restaurant are incredible, and despite being isolated at a tent camp, the spa treatments (guests rave about the massages) want for nothing.

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Amankora

Paro, Thimphu, Punakha, Gangtey, Bumthang, Kingdom of Bhutan | +975.2.331.333

This Aman holding in the mountains of Bhutan is actually split up between five different properties, each one with its own lodge, in a different alpine valley. A trip here stands out because you’ll have the chance to learn about the unique culture in the area—upon arrival, you’ll be paired with a driver and guide who will show you their country, based on your own curiosity and needs. We definitely recommend hiking to see Tiger’s Nest, a Buddhist monastery built into the mountainside that’s thought to be the first place where Buddhism was practiced in the Kingdom. The lodges themselves are an Aman-take on traditional Bhutanese style, and they’re set up like homes, with 5-8 rooms in each one. Find an evening to stargaze—the sky up here is unmatched.

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Amankila

Manggis, Bali | +62.363.41333

Bali’s lush forests and crystal-clear oceans make it a pretty romantic destination regardless, but the accommodations at Amankila take everything next level with isolated, stilted villas that are situated at the perfect height for optimal ocean views. If you take the walkways through the jungle from your room, you’ll find yourself at a three-tiered infinity pool with tiling that perfectly matches the dreamy green-blue hue of the bay it overlooks. The attentive service here is everything you’d expect from an Aman, and the concierge will set up one of the many adventures available from this isolated spot, including trips to a perfect beach, surfing, scuba diving, and more. But with cozy rooms, private patios, a great terrace restaurant, and suites with private pools, you probably won’t want to leave at all.