We've all read the endless travel articles touting "it-resorts" as the "most romantic" or best "couple's getaway." Inevitably, the weekend includes rose petal-strewn beds, free bottles of second-rate sparkling wine and an awkward couple's massage by chatty staff.
But instead of harp strings and rose petals, most couples are simply looking for a Valentine's getaway of quality one-on-one time and the ability to reconnect and recharge a relationship. We have scoured North America for the best weekend getaways to suit your current state of love, whether you're in the first weeks of a hot new romance or in secret negotiations with your divorce attorney.
"Secret Celebrity Romp"
One and Only Palmilla -- Los Cabos, Mexico
She's a tabloid starlet and you're a pencil pusher. You met her at a rock club while visiting L.A. and she insists on keeping you secret from her publicist and the pages of Perez Hilton. A private jet and backseat Hummer journey along the Sea of Cortez ends within a private villa at the
One & Only Palmilla. With guests like Jennifer Aniston and John Travolta, its staff goes to great lengths to restrict the access (no photos, please) of guests and paparazzi to its celebrity clientele.
Built in the 1950s, the original Palmilla Resort was a frequent getaway for Ernest Hemmingway and Howard Hughes. A private Hummer chauffeurs guests through the overdeveloped communities of Baja to the tranquil village of San José del Cabo. Book an ocean-front junior suite with direct access to a private beach where personal butlers and occasional bodyguards pamper their sunbathing bosses with spritzers and fruity drink concoctions.
"Never Leave the Room"
Heritage House Inn -- Mendocino, Calif.
You call her five times a day and the conversation always ends in "I love you more." You ditch longstanding plans with your best buddies to cook mushroom risotto and watch long, sappy Kate Hudson movies. You've been planning Valentine's Day almost since you met and swore to do it right. Your adventure starts with a two-hour drive north of San Francisco along jaw-dropping cliffs that caress the shoreline of the Pacific Ocean where you arrive to the charming three-street town of Mendocino.
On a jagged cliffside of wildflowers and evergreen pines,
Heritage House Inn is an ever-expanding 19th-century lodge located along a 37-acre property where the Little River connects to the crashing Pacific. Contemporary guest rooms and cottages offer big city styling with plush amenities like Lavazza espresso machines and Duxiana beds invented for all-day use. Large private terraces overlooking the seaside offer the perfect environment for Valentines Day á la bathrobes and room service.
"Happy Couple Attempts to Save Earth"
Hotel Terra -- Jackson Hole, Wyo.
You made it past the seven year itch and still get a sparkle in your eye when she walks in the room. You fight and argue like everyone else, but always make up in the end. You compromised by patronizing her latest "green" obsession and checking in to Jackson Hole's first
LEED-certified green hotel despite wanting the Four Seasons. She compromised by hitting the grocery store and figuring out the hotel's Internet while you hit the slopes.
Every successful marriage is a team, and this team is spending its Valentine's Day in the new all-suite
Hotel Terra in Jackson Hole. The first in a collection of green hotels launched by the Terra Resort Group, the property offers white-glove service with the minimalist styling of a hip boutique hotel. The property operates within an environmentally sustainable building with recycling practices designed to diminish its environmental impact.
"For Make-or-Break Marriages"
Le Sereno -- St. Bart's
He used to fly you on the corporate jet to St. Bart's, but now you're 22 rows deep in JetBlue and he doesn't even get up from his aisle seat when you need to use the bathroom. The glitzy town and beach clubs like Nikki Beach are the perfect playground for a predivorce wife to serve her husband notice to "shape up or ship out." The island is pricy enough to keep college-age bombshells from stealing your bikini thunder -- and, should you need a backup billionaire, the yacht harbor is full of moorings by the likes of Paul Allen and Ron Perelman.
Settle in for the long weekend at the ultra-exclusive
Le Sereno, located on a secluded bay in the northeast of St. Bart's. A creation of French designer Christian Liaigre (NYC's Mercer), the property features a sexy pool and beachfront resort area well suited for rich, young couples. The 37 guest suites are arranged in a secluded garden setting with décor that won't make you miss your privileged big-city life. The hotel also coordinates intimate couple's massages for those looking to reconnect or even rebound.
"Spare No Expense Romance"
Winvian Inn, Litchfield, Conn.
The two of you work so many hours you barely see each other, so you might as well spend some of that hard-earned dough on a lavish get-reacquainted locale. That is why God created places like
Winvian Inn. Located in Litchfield County, one of the most picturesque zip codes in the Northeast Corridor, this 113-acre paradise of pastureland, thick stone walls and koi-filled ponds is equipped to relax even the most hardcore workaholic. Guests arrive to a Camp David-like perimeter of gates and cameras, intended to allow only prepaid guests access to the property.
Owned by Margaret Smith, heir to the Merrill Lynch fortune, Winvian is divided between 19 cottages, individually designed with various extravagant themes. Adventure lovers should checkout the Helicopter Cottage, made from a restored Sikorsky helicopter retired by the U.S. Coast Guard. The bi-level Library Cottage is geared toward romantic bibliophiles, with a second-floor collection of vintage books and manuscripts. Priced upwards of $1,500 a night, rooms include catered dinners within the cottages as well as daily picnics and guided activities.
Michael Martin is the managing editor of JetSetReport.com -- a luxury travel and lifestyle guide based in Los Angeles and London. His work has appeared in In Style, Blackbook, Elle, U.K.'s Red magazine, ITV and BBC.