Fall's Most Romantic Far-Flung Getaways

The kids are back in school, those co-workers that always take August off are back at their desks and hotel prices have deflated from their summertime highs. Fall is a great time for a getaway, especially since in much of the world early fall still feels very much like summer, just with less crowds. Fall also brings with it the ability to take advantage of airline rewards on such carriers as American (AMR) and United (UAUA), offering some of the best availability of the year for far-away destinations. And if that isn't incentive enough, several hoteliers are offering couples-minded getaway specials that refuel your love tank without draining your bank account.

EXOTIC THAILAND VIA ACAPULCO Of all our far-flung romantic getaways, Banyan Tree Cabo Marques is the closest to home, but you wouldn't know it from the outside. Its architecture of Asian-inspired bungalows is reminiscent of Banyan Tree's acclaimed five-star hideaways in places such as Thailand's Samui and Phuket. This different breed of Acapulco resort is along the Punta Diamante, on a rocky hilltop above the sea. Its fortresslike, stone-encrusted entrance is hidden in a forest of native palm and mangroves, at the end of a single private road. If that sounds too foreboding, afterward comes an entryway with a pitched Asian roofline and an open-air panorama of the Pacific.

With heavy stone tiles and sleek wood floors, oozing of Eastern minimalism, the lobby leads to a series of interconnected, stilted and cantilevered lounges hovering over the jagged hillside. Far removed from the high-rise metropolis of Acapulco, this spa-minded oasis offers more of a tropical feel than its nearby competition or even sibling property Banyan Tree Mayakoba. Its rooms are the most luxurious in the region, defined by open walls of glass and infinity decks with vertically staggered plunge pools, giving couples the feeling of endless nature and seclusion. Until Dec. 19, the resort offers a Romance Getaway for two-night escapes that includes all meals and a Sukhothai massage for two.

Acapulco
Banyan Tree Cabo Marques -- on a rocky hilltop above the sea at Punta Diamante -- is a different breed of Acapulco resort.

MARRAKECH RESORT FIT FOR A KING While some Marrakech resorts can boast of having hosted the Sex and The City girls or Jennifer Aniston, far fewer can claim ownership by Morocco's King Mohammed VI. Royal Mansour is a rare new hotel built within the old walled city of Marrakech, located on nearly nine acres behind a fortified wall and gate that forms its own private medina of riads, dining rooms and grand reception that may make La Mamounia loyalists rethink their allegiances. Visitors pass through a humbling entrance of hand-painted Moroccan tiles into a courtyard lined in heavy velvet drapery, illuminated by silver lanterns and outfitted with trickling fountains truly befitting a king.

It's large without ever feeling overwhelming. The reception, lounge and dining rooms are connected by open-air walkways shadowed in reflecting pools, surrounded by opulent, hand-carved relief work and dramatic chandeliers that never lapse into kitsch. A massive spa facility includes wellness center and Turkish bath, or hamam, before hitting the outdoor pool surrounded in traditional loungers and buttoned-up butler service. The lead dining room and its romantic prix fixe feast is headed by three-star Michelin chef Yannick Alléno of Le Maurice in Paris and Hotel Cheval Blanc, who counts LVMH's Bernard Arnault as a fan.

AFRICAN FALLS ARE A WORLD WONDER While some romantics brag of a weekend in Niagara Falls or even of adding a trip to Iguazu Falls while in Brazil or Buenos Aires, a trip to Africa's Victoria Falls usurps all romantic bragging. It's a Unesco World Heritage Site and one of the seven natural wonders of the world.

Any way you look at it, the journey to this romantic retreat is a long one, usually an add-on to a South African getaway, but it brings you along the banks of the Zambezi River in Zambia to the falls, one of the Earth's most brilliant geological wonders. It's there on the river's banks you'll find another wonder: The Royal Livingstone hotel, which offers a British Colonial-inspired luxury experience. It's operated by South Africa's Sun International, owners of Cape Town's iconic Tablet Bay.

There's a pitched-roof lobby detailed in ebony wood, antique brass fixtures, zebra-pattern rugs and cushy loungers under period ceiling fans. While a riverfront pool allows viewing of elephants and other wildlife, the hotel can also bring more adventurous couples on trips rappeling in the dramatic Batoka Gorge or traveling on one of Africa's only private safari trains, reminiscent of a micro-Orient Express. But at the core of the experience is Victoria Falls, experienced on private jet boats, catamarans and riverboats packed with gourmet lunches (some ingredients harvested from the hotel's own gardens) and traveling cocktail bars before a return to the hotel's riverfront terrace, seeing zebras and impalas play by one of the world's most humbling romantic wonders.

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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 InStyle, Blackbook, Elle, U.K.'s Red magazine and on ITV and the BBC.

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