Valentine's Day: two words that strike fear in the hearts of women and men the world over. The first challenge, obviously, is remembering when it actually is (14th of February, just in case). And once that's out of the way, how to procure the perfect gift? Well, if it had slipped your mind (temporarily, of course) then fear not because there's still time to plan a romantic getaway (a.k.a the aforementioned perfect gift). Oh yes, there's no better way to celebrate good old St. Valentine than by jetting off for a long weekend (or even longer) of being spoiled in a lovely boutique hotel, exploring somewhere new (or revisiting an old classic) and generally winning some serious brownie points. Consider this your three week (well, two and a half) warning…
Bordeaux is home to one of Original Travel's favourite hotels in Europe - Les Sources de Caudalie. This beautiful boutique hotel sits within its own vineyard and, needless to say, the grapey stuff permeates much of the action here, from wine tasting to vinotherapy spa treatments. The perfect boozy weekend away.
A combination of Oman's capital, Muscat, and the Wahiba Sands makes for a wonderfully romantic break over a long weekend. Stay at The Chedi in Muscat and spend a day or two exploring the beguiling old town (culture: tick), before heading out into the desert for a night under the stars in your very own Bedouin-style tent at Desert Nights Camp (luxury, adventure, romance: tick, tick and tick).
Cape Town, South Africa
Cape Town may be a 12 hour flight away from London but it is entirely do-able in a long weekend thanks to overnight flights and just a one hour time difference. A firm Original Travel favourite, this is pretty much the ultimate city break with its stunning natural setting, delicious food and wine, and countless activities from snorkelling with seals to helicopter trips over Robben Island.
The Atlas Mountains, Morocco
Just a 45 minute drive from Marrakech airport and you will be amidst the remote Berber villages, ravines and canyons of the Atlas Mountains. There are several lovely hotels in the region but, for a spot of romance, Kasbah Tamadot is our pick of the bunch. Dine alfresco beneath the stars on the hotel's rooftop, enjoy a traditional hammam and take a gentle stroll among the eucalyptus and olive groves.
The wild card entry. If you're planning on going away for a week or longer, the flawless hotels, talc-white sands and clear azure waters of the Maldives serve as the perfect antidote to February in Britain. Simply bask in the sunshine beside your over-water villa, chill on the beach, enjoy some seriously indulgent spa treatments or inject some adventure with diving and snorkelling.