Image: Laluna Resort
Laluna Resort
Some 200 years ago, the writer Henry Nelson Coleridge called Grenada a “poet’s Arcadia.” And for decades to come, the tiny Caribbean island, with its powerful waterfalls that flow into the sea and fragrant nutmeg trees, remained an insiders’ secret. The opening of the Bali-inspired Laluna Resort (cottages from $730), pictured, and the more recent Mount Cinnamon Beach Resort (doubles from $500), heralded a new level of sophistication. But Grenada’s authenticity and natural appeal remain.
updated 1/27/2009 11:11:26 AM ET 2009-01-27T16:11:26

If love is a many-splendored thing — a multifaceted, kaleidoscopic experience that’s different for every couple — then so is the romantic vacation. There are almost as many definitions for a “great couples’ getaway” as there are destinations to travel to.

Still, certain trips are almost guaranteed to conjure ideas of togetherness. We’ve seen the images countless times — of pairs strolling together along empty, sugary beaches; snuggling in front of fireplaces at mountaintop chalets; wandering hand-in-hand through foreign, cobblestoned streets — yet they manage to retain their magic.

There are simply some places, some kinds of adventures, that make us want to fall in love.

Almost everyone agrees, for example, that there’s a certain romance to being near the ocean. And there are plenty of places to make those magical sunset beach strolls happen — like the South Pacific island of Bora Bora, where resorts have thatch-roofed bungalows set on stilts over crystal-blue lagoons, and where the powdery sand stretches for miles.

Even for couples who worry about sunburn or who hate the feel of sand between their toes, smelling the salt air and watching seabirds dive from the deck of a tiny ferryboat — like on the ride across Puget Sound to Whidbey Island in Washington state — can be pretty dreamy.

It’s also hard not to feel starry-eyed among the rolling hills and fragrant vines of wine country.

California’s Napa Valley, for instance, is a honeymoon favorite for some very real reasons—intimate boutique hotels, superb French restaurants and world-class Cabernets among them.

Oenophiles who prefer to get a little more off the beaten track can find just as much charm in Chile’s Colchagua Valley, where wineries that turn out robust Merlot, Carmenère and Malbec abut blossom-covered haciendas.

Even big cities, where we take our vacations surrounded by thousands of other people, can offer some surprisingly romantic retreats.

Sharing a Cognac in a historic, wood-paneled New York City bar while gazing over Central Park, for instance, or strolling through the snowy streets of St. Petersburg, past the imperial Russian Winter Palace, has inspired amorous thoughts in plenty of couples (and just as many movie directors).

So, take your pick: metropolis or sleepy mountain village? Sun or snow? Desert sand or beach sand? All of them can be enchantingly romantic.

Just make sure you take the right person with you.

Copyright © 2012 American Express Publishing Corporation


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