Video: 5 romantic getaway hotels

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    ANN CURRY, anchor: This morning on TODAY'S TRAVEL romantic getaways. If you want to surprise your valentine with some tickets for a trip, it's not too late. Hotels are luring visitors with some great February deals. Nilou Motamed is the features director at Travel Leisure magazine. Nilou , always great to see you.

    Ms. NILOU MOTAMED (Features Director, Travel Leisure Magazine): Nice to see you, Ann.

    CURRY: And you're saying the right word: deals. How good are they?

    Ms. MOTAMED: They're great deals. You know, the main thing that you have to worry about when you're -- when you're booking travel is trying to avoid the actual day of the holiday. And by booking today and going a little bit later you're going to get better deals.

    CURRY: OK. First deal, New York . Aurora, New York .

    Ms. MOTAMED: Upstate New York . Right on the shores of the Cayuga Lake there's a property called E.B. Morgan House and this is a beautiful Italianate mansion that has been restored immaculately. Now there are four-poster beds, there are Frette linens.

    Ms. MOTAMED: Now if you want to get woken up, there's no wake-up call, there's no alarm clock. Someone actually shows up to your room, knocks on the door, brings in a freshly brewed pot of coffee, some juice and some muffins.

    CURRY: Heaven.

    Ms. MOTAMED: And that's how you start your day. The...

    CURRY: And the rooms, and I just took a look at the photographs, there is another one. They're not that expensive.

    Ms. MOTAMED: No, they're only $175 a night. And so there's a -- there's a cozy library where you can play board games, there are lots of activities outside. But I feel like if you're going to have a romantic weekend it might be nice to stay indoors a little bit, too.

    CURRY: Done. I'm booking. OK, we've got Glen Oaks Big Sur , Big Sur , California . This is a beautiful place. I mean, you're just going to get lost in the scenery.

    Ms. MOTAMED: I mean, honestly if you're a nature lover there's no better place to go than Big Sur . And this hotel is right in the middle of these gorgeous hills with redwoods and right on the shores of the Big Sur -- Big Sur River. You are a short hike away from one of the best beaches, one of the local beaches called Pfeiffer Beach . It's known for its purple sand. Now about the property, though, you are on -- they have showers that are for two. I'm sure that's for conserving water.

    CURRY: Ah.

    Ms. MOTAMED: But, you know, there are other things you can do for...

    CURRY: Amazing. The mind reels.

    Ms. MOTAMED: Honestly, you don't -- let's not even talk about it. And the key is, again, affordable and intimate and eco. So that's a great thing for a nature lover.

    CURRY: That's cool. It's got a sustainable reputation, so that's cool. And now we're going to go to New Mexico , a place called La Posada de Santa Fe .

    Ms. MOTAMED: Exactly. This is a Rock resort, and this property is great because it's right in the center of it all in Santa Fe . So if you're interested in the gallery scene there, the great food, or just walking around it's accessible to you for that reason. The Sangre de Cristo Mountains are right there as well, so that means if you want to go skiing you can. And they have a great Valentine's Day special that's running all the way through April, and it was on travelandleisure.com. And you get an overnight stay, couples massage, $40 off your daily breakfast and champagne and strawberries on arrival. So Valentine's Day doesn't have to just be February 14th .

    CURRY: OK. Or -- right, exactly right. Now let's move onto Colorado and the Viceroy Snowmass . Now what is this, for skiing?

    Ms. MOTAMED: This is for, you know, people love to ski and getting a great deal during ski season is tough. This is only $185 a night.

    CURRY: Hm.

    Ms. MOTAMED: And your room has a -- has a sun deck, it has a fireplace, it has pillowtop bed and a down duvet. And you're right -- ski in, ski out, so you're right on the slopes, and you're only about couple of minutes away from Aspen , which is such a great little town . I'm a big fan of Aspen in the summer but also in the winter time.

    CURRY: OK. And then finally let's go to the Ritz-Carlton -- why not -- in Santiago, Chile.

    Ms. MOTAMED: We are always talking about Buenos Aires as an incredible South American city, but Santiago is fantastic as well, particularly because of what it gives you access to. It gives you access to the Atacama Desert , it gives you access to the Patagonian ice fields. And the Ritz-Carlton gives you access to an incredible amount of luxury right in the heart of the city . Their wine collection in their restaurant is 365 different Chilean wines .

    CURRY: Mm.

    Ms. MOTAMED: So if you want a little wine education while you're down there, this is a great way to do it.

    CURRY: And Chilean wines are fantastic. But are these -- if you buy these tickets, are these tickets for just in the next, OK, say, month in terms of being able to get a deal?

    Ms. MOTAMED: They're -- depending on -- depending on which deal it is, it's all the way through the spring. So I think you can be flexible. But as you get into holidays, as you get into spring break , the prices are going to go up a little bit. So this is actually a great window before spring break to get traveling.

    CURRY: All right, Nilou Motamed , thank you so much for some good ideas.

    Ms. MOTAMED: Thank you, Ann.

updated 2/14/2011 11:50:32 AM ET 2011-02-14T16:50:32

What’s more romantic than staying at a former 19th-century monastery with vibrant sofas, bleached wood floors, and a bamboo garden that doubles as an echo chamber? How about setting this hotel, the Centurion Plaza, among the canals of romantic Venice.

Fortunately, the days of the heart-shaped hot tub are over. Today, the features that define the world’s most romantic hotels are much more understated. Of course, no matter what the aesthetic of the hotel might be, a classic romantic location — Venice, Napa, Bali, or New York — will always add to the magic.

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Slideshow: World's Most Romantic Hotels

And while everyone has their own definition of romance, some trends have emerged. One of them: cold is cool. Hotel Kakslauttanen & Igloo Village — hidden away in Finland’s Lapland wilderness — has created a personalized approach to the ice-hotel concept. Year-round, you’ll find 20 domed “igloos” made out of thermal glass — perfect for stargazing from your underground room. But if you go between December and April, you can stay in a real igloo, built from actual snow and outfitted with fluffy down sleeping bags. Plus, you’ll have a first-row seat for the multihued laser show that is the northern lights (Eskimo-kissing optional).

Closer to home, you’ll find the perfect setting for a seaside stroll. At Big Sur’s Glen Oaks, a brisk hike to secret Pfeiffer Beach will deposit you in soft purple (yes, purple) sand. Back at the hotel, the natural theme continues — cottages sit between the river and the redwood trees, each outfitted with cast-iron stoves and showers built for two.

And what’s sexier than James Bond? Jamaica’s GoldenEye — the cliff-top retreat once owned by Bond creator Ian Fleming — brings a celebrity twist to the romantic experience. Couples love to book Fleming’s original three-bedroom villa, which still features the writer’s Jamaican red bulletwood desk. It’s the perfect place to write a love letter to your mate, or maybe the next great spy novel.

We all know there are as many ways to define romance as there are humans, but this list of the world’s most romantic hotels has something for (almost) everyone.

Copyright © 2012 American Express Publishing Corporation

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