Roses and chocolates and candy hearts and teddy bears and silky pajamas ... ugh!
Have you gotten sick of all the Valentine's Day marketing yet? When I started thinking about a topic for today's column, I knew that I didn't need to add one more "Romantic Vacations!" article to the mix. I may be happily married now, but I can remember many past Valentine's Days when I was not in a relationship. All the romance stuff, quite frankly, made me sick. So today, I'm thinking of all my single friends and all of you out there who just can't stomach the thought of a "couples retreat." There are plenty of great hotels and hotel packages for you!
If you're feeling unromantic, disenchanted with a relationship, or just plain lonely, there are two types of vacations that you can enjoy. You can take a relaxing holiday where you focus on yourself, or you can hit the scene and look for some action.
Let's start with the relaxing retreats. Valentine's Day is a great time to renew our relationship with ourselves. After all, we've heard it said repeatedly that we can't love others if we don't love ourselves! So don't hesitate to book a hotel stay that's all about pampering and taking care of Number One.
Many people have heard about Canyon Ranch Spas, but did you know that Canyon Ranch also runs all-inclusive luxury resorts? I particularly love the architecture, landscaping and scenery at the Canyon Ranch Tucson property. Canyon Ranch offers many programs that can help you look and feel fabulous, such as mountain biking, wellness workshops and nutritious meals that are actually mouthwatering. You'll return with a glow and a tight body that might just give your ex second thoughts.
If you're serious about getting away from it all — and changing your life while you're at it — check out Kripalu, in the beautiful Berkshire Mountains near Stockbridge, Mass. Kripalu was founded to promote yoga, and most of its programs revolve around yoga classes. The resort also offers a variety of holistic health services, massages and facials. Kripalu accommodations aren't about luxury — the center was formerly a Jesuit seminary, so the rooms are pretty basic. And Kripalu is serious about reducing the complexities and distractions of life, so you won't find a phone or television in your room. But if you really want to escape and get your head together, so to speak, Kripalu is the place to do it.
Maybe your idea of a relaxing trip involves a little more playtime than fitness classes and facials. Golfers are sure to enjoy the "Heli-va-Game" package at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler, in Whistler, British Columbia. Besides eight rounds of golf, golf lessons, massages and other amenities, this package includes round-trip helicopter transport from Vancouver to Whistler. This package isn't available until May, however (who wants to play golf in Whistler in February, anyway?), so you'll have to treat yourself to a late Valentine's Day present.
But maybe you don't want to get away from it all. Maybe you want to paint the town red and find a little lovin' on Valentine's Day. If so, you need to find a hotel with a great scene and hot bars and restaurants. The Luxor, in Las Vegas, features the popular LAX nightclub. The Noir Bar, which has a cool speakeasy theme, has recently opened up within LAX — think of it as a VIP room inside a VIP room. Recent buzz leads me to believe that Noir is the new see-and-be-seen bar on the Strip, so take a weekend break at the Luxor while it's still the hottest spot in town. If you manage to book a last-minute room, you can try to squeeze your way into the nightclub for a late Valentine's Day party hosted by Paris Hilton on Friday, Feb. 15. There should be a few beautiful people there to flirt with!
The Hotel Sax Chicago (formerly the House of Blues Hotel) is home to another new nightclub: Crimson. Crimson is hosting the "Heart Break Hotel Singles Date Auction" on Valentine's Day. Have fun bidding on a date with a hot single, and feel good about yourself knowing that the auction proceeds go to a good cause. The event is hosted by the Junior Council of Children's Memorial Hospital, and money raised will benefit the hospital's pediatric and adolescent HIV and AIDS programs. You can make your reservation for the auction and a speed-dating event on the Date and Dash Web site. Make your reservation for a room, in case the evening is too wild and/or successful, on the Sax's Web site.
If a recent breakup has left you so bitter that you can't even relax or have fun, then the Avenue Inn Bed and Breakfast, in New Orleans, has the best package for you. The "Breaking Up Is So Very Hard to Do, But I'll Get Over Him" package takes the prize for best-named hotel package ever. Included with your room are massages for you and a friend, pints of Ben & Jerry's ice cream, a copy of the bestselling book "He's Just Not That Into You" and — the best part — a voodoo doll with pins to represent your ex. Check with the Avenue Inn for package availability.
Everyone deserves a treat for Valentine's Day, not just those who are all loved-up with a partner. Treat yourself to good times on your own or with some pals. Get out there and have fun, and you just might meet someone who loves traveling and trying new hotels as much as you.
Amy Bradley-Hole has worked in the hotel industry for many years in many different positions and at all types of properties — from small luxury boutique hotels to large resorts, both in the United States and abroad. or on Tripso.com.