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Best hotels for an affair

Experience a love nest in the trees, discover virgin territory, savor the food of love, try the pole position and more romantic rendezvous in these cheat suites.
Don't be alarmed at the things that go bump in the night at The Witchery, in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Don't be alarmed at the things that go bump in the night at The Witchery, in Edinburgh, Scotland.Courtesy of The Witchery
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When former Governor of New York Eliot Spitzer admitted to cheating on his wife, we were shocked. Mostly about where the infidelity occurred: Washington's Mayflower Hotel, where Monica Lewinsky once publicly embraced President Clinton and where JFK's mistress Judith Campbell Exner used to shack up. Not exactly a hotel for a discreet encounter (though, granted, much lovelier than the overlit Days Inn where Spitzer's successor, David Paterson, conducted his own dalliances). If only the Luv Guv had asked us for some secretive suggestions, his political career might not have ended so precipitously. Our requirements: a beautiful room to hide away in, a bed the size of a small country, a fantastic restaurant within room-service distance, and, above all, discretion. Not that we condone such behavior, but if you're going to participate in a little extracurricular fun, here are 12 hotels with no paparazzi, overzealous staffers, or lobby crowds to spoil the fun.

For a complete slide show of the best hotels for an affair, click here.

1. Hotel Sezz, Paris
It's hardly the kind of establishment that offers an hourly room rate, but Paris's Hotel Sezz is perfect for a sophisticated forbidden tryst. This is love, 16th arrondissement–style: a safe distance from the shoppers and tourists of the city's more famous neighborhoods. The 27-room hotel has done away with the concierge process in favor of a more discreet personal-butler service, 24 hours a day. The rooms are big, especially by Parisian standards, and are refreshingly devoid of the fussiness that dominates the city's reputation. Imagine hardwood floors and minimalist decor, accented with a bright red chair or thick, shaggy rug. There's a fair amount of shiny chrome and leather, which is hotel-speak for sex. To drive home the point, the bed stands provocatively on display in the center of the room, and in case the message isn't clear enough, an enormous stone bathtub sits behind a glass wall, with all the privacy of a fishbowl. Then again, you're hiding from the people outside your hotel room, not inside.

Do not disturb:
Hotel Sezz
Tel: 33 1 56 75 26 26
Doubles from $518

2. Rock Water Secret Cove Resort, British Columbia
The tent house suites at Rock Water Secret Cove Resort are sort of like living in a treehouse, but in a four-star, heated-slate-floor kind of way. Overlooking the Pacific Ocean in British Columbia, your private tentlike suite is nestled among the tips of the Arbutus trees, miles and miles (and miles) from civilization, so the risk of bumping into your in-laws is delightfully nonexistent. From the outside, the tent house suites are all rustic charm — nothing but rocks and trees and roiling sea. But inside, you'll find all the luxuries you could want for a romantic escape: a big, inviting bed with views of the rugged outdoors, a wraparound veranda, fireplace, couples hydrotherapy bathtub, and those canvas blinds that you have to roll up so you can pretend that you're camping (but without the icky bugs that can kill romance stone cold dead).

Do not disturb:
Rock Water Secret Cove Resort
Tel: 604 885 7038
Tent House Suites from $399

3. La Passion, Cartagena, Colombia
Don't be misled by the name — there are no sprinkled rose petals, bearskin rugs, or other cheesy details in sight. La Passion, located in the center of Cartagena's old city, is so disguised, with a nondescript wooden front door and a tiny sign at the entrance, that you'd walk right by it if you didn't know better. Luckily, you do. The eight-room hotel is typical Spanish Colonial style from the 1800s. That means stone floors, open and airy public spaces, giant archways, and a sweeping staircase. There's a rooftop bar and infinity pool where you two can float around above the pink and blue buildings and think about what might have been. The real reason to consider La Passion for your assignation are the bedrooms: Each has a wraparound porch made private by a forest of small palm trees, plus a low bed and a huge, looming headboard — and if you're still not convinced this place is built for lust, we'd direct your attention to the double-wide bathtubs right in the bedroom.

Do not disturb:
La Passion
Tel: 57 5 664 86 05
Doubles from $295

4. Lafayette House, New York City
It's a hiding-in-plain-sight thing: If you're going to engage in untoward activity, downtown New York City is just the place. Around the corner from the nightlife of the Bowery is a fairly anonymous block of East Fourth Street that contains the Lafayette House, a 15-room hotel with an irresistible Hitchcockian draw. Built in 1845, it's the kind of house you duck into, wearing a hat and maybe those short little gloves, to rush into your lover's arms and plot your spouse's untimely death. Or, somewhat less dramatically, have a romantic weekend getaway. All the rooms are done in pre-war style with working fireplaces and andirons, hardwood floors, and carved writing desks where you can pen an early-morning note to leave on your paramour's 500-thread-count pillow. Pay particular attention to room 15, with its king-plus bed, heavy drapes, and deep soaking tub. Best of all, there's no front desk and no one to keep tabs on you or your activity — just call ahead to check in, and a hotel staffer will be there to open the door. If you arrive after-hours, your keys will be left at the very discreet bar next door.

Do not disturb:
Lafayette House
Tel: 212 505 8100
Doubles from $350

5. Guana Island, British Virgin Islands
Guana Island calls itself "more private than private." We're not totally sure what that means, but we like the sound of it. The first thing you should do upon arriving at this independently-owned island is head down to the nude beach, which isn't officially a nude beach — but since this is the private beach that comes with your cottage, you can make your own rules. Officially, Guana Island is one of the British Virgin Islands — 850 acres of lush, private tropical-ness. There are 15 rooms in all, divided among seven cottages and two villas, each set on generous grounds; or, depending on how serious you are about this affair, you can rent the whole island for $20,500 per night. There are no roads, bars, restaurants, or steel-drum bands. It's just you and your, ahem, companion, plus all the private island fixings you could ask for: an infinity pool, outdoor living room, open-air bedrooms, leafy pathways, talc-white sand, and mesmerizing views of the Atlantic (or the Caribbean, depending on which accommodation you select). Just be sure you come prepared to wear your birthday suit.

Do not disturb:
Guana Island
Tel: 914 967 6050
Cottage rooms from $775; villas from $1,650

6. The Witchery, Edinburgh, Scotland
If the name alone doesn't sell you on the dark and gothic nature of the place, its location — a few steps from Edinburgh Castle, in the city's medieval Old Town — will. The Witchery is so named for the hundreds of suspected witches burned at the stake in the 1600s on Castle Hill, a legacy that lends an eeriness to the surroundings. It is mainly known as a restaurant — with lots of dark wood, rich tapestries, red leather chairs, dripping candelabra, and a menu that wins awards — but hidden away upstairs are seven theatrical suites that can accommodate the most dramatic of affairs. After a meal of châteaubriand for two (naturally), a dessert plate of Luxury Witchery Chocolate (their name, not ours), and a bottle of, say, Lafite-Rothschild (why not? — it's our imaginary dinner), the low lighting allows you to slip away in the shadows to one of the suites upstairs. These romantic love nests are outfitted with antiques, a canopy bed, and a gilded, candlelit bathroom, where thou shalt draw — not "run" — a bath in the claw-footed tub. Just don't be alarmed at the things that go bump in the night.

Do not disturb:
The Witchery
Tel: 44 131 225 5613
Suites from $582

7. Bungalow at Chateau Marmont, Los Angeles
When you hear about the Chateau Marmont, it's usually sandwiched between words like Lindsay and Jessica, so you know it's a good place to get up to no good. This landmark Los Angeles hotel has seen a healthy share of illicit activity, and with a steady flow of celebrity clients, the staff is well trained in the art of discretion. (And let's face it, when George Clooney is at the bar, none of your fellow guests will be looking your way.) Book one of the cottages, preferably 87, 88, or 89, which are particularly secluded, or better yet, any one of the bungalows, which have their own parking spaces. Then make arrangements to stay put for the duration of your trip (or the rest of your life, if you're Howard Hughes). Whatever you need — massages, facials, dinner for two, laundry, or a crate of organic strawberries and chocolate sauce — will be delivered to your door, so there is no need to venture far from your bougainvillea-draped patio. Also, there's no need to be shy — the hotel boasts that the walls are soundproof.

Do not disturb:
Chateau Marmont and Bungalows
Tel: 323 656 1010
Cottages from $520; bungalows from $1,800

8. Su Gologone, Costa Smeralda, Sardinia
Recessed deep in the hills behind Sardinia's Costa Smeralda, Su Gologone is so stunning, so remote, and so utterly romantic that if you don't have a European mistress, go out and find one for the occasion. Unlike almost any other fancy hotel in the Mediterranean, Su Gologone is not near the coast, which means it's a safe distance from the prying eyes and haughty attitudes of the yachting and clubbing set. All the rooms and suites are decorated slightly differently, but each is done in vibrant shades of red, blue, or yellow with details like canopy beds, overstuffed pillows, and fresh flowers. Granted, food is hardly the point of this trip, but the hotel has a fantastic restaurant — grab a table by the hundred-year-old fireplace or under the veranda of cascading wildflowers and settle in for a night of fresh pasta with sardines or homemade bruschetta with vine-ripened tomatoes while you take in the Sardinian countryside. In other words, it's more "An Affair to Remember" than an "Indecent Proposal".

Do not disturb:
Su Gologone
Tel: 39 0784 287 512
Doubles from $336

9. Angler's Boutique Resort, Miami Beach
All that well-oiled silicone and the thud-thud-thud soundtrack of Miami's South Beach are hardly the backdrop for a romantic sojourn — unless you know where to look. Tucked in the shadows of some gaudy, er, luxury high-rises is Angler's Resort — a small, 46-room hotel intent on subtlety and seclusion, and utterly perfect for sneaking away from the glare of Miami. For starters, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, you can check in from your room to avoid curious stares in the lobby. Duplex suites have all the sequestering details you could ask for: a ginormous fluffy bed and windows with thick-slatted wooden shutters that cast sexy, film noir–style striped shadows across the room. Naturally, the suites come with their own private terrace, private garden, private sundeck, and private hot tub. The layout is wonderfully conducive to privacy, and unlike at other hotels in town, the pool is not center stage — it's off one leg of the L-shape structure, so you won't feel all eyes on you when you venture out.

Do not disturb:
Angler's Boutique Resort
Tel: 305 534 9600
Suites from $400

10. Soniat House, New Orleans
Maybe it's all the Spanish moss or the sultry heat of the French Quarter, but something about N'awlins makes you want to drop your R's, pour a bourbon, and sneak away for a weekend of untoward activity. The place you're looking for is the Soniat House, a hotel made of three 19th-century Creole townhouses that oozes Old World charm. Rooms are well stocked with antiques, goose-feather pillows, Frette sheets, and glass chandeliers which capture that Blanche DuBois decadence. The staff is all southern hospitality, which means everyone is really nice and no one will rush you out of your room at 10 am and ask impertinent questions. Come nightfall, the tree-lined courtyard transitions from sun-dappled to candlelit. Settle in for a quiet stay — accented by creaking floorboards, clinking ice, rustling leaves, and the occasional "y'all" that so effortlessly replaces Mr. and Mrs.

Do not disturb:
Soniat House
Tel: 504 522 0570
Doubles from $240

11. Ivy Hotel, San Diego
If ever there was a room built for a hot romp, this is it. The Star Suite at the Ivy in San Diego is hotel Viagra. Take the king-size bunk beds, which we glean are for a multiple-partner soiree. There are the bed frames made of shag carpeting (which we assume are stream cleaned after checkout), so no one gets hurt. Then there's the fully stocked wet bar and stripper pole with mirrored platform for the evening's entertainment. There's a group, er, enormous shower and door that turns clear or opaque at the press of a button for still more entertainment. Curiously, there are also a few heavy chains suspended from the ceiling, but we're not really sure what those are for. And of course, it's all done in a tasteful, design-y way. Bring the cabana boy, the cabana girl, or hell, bring both. The Star Suite comes with one message: The more, the merrier.

Do not disturb:
Ivy Hotel
Tel: 619 814 1000
Star Suite from $3,400

12. Angsana Riad Tiwaline, Marrakesh, Morocco
Some destinations just sound sexy, clandestine, and vaguely unlawful. One such place is Marrakesh, specifically the Angsana Riad Tiwaline, a centuries-old home-turned-boutique hotel. That's the official description. Unofficially, it plays out like this: The city's bustling medina is the perfect cover for your illicit affair, as you and your lover easily slip away down one of the hidden alleyways of this ancient marketplace to the Tiwaline, where your Aladdin fantasy awaits — Arabic archways, intricate mosaics, a tiled hammam, and an endless supply of shadowy corners. Typically, traditional Moroccan homes (riads) are centered around a courtyard, which makes them conducive to hobnobbing with the other guests. Happily, Tiwaline's courtyard is smaller than most, which conveniently discourages small talk. It's also the perfect spot for grabbing a light snack before you slyly tiptoe back to your lantern-lit Moroccan love nest.

Do not disturb:
Angsana Riad Tiwaline
Tel: 212 24 37 87 09
Suites from $315