Ten Valentine’s Day breaks for lovers
Tankardstown House, Slane, Co Meath
1 Royal love in Meath
We’re not sure what you’ve got to do to win it, maybe chew your spaghetti Lady and Tramp style all night, but if the staff at Tankardstown House in Meath take a liking to one lucky couple staying overnight on Valentine’s, they’ll present them with a plate of jam tarts.
No, they’re not casting aspersions on your beloved, even if her dress is a little low, they’re simply saying you’re being royally treated, Queen-of-Hearts style, to a complimentary upgrade to its brand new Library Suite. Here you’ll get to enjoy its half-tester bed, red fabric walls and freestanding copper bath, à deux. Dinner, B&B from €140 a person.
2 Saintly love in Dublin
Make a pilgrimage to the patron saint of love (and beekeepers . . . and plague) at St Valentine’s Shrine in the Whitefriar Street Carmelite Church, just off Grafton Street. Then stay over at the Fitzwilliam Hotel, a romantic walk away, where a Valentine’s dinner plus B&B is €250 a couple. If you’re planning on using the occasion to pop the question, consider the hotel’s Perfect Proposal package instead, a heart-shaped confection of limousine, penthouse suite and vintage Champagne to be enjoyed by the three of you – you, your beloved and a professional diamond dealer.
3 Cork cottages and love nests
Check out the super cute options from Cottages for Couples in west Cork. Close to Skibbereen, it’s perfect for touring Baltimore and Schull, but the accommodation is so lovely you might never put your foot out the door. You may even have a private hot tub, perfect for taking a break from gazing into each other’s eyes and looking at the stars instead. From €99 a night.
Or try the cosy Love Nest, a little eyrie of a romantic hideaway on a private 800-acre estate near Youghal. It has a double bedroom with windows on three sides, giving great views out over the stately Blackwater river. Or simply gaze into the flames of the open fire instead, from bed of course. There’s a kitchenette downstairs with a fridge for stashing the champagne. From €185 a night.
4 Lovebombed in Barna
The British press dubbed the Twelve Hotel in Barna, Co Galway, as Ireland’s sexiest hotel, and Valentine’s is the perfect opportunity to find out why. Its Lovebomb Surprise is made up of 12 romantic elements including petal turndown – ho hum – bubbles – okay – Love Potion cocktails – yes and, eh, a framed caricature of the couple as a memento . . . Are they nuts? There isn’t a woman alive that likes to see herself in caricature. Still, there’s a discount voucher for a nearby jewellers too so maybe all is not lost. € 470 a couple.
5 Eastern promise in Istanbul
Give your love wings and take off for more exotic climes this Valentine’s with a stay at the Sorisso Hotel in Istanbul. A relatively new hotel – it opened in 2012 – it is well located in the old city, a 15-minute walk to sights such as the Grand Bazaar, Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Basilica Cistern and, of course, the Topkapi Palace. There you can wander the Courtyard of the Concubines or the Courtyard of the Eunuchs, depending on how the trip is going. Three nights, including flights, from €420 per person sharing.
6 Bite the Big Apple
New York is super romantic, if only because it has played the lead in so many soppy romcoms. Star in your very own love story with a carriage ride through Central Park or a twinkly dinner cruise around the harbour. Speed things up with a Vespa Tour of Manhattan or slow it down in the Conservatory Gardens, blessedly free of joggers and cyclists.
Toast your love, and the Empire State Building above you, from the rooftop bar of the Affinia Shelburne, a boutique hotel on Lexington Avenue, where three night stays in February cost from €629 pp, including flights.
7 Cosy up by candlelight in Westport
Everyone looks better by candlelight, so this Valentine’s, go west to Knockranny House Hotel in Westport, for not just open fires and good food, but the sheer novelty of its candlelit pool. Among the packages on offer is a three-night break, to include cocktails, dinner and a treatment at its super-relaxing Spa Salveo – with handmade chocolates on arrival. From €265 per person.
8 Romance in the round in Brighton
If you’re looking for a good old-fashioned dirty weekend, book yourselves into the Play Room at the Hotel Pelirocco in Brighton. Billed as an archetypal rock’n’roll hotel (lots of music posters), take turns playing groupies in a red velvet room with 8ft round bed with mirrored ceiling, double- sized plunge bath and your very own pole- dancing stage. Just remember to warm up first or you’ll do yourself an injury. £349 (€422) a night on Valentines.
9 L’amour in Paris
For a gentler kind of romance, little can beat wandering the streets of Paris, city of, oh, what was it again? Stay at the three-star Des Métallos Hotel, on the Left Bank, within walking distance of Notre Dame and the Louvre, for a romance injection that won’t break the bank but might just mend the marriage. In a city whose budget hotels can be poor value, it is a bright and quirky option well worth remembering.
Two-night stays, including a three-hour city tour and Aer Lingus flights from Cork, cost from €319 per person sharing with Shandon Travel.
10 Love in Las Vegas
Getting engaged this Valentine’s? Why not go the whole hog and get married too. In one fell swoop, you can seal your fate – I mean vows – in the wedding capital of the world. At the Wynn Las Vegas, the Eternally Yours Valentine’s Day Wedding Ceremony Package costs $1,390 (about €1,015), which includes a professional photo session (to prove you did it) and a Champagne toast. Fancy a 1930s Parisian wedding? Check out the MGM Grand ($5,895). For Roman-style nuptials, head to Caesars Palace: sunshine, wedded bliss and a $50 food and beverage credit – what more could a couple ask for?