Time For Romance
Reconnecting away from home and creating memories that last a lifetime makes life rich. Coming from Southern California, we have so many cozy, chic options just a quick drive or plane hop away. We picked one in nearby Utah and three in California to inspire you. It’s hard to beat these wonderful places to stay.
Our expertise in planning and executing your trip is a phone call or email away, working with expert travel consultant, Stefanie Behrens, at ALTOUR Los Angeles. Stefanie’s connections add amazing value to each property, such as complimentary breakfast, room upgrade and spa credit. Her insights and resourcefulness fill out details of your trip unimaginable until you personally experience it.
ALTOUR VIP Services | Los Angeles Stefanie.Behrens@Altour.com | 310-954-3277
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Stein Eriksen Lodge
Deer Valley, Utah
I love my Southern California home, as well as the amazing beach resorts that are only a short drive away. This being said, I also yearn for snowy mountains, and after a quick 2-hour flight from LA to Salt Lake City, I feel instantly at home in this classic lodge—and so does my honey!
Of course everyone has a favorite mountain or resort, but my heart belongs to Stein Eriksen. One of my favorite styles for traveling, especially for romantic getaways, is an amazing lodge. I love the warmth, the wood and the cashmere softness, from my sweater to my throw blanket. Being in the mountains is the perfect place to cuddle with your loved one, whether in front of a fire, on a chairlift or enjoying the views of the slopes from your private hot tub on the balcony after a day of skiing!
Returning to a luxury hotel after a day of physical activity makes an afternoon at the spa or a well-deserved Angus beef burger and local beer (my preferred après ski option!) a treat.
Part of what is so special about Stein is the service. We enjoyed some spring skiing last year, and I was once again reminded of how passionate and connected each employee feels about this property. Not only are guests greeted with a smile, but the valet is genuinely interested in how your day was. Even the turn-down service is special: after retreating back to my room, my phone cord has been coiled and tied with a Stein Eriksen ribbon, there is a goodnight note from housekeeping and there is local bourbon and two cold glasses waiting in the fridge.
The attention to detail, the service and the style is what will always keep us coming back to Stein Eriksen for those romantic adventures away from home!
Eat: The elegant ambiance of Glitretind, on the property, makes for the ideal dream date location. Drink: Catch some local live music over a Dark & Stormy at Riverhorse on Main.
Romantic Experience: Take a horse-drawn sleigh ride in the snow, snuggled under a blanket.
Santa Barbara, California
Belmond El Encanto was one of the most highly-anticipated resorts to open just a few years ago, with the property originally opening in 1918, closed in 2006 for extensive renovations, and then unveiled in 2013. Considering the history surrounding this iconic property, everyone from local Santa Barbara residents to anyone that enjoys the CA coast, waited patiently for this historic property to finally regain its elite status among five-star properties in Southern California.
I personally fell in love with this property even before I saw it in person! I followed the press around the initial closure and I read each article that detailed all of the steps that Belmond (formally Orient-Express) was taking in order to make sure that the property would retain the authenticity of the past, while embodying the modern elegance of today and tomorrow. Of course, when my partner and I were planning a romantic getaway to celebrate our 5th year anniversary, we knew this was the perfect place so close to home.
Some of the favorite things about Santa Barbara are the hustle and bustle of State Street, the views and fabulous seafood on the pier, and just spending a lovely afternoon riding bikes (the hotel offers electric bikes, complimentary!) through the quaint yet perfectly-manicured streets and neighborhoods. And what sets Belmond El Encanto apart is the location, right in the middle of the Santa Barbara hills with full, sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean.
You pull your car into the porte-cochere and are immediately welcomed by a sense of belonging, feeling part of a secret clubhouse where only people “in the know” are visiting the same place. The grounds are completely manicured and while Belmond El Encanto covers 7 acres, each bungalow feels intimate and completely private.
I adore the fact that the busy streets of Santa Barbara are just down the way, but it can be difficult to find the energy to leave your porch after enjoying hot apple cider (perfect for chilly evenings), the roaring fireplace in your bungalow, a nice bottle of CA pinot noir, or the stunning pool that sits right in the middle of the property and offers the best views, anytime of the day. Ahhhh...
Eat: Regularly voted as one of the best restaurants in Santa Barbara, Downey’s has stellar food to enjoy with someone you adore.
Drink: The Wine Room, on property, is the perfect warm and intimate setting to enjoy perfectly-paired wines selected from local vineyards.
Romantic Experience: Take their bicycles out on a sunset cruise along the beach.
Laguna Niguel, California
I have stayed at The Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel, every December for the past 4 years, for good reason: breathtaking views and impeccable service. The location of this gorgeous property perched in the cliffs, overlooking the clear views of the Pacific, speaks for itself, and not unlike other Ritz Carlton properties, Laguna Niguel represents service with a smile, name recognition and acute attention to detail around every corner.
While I love this hotel year round, it is the holiday season that is always my favorite. There is something so unique and special about bundling up in a new sweater, grabbing a cup of hot cocoa and listening to the waves crash from your balcony. To me, combining the winter season with ocean views is a spectacular way to spend a romantic holiday weekend before the crazy (yet, still wonderful) family holiday time starts.
The hotel itself is luxurious yet charming with its cool colors, mirrored décor, and blue accent details to match the ocean below. My absolute favorite aspect of this resort is the massive gingerbread house that changes themes every year! I may be on a romantic getaway but I love the smell of the holidays, the kids listening to story time in the lobby, and the upbeat nature and cheer from my surroundings.
Eat: Catch the sunset over an amazing meal at 180BLŨ, which features panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean. Drink: Broadway boasts impressive seasonal cocktail and whiskey menus to please every palate.
Romantic Experience: If you’re feeling adventurous, take a hike to the Top of the World, one of the highest points in Laguna ... and breathe in the ocean air.
St. Regis Hotel
San Francisco, California
San Francisco is the most romantic U.S. city, in my opinion, but St. Regis is what escalated our experience to the next level. There are so many things that I love about this hotel but it may have been my initial impression that became a memory that I will always hold dear. I remember that first step into the hotel lobby, possibly my favorite lobby in California!
It was one of the first times I’ve entered a hotel lobby and didn’t immediately want to go straight to my room. The room can wait, in comparison to immediately enjoying a glass of champagne next to the huge fireplace that serves as a beautiful piece of art as much as a source of warmth. We always try to arrive just in time for the 5 p.m. champagne ritual, a romantic time when the lobby transitions from day to night with dim lights, candles glowing and sultry music.
The lobby and hallways are cloaked in grey and silver, in dark, rich tones, while the rooms are a beautiful (and equally as rich) neutral color palette with splashes of stronger shades throughout the artwork and decor. The bed is tops, the views cover a beautiful scope of the San Francisco metropolitan attitude and the tub is the ideal place for that long, relaxing bubble bath.
Speaking of soaks, we also LOVE the heated infinity lap pool. Personally, this is the kind of exercise that I can actually get excited about in the winter: swimming a few laps as I watch the snow fall on the buildings around me is the perfect way to start my day. Guests can also enjoy the new seasonal spa treatment, “Hot Toddy Ritual,” which includes a honey and cinnamon body masque with a drizzling of warm honey during the body wrap. Wow!
Any hotel whose bartender created my favorite cocktail, a Bloody Mary, is a place that we will always return to! Just one more reason we will continue to visit San Fran for our romantic getaways—where sometimes we get to mix business with pleasure!
Eat: Both rustic and romantic, the mere mention of Quince excites even the most seasoned San Fran foodies.
Drink: Literally tucked away in an alley, Bix features nightly jazz and an excellent spirits selection.
Romantic Experience: Take a sunset sail on a catamaran around the San Francisco Bay.