Romantic Escapes In Florida
By Georgina Cruz
Why does Cupid, the god of love in Greek and Roman myths, never grow up? Well, as the legend goes, it is “to symbolize that love never grows old.” If you, like Cupid, are an eternal romantic, Florida may be the ticket for your next getaway with your love.
Florida, with more romantic spots than Cupid has arrows, always welcomes lovers to its sun-kissed beaches and lakes, tempting restaurants and excellent resorts. Here are some ideas for lovers seeking a romantic getaway to enjoy Valentine’s Day, an anniversary, honeymoon, or other special occasion. Some of the options include bungalows and cabins for those who may prefer this type of lodging during the pandemic.
Couples who love art and culture may wish to opt for the boutique-style The Ray (www.therayhotel.com) that opened this fall with 141 rooms. A Hilton Curio Collection hotel, it features lots of art in a modern building two blocks from Delray Beach arts district, Pineapple Grove, with its sculptures, murals, art galleries, shops and restaurants.
The Ray is also convenient, about 10 miles from the impressive exhibition “Machu Picchu and the Golden Empires of Peru” at the Boca Raton Museum of Art. Each room at The Ray has a balcony and the hotel has four restaurants, a pool with an ample deck for sunbathing, “living walls,” and multiple gardens on the roof. Among its restaurants is one serving Japanese specialties from Michelin-starred Chef Akira Back. After enjoying the art that surrounds them couples can enjoy time on the beautiful seashore of Delray Beach.
This beautiful chain of cays that extends from Key Largo to Key West is famous for its casual, laid-back vibe, seascapes and dramatic and romantic sunsets that delight and inspire lovers. A popular destination among couples is Little Palm Island (www.littlepalmisland.com), a resort on a private island with a gorgeous beach where a couple told us that they felt “far away from everything –in a Paradise in another world.”
Little Palm Island is accessible via the resort’s launch from Little Torch Key, a small cay near Key West. We love its thatched-roof bungalows and prívate open-air shower as well as their decor and features that remind us of the British West Indies and legendary Bali in Indonesia. There are no telephones or televisions to distract lovers. The resort has a Spa and restaurant with lovely views, tables by the sea and gourmet cuisine.
Lovers who wish to travel as if time-machine to the romantic Victorian era, may wish to opt for Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort at Walt Disney World. The architectural style and decor –even the attire of the staff—echoes romance and since this is a Disney Resort no details have been overlooked: when the cleaning staff goes from one building to another they sport lovely parasols. There are swimming pools, the Seven Seas Lagoon, a marina and restaurants including the super-romantic Victoria & Albert’s –the epitome of elegance and romance with gourmet cuisine and harp music. From the hotel, lovers can enjoy the Magic Kingdom’s fireworks displays.
Couples who would prefer a cabin-in-the-woods theme, may wish to check out a Wilderness Cabin in Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort with its 700-acre pine and cypress forest next to picturesque Bay Lake with pools and other recreational amenities. These detached cabins have fully-equipped, eat-in kitchens, bathroom, bedroom and living room with big screen television. Still another choice is Disney’s Copper Creek Cabins. Info: www.disneyworld.com.
Yet another option in Orlando is the Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin, a Marriott resort steps away from Epcot y Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Designed by noted architect Michael Graves, the resort has surroundings to inspire lovers: hammocks next to a lake, an adults-only grotto pool with waterfalls and several other swimming pools.
Couples can choose from three lodging choices in the resort: the Swan, the Dolphin (each adorned with monumental sculptures of swans and dolphins that architectural experts have called “colossal works of art”) and the Swan Reserve, a more boutique-style hotel. A delight for couples is the 10,500-sq. ft. Mandara Spa, inspired in Bali. Some rooms have views of the fireworks at Epcot. There are several restaurants including Il Mulino New York Trattoria where –from the aged parmesan cheese and minestrone soup to the pastas, ribs and salmon to the sinful gelato –diners are transported to the beautiful region of Abruzzo in Italy. Info: www.swandolphin.com.
The Breakers Palm Beach is like a majestic palace, surrounded by royal palms and beautiful gardens and with the Atlantic Ocean on one side. Lovers find a gorgeous private beach with golden sands extending for a half mile, opportunities for water sports, four swimming pools, private bungalows, five whirlpools, elegant boutiques, a Spa offering a variety of treatments including couples’ massages, and more than a half dozen restaurants serving culinary specialties from Italy and Asia as well as a seafood, steaks and other delights.
One of the restaurants, The Circle, is worthy of an opulent European palace with 30-foot-high ceilings, frescoes and murals depicting scenes from the Villa Medici in Florence and the Villa d’Este with its Tivoli Gardens east of Rome. Info: http://thebreakers.com. For info on surrounding towns and attractions, visit https://www.thepalmbeaches.com/
The Harbourside Hotel in the South Seas Resort offers beautiful ocean views and a pretty marina frequented by manatees in Captiva Island. Captiva and its sister island, Sanibel –both connected to the west coast of Florida by bridges—tempt lovers with the charms of Nature including beaches where dolphins are often sighted frolicking in the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico and where the white sand is always adorned by thousands of sea shells. Packages are offered that combine both islands. Info: www.southseas.com.
In the beautiful and culturally-rich city of Sarasota with its white sand beaches, museums and superb dining, lovers find among many romantic resorts, the Ritz-Carlton Sarasota in the city’s downtown (Sarasota Hotels – Hotels in Sarasota, FL | The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota (ritzcarlton.com). Guests have exclusive access to The Beach Club on Lido Key, an onsite spa, a championship golf course and spacious suites and rooms. Info about Sarasota and its attractions: Visit Sarasota Florida Beaches and Beyond | Official Travel Guide.
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