Once the holiday soirées simmer down and the winter blues (read: freezing cold) starts settling in, it’s time to move away from the fireplace and find warmth elsewhere. Save skiing for later in the year and take a snowbird escape instead. Our pick for the most romantic destinations? Head south where snow is nowhere in sight and sun is a given. Whether you are more of a city kind of girl or he’s more of a watersport kind of guy, these five spots offer just the right mix of romance to satisfy both of your travel needs and leave you feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the new year ahead.
Pelican Grand Beach Resort
Don’t think all the luxe penthouses are sitting on South Beach. Fort Lauderdale is stepping up its game with Pelican Grand Beach Resort’s new Sky Suite. Perched above Fort Lauderdale Beach, the 12th floor penthouse is pretty much a private paradise for couples, accessed by your very own elevator. While the views from the 1,100-square-foot balcony are some of the best of the beach, it’s what you can do up on the rooftop that makes this spot really special, from dining under the stars to chromotherapy in the soothing spa-style microsilk tub.
Arrive like VIPs via seaplane from any city in Florida to Key West’s Casa Marina, where you’ll be given a true island-style greeting with cocktails (and beach-appropriate Ray-Ban aviators) waiting in your suite. The “house by the sea” sits on the largest stretch of private beach in Key West with an oceanfront pool also nearby. Spend your days lounging in a daybed in one of the new cabanas and let the beach concierges taking care of your every need, from chilled eucalyptus towels to sunglass cleaning. When it comes time for dinner, stroll next door and take a seat at Spencer’s by the Sea, the island’s only restaurant for private beach dining, where entrées include some of the freshest catch-of-the-day fish you can find in the Keys.
Couples looking for a mix of sea, sun and spa — plus a little bit of partying — will love The Confidante on South Beach. The 1940s Art Deco hotel, which recently received a colorful beach house chic update, features rooms overlooking the water and gardens that lead directly to the beach, where you can bask in one of the lounge chairs in the sand and nibble on refreshing seaside fare like fresh guacamole and snapper tacos. When you’re ready for a break, head to the rooftop for a massage in one of the spa cabins, or start your night early at Top Chef alum Dale Talde’s swanky namesake Asian eatery, TALDE.
Hilton West Palm Beach
Just two miles away from Palm Beach and haute shopping street Worth Avenue, this newly opened hotel is like a tropical oasis that’s just close enough to the city without actually being in the heart of the hustle and bustle. Plan a picnic to remember with a monogrammed picnic basket and transfers via Ferrari to a secluded spot set up just for the two of you, or take things indoors to your suite with a sommelier-led tasting followed by a private chef-prepped dinner. The hotel’s Passion Concierge, Chiara, can also design the date (or proposal) of your dreams, from dive-in pool movies to synchronized swimming shows.
Hotel El Convento
Looking to jet a bit further without technically leaving U.S. soil? Soak up some of the Old World charm in San Juan, Puerto Rico, with a stay at this 364-year-old converted Carmelite convent. The 58-room boutique beauty sits right on the colorful cobblestoned streets of Old San Juan within walking distance of the fortresses and nightlife. Foodies can get a lay of the land touring the hotel’s herb garden with chef Luis Castillo, who’ll then weave these finds into that night’s feast, or they can set off and see San Juan from a different angle, sailing at sunset around the bay.