Ready to impress this Valentine’s Day? Check out my list of 12 over-the-top fantasy fabulous getaways. This list is all about lavish caprice. Whether you live a lifestyle of luxury, aspire to it or are simply amused by fantasy fabulous, the highlighted locations and experiences, both domestic and international will no doubt intrigue you even more. So whether you are seeking snow, sun, diving, racing, or jetting it’s all here, tied up with a big red bow, ready to be unwrapped.
Let’s start here in South Florida with an evening of Jet Set Dining. An ideal rendezvous for that über romantic-over-the-top Valentine Dinner. I brought you this story first hand back in November 2012 as I detailed my personal Jet Set Dining experience. Aura Jets, a private jet company based out of Boca Raton, Florida acts as your personal concierge arranging the entire evening; one phone call does it all. Aura Jets has partnered with Latitudes Restaurant on Sunset Key, and together they have created a one-of-a-kind evening-escape package; Jet Set Dining where you, as a guest can fly from any airport in Florida to Key West/Sunset Key for dinner and back the same night. When you land at Key West International Airport a limousine is waiting on the tarmac for you ready to whisk you to your next destination, The Westin Key West Resort & Marina where you’ll board the Sunset Key boat, Lil Princess for a short ride to the exclusive Sunset Key for your private dinner. A quietly set table on the beach, mere inches from the Gulf of Mexico is the Jet Set Dining table. This table has defined “the table with a view”. The experience is impressive, whether you live a lifestyle according to private jets and such or you have a very special occasion to celebrate, this exclusive dinner and a jet just might fit the bill. Pricing begins at $5000. For reservations and information call 561-271-4053 or 888-908-0391
Everything about this Switzerland adventure is breathtaking, the view, the ride, the service, I would venture to say it’s exactly what dreams are made of. The Grand Hotel Kronenhof in Pontresina Switzerland is a majestic neo-Baroque property tucked away in the small pretty Engadine valley. An idyllic romantic Time for Two package has been created just for Valentines Day. A trip to Pontresina starts with a magical ride aboard the narrow-gauge Rhaetian train which is part of the famous Glacier Express route; the way the train dips in and out of tunnels and chugs over the super high suspension bridges of the valleys takes your breath away. At Pontresina station, Time for Two guests are picked up by the hotels chauffeur-driven car and taken to the Grand Hotel Kronenhof, where Champagne on ice is waiting in the room to toast the start of their romantic break. Champagne can be followed by a visit to Kronenstubli, the hotel’s Michelin star-rated restaurant. For pure relaxation, the Time for Two package includes two hours use of the Kronenhofs private spa suite, where you, as a couple can enjoy a hydrojet bath together, before lounging on a double waterbed while watching the snowflakes fall outside against a dramatic backdrop of snow-capped mountain peaks, followed by a simultaneous 25-minute aroma massage and a rasul ceremony in the steam bath. Possibly the most fairy-tale element of the Time for Two package, however, is a ride along the tree-lined Val Roseg in the hotels very own horse-drawn carriage. Loved-up couples can also take the telecabin up for a stunning 360 degree view over the French Alps and the Italian Dolomites. Rates start from approximately $1345/person for the three night package. Exclusive of airfare and transfers to Switzerland and St. Moritz.
For those lovebirds who work for love, a 3-day Valentine cooking holiday in Le Marche, Italy at La Tavola Marche, farm, inn & cooking school just might be in order. Amore in Le Marche; this love-in-the-Italian-kitchen package includes a complimentary bottle of Prosecco upon arrival, 3 nights accommodations at the rustic La Tavola Marche Inn and breakfast daily. On your first night in Le Marche a welcome five course dinner with local house-bottled wine (no doubt probably some of the best you’ve never had) sets the tone for your next 48-hours of cooking classes and authentic degustation. No visit to Italy is complete without a wine tour and tasting which includes lunch and transportation to family-run vineyards and artisan cheese makers in the area, again probably some of the best you’ll experience. Prices start at $1100/couple inclusive of taxes and fees. Exclusive of airfare and transfers to Italy.
To celebrate the holiday dedicated to loved ones, Valentine’s Day at the Renaissance San Francisco Stanford Court Hotel has created an over-the-top package available for over-the-top love birds. “Love Don’t Cost a Thing” (a play on words seeing as the package is $65,000 for one night!) This super-luxe getaway includes:
* 1 night stay in Stanford Court Presidential Suite
* Private Jet to and from anywhere in US
* 24 hour on call classic Silver Cloud Rolls Royce
* Dom Perignon toast upon arrival to hotel
* 8 course truffle prix fixe menu prepared by Chef Michael Koenig aboard private yacht
* Private shopping experience and $1,000 shopping credit to Agent Provocateur
* Private after hours shopping experience at Tiffany & Co. with $10,000 shopping credit
* Rose petal turn down with gold leaf chocolate cake and two Godiva chocolate martinis
For information and reservations call 415-989-3500
Need something a bit more racy than hand-holding and a candle lit dinner for two this Valentine’s Day? How about The Richard Petty Fantasy Racing Camp held in Las Vegas, March 10-13, 2013. Sure to get your heart racing, participants of the Fantasy Camp will spend four full days exploring all that Las Vegas has to offer for race enthusiasts. Drivers start off day one by meeting Richard Petty and Dale Inman, then getting the VIP treatment at the Kobalt Tools 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race in the Richard Petty Driving Experience luxury suite at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The following days are a fantasy come true, with drivers climbing behind the wheel of a 600 HP NASCAR race car and learning short track driving skills, road course driving skills and participating in a thrilling speedway challenge at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Spring Mountain Motorsports Racetrack Road Course. Other camp highlights include scenic helicopter rides, driving challenges, and one-on-one instruction from some of the best in the business, including Dale Inman, Randy LaJoie and the accomplished team of Petty instructors. All new to the Fantasy Camp in 2013 is the American Muscle Car Challenge. In this new component of Petty Holdings, LLC, participants have the opportunity to drive American supercars by Ford, Dodge and Chevy in two exhilarating modules, including a 0-60 MPH challenge and g-force experience. The cost to participate in the Richard Petty Fantasy Racing Camp is $10,500 and includes all activities, as well as world-class accommodations on the Vegas strip, all meals, custom apparel, in-car video, and commemorative event photos. Space is limited to 12 participants. For more information or to register, call (704) 454-6224. Pricing is exclusive of airfare to Las Vegas.
For thrill seekers and adrenaline rush junkies The Little Nell, a five-star, five-diamond hotel in Aspen offers exclusive heli-skiing trips to more than 22,000 acres of expert, skiable terrain. The Element 47 Heli-Ski Package offers an exquisite dining option to follow a life-changing day of heli-skiing, in addition to a stay in the renowned Pfeiffer Suite. The Little Nell hotel transports heli-skiers and riders to the Aspen Airport in one of the property’s fleet of Audis. Guests then board a private helicopter to Silverton, Colorado, to enjoy an exhilarating eight-hour day of guided heli-skiing and riding at the highest skiable elevation in Colorado. Guests enjoy a packed picnic lunch from The Little Nell. Following skiing, guests are hosted for dinner at Element 47, the restaurant at The Little Nell, where Colorado ingredients are paired with world class wines, including 2002 Marc Colin “Le Montrachet” and 1985 Domaine de la Romanee-Conti “Richebourg.” The Nell Heli-Suite Package starts at $45,000. Up to four people can stay comfortably in the suite for three nights, and up to four people can go on the heli-skiing part of this package. The rate does not include airfare to Aspen. This package is for expert skiers/snowboarders only. For reservations call 888-843-6355.
Who said all the treasure was lost when the Titanic went down? Go Diving for Diamonds in the Caribbean at Villa Harmonie, a luxury property on St. John in the US Virgin Islands. The ‘treasure’ prize valued at more than $50,000 will be created by California jewelers Lugano Diamonds. The Valentine Diving for Diamonds package includes five days/four nights in the Presidential Suite at Beautiful Places’ Villa Harmonie on St. John, USVI and includes a VIP escort and private yacht to/from St. Thomas; a personal butler; all meals, drinks, spa treatments, entertainment, and local excursions. Guests are presented with a treasure map with a fun back story about rumors of a sunken millionaire’s yacht and un-recovered treasures. They will spend the day on the villa’s private yacht exploring the region, searching for clues, while enjoying unlimited food and drink. A dive master will help them follow a trail of ‘artifacts’ to a half-buried treasure box which they bring to shore and in a romantic setting discover the precious jewels inside. That night you and your +1 will enjoy cocktails while being serenaded with a private performance on the villa’s baby grand piano. Then you will enjoy a Jewel-themed dinner under the stars personally prepared by the villa’s resident chef with fresh vegetables and herbs from the villa’s organic gardens. The entire experience will be preserved in a beautiful keepsake album. Lugano Diamonds will provide a one of a kind jewelry design from their collection valued at $50,000. The treasure can be pre-selected (as a surprise) or a guest can work with Lugano to create a customized item with a value up to one million dollars. Diving for Diamonds is priced at $100,000 exclusive of airfare to St. John. For reservations and more information call 310-274-6430.
Los Cabos is for lovers, and the exclusive Villas Del Mar resort community is an ideal setting for romance and relaxation in paradise this Valentine’s Day. Villas Del Mar is located at the Southern most tip of the California Baja peninsula. Couples can take advantage of a special Valentine’s resort villa package, offering the finest concierge services and access to all of Del Mar’s luxurious amenities. The $9,300 Valentine offer includes:
* A three-night stay for the couple in a private villa overlooking the Sea of Cortez
* Personal, in-home chef and butler services
* A complimentary in-villa dinner, prepared to your liking served by candlelight on your private ocean-view terrace
* In-villa couples massage poolside
* A half-day romantic cruise, featuring the couple’s choice of a tequila or wine tasting on the exclusive Villas Del Mar 50-foot sailing Catamaran
Guests can also enjoy an amenities package, including privileges at Club Ninety Six, Mexico’s finest, members-only beach club, as well as Club Espiritu, a state-of-the-art private fitness club which offers the most modern equipment, spinning studio, Pilates studio and a yoga pavilion. Guests will have full access to the neighboring five-star, One & Only Palmilla Hotel’s 27-hole Jack Nicklaus golf course, spa and restaurants as well. This Valentine’s offering is also completely customizable, and can include anything from a beachside couple’s yoga session to a gallery tour of nearby Todos Santos. For more information call 212-871-3020. Exclusive of airfare and transfers to Los Cabos.
Not your typical homey New England getaway, the Castle Hill Inn & Resort, a Relais & Chateaux property is located on its own 40 acre peninsula just off of Newport’s famous Ocean Drive is offering a Newport style Valentine’s Romance Package. This escape is all about location, location, location. Winter, summer, spring or fall Newport stands in a class all by itself, and the Castle Inn & Resort begins to define and support that experience with a
* 2-night stay (Wed/Thurs; Thurs/Fri; Fri/Sat; 2/13-2/17)
* Breakfast and Afternoon Tea Service Daily
* One 5-course dinner for two during stay (includes Valentine’s Dinner on 2/14 if you choose)
* Champagne and flowers in room upon arrival
* Rates range from $984-$1617 and includes tax and gratuity.
Package does not include any additional beverages or gratuity and is based upon availability. Exclusive of airfare and transfers to Rhode Island. For reservations and information call 888.466.1355
Belcampo Belize is a 12-room, sustainably-managed eco-lodge, restaurant, farm and spa situated in the tropical canopy of Punta Gorda, the southern-most part of Belize. Through hands-on master courses in cacao and jam making, travelers can learn the art of producing tropical goods they consume every day, while enjoying the luxuries of a natural hideaway. The master courses include:
* From Root to Bar (Four Day Course): From April 23-27, 2013, Katrina Markoff of Chicago-based Vosges Haut-Chocolat will lead a chocolate master class on the farm and in Belcampo Belize’s new state of the art chocolate building. Katrina will demystify cacao’s historical importance in Maya culture while teaching the art of fermentation, roasting, conching, and tempering. Rates start at $4,440, which includes accommodations, meals, amenities and daily guided chocolate tours and tastings in a group that ranges from 12-15.
* Passion Fruit Jam & Marmalades in the Tropics (Four Day Course): From May 2-6, 2013, Rachel Saunders of San Francisco-based Blue Chair Fruit will bring modern nostalgia to the tropics as she teaches guests traditional preserving techniques while exploring the full range of ways to combine fruits, herbs, and spices into luscious spreads. Guests will stir bubbling fruit concoctions, tour local spice farms and uncover exotic ingredients native to Belize. Rates start at $2,587 and include accommodations, meals and amenities including transportation to and from the Punta Gorda airstrip. Exclusive of airfare and transfers to and from Belize. For more information on Belcampo Belize or to register for a course call 501-722-0050.
With a mountain backdrop and it’s 100 year celebration, The Grove Park Inn in Asheville, North Carolina is offering an over-the-top $25,000 romantic getaway for Valentine’s Day. The “Spoil Me Rotten” package begins with a chauffeured Rolls Royce pickup at the airport [and drop-off]; five nights in the Presidential Suite; a Land Rover is secured for your personal sightseeing use throughout your stay; before or after your sightseeing, an entire day of treatments and rejuvenation at The Grove Park Inn Spa with lunch is arranged according to you preferences. All work and no play lends itself to idle tendencies so you’ll be working for your supper with a private cooking class guided by the resort’s chef, followed by dinner and culinary bragging rights. And to top it all off, sky-high excitement in a private hot air balloon is scheduled to seal the awe-inspiring $25,000 “Spoil Me Rotten” package. Exclusive of airfare and transfers to North Carolina. For reservations and information call (800) 438-5800
Love at the Aquarium. For those with a penchant for tours and sealife. The Monterey Bay Aquarium/Spindrift Inn Share the Love Valentine’s package includes a top floor, ocean-view suite at the Spindrift Inn and a private tour of the aquarium. The day will start with a private breakfast created by Napa Valley chef Cindy Pawlcyn, in front of the aquarium’s Kelp Forest exhibit and you will be serenaded with live music from the Monterey Strings. At the aquarium you and your love will explore dozens of marine life exhibits framed by picture-perfect views of the Monterey Bay. You’ll come face to face with a wide range of ocean species and plants, including kelp forests, sunfish, sea turtles, playful otters, and mysterious jellies. This opportunity allows you to participate in an up-close animal encounter that will be arranged based on your special interests and favorite exhibits. You might meet a penguin, a sea otter, or a giant Pacific octopus! Should you want to propose, the Aquarium will work with you to create the perfect moment. Pricing starts at $4400 exclusive of airfare and transfers to California. For reservations and information call 831-648-4922.