Aphrodisiacs are on the menu and love in the air just about everywhere, but other than that, America’s sexiest hotels are striving to differentiate their Valentine’s dos from the pack this time around. Some are going the gourmet route, some are playing up their picturesque surroundings, and others are encouraging guests to stay in bed all weekend. As our survey of Cupid-inspired getaways proves, there’s no end of ways to celebrate romance. Happily, a lot of places are giving lovers special treatment all month long, meaning you don’t have to pick just one way to play. Hot Getaway 1: New Orleans Before the hurricanes New Orleans was seen as the eccentric Southern counterpart to Vegas, but these days, it’s earned a different sort of status. Visitors appreciate its graceful old buildings and Colonial traditions as well as its busy bars and wicked-strong rum punch. Besides, any city that defines fresh-baked sugar doughnuts as “breakfast” and names an entire neighborhood after a whiskey is an obvious go-to spot on a decadent holiday. Where to Stay: The Marriott and Renaissance Hotels of New Orleans number five properties in all, and they’re dotted throughout the tourist center. Lovebirds can sip coffee in the French quarter, canoodle on a carriage ride, feed each other oysters, and return to the hotel for strawberries and champagne. The latter are thoughtfully provided in an “aphrodisiac welcome basket” that’s part of the Escape! Romance and Adore package offered over Valentine’s weekend. Also included: breakfast in bed, 3PM checkout and the book 365 Great Ways to Say I Love You (which is twee, but not nearly as fun as the dirty dice game you could probably grab in any of the Bourbon Street head shops). Escape! Romance is priced at $164-399 per night. Hot Getaway 2: Aruba It’s busy, it’s breezy, it’s Dutch, it’s Caribbean! Yes, we’re talking about Aruba—an island so cruise ship-friendly and Euro-influenced, it feels like a city. If you like to complement your Bain de Soleil beach time with a spot of designer shopping and table gaming, you’ll appreciate the Big A of the ABC Islands (Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao). Where to Stay: The Westin Aruba Resort, right on Palm Beach’s famous white sands, is one of the island’s largest and grandest properties, with an onsite spa, a mini-fleet of charter boats, its own casino, and ten restaurants and lounges. Leave car keys, handbags and Blackberries stashed in your in-room safe, ‘cause Romance Is In the Air, officially: This package includes room upgrades, dinner for two, VIP poolside service, a 2 ½ hour couples’ massage, and the ubiquitous champagne/strawberry welcome. Prices start at $599 per night per couple, and the promotion runs the entire month of February.
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