With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, we choose some of the best places in which to indulge the love of your life. And, if your passions include antiques, good food and long lie-ins, all the better…
Pella Roca Cabane Midi-Pyrénées, France
Steal away to the dreamy landscapes of south-west France, punctuated by lush vineyards and medieval hilltop towns. The surrounding trees cast dappled light into the pale-wood interiors and calming furnishings of this forest cabin. The terrace is the star of the show and allows you to while away the hours gazing over the tree canopy, tucking into a breakfast panier or hamper, or sipping a glass of the local sparkling wine before dinner. You’ll have your own hot tub and sauna too. If you can bear to leave this woodland wonderland, there are local places to kayak and hike. We’re sure Brownie camp was never this much fun.
0117 204 7830; canopyandstars.co.uk
The Hide Cornwall, England
Flora and fauna lovers can immerse themselves in the great outdoors while staying cosy in this contemporary wood-and-glass cabin inspired by a bird hide. Designed to make the most of the lovely garden and surrounding greenery, this hideaway takes you back to nature, while ensuring you have plenty of home comforts to hand. The stripped-back interiors and organic materials match the wild beauty of the Cornish coast. Perranporth Beach is three miles away if you’re inspired to take long walks. However, you may wish to settle indoors and simply appreciate the peace and quiet.
01637 881183; uniquehomestays.com
Cliveden House Berkshire, England
Attracting a list of illustrious visitors over the centuries, from Queen Victoria to The Beatles, this splendid country house is the cradle of one of the biggest scandals in British politics. It was at Cliveden’s outdoor swimming pool (the only remaining listed pool in Britain) that politician John Profumo spotted Christine Keeler taking a skinny dip – the rest, as they say, is history. These days, couples staying at the Grade I-listed Italianate mansion can: take a house tour to admire treasures such as the 16th-century tapestries and restored butler’s bells, wander amid 376 acres of National Trust grounds or relax in the spa, tucked behind Cliveden’s walled garden.
01628 607107; clivedenhouse.co.uk
Mint Croft Isle of Skye, Scotland
For a romantic adventure, grab the map and binoculars from your room and explore the wild Waternish Peninsula in north-west Skye. Owners Shaz and Ali – artists, designers and contemporary crofters – have put their heart, soul and talents into this B&B on their six-acre croft. Each of the two private suites is set in a traditional dwelling complete with modern luxuries; the furnishings are inspired by Highland terrain and traditions. Fill up on a hearty breakfast, including organic eggs supplied by the resident hens, and stride out for a bracing morning among ancient landscapes before enjoying afternoon tea by the woodburner.
01470 592701; mintcroftskye.com
Miss Clara by Nobis Stockholm, Sweden
Eschew classic romance this Valentine’s and opt for a neutral Nordic setting by venturing north to Stockholm. Housed in one of the city’s best art nouveau architectural treasures, Miss Clara by Nobis is a hotel that fuses its early-20th-century heritage with contemporary design and native materials such as oak and limestone. Despite being set over seven floors (this was at one time one of the largest schools in the country) the vibe is cosy, especially if you hit the sauna after a day’s exploration of Stockholm’s design destinations. Sinking into a chair amid the soft lighting and caramel parquet floors, you’ll soon forget the chilly Nordic weather outside.
020 3499 6485; designhotels.com/miss-clara
The Music Room Lancashire, England
Surely a room that resembles a giant wedding cake is the ultimate in romantic interiors? It took 6,000 hours to restore this baroque garden pavilion, the sole surviving part of a grand house built in 1730. It’s thought that the name is a corruption of ‘muses room’, paying homage to the plasterwork goddesses who look down from the walls of the loggia. The astounding interior was possibly created by stucco master Francesco Vassalli, who worked on several grand country houses in England. If the spirited muses inspire you to serenade your loved one, there’s a baby grand piano at hand.
01628 825925; landmarktrust.org.uk
Villa Spalletti Trivelli Rome, Italy
This classically symmetrical villa, standing on one of Rome’s seven hills, is still in the hands of the aristocratic family who built it over a century ago as a private home. With only 15 rooms and suites, it’s a haven away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Retreat to the garden or ascend to the open-air terrace and sip a Negroni while you gaze across the rooftops of Rome. Graced by the family’s antiques and original art, the rooms are warm and welcoming, with marble baths and organic products. With the famed Trevi Fountain just around the corner, you’ll truly feel like you’re living la dolce vita.
0800 048 2314; slh.com
St Winifred’s Well Shropshire, England
On the cusp of a hamlet and reached through the woods by foot, this spot has been a place of seclusion and reflection for centuries. It’s a tiny, restored, timber-frame cottage – a rare surviving example of a Tudor chapel – atop a spring dedicated to Saint Winifred, who was a revered seventh-century Welsh princess. Built in the late Middle Ages, some of its features date from as far back as 1485. Over the years it fell to ruin before being brought back to life by The Landmark Trust. Should you start to feel too secluded, in nearby Oswestry you’ll find plenty of vintage and antiques shops.
01628 825925; landmarktrust.org.uk
Marais Apartment Paris, France
When you’re staying in the most romantic city in the world, you don’t need red roses and four-poster beds to put you in the mood for love. Located in the Marais, one of the city’s best quarters for antiques hunting, this quirky one-bedroom apartment lets you pretend you’re living as a Parisian for a few nights. Set in an 18th-century building, it has original beams and floor tiles and is a favourite for interiors shoots. It’s a lovely pied-à-terre, and the perfect base to retreat to after a day spent strolling from bar to bakery to brocante.
The Pig Near Bath Somerset, England
If your idea of a romantic break revolves around long lunches, fabulous dinners and the occasional bridging snack, then this Georgian house hotel is for you. The Pig prides itself on serving locally sourced, simple and delicious British food – what can’t be grown in the kitchen garden travels a maximum of 25 miles from field to plate. There’s even a larder in each bedroom containing more regional treats, perfect for a midnight feast. For an extra-special stay, choose The Apple Store or The Hide in the garden; each is set over two floors, with a woodburner, freestanding bath and dreamy, rural views.
01761 490490; thepighotel.com/near-bath
Words: Eleanor O’Kane