The World’s Most Romantic Hotels and Resorts

After a long day of exploring, it’s best to come back to a place you love with your love. Whether you book a fantasy stay at a castle in Ireland or escape to an ocean lodge on Australia’s coast, one thing is certain: Love is in the air at these romantic resorts around the world.

Calle Tiepolo Baiamonte, 1364, Palazzo Papadopoli, 30125 Sestiere San Polo, Venezia VE, Italy
Aman hotels recently opened a 25-suite resort along Venice‘s Grand Canal in the 16th-century Palazzo Papadopoli, one of the city’s most stunning waterfront palaces. What’s great about this destination is that, unlike many of the resorts in Aman’s portfolio, you can come here for dinner and drinks even if you’re not a guest. I recommend visiting just before dusk and pre-booking a table in the hotel’s adjacent garden. But it’s also nice to visit for lunch, (the hotel has one of the city’s only Thai-themed restaurant menus) and spend the afternoon sipping cold mojito’s on their cozy garden chairs next to the Grand Canal.
2199 Kalia Rd, Honolulu, HI 96815, USA
The most enviable address in Waikiki, the beachfront Halekulani is all about restrained elegance and pitch-perfect service. The hotel dates back a century, though it was entirely rebuilt in the 1980s—and the room decor—fifty shades of white and plantation shutters framing the turquoise sea—complements the scene outside. The beach itself is small and usually mobbed, but the pool is a dream—a giant oval big enough for laps, and quiet enough (few kids here) for a long doze under your chaise’s umbrella. The grassy courtyards and seaside restaurants are just as improbably serene; some might say stuffy, but for others, the reliably hushed atmosphere is a welcome tonic to the hubbub of Waikiki, just outside the Halekulani’s marbled entrance.
1471 W Millers Cove Rd, Walland, TN 37886, USA
Set on 4,200 secluded acres of hillocks, ponds, and gardens at the foot of the Tennessee Smoky Mountains, this award-winning resort, a member of the prestigious Relais & Châteaux brand, is awash in genteel luxury, from its splendid spa to its exquisitely appointed rooms, suites, and cottages. But make no mistake, the family-owned property takes the “farm” in its name to heart: Its James Beard Award–winning restaurant, The Barn, as well as the more informal Dogwood restaurant, were early leaders in the farm-to-table movement, welcoming guests who come to pay homage to the inn’s self-described foothills cuisine.

In addition to several gardeners, the farm employs its own butcher, cheese maker, and beekeeper, along with a preservationist who makes pickles, jams, and jellies. The staff raise their own sheep, pigs, and chickens, and forage the land for mushrooms, berries, ramps, wild crab apples, and muscadines—which you’ll share at the table with other guests (all meals are included in your stay). Thankfully, a roster of on-site activities—including cycling, wakeboarding, archery, paddleboarding, hiking, fly-fishing, swimming, tennis, and golf—allow you to indulge without feeling guilty.
Transpeninsular Highway, 5 Cabo Real Km. 19, Tourist Corridor, 23400 San José del Cabo, B.C.S., Mexico
Las Ventanas al Paraíso represents the epitome of luxury, with gorgeous, gigantic rooms featuring traditional crafts, handmade mosaic headboards, and classy furniture and accents. Balcony railings are awash in pink blossoms of bougainvillea. Some rooms take amenities further still, with private kitchens and wine cellars, as well as personal butler service. The property is set between the desert and the sea, and common areas, such as pools, have exceptional ocean views. Service is ultra-attentive, as one would expect at this price point, and guests rave about on-site restaurants and dining, especially in La Cava, the resort’s private wine cellar. Concierges can assist with planning a host of excursions and experiences, from cooking classes to whale-watching trips.
Block Ha My Dong B, Điện Dương, Điện Bàn, Quảng Nam, Vietnam
Located on a half-mile stretch of white-sand Ha My Beach, a short drive from the UNESCO World Heritage town of Hoi An (a hotel shuttle can ferry you back and forth), the Nam Hai sits on the grounds of a former fishing village (a temple from that time is preserved on-site), and it still feels like a community. Guests bike between public spaces designed to evoke the high-ceilinged Tu Doc royal tombs found in the region, as well as 86 acres of tropical gardens and 100 villas, each outfitted with indoor/outdoor lounging spaces, king beds, lacquered bathtubs, and alfresco showers. The dining options range from a casual beachside spot to a fine-dining restaurant, and serve everything from Vietnamese and Western fare to Indian tandoori specialties; learn how to make some of your favorite dishes in a chef-led cooking class, or join the kiddos at the Junior Cooking Academy, part of the kids’ club. When you’re ready to take a break, don’t miss the central trilevel infinity pool and the exceptional spa, where the eight individual treatment pavilions appear to float on a koi-filled lagoon.
French Polynesia
Epic might be an understated description for this collection of thatched-roof bungalows built on stilts over the crystalline waters of the Bora Bora lagoon. This luxury resort is nestled in the dreamiest of settings—wooden walkways link palm-dotted islets fringed with white sand, while the craggy green peaks of Mount Otemanu loom in the distance. Guests can alternate between the beach and the infinity pool, lined with oversized cabanas, or sample activities like stand-up-paddleboard yoga, shark feeding, and snorkeling with the resident marine biologist. Also on offer is a luxurious spa, offering an extensive menu of treatments based on native ingredients like monoï and vanilla. As for the bungalows, Polynesian touches pepper the chic, honey-hued interiors, while indulgent soaking tubs sit beneath shuttered picture windows that open onto the sea. Large decks with swoon-worthy views have stepladders down to the water—a good way to test out the provided snorkeling gear. Airy beachfront villas are also available for those who prefer to stay on land.
D209, 97133, St Barthélemy
Le Guanahani suffered major damage during Hurricane Irma and plans to reopen in late 2019.

Le Guanahani sits on an 18-acre peninsula on the northeastern tip of St. Barths between Marigot Bay and Grand Cul-de-Sac Bay. A recent $40 million property-wide upgrade features the work of Venezuelan designer Luis Pons, with decorative accents suggesting French and Creole influences. The resort has a private and residential feel.

Guests stay in luxurious cottages, many with private pools. Cottages are decorated in a timeless explorer style and blend seamlessly with the surrounding tropical landscape of hibiscus and coconut trees. The look is fresh, the atmosphere is private, and the interiors carry the landscape into the rooms. Colors reflect the rainbow of shades found in an island sunset. Sliding-glass doors and walls open completely to the balmy Caribbean breezes, so guests can fall asleep to the smell of salt air and crashing ocean waves.
Bordering Serengeti National Park
Whether you’re up for the adventure of a mobile tented camp, or would prefer a private house staffed with personal chefs, Singita Grumeti is the place for the ultimate safari experience and unbeatable Great Migration views. The 350,000-acre protected nature reserve is home to five distinct properties (plus an exclusive private villa option), ensuring there is an option for any traveler—though luxury, service, and attention to detail are constants across the board.

The five main Grumeti properties offer a singular setting and experience, along with the option to visit any of the others for meals, or to make use of their facilities. Choices include traditional tented-style camps like Sabora Tented Camp, with its plush, 1920s-explorer-inspired decor, and Explore Mobile Tented Camp, an eco-friendly setup that can be moved as the migration progresses. Faru Faru Lodge features contemporary interiors and boasts two striking pools, while Serengeti House is a four-suite private house favored by honeymooning celebs. The grande dame of the reserve, Sasakwa Lodge, boasts luxury cottages, a spa, a wine cellar, dining room, a bar and lounge, a billiards room, a conservatory, and even an equestrian center.

With all this to choose from—not to mention the endless panoramas, gourmet cuisine, and unforgettable wildlife viewing—Singita Grumeti has become known as the pinnacle of safari getaways. And with good reason: the experience here is so impeccable, it just might spoil you on safaris for life.
Hanson Bay Rd, Kingscote SA 5223, Australia
When Southern Ocean Lodge, the flagship property of Australian hotel brand Baillie Lodges, opened in 2008, it was Kangaroo Island’s first true luxury lodge, known for its cinematic spot atop grass-covered limestone cliffs, with curved guest suites facing the namesake seas. Surrounded on three sides by national parks, Southern Ocean Lodge connected travelers with Australia’s powerful natural landscapes. Then in early January 2020, wildfires consumed more than half of Kangaroo Island, reducing the ecological paradise to sandy hills and blackened branches. Southern Ocean Lodge was a casualty of the blaze.

As AFAR’s Katherine LaGrave reported in her feature on the island, rebuilding began in earnest in February 2022, with the goal of becoming more sustainable: “The new lodge will use 25 percent less energy than the original lodge, and diesel fuel consumption will be halved. There will be rainwater harvesting, reliance on a hybrid solar-and-battery system, and elevated boardwalks to minimize impact on the health of coastal plants. Smart landscaping will create a sort of buffer around the lodge.”

Along with the new sustainable choices, the lodge has replicated the footprint of the original property, with 25 guest rooms slightly reoriented to optimize sea views. A new ultra-premium suite, the Ocean Pavilion, has up to four bedrooms and bathrooms (or two separate suites) with an outdoor terrace and private pool. And the ever-popular main lodge still has a Great Room with a suspended fireplace and a deck with a plunge pool that juts toward the sea.
112 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, 75008 Paris, France
From the luxury Oetker Collection, Le Bristol is one of the first hotels in France to obtain Palace distinction. Occupying nearly an entire block on Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré near the Élysée presidential palace, this soulful property has been a gathering place for Parisians since 1925. The 190 guest rooms, which feel like private apartments, are decorated with precious fabrics, paintings, and 18th-century antiques. The on-site attractions include a spa by Le Prairie, a teak-lined pool resembling a yacht, and a courtyard garden fragrant with jasmine. For more than a decade, chef Eric Frechon has held three Michelin stars at Epicure, where menu fixtures include the macaroni stuffed with black truffle and foie gras. Frechon’s culinary dominions are a portal into French gastronomy itself: The hotel has its own chocolate factory, cheese cellar, flour mill, and boulangerie.
The famous Hotel St-Barth Isle de France officially became a Cheval Blanc property in 2014, reopening as the Cheval Blanc St-Barth Isle de France. In 2018, after a renovation made necessary by Hurricane Irma, the property also debuted a design concept by architect Jacques Grange, complete with 19 new rooms, freshly landscaped gardens, and one-of-a-kind artwork by Jean-Michel Othoniel. In addition to two gourmet restaurants overlooking the ocean, the resort features the only Guerlain spa in the Caribbean, staffed by Cheval Blanc’s trademarked “alchemists”—employees whose sole purpose is to tailor-make memorable experiences for guests. While Cheval Blanc is always popular with couples, its clientele shifts depending on the time of year. Around the holidays and spring break, families come for offerings like the “Pour les Bébés” menu of homemade baby food. In the late spring and summer, honeymooners are drawn by poolside champagne tastings.

A laid-back beachy vibe with a compelling overlay of French style is the hotel’s hallmark. Comfy rattan furniture is offset by a palette of blues and light shades, and rooms are stocked with custom Leanor Greyl products to protect from salt and sun.
Ashford Castle Estate, Leaf Island, Cong, Co. Mayo, F31 CA48, Ireland
What trip to Ireland is complete without a stay in a castle hotel? Ashford fulfills even the wildest castle fantasies with its crenellated towers, medieval-looking canopy beds, and esteemed falconry program that lets guests explore its 350 woodland acres with birds of prey on their arms. An hour north of Galway on the Cong River with views of Lough Corrib, Ireland’s second-largest lake, Ashford Castle is so straight-from-a-fairytale that it’s a favorite wedding locale: Pierce Brosnan, for one, so loved the castle’s lake views and wood-paneled drawing rooms that he held his wedding reception here in 2001. (Other celebrity guests range from Oscar Wilde to Brad Pitt to Princess Grace of Monaco.)

First built by Anglo Normans in the 13th century, the castle’s current look owes mostly to the Guinness family, who overhauled the site in the 1800s. It’s been a hotel since the 1930s and is currently undergoing renovations including updates to the nine-hole golf course.
Grumeti Reserves Grumeti Game Reserve, 31623, Tanzania
One of the most luxurious tented camps in all of Africa sits on an open plain within Singita Grumeti, a 350,000-acre private reserve that adjoins the Serengeti National Park ecosystem, through which vast herds of wildebeest and zebra migrate. Huge, ornate tents are throwbacks to 1920s expedition style, decorated with crystal port decanters, freshly cut flowers, decorative carpets and kilims, four-poster beds, clawed bathtubs, and wood-and-leather campaign chairs. A personal assistant organizes game drives, horseback riding, and hot air ballooning. Leased by American hedge fund mogul Paul Tudor Jones, the private Singita Grumeti concession has off-road driving rights (unlike the Serengeti National Park) and strategically placed manmade water holes that encourage resident wildlife to congregate for the guests. Opulence and attentive service don’t overwhelm the experience of immersion in nature; the tents’ mesh windows allow bush noises to come through at all hours, and zebra frequently dust bathe on the red-earth tennis court.
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