Oct. 8, 2012 at 9:24 AM ET
While many hotels and destinations claim to be romantic, many are just expensive rooms or dining rooms with a view. Joanna Brinjak, of airfare shopping engine CheapAir.com, has compiled five romantic getaways that offer beauty, great food and an environment conducive to forming personal connections.
From the verdant rolling hills of Santa Barbara’s wine country to enjoying seafood by candlelight in Herradura, Costa Rica, these trips are sure to inspire romance.
Don’t have a special someone to take on vacation? Grab your bros and book a bromance vacation or your best friends for a girlfriends getaway. Or, if you are set on finding true love on the road, there is a dating website for that: MissTravel.com, where "beautiful people travel free." Once you’ve found your match, consider packing your bags for one of these romantic getaways. Brinjak shares in her own words five romantic getaways.
Santa Barbara, Calif.
Without a doubt, Santa Barbara, Calif., and its surrounding wine country, is one of the most naturally romantic places in California. Rolling hills dotted with grapevines, winding roads and hotels ranging from country chic to the luxurious — you can’t go wrong. Santa Barbara proper offers a range of California wine country fare as well as lesser known gems, such as Ca’Dario Italian. Homemade pastas, an intimate environment and its special terra-cotta baked chicken make for an unforgettable evening. You may have to wait for a table there, but they’ll likely pour you a glass of wine on the house while you wait. If you’re looking for something more California-French fusion, check out Bouchon for an amazing wine list and an atmosphere reminiscent of a secret garden.
Herradura, Costa Rica
In the Playa Hermosa area of Costa Rica, you may see surfboards, humble restaurants serving up hearty breakfast fare, and a variety of tour companies, but if you go, grab a cocktail at the gorgeous Los Sueños Marriott Ocean & Golf Resort where you’re in for a treat — exotic luxury, massive pools and moonlit walkways. If you prefer more local, rustic dining, head down to the water’s edge and pick any of the seafood restaurants that line the shore, where fresh fish and salads, candlelight and music make for a memorable evening.
Arizona is littered with resorts and fine dining; you can make a weekend there as romantic as you want it to be. Take advantage of the desert’s amazing Southwestern cuisine: Cowboy Ciao, Roaring Fork and Chelsea’s Kitchen in Phoenix. Sink into the couches at Kazimierz Wine Bar in Old Town to taste a wine from nearly anywhere in the world, snack on cheese fondue, or enjoy live music.
Forget the Hollywood scene and the chaos of the tourists and take a local approach. If you’re in Los Angeles proper, check out Osteria Latini in the Brentwood neighborhood. You’ll make friends with chef Paulo Pasio as you dine in his romantic restaurant on his lobster ravioli or fresh seafood specials. Or if you dare venture into the Valley, check out Brandywine, a teeny family-owned French restaurant, for garlic green beans, halibut and bacon spinach salad.
Dubrovnik is rustic, historic, and by the sea — though it’s become increasingly touristy over the years, you can’t go wrong here. Fresh seafood, artisan pizzas, and crisp wines show the city's fresh and simple style, with a touch of Italian influence (lots of oregano!).
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