travel-leisure

America's most romantic hotels

Feb. 3, 2012 at 2:04 PM ET

Imagine you and your better half cuddling fireside as the sun dips behind the distant mountains. The only sounds are from the wild; the only sights are canyons and the stark desert. No, you’re not in the Sahara. You’re at Utah’s ultra-romantic Amangiri resort.

With Valentine’s Day looming and no end to winter in sight, who doesn’t dream of stealing away on vacation? But you don’t need to travel to the ends of the earth (or beloved spots like Paris or the Caribbean) to find that spark-kindling setting. From seaside New England to Washington state’s wine country, we’ve uncovered dreamy properties certain to get you in the mood — whatever your idea of romance and your price range.

Related: Read about more romantic hotels

You can take your love to literal new heights at Big Sur’s Post Ranch Inn, a cliff-top hotel whose treehouses and cottages perch a thousand feet above the Pacific. The policy of no clocks or televisions encourages couples to reconnect, while perks like a gratis convertible inspire drives along scenic Highway 1 with impromptu picnics on any of the breathtaking beaches.

Of course, romance doesn’t require endless water views; cozying up in a country bed-and-breakfast has its own appeal. Hillside Victorian cottages with a white picket fence and fairy-tale-like setting draw couples year round to Landrum, SC, where they check into the affordable Red Horse Inn. Blame its high occupancy rate on the waterfalls, rocking chairs, and in-room candlelit dinners.

Great country inns know just how to take care of their guests, and indeed many of our favorite romantic hotels are a quick jaunt but worlds away from major cities. It’s about a two-hour drive from Phoenix to an enchanting resort of adobe suites with kiva fireplaces set among the red-rock canyons of Sedona, while 2 1/2 hours gets you from Atlanta to a Blue Ridge Mountains retreat.

And sometimes, romance is just a subway ride away. Lovebirds who want to fall in love with their hometown all over again — or flock to a hotel with urban sophistication — can look no further than actor Robert De Niro’s Greenwich Hotel in New York City.

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