Romance is in the air at these unique getaways, chosen by ELLE.com editors
There's something primal about being in a remote landscape surrounded by cheetahs, rhinos, and elephants that can be perfect for a couple looking to get back to nature. , tucked into the trees of the 33,000-acre national park on the border of Mozambique, is the ideal setting to cuddle up on a safari getaway. The glass-walled suites have a luxe tree-house feel—and absolutely no screens, TV or otherwise, to ruin the view or interrupt your time together. The lodge excels at arranging swoon-worthy meals for couples. A lantern-lit dinner for two under the stars? Breakfast by the river? Then take in all the spectacular natural beauty on open-air jeep rides, where you'll be among the wildlife, including prides of lions and herds of giraffe. If that's just not intimate enough, Sweni can organize a morning of mountain biking or hiking in the bush. Then see just how close you can get.
Follow the Adriatic coastline to find some of the best beaches and most gorgeous views in Europe. Start in Dubrovnik. When the crowds get to be too much in the main square, ditch them and slip away to Buza Bar, a cozy watering hole built high up on the southern ramparts of the medieval Old Town walls. If the calm sea below beckons you, you can dive into it from the bird's-nest perch. Spend a night or two at , where h suites afford views of stellar sunsets. The concierge can arrange a yacht tour of the neighboring Pelješac Peninsula. Drop by the , where you can sip little-known vintages in the verdant countryside. After a refreshing dip in the ink-blue waters that it sits beside, sail on to the picturesque island of Korčula. Slip inside the town's 13th-century walls and leave all your modern-day distractions completely behind.
Ride elephants, sail on a junk, shop the night markets, take a cooking class—there are so many options for adventurous duos in this Southeast Asian hotspot. When you're ready to relax, indulge at the , set into the cliffs of Kamala Beach in a lush, tropical forest. Try a traditional Thai couple's massage in the spa, or, better yet, your spacious room with Andaman Sea views. Then get ready for what the resort lends itself to best: lazing on the beach or by your private plunge pool.
As you ascend through the arrondissements of Paris into the northeast corner of the city, you'll notice the tourists dropping away like crumbs from a croissant. Up in the 11th arr., artists and tastemakers have turned the once-gritty streets of Belleville into a destination for a très chic crowd—not unlike Williamsburg, Brooklyn, but with Eiffel Tower views. Bistros, boulangeries, boutiques, and wine bars attract in-the-know Parisian bohos and bobos (bohemian bourgeois) and trendsetters sipping cocktails and smoking Gauloises into the wee hours. Join the insiders and start your evening with a stunning sunset backdrop at , a rooftop cocktail bar with 360-degree views of the city. Then pop over for dinner at , where you can grab a table for two and enjoy bistro classics in a bijou setting—and drinks afterward at its adjacent wine bar. In the nearby 4th arr., check into the (named after the François Truffaut movie), where the contemporary rooms put you and your amoureux right in the middle of the action.
For foodie couples seeking a weekend getaway, misty Portland has become a must-visit destination on the East Coast. Hold hands and stroll through the up-and-coming Arts District, cozy up at the trendy for a shared poutine and duck confit lunch, take a scenic lobster-boat tour, and dine at the rustic restaurant. Then head a half-hour south to , a hideaway near Kennebunkport that offers posh cabins complete with four-poster beds and fireplaces. Earth, the resort's award-winning farm-to-fork restaurant, has a hot young chef who draws a plugged-in crowd from Boston to Portland. Hidden Pond also features yoga in the gardens, beach cruisers to ride to nearby Goose Rocks Beach, and stand-up paddle-boarding lessons. On the other hand, breakfast is delivered discreetly to your doorstep each morning, so you may just want to stay in bed and plan your next meal.
With the coming to its shores in 2014, everyone's talking about the samba nation of Brazil. Check out all the action with a loved one, but avoid the booming city centers and head south to , set on a private peninsula bordering the country's Emerald Coast. The 25 villas here all face the ocean, and the property is surrounded by dozens of secluded beaches (think the beauty of Rio, minus the masses). After the beach, set up a taste test of the hotel's own line of premium cachaca, the national spirit, and then enjoy dinner for two on a quiet island accessible via a candlelit bridge.
Some healthy competition never hurt a relationship, especially when it takes place in the winter wonderland of Whistler. Hit the slopes here together in a race to the finish, or take it one step further. At the , its "Ski the Dream Experience" arranges helicopter transfers and private guides for heli-skiing in backcountry terrain. If you fall into the "don't ski, won't ski" camp, the hotel offers dog sledding, ice skating, and even sleigh rides—pack a warm blanket for two—that end with indulging in chocolate fondue while sitting beside a bonfire.
Salsa beats in the city and palm-fringed beaches make this easy-to-get-to island a great escape for those seeking a little action and a little rest. By night, restaurants and bars along Calle Fortaleza are where you'll find the action. During the day, relax with a piña colada—invented on the island—on the white sand of Condado Beach. Back in town, check into , a converted monastery, where a complimentary wine-and-cheese happy hour is anything but monastic and the quiet rooms are right upstairs from a hopping courtyard tapas bar.
For wine enthusiasts, Auckland is the Napa Valley of the Southern Hemisphere, with dozens of vineyards thriving in the volcanic soil in a loop around the waterfront city. Vinophiles believe that great wines are produced in great settings, and Auckland is no exception: Rainforests, massive cliffs, waterfalls, and black sand beaches all combine for a postcard-worthy destination (or big-screen-worthy destination—this is where The Hobbit movies are filmed, after all). For an island's worth of grape experiences, hop the ferry to Waiheke for beachside swirling and sipping. (For an intimate getaway, spend the night on Waiheke at , a seven-room inn with ocean views and outstanding dining.) For a luxurious stay back in Auckland, by the harbor pampers you. It is in the perfect location for sampling the city's melting pot of Indian and Asian cultures and South Pacific and Maori traditions. From the hotel, you can also book a boat trip to explore the 48 volcanic cones that surround the city, or visit Rangitoto Island, close enough to reach on a sea kayak tour; explore lava caves or climb the grassy slopes of the area's largest volcanic cone for a picnic with unparalleled views.
Although the sunshine and mid-century architecture of this desert hangout are always a constant, the retro Frank Sinatra image of Palm Springs has been replaced with hip hotels, cool music festivals, and great dining and nightlife. Book a room at , where carved Moroccan daybeds are set in the lush grass for you and a friend to sprawl out on under the midday sky and fire pits surround the two pools. For a decadent dinner, check out , where couples can sip from a rum punch bowl in the courtyard under the stars. If you want a view while you canoodle, take the 8,500 feet up the snow-laced San Jacinto Mountains. The temperature at the peak is often 30 degrees cooler than down below, so layer up—and then have fun taking it all off down below.