“Chocolate Trio” at The Spiced Pear; Photo by OpenTable
Haven’t made a reservation yet for Valentine’s Day dinner? Better get on that — it’s only a week away! Need ideas of where to go? OpenTable released their 2014 Most Romantic Restaurants in America, as voted by OpenTable diners.
Whether you’re looking to rekindle the flames with a fireside meal or prefer to woo your S.O. over sake and sushi, these restaurants are sure to inspire a little romance. This year’s list of winning restaurants with swoon-worthy dishes and come-hither ambiance spans more than 32 states and is based on more than 5 million restaurant reviews. It must be the dreamy coastal views, because California, Florida and Hawaii boast the most romantic restaurants. And the cuisine that’s this year’s favorite for flirting over? Fondue.
How is the rest of the world celebrating Valentine’s Day? While we might think of Valentine’s Day as an American holiday, it’s celebrated (or protested) around the world with the same vigor as it is here. And in some places, it’s celebrated with a twist.
Japan’s Twisted Tradition
Men have it easy on Valentine’s Day in Japan – it’s the women who are expected to give chocolates on this day. And the chocolate giving is not limited to just significant others. “Obligation chocolate” is given to coworkers, friends and family in Japan. But the object of the ladies’ affection gets a more expensive or elaborate chocolate-themed gift. One of the latest trends is for Japanese ladies to give a chocolate mold of their face to their beau. Don’t worry, the men get their turn to reciprocate the love on March 15, White Day.
Love Locks Banned
From China to Venice, you’ll the see the tradition of love locks adorning bridges, especially around this time of year. All around the world, couples show their adoration by linking a padlock with their lover’s name on it to a bridge. How sweet, right? But the sentiment isn’t always shared by the authorities of these romantic places, who have starting fining and even banning love locks from their cities. Authorities in Rome have banned love locks from the Ponte Milvio, a famous bridge on the Tiber River. And we thought all Italians were romantics.
Valentine’s Day Under Attack
And, no, we’re not referring to bitter singletons attacking Valentine’s Day. While Valentine’s Day is openly celebrated in some Muslim countries like the United Arab Emirates, in others it is met with heavy resistance. Conservatives in Pakistan are demanding a boycott of Valentine’s Day, saying it’s a Western holiday that’s spreading vulgarity around the country. Similarly, in Indonesia, government officials are urging young people to skip this day as well, saying it’s an “excuse for couples to have forbidden sex.” But romantics in these countries are still finding ways to show their love on this day, with what else, but heart-shaped balloons and flowers.
Need your own ideas on how to celebrate? Check out all our Valentine’s Day ideas.
Love is in the air, and we’re celebrating all things Valentines Day here at Travel Channel. Whether you’re looking for a unique way to celebrate with your sweetie, or all this talk of Cupid has inspired you to pop the question – we’ve got you covered.
1) Forget the red roses and prix fixe dinners – this Valentine’s Day, celebrate with an adrenaline-filled adventure.
2) Nothing says romance quite like a rich, creamy, melt-in-your-mouth artisan chocolate. Get a taste with our picks for the World’s Most Decadent Chocolate Tours.
3) Relax by your private outdoor plunge pool, or fall asleep to the sound of water lapping below your overwater bungalow – splurge on a trip to one of our picks for 2013’s Most Romantic Honeymoon Destinations.
4) It’s a story you’ll tell for the rest of the life, so you’d better make it a good one! Consider popping the question at one of these Most Memorable Places to Propose.
5) Need to spice things up a little? Get out of town with a Sexy Weekend Getaway.
6) Imagine you’re Downton Abbey’s Lady Mary, and exchange vows with your own Matthew Crawley in a Romantic Castle Wedding.
7) Cuddle close to your sweetheart, and watch the sky bloom with reds, yellows and purples at one of the world’s Most Romantic Places to Watch the Sunset.
8) Hiding the ring in a slice of cake is so last year … or, a few years ago, actually. Get inspired with these new Proposal-Popping Trends.
There’s just 1 day left until Cupid’s favorite holiday is upon us, and we’ve scoured the web for some of the very best gifts for your globetrotting valentine. Whether it’s love, lust, or just a case of wanderlust, get even more gift ideas with our Valentine’s Day Gifts for the Traveler or our Valentine’s Day Travel Gift Guide.
1) Remember the romance with a few snaps from this (pink!) Lomography Honeysuckle Camera.
2) Let your sweetie cycle in style with the foldable TOKYO Citizen Bike.
3) Share the love … and music … with this heart-shaped headphone splitter.
4) Harken back to that romantic weekend in Charleston, or reminisce about that jaunt in Tuscany with an Excursion Candle Tin.
5) Get in a foodie fight with this trivia game for food lovers – then make up afterwards.
6) Pen a love letter on this Air-Mail Stationery Set, and seal it with a kiss.
7) Never pass up the opportunity to pop a bottle – take your favorite bottles of wine on the go with this neoprene tote.
8) Warm her heart … and her hands … with this rechargeable hand warmer.
Love is in the air as February approaches, and what could be more romantic than a trip to paradise? Travel + Leisure has just released a list of the world’s most romantic islands — here are some of our favorites, and a few we think they missed.
Photo Courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton Lodge
Like it or not, V-Day is right around the corner (just a month away, to be exact). So, if you really want to impress your sweetie, it would be a good idea to start planning now. But if you’re still in the dark about what to get that special someone, there’s a good chance they only want to spend some quality time with you.
Sex and the City Zoo 4: Sexy Beast
Say what? Stay with us for a second. The Los Angeles Zoo is holding an “adults-only affair” on Feb. 9 with an enlightening talk by actress and interpretive naturalist of zoology Joleen Lutz. a reception featuring desserts and wines, “animal walk-abouts,” (including chats with keepers and the chance to observe small animals up close) and an optional 4-course dinner at Reggie’s Bistro inside the Zoo.
by Holly Corbett
Paris may be the city of love, but New York is the city of sexiness. There’s enough food porn, chic wine bars and anonymity to put most couples in the mood to let their inhibitions go. If you’re looking to take your sweetheart to New York for Valentine’s Day, check out these hotels that are offering special packages to help electrify your romance.
For Couples Who Want … a Hot Night Out
Try the… The Room Mate Grace Hotel
The boutique hotel boasts NYC’s only indoor swim-up bar, which has a sexy club atmosphere with an extensive cocktail menu and a DJ who spins 5 nights a week. (If you also like to rock out together to live music, bands play regularly next door at Connolly’s Pub). The Room Mate Grace Hotel’s central location on one of the less busy avenues off Times Square is ideal for exploring some of NYC’s more iconic destinations, such as Broadway, Fifth Avenue, Rockefeller Center and Bryant Park.
Ask for the “Month of Love” specials any time in February and you’ll receive all of the Valentine’s Day necessities: a double room; 30-minute massage for 2; box of chocolates; bottle of champagne; use of the sauna and steam room; and — of course — rose petals on your table. The price without tax and tip is $425, and the regular price would be $810. (If you want only the above features and use of the aqua lounge minus the overnight stay, you can buy the package for $275). Email or call (212) 702-1643.
Like the rest of us, our hosts were getting into the Valentine’s Day spirit this week. Of course if your love life is dead, you’d probably prefer to celebrate with the Ghost Adventures guys and their Ghostly Lovers special. And if all else fails, you can fawn over these adorable snow babies.
Here’s the news you might have missed:
Which airline has hottest flight attendants? According to a survey of 1,000 people, 53% picked Virgin Atlantic. [Huffington Post]
Bomb threat suspect: ‘I did it for love!’ The 300 people who were evacuated from the plane moments before takeoff weren’t amused. [MSNBC]
Not knowing wife’s name gets man in serious trouble: But it may also be to blame for getting her stuck in China. [Gadling]
Baggage handler got trapped: Narrowly missed becoming passenger in the plane’s cargo hold. [CNN]
You can still smoke on planes? Electronic cigarettes, that is. And not for much longer if the US Department of Transportation gets its way. [Huffington Post]