There’s clearly no shortage of dreamy, wish-list romantic escapes in the world, which is why our ‘Secluded, Romantic Getaways You Need To Know About’ story on Valentine’s Day has become three separate instalments. After an in-depth search into the world’s most romantic hideaways, here is the much-awaited Part 3. Whether you’re planning a honeymoon, looking for some ideas for February 14 next year or just want a romantic getaway for yourself and your partner, these new suggestions will give you plenty to ponder.
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Qasr al Sarab
Like something out of an Arabian fairytale, Qasr Al Sarab rises from the amongst the dunes, surrounded on all sides by the largest uninterrupted sand desert in the world. In the Arabic language, Qasr Al Sarab means ‘mirage palace’ and, upon approach, that’s exactly how the fortress-style resort appears.
Of course, there’s nothing fortress-like about Qasr Al Sarab once you step inside the heavy, studded mahogany doors. If the endless palatial luxury doesn’t take your breath away, surely the outstanding service will. (Butlers by the pool? All part of the experience.)
The rooms at Qasr Al Sarab are uncompromisingly lavish, with beautifully embroidered fabrics, Bedouin decor and jewelled chandeliers. Just perfect for couples are the Pool Villas, which come with a butler, outdoor shower and private plunge pool overlooking the shimmering dunes.
When you’re not relaxing in your decadent room, you may like to take part in any one of the organised activities such as archery, camel trekking, the ancient Arabian tradition of falconry, or perhaps something more adrenaline-charged like dune bashing or sand boarding. No matter what you choose, after a day in the desert you can immerse yourself in Arabian luxury and enjoy the replenishing ancient Hammam rituals and other treatments offered in the hotel’s spa .
The 5-star experience doesn’t end there. It wouldn’t be a couples’ getaway without a beautiful, romantic dinner-for-two, and Qasr Al Arab will not let you down. During the cooler months, from October to April, you can indulge in a Bedouin-style private dining experience in the desert. Sit back and relax on Arabian cushions around a low table, surrounded by the romantic flicker of candles and under a canopy of dazzling stars. Here you’ll be waited on by a butler providing discreet and attentive service, offering you a choice of fine Middle Eastern or International cuisine.
The super-romantic escape of Qasr Al Sarab is located around two hours’ drive from Abu Dhabi, and the resort is happy to arrange transfers for those who prefer to avoid a hire car.
Riad Dar Anika
In the heart of frenetic Marrakech lies a luxurious and intimate boutique hotel, offering exquisite comfort and relaxation in an oasis of calm.
Perfect for couples, the 12-room Riad Dar Anika is located on the edge of the Mellah (the old Jewish quarter) and at the entrance to the old souk. From the moment you step inside, the attentive and helpful staff are on hand to make sure your stay is perfect in every way.
Rooms are luxuriously decorated in the traditional style, while also being spacious and contemporary, with crisp bed linen, fresh flowers, modern fittings and walk-in showers. One of the highlights of this elegant boutique hotel is the rooftop terrace. Overlooking the Imperial Palace, the surrounding city and with views to the Atlas mountains, this is a wonderfully private retreat from which to unwind with a cocktail and watch the sun go down.
Staying at Riad Dar Anika also gives you a chance to sample the unique Moroccan cuisine, influenced over the centuries by the flavours of the Arab, Berber, Moorish, Iberian, Mediterranean, African and Jewish cultures. You can enjoy your breakfast on the roof terrace, beneath the stars, or in the soft lantern light of the courtyard beside the pool.
Dar Anika offers 24-hour room service, a heated indoor pool, a Hammam with signature spa treatments and best of all for travellers – genuine tips, recommendations and advice for how to navigate the hustle and bustle outside the door, and how to get the most out of your stay in Morocco.
Kruger National Park, South Africa
Simbambili Game Lodge
Along the peaceful, meandering Manyeleti River, deep in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve and within the internationally-recognised Kruger National Park, you’ll find Simbambili Game Lodge.
This exquisite, luxurious Lodge is surrounded by a totally pristine environment. Secluded? Oh yes. The Lodge itself is located amongst dense outcrops of the knobthorn and jackalberry trees, and the suites have been purposefully designed to disappear into the environment with the utmost consideration for privacy. Each Moroccan-styled suite has its own plunge pool and spectacular views over an extensive woodland savannah, The accommodation is 5-star, with a maximum of just 18 guests at the Lodge.
As well as the unforgettable experience offered in this unique African location, Simbambili Game Lodge also gives you the chance to be pampered like never before, at Africology Spa. Here you can enjoy holistic body, skin and beauty rituals, rejuvenating massages and soothing treatments in what feels like nothing more than nature itself. The Spa chalet is on stilts, and offers treatments which offer uninterrupted views of the magical African bushveld with all its mesmerising sounds and invigorating fresh air.
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