Arts and Glamour
By Allen Salkin
There’s a reason so many love stories from “Breakfast at
Tiffany’s” to “Sex in the City” have been set in New York. Nowhere
else can the soaring extravagances dreamed by the heart in love be
made so glamorously real.
Does the object of one’s love desire a ride in the back of a
horse-drawn carriage, snuggled under blankets as the sleigh bells
ring? Got it.
How about a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge at sunset, when the
sunlight reflects just so on the city’s skyline?
Something higher? Perhaps a view of city lights, with two lovers
holding each other tight, looking out at the world? New York City
has a nice little spot for that. It’s called ... the Empire State
Building. Nuf said?
Wait, there’s plenty more, new and old, to do on a romantic trip
to the Big Apple. Start with the arts; start on Broadway. There are
a handful of hot shows on the Great White Way this season.
Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Bombay Dreams,” at the Broadway Theatre
tells the story of a handsome young slum-dweller who dreams of
becoming a Bollywood movie star. It weaves together the glamour of
the movies, bombastic spectacle and epic romance. At the Booth
Theatre, Eve Ensler, author of “The Vagina Monologues,” has a new
play called “The Good Body” about other aspects of the female
For a glorious pre-theater drink, there’s nothing to top the
newly reopened The View, New York City’s only revolving restaurant,
located on the 46th floor of the Marriott Marquis. The food’s great
here, too, and if your clients desire stunning views and a Times
Square location, this is where you’ll put them.
For a post-theater dinner, the urge to splurge will be amply
rewarded at Jean-Georges, the stunningly delicious jillion-star
restaurant on the ground floor of the Trump International Hotel.
The hotel, with its Jean-Georges room service and elegant lobby,
offers a Love Me Tender romance package complete with Cristal
champagne, red roses and chocolate covered strawberries at
Absolutely essential for any arts-loving visitor this year is a
trip to the completely renovated Museum of Modern Art. Japanese
architect Yoshio Taniguchi’s plans have brought energy and lots of
new space to the world’s cathedral of modernism. Of course, the
venerable Metropolitan Museum of Art has quiet galleries and
alcoves among the masterpieces where a couple can steal a romantic
Downtown, Discovery Wines will be having free champagne tastings
at its location on Avenue A throughout the Valentine’s Day weekend.
During the promotion, the shop will deliver a bottle of champagne
by messenger the same day to any New York City hotel room for no
extra charge. A 20-minute walk across town is Greenwich Village,
perhaps the most romantic section of the city. For years, the
restaurant One If By Land Two If By Sea, located in a carriage
house once owned by Aaron Burr, was known as a place for marriage
proposals. But The Place, just a few blocks away, is even more
romantic. A warm cave with little candlelit nooks and crannies,
here couples feel like they’re the only lovers in the entire
For downtown kind of clients, two hot hotels are 60 Thompson,
the epitome of chic, and the Hotel Gansevoort, in the trendy Meat
Packing district, with its romantic vistas of the Hudson River. And
then there’s Central Park. For some lovers there is no substitute
for The Plaza, with its majestic location right on the park. Its
Romance Packages, including a bottle of champagne in the room on
arrival and in-room continental breakfast, start at $404 and are
offered year-round. The new Mandarin Oriental, on the 35th through
54th floors of the Time Warner Center, has unparalleled views of
the city to share with that one and only.
Across the street from both hotels, horse-drawn carriages line
up every evening, as they have for decades, ready to take couples
cloppity-clop-clopping along tree-dappled lanes in the center of
the greatest city in the world.
And folks, it just doesn’t get more romantic than that.
Inspired by writing this story, Allen Salkin, a New York-based
freelance writer, will spend this Valentine’s Day with his fiancée
riding in the back of a Central Park coach.
Big Apple for Two
Romantic Icons: Empire State Building, Central
Love Shacks: The Marriott Marquis, The Plaza,
Trump International Hotel, 60 Thompson, Hotel Gansevoort, Mandarin
For the Love-Starved: Jean-Georges, The View, One
If By Land Two If By Sea, The Place.
Walking on Air: MOMA, The Met, Greenwich Village,
the Meat Packing district, the Brooklyn Bridge.
When the Moon Hits Your Eye: Broadway show,
Discovery Wines’ champagne delivery, Central Park carriage
Health, wellness and Spas
By Grace Lichtenstein
Santa Fe is not the Wild West; it is the tri-cultural New Age
West. With its terra-cotta pueblo-style buildings nestled in the
foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, this nearly
400-year-old city has long been a great destination for couples
looking for a romantic getaway in an exotic environment without
leaving the U.S.
Three cultures (Native American, Spanish and American) have
colored the palette of Santa Fe’s citizens. The result: an eclectic
mix of artists, outdoors enthusiasts, health and wellness
specialists and spiritual seekers.
Santa Fe invites couples to action (hiking, skiing, horseback
riding and more), as well as to contemplation. New this year is
Body, a day-spa with a cafe that specializes in raw and cooked
organic dishes. Among Body’s cutting-edge activities: Anusara yoga,
pilates and NIA (Neuromuscular Integrative Action) classes, and
special treatments such as Somatic Polarity, Thai massage,
Ortho-Bionomy and Rolfing.
For clients who want an all-in-one base camp, try La Posada, a
romantic six-acre compound with 157 rooms in casitas clustered
around a historic main house, close to the Plaza and Canyon
La Posada, a RockResorts property, underwent an extensive
makeover several years ago. Fuego, its elegant restaurant, features
New American cuisine. Its Avenyu Spa offers a variety of
treatments, including a two-hour couples massage, in which a
therapist guides partners on relaxing and revitalizing
The couples massage is included in La Posada’s Romance Package.
Prices start at $679 for two nights and also include a three-course
dinner at Fuego (commissionable).
In the category of more intimate and cozy hotels, the Inn of the
Anasazi, with 59 rooms, stands out. Although it does not have its
own spa, its 2005 Romance Package includes, in-room massages for
each partner as well as breakfast in bed. Prices begin at $690 per
couple for a two-night stay (commissionable).
Each guestroom has a four-poster bed made up with Frette linens,
exposed vigas and latillas (wood ceiling beams inspired by ancient
Native American dwellings) and a curved, beehive-shaped kiva
fireplace, all of which makes for a very romantic ambiance.
The inn’s award-winning Anasazi Restaurant is an excellent
choice for guests and non-guests alike. It has soft lighting,
spacious seating and authentic Native American artwork. It serves
New Mexican cuisine utilizing locally grown, often organic,
produce. Guests can also arrange a more intimate dinner for two in
For clients who want a remote retreat that is still close to the
city, Bishops Lodge is a 111-room hideaway located on 440 acres
north of Santa Fe. The resort feels like you’re tucked away in a
secluded valley, but in reality it’s a 10-minute drive from
Bishop Lamy, the first bishop of Santa Fe whose life was the
basis for Willa Cather’s novel “Death Comes for the Archbishop,”
built his own chapel here. The grounds include a centuries-old
fruit orchard, restaurant, stables and lodging in 15 separate
Two years ago, Bishops Lodge opened the ShaNah Spa and Wellness
Center, and last spring it added a Native American sweat lodge.
The hotel’s “Winter Nights Under Lights” package includes
breakfast, dinner and a spa treatment for each partner, with prices
ranging from $614.90 per night for a traditional room to $746.90
for a ridgetop room with a dramatic view of the mountains
With advance reservations, anyone can use one of the hotel’s
horses. Wranglers will accompany riders along gentle trails, while
experienced riders can take off on their own. (Approximately $45
per hour for two or more riders.) It’s a way for couples to feel
like they’re straight out of a Wild West romance.
Finally, Santa Fe’s most awesome event is priceless and takes
place nightly. Sunset turns the sky rose and flaming orange, and
silhouettes the graceful curve of the mountains. It’s a sight that
couples will always remember sharing.
Grace Lichtenstein is a former New York Times reporter who
covered Santa Fe when she was the paper’s Denver bureau chief.
Currently single, she divides her time between Santa Fe and New
Red Hot Santa Fe
Romantic Icons: Sunset over the mountains,
snow-capped hills, clear blue skies and a red desert.
Love Shacks: La Posada, Inn of the Anasazi,
For the Love-Starved: Fuego, Anasazi
Walking on Air: Horseback riding in the desert,
skiing, couples massage and other treatments at Body, Avenyu Spa or
When the Moon Hits Your Eye: A warm fireplace in a
cozy wood-beamed room.
By Carole Terwilliger Meyers
We women seem never to get enough of romance, and what better
city to be romanced in than gorgeous San Francisco? A long weekend
here, with days spent hand-holding and sightseeing, and nights
spent cuddling and indulging in festive feasts, allows couples to
shake off the real world and reignite the fire between them.
Lodging is probably the most important factor in a memorable
romantic weekend, and San Francisco offers something for
Your clients can pull out all the stops at the sophisticated Pan
Pacific Hotel, located just one block from Union Square. Rooms have
marble bathrooms equipped with a TV, beds topped with cozy feather
comforters and pillows fluffed-to-order with a unique on-site
fluffing machine. All this and the services of a butler with just
the push of a button, too. The hotel is commissionable at 10
percent, and its Celebrate Romance package is available throughout
the month of February.
Also in this area is the well-priced Handlery Union Square
Hotel, a family-owned-and-operated hotel dating from 1908. Rooms
are available in both a historical section and in a more
contemporary club section, and the courtyard pool is a rare find
downtown. The hotel’s Romantic Escape package includes chocolates,
champagne and breakfast in bed. The hotel is commissionable at 10
Though it’s not hard to find a good meal in Food City, why
bother with something less than great? A dim sum breakfast in
Chinatown is a must, especially since the name for the delicacies
translates as “touch your heart” or “heart’s desire.” Bustling Gold
Mountain and New Asia are both popular venues.
For lunch, clients can trek out to the edge of the Pacific Ocean
and try the Cliff House. They can go for broke with a fresh seafood
meal and Bloody Mary at Sutro’s, or enjoy a more casual snack of
fish and chips and beer at the adjacent Bistro. Clients will love
the killer views.
For dinner, a booth in the subterranean dining room at Shanghai
1930 is primo. Dreamy live jazz drifts in from the bar, and the
intriguing menu includes sweet tangerine beef with celery hearts,
fabulous hot and red firecracker chicken and a dessert of flambéed
sesame seed-covered bananas.
Or reserve a table for two for your clients at the highly
acclaimed and very expensive Masa’s, where they can sit at a
luxuriously set table and dine on a menu of contemporary French
cuisine. Tasty tidbits are sent out from the kitchen throughout,
and a dessert cart laden with housemade lollipops, candies and
cookies provides a sweet conclusion. A dress code requests that men
TeatroZinZanni: Love, Chaos & Dinner, which operates inside
a gorgeous, antique Art Nouveau-style mirrored spiegeltent from
Belgium, is another dazzling option. Circus acts take place between
five preset courses that are delivered to tables with great fanfare
by both performers and wait staff.
In between all this feasting, one really must get in some
sightseeing and a bit of exercise. Cuddling on a famous San
Francisco cable car is first on the list. Do tell clients to get
off for some strolling and shopping at Ghirardelli Square and of
course share a sundae at the Ghirardelli Chocolate Manufactory,
where all of the chocolate is made on site.
In Golden Gate Park, lovers can relax on a blanket at
Shakespeare Garden, drift in a rowboat on Stow Lake or sip tea in
the open-air teahouse in the Japanese Tea Garden. Better yet, they
can do all three and finish it off with a visit to the newly
restored Conservatory of Flowers. Like so many other lovers before
them, after all these great experiences, your clients will surely
leave their hearts in San Francisco.
Carole Terwilliger Meyers is the author of “Weekend Adventures
in Northern California” and the editor of “Dream Sleeps: Castle
& Palace Hotels of Europe,” both by Carousel Press. She met her
mate in Berkeley, Calif., where she’s been a resident for more than
City by the Bay
Romantic Icons: Golden Gate Bridge, cable cars,
Golden Gate Park.
Love Shacks: Pan Pacific Hotel, Handlery Union
For the Love-Starved: Gold Mountain, New Asia,
Cliff House, Sutro’s Bistro, Masa’s.
Walking on Air: Cable car ride, Ghirardelli Square
chocolate, rowboat, Japanese Teahouse and Conservatory of Flowers
in Golden Gate Park.
When the Moon Hits Your Eye: Jazz and dinner at
Shanghai 1930, dinner show at TeatroZinZanni.
New York City Info: www.nycvisit.com
New York Marriott Marquis:www.nymarriottmarquis.com
Museum of Modern Art:www.moma.org
Metropolitan Museum of Art:www.metmuseum.org
Trump International Hotel: www.trumpintl.com
60 Thompson: www.60thompson.com
Hotel Gansevoort: www.gansevoort.com
Discovery Wines: www.discoverywines.com
One If By Land Two If By Sea: www.oneifbyland.com
The Place: 212-924-2711
The Plaza Hotel: www.fairmont.com/theplaza
Central Park Carriages: www.centralparkcarriages.com
La Posada: www.laposada.rockresorts.com
Inn of the Anasazi: www.innoftheanasazi.com
Bishops Lodge: www.bishopslodge.com
San Francisco Info: www.sfvisitor.org
Pan Pacific Hotel: www.panpacific.com
Handlery Union Square Hotel: www.handlery.com
The Archbishop’s Mansion: www.sftrips.com
Cliff House: www.cliffhouse.com
Teatro ZinZanni: www.teatrozinzanni.org
Ghirardelli Square: www.ghirardellisq.com