By Georgina Cruz
According to ancient Roman mythology, Cupid is a god, son of Mercury, the messenger of the gods, and of Venus, the goddess of love. As a good son of both, his specialty is love and passion that he sends to mortals in “messages” in the form of arrows.
If you have been hit by one of Cupid’s arrows and are planning a getaway to celebrate your love, Florida, with more romantic spots than Cupid has arrows, always welcomes lovers to its sun-kissed beaches and lakes, tempting restaurants and excellent resorts. Here are some ideas for lovers seeking a romantic getaway to enjoy Valentine’s Day, an anniversary, honeymoon, or other special occasion:
This beautiful chain of cays that extends from Key Largo to Key West is famous for its casual, laid-back vibe, seascapes and dramatic and romantic sunsets that delight and inspire lovers. My husband, Humberto, and I have enjoyed romantic escapes at two resorts in the Keys through the years. One is Hawks Cay Resort in Duck Key, with rooms, suites, and villas, and a great location in the Middle Keys, minutes from Marathon and about an hour from Key West. It has a lovely lagoon-like beach, an opportunity to swim with dolphins, tennis and a spa. Info: Hawks Cay Resort: Florida Keys Resort & Marina. The other resort we have enjoyed is Little Palm Island (www.littlepalmisland.com) on a private island with a gorgeous beach where a couple told us that they felt “far away from everything –in a Paradise in another world.” Little Palm Island is accessible via the resort’s launch from Little Torch Key, a small cay near Key West. We love its thatched-roof bungalows and private open-air shower as well as their decor and features that remind us of the British West Indies and legendary Bali in Indonesia. There are no telephones or televisions to distract lovers. The resort has a Spa and restaurant with lovely views, tables by the sea and gourmet cuisine.
The city of those eternal romantics, Mickey, and Minnie Mouse, always welcomes lovers. Couples who know their love transcends time an ideal lodging is the futuristic Disney’s Contemporary Resort in Disney World, with its ultra-modern, iconic A-form tower through which monorails slide silently on the way to the Magic Kingdom (lovers can also walk to the park for a big dose of fantasy). Rooms at the Contemporary are themed to the popular “The Incredibles” movies and the resort has a swimming pool with slide and tennis courts as well as nearby golf courses on Disney property. From the hotel, lovers can enjoy the nightly fireworks at the Magic Kingdom, maybe with a glass of champagne (there are rooms with Magic Kingdom views) and the hotel’s California Grill on the 15th floor offers vistas that can be enjoyed with a romantic dinner. Couples who would prefer a romantic Riviera vibe may wish to check out Disney’s Riviera Resort, that seems plucked out of the lovely French City of Nice on the Riviera. Info: www.disneyworld.com.
Yet another option in Orlando is the Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin, a Marriott resort steps away from Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Designed by noted architect Michael Graves, the resort has surroundings to inspire lovers: hammocks next to a lake, an adults-only grotto pool with waterfalls and several other swimming pools. Couples can choose from three lodging choices in the resort: the Swan, the Dolphin (each adorned with monumental sculptures of swans and dolphins that architectural experts have called “colossal works of art”) and the Swan Reserve, a more boutique-style hotel. A delight for couples is the 10,500-sq. ft. Mandara Spa, inspired in Bali. Some rooms have views of the fireworks at Epcot. There are several restaurants including Il Mulino New York Trattoria where –from the aged parmesan cheese and minestrone soup to the pastas, ribs and salmon to the sinful gelato –diners are transported to the beautiful region of Abruzzo in Italy. Info: www.swandolphin.com.
The Breakers Palm Beach is like a majestic palace, surrounded by royal palms and beautiful gardens and with the Atlantic Ocean on one side. Lovers find a gorgeous private beach with golden sands extending for a half mile, opportunities for water sports, four swimming pools, private bungalows, five whirlpools, elegant boutiques, a Spa offering a variety of treatments including couples’ massages, and more than a half dozen restaurants serving culinary specialties from Italy and Asia as well as seafood, steaks and other delights. One of the restaurants, The Circle, is worthy of an opulent European palace with 30-foot-high ceilings, frescoes and murals depicting scenes from the Villa Medici in Florence and the Villa d’Este with its Tivoli Gardens east of Rome. Info: http://thebreakers.com.
In the beautiful and culturally-rich city of Sarasota with its white sand beaches, museums and superb dining, lovers find among many romantic resorts, the Ritz-Carlton Sarasota in the city’s downtown (Sarasota Hotels – Hotels in Sarasota, FL | The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota (ritzcarlton.com). Guests have exclusive access to The Beach Club on Lido Key, an onsite spa, a championship golf course and spacious suites and rooms. Info about Sarasota and its attractions: Visit Sarasota Florida Beaches and Beyond | Official Travel Guide.