VALENTINE'S DAY: Southern California Ready For Romance

Culina at Four Seasons Beverly Hills

Love is in the air this time of year, but the search for the perfect plans can be daunting.  As Valentine’s Day quickly approaches, here’s an insider’s hot list of our favorite romantic getaways in Southern California too irresistible not to share.


Seeing as Valentine’s Day is all about amor, The Grand Del Mar in San Diego is offering some sweet packages so couples can relax and romance. Brimming with luxury and Old World charm, this Mediterranean-style retreat seduces with canyon hikes, horseback trail-rides through a nearby 4,100–acre nature preserve, golf on the Tom Fazio-designed championship  course, an afternoon of ease at the award-winning spa, and superlative dining at one of San Diego’s finest restaurants, Addison.  For lovebirds, the Grand Del Mar has curated several weekend getaways designed to indulge or rejuvenate. The Disconnect Package calls for couples to unplug from everything electronic (yes, that means phones, iPads, Facebook and TV!) and reconnect with one another. For the spirited couple, the Love on the Rocks Package involves a mixology lesson with tips and tricks from cocktail pro Pablo Moix. Traditionalists will enjoy Cupid’s Classic, which includes a trip to the spa, chocolate-covered strawberries and a bottle of champagne. For pricing, reservations or more information call 1-877-814-8472 or visit www.thegranddelmar.com.

Dessert Tree at Twenty/20

Perched high on a hill overlooking the Pacific, the Sheraton Carlsbad Resort & Spa houses Mediterranean-style suites with panoramic views. Couples should not miss the pampering Ocean Pearl Spa for special Valentine treatments like a Strawberries & Cream pedicure.  Relish an organic strawberry foot soak and vanilla bean sugar scrub, vanilla bean moisture mask and strawberry cream hydration application designed to give spa-goers the perfect peds.  Or how about a side-by-side herbal body wrap and scalp massage for a tempting tandem treatment. After decompressing and soothing the soul, guests can head to Twenty/20 Grill & Wine Bar, the resort’s sustainable French/California restaurant, for more temptation.  The four-course feast featuring entrees including filet of beef  with truffle potatoes, cioppino with Dungeness crab, mussels, rock cod and sauce rouille, or roasted rack of lamb with yam puree, are available at a sweetheart price of $65 per person.  The romantic package for two includes breakfast at Twenty/20, champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries, discounted spa treatments and scattered rose petals en suite. Rooms $199. For more information, call 866-716-8137 or visit www.sheratoncarlsbad.com.

Coronado Island

If a Venetian gondola ride with chocolate covered strawberries and champagne sounds divine, but Italy seems a tad far this month…. head to Coronado Island.  Perhaps even outdoing the Venetian version, this sexy boatride includes a floating couples massage on the gondola.  We kid you not.  Loews Coronado Bay presents Voga Voyage, a truly unique spa experience while cruising in an authentic Venetian gondola. Perfect for couples in need of a little TLC, the 33-foot gondola, equipped with two professional massage beds, departs from the resort’s private marina and takes the pair on a tranquil ride through the canals and waterways of the Coronado Cays. Couples receive a soothing sunscreen application and relaxing 40-minute massage as they take in the stunning scenery, cool sea breezes and gentle rocking of the gondola. Sounds like heaven to us. The experience starts at $400 per couple. For reservations or more information, contact Sea Spa at Loews Coronado Bay Resort at 619-628-8700 or visit www.seaspaatloews.com.

Loews Coronadao Venetian gondola ride

Laguna Beach
This idyllic SoCal coastal town known for its beauty, art, culture and Riviera vibe, is another romance-inspiring destination. The Retreat in Laguna, a portal to all that Laguna has to offer, boasts stunning Tuscan-style villas just steps away from the sand. These home-away-from-home eight villas are equipped with gourmet kitchens, artwork by revered locals, cozy bedrooms, ocean views and concierge service—a perfect nesting spot for a week long stay. Through April 30, guests can choose from four packages, including Stay Three Nights, Get the Fourth Free; a Foodies Package offering a $50 restaurant gift certificate for each night; Namaste Package offering a private sunrise and sunset yoga session daily; and perfectly timed  for this month, the Laguna is for Lovers Package including flowers, champagne and an in-villa massage. Custom packages can be arranged as well. For more information, visit www.theretreatinlaguna.com.

Rooftop Lounge at La Casa Del Camino

Couples looking for a romantic evening out on the town should try The Rooftop Lounge at La Casa Del Camino.  This historic seaside gem, built in 1929, is home to Laguna Beach’s only rooftop bar.  Sip a hand-muddled fresh fruit mojito while the sun dips into the Pacific with the waves crashing below.  Then watch the coastal  hillsides light up under a blanket of stars.  Afterwards, head downstairs to K’ya Bistro for their Valentine’s Day dinner–a four-course California Mediterranean meal  with four starters, two entrees and a dessert trio prepared by award-winning chef Craig Connole.   $99 per couple.  For more information call:  949.497.2446 or visit www.lacasadelcamino.com

Los Angeles

Four Seasons Beverly Hills SPAFor those wanting a little luxe R&R in the city, check out Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills. Their Casanova’s Valentine’s Package, named after Culina’s Chef Vic Casanova, includes  two, 60-minute spa treatments, dinner at Culina, Modern Italian, and a pair of cozy robes as take home gifts. The Valentine’s menu, a tantalizing four-course sensory feast, includes edibles like yellowtail crudo with blood orange, avocado, black olives and opal basil; New York steak with red wine risotto, toasted walnut gremolata; and chocolate fondue with strawberries, meringues, biscotti and boutique brownies.
At the spa, their new treatment, The Wild Rose Ritual, is an alluring choice which lets loose the properties of wild rose, an aphrodisiac.  After a gentle exfoliation with a wild rose and milk scrub, the body is massaged with wild rose oil.  Couples can also reconnect in the spa’s Valentine’s Day candlelit suite on February 14th for massages with sexy indulgences like specialty cocktails, chocolate-covered strawberries, aromatherapy and wild rose oil as a take-home gift.  This 60-minute romantic massage for two costs $380. The Casanova’s Valentine’s package starts at $795.00 per night on February 14, 2012.

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