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Valentine's Day stays: romantic breaks with a difference

Valentine’s Day can be a ‘love it or hate it’ day of celebration, so this year why not step away from the crowded restaurants and use 14th February as an excuse to book a unique getaway? Whether you’re struck with love or wanderlust, or both, there’s a holiday waiting to make Valentine’s Day unforgettable.

Check out our pick of heart-warming Valentine’s Day travel experiences including wild times in Zambia, city breaks for food lovers in Chicago, and celebrating ‘Friend’s Day’ with your best mates in Finland.

Go wild in Zambia

Nestled along the Zambezi River, Chundukwa River Lodge feels worlds away from nearby Livingstone. This oasis of quiet luxury comprises five private riverside chalets where guests can unwind and reconnect. With little impact on nature, no reeds or trees have been cut around the camp, inviting wildlife and birdlife to live in harmony with visitors staying at the open fronted chalets.

Couples can experience true wilderness and river watch, horse ride, and enjoy yoga in the bush. Those staying at the lodge can embark on a walking safari with a knowledgeable guide, with numerous other activities such as mountain biking, private hire guide and safari vehicles. For the ultimate experience, guests staying at Chundukwa River Lodge on an all -inclusive basis also have the chance to enjoy a day trip to one of the seven wonders of the world: Victoria Falls.

HOW: Chundukwa River Lodge offers low season rates priced from £415pp per night sharing. The all-inclusive package includes arrival and departure transfers, one in-house activity per day, all meals, house drinks, and complimentary wi-fi.

For more inspiration for trips to Zambia, visit zambia.travel.

City romance in Chicago

Filled with world class architecture, a vibrant foodie scene, legendary music venues, and 77 diverse neighbourhoods, there is an endless list of things to do for couples visiting Chicago.

While temperatures remain chilly in Chicago in February, Virgin Hotel Chicago’s Everyday Romance package offers guests a sanctuary to warm up, in between exploring during their winter city break. Situated in the Loop, Virgin Hotel Chicago is within walking distance to most Downtown attractions such as The Art Institute of Chicago, the River Walk, and Millennium Park, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. Guests can enjoy some of Chicago’s best hotel views with a premium river or city view room. The package also includes drinks for two at the hotel bar, Cerise Rooftop, which boasts magnificent views of the city. To start the morning right, guests will also receive $50 brunch credits to use in the hotel’s delicious restaurant, Miss Ricky’s, or to enjoy a slow morning with breakfast in bed.

HOW: Virgin Hotels Chicago offers the Everyday Romance package from £160 per night based on two people sharing. The package includes early check in and late check out, $50 brunch vouchers, drinks for two at Cerise Rooftop, and bathrobes in room.

For more great city breaks in Chicago, visit choosechicago.com

Embrace Grenada’s tropical paradise

The tri-island state of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique unfolds as an ideal romantic destination with its uncrowded soft-sand beaches, dreamy sunset cruises and verdant mountainous landscapes. Tucked away in this Spice Isle, couples can discover intimate retreats, lively coastal bars and a serene ambiance, making it the perfect backdrop for a romantic getaway.

Grenada’s Laluna Hotel is one of the most romantic hotels in the Caribbean, ideal for couples looking for an intimate escape and island charm. This secluded and serene hotel is well known for its romantic atmosphere, and features a beautiful beach yoga pavilion, Asian Spa, Italian restaurant, and a warm hospitality style that blends Balinese, Caribbean and Italian influences.

The on-site concierge is on hand to arrange romantic hikes to the rain forest with a swim in the waterfalls, sunset sailing cruises, a chocolate factory tour or snorkelling at the Underwater Sculpture Park.

Laluna also offers a romance and anniversary package, which is bookable all year round and includes: four nights of accommodation in a suite with a private plunge pool, couples Balinese massage, daily yoga/meditation, romantic sunset catamaran cruise, daily breakfast and dinner and a bottle of prosecco.

HOW: Laluna’s ‘romance and anniversary package’ costs from $3,218 (approx. £2,698) for two people, for a four-night stay.

For more information on Grenada, visit puregrenada.com

Celebrate love or friendship in Helsinki

Finland offers its own interpretation of Valentine’s Day, known as Ystävänpäivä or “Friend’s Day.” While the tradition only dates back to 1980, it has been embraced with gusto. The Finns love to honour special friendships through shared meals, coffee and activities, including visits to traditional Finnish saunas, leaving no room to feel down if there’s no romance in your life. This heartwarming celebration adds to Finland’s distinction as the ‘Happiest Country in the World’ for the sixth consecutive year, making it a destination to spark joy in any traveller.

Adding to the charm of the celebrations is the recently opened Hotel Maria in Helsinki, heralding a new era of luxury Nordic hospitality. As a true five-star destination, Hotel Maria has become not just a place to stay but a destination within itself. The hotel’s facilities are breathtaking, boasting 38 luxurious spa suite rooms, two elegant restaurants and bars, a ballroom, chapel and state-of-the-art spa and wellness facilities, as well as a destination boutique featuring esteemed Finnish designers. The Hotel Maria is in the heart of Helsinki, making it an ideal home base for memorable Nordic adventures of all types to share with your loved ones over this Valentine’s period.

HOW: Rates start at € 452 (EUR)/$496 (USD) including taxes and breakfast for two.

For more great Finnish escapes, visitfinland.com