Does new love require a new hotel or resort to christen it? No... yet the idea of being the first to discover a new hotel together, the first to carouse under the crisp sheets of a new bed, the first to sample a menu after a property opens for business and makes an extra effort to please new customers is a special delight. A slew of recently opened hotels -- and 2014 ones soon to debut -- offer honeymoon couples and others with stars in their eyes rooms for romance -- and much more.
As if Venice itself weren't seductive enough, the Gritti Palace reopened in February 2013 to reveal a ravishing $60-million-dollar renovation and show couples what perfection looks like. Majestic grandeur, impeccable service, and a restaurant and bar that overlook the Grand Canal are among the elements that make this one of the most magical places in the world for couples in love.
In Fall 2012, Grenada's popular LaSource Resort closed, reopening with a fresh new look as the all-inclusive Sandals LaSource Grenada in December 2013. The 225 rooms and suites are divided among Pink Gin, South Seas and Italian Village sections. Water lovers have three pools and two river pools as well as soaking tubs in many rooms and suites with infinity pools overlooking the Caribbean Sea. Nine restaurants, a spa, butler-attended suites, and many included amenities make this Spice Island addition to the Sandals portfolio a haven for couples (no kids allowed).
If you're familiar with the Iberostar brand, you know that this Spain-based company has created many of the traveling public's favorite all-inclusive resorts. They're ranked high thanks to their exceptional settings, beautifully furnished rooms, enticing cuisine, great service and all-around pleasures. In December 2013, the brand added its first all-inclusive location on Mexico's west coast, 25 miles from Puerto Vallarta Airport. Note: Unlike Iberostar's adults-only Grand Collection hotels, this new property is family friendly and has a children's pool and clubs for kids and teens. However, adults can steer clear of the little darlings by booking a room in the Spa Tower.
How long we've waited for a first-class hotel to arrive on the sandy shores of Aruba! The Caribbean island's wide, clean beaches and warm turquoise waters deserve nothing less, although most visitors have been satisfied with the mid-range offerings. Opened November 2013 on Palm Beach, the oceanfront Ritz-Carlton, Aruba introduced its signature elegance to the desert island. Every room and suite features a private balcony. Four restaurants, two swimming pools, a spa, a 24-hour casino and that gorgeous beach also await.
On your trip to New York, do yourselves a favor and avoid the tourist trap tackiness and crowds of Times Square. Instead, head down to The High Line Hotel, which opened in May 2013. It's located in the Chelsea neighborhood and adjacent to the elevated High Line park. The hotel itself, a former seminary, contains 60 rooms and suites that recreate the charm of Olde New York. They're furnished with Victorian or Edwardian antiques, Tiffany-style lamps, rewired 1920's dial telephones and authentic Oriental carpets. The cathedral-like Refectory is a unique place for a wedding reception and there's access to both the courtyard lawn and a private chapel for the ceremony.
If the two of you prefer mountains to beaches, consider this offshoot of the much-loved Broadmoor resort in cannabis-cultivating Colorado. Located eight miles west of the original in Pike National Forest (and reachable by shuttle), this all-inclusive consists of ten rich-rustic lakeside cabins with romantic wood-burning fireplaces. (Couples will prefer the standalone Pine Cabin.) Go horseback riding, hiking, canoeing. Soak in the outdoor hot tub and spend evenings star-gazing while warming yourselves by a fire pit. At 8,200 feet, this little bit of heaven is only open from May till November 1.
7. Baha Mar
Come December 2014, the new $3.5 billion resort destination Baha Mar and its four hotels, private residences, gaming, golf, spas, shopping, entertainment, private island and natural attractions will be open for business. It's set on 3,000 feet of white-sand beach 12 minutes from Nassau’s International Airport. Accommodations will include the thousand-room Baha Mar Casino & Hotel, which will contain the largest casino in the Caribbean; a Grand Hyatt, a Mondrian, and a Rosewood hotel.
8. Europa 2
The elegant Europa 2 first glided into the water in May 2013 and is among the most romantic ships at sea. Holding just 516 passengers (plus 370 crew), this tasteful floating hotel delivers the kind of personal service that makes a honeymoon, anniversary or vacation-for-two so comfortable. Eight places to eat, a spa, pool with retractable room, theater, shops and a culinary school ensure there's always something to do onboard... or do nothing at all to do but watch the clouds float by.
Central America continues to grow as a travel destination for intrepid couples. Honduras debuts this 60-suite property located on 1,800 acres between the beach and the jungle in early 2014. It's set along a 26-mile stretch of Tela Bay — formerly the home of the United Fruit Company — on the northern coast, overlooking the Caribbean. Features include an eco-sensitive golf course, an Espa spa and the clear Honduran waters known to divers and snorkelers for their beautiful coral reefs.
Where the Sahara hotel, a favorite of Rat Pack denizens, once stood mid-strip, SLS Las Vegas will rise in 2014. Scheduled to open in the fall with 1,622 guest rooms, it will focus on dining and nightlife to lure those of drinking-and-gambling age. The first Vegas resort touched by renowned designer Philippe Starck, it promises to offer "a highly intuitive and personalized experience, enticing the senses with unmatched elegance and extraordinary service." Sounds like a good Las Vegas bet to us.