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Best New Hotels for Romance 2012

New Hotels for Couples in Love

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From Times Square to the Turkish Riviera, romantic new hotels are rolling out the red carpet for lovers. In 2012, couples can cuddle in a private cabana atop a ship in the middle of the ocean... or wake up and dive into their private pool beside a mile-long beach... or lodge inside a former palace... or even stay in a hotel with no set check-in and check-out times. Whether you prefer sophisticated city hotels or endless-beach resorts, these new properties are ones you'll fall in love with in 2012.

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1. Mandarin Oriental Paris

© Susan Breslow Sardone.
The chicest thing to emerge in Paris in 2011 wasn't a new couturier; it was the Mandarin Oriental Paris hotel. Bringing Asian cool to a city best known for palatial hotels, the Mandarin Oriental called upon a team of designers to conceive a modern hotel that would surprise and delight. And it does: from the silky sheets in spacious suites to jewel-like Lalique "bugs" on a bar wall to Le Cake Shop's irresistible patisserie selection in the lobby, this nouveau hotel is truly enchanté.
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2. Celebrity Silhouette

© Susan Breslow Sardone.
It's not easy for a cruise line to top itself when it produces five new ships with the same footprint in as many years. Yet Celebrity Silhouette, launched in 2011, is an outstanding ship. Its additions that enhance the Solstice line include private cabanas (aka Alcoves) that couples can rent for the day or the duration of the cruise; an art studios, where passengers can take lessons from masters; The Porch eatery on the top deck overlooking the sea; and a grill where do-it-yourselfers who have the urge to cook their own barbecued meal or flip their own pizza can indulge.
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3. Six Senses Con Dao, Vietnam

© Six Senses Resorts and Spas.
Vietnam has been popping up on many bucket lists. Just a 45-minute flight from the crowds and clamor of Ho Chi Minh City, Six Senses Con Dao consists of 50 luxurious villas on a mile-long stretch of beach. The resort, which opened in 2011, promises a sybaritic idyll. Start with a morning swim in your private lap pool, then breakfast overlooking the beach. Follow it up with a diving or snorkeling excursion. Want total seclusion? Take a boat to one of the nearby uninhabited beaches and savor a romantic picnic prepared by the resort. The next day, take a cooking class or go for a bike ride. Come back before dark, perhaps taking an outdoor shower together. Afterwards, walk hand-in-hand to the candlelight dinner that awaits you.
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4. Scrub Island, BVI

© Scrub Island.
The first new resort to open in the British Virgin Islands in 20 years, Scrub Island lies in the middle of an aquamarine water wonderland. All one-bedroom suites face the water and have a balcony or ground-floor terrace. The resort has an infinity pool with a waterfall, waterslide and swim-up bar. Still, you'll find it hard to resist the warm Caribbean Sea, gentle and shallow by the coast line. But this is the place to go diving. A treasure trove of undersea wrecks make the deep deeply alluring.
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5. Corinthia Hotel London

© Corinthia Hotels.
All eyes will be on London when the 2012 Summer Olympics begins July 27. Smart hoteliers have been gearing up for the crowds, refreshing older properties and introducing new ones like the luxurious Corinthia Hotel London. Some of the features most likely to appeal to couples: no set check-in and check-out times, a Harrods outpost, a four-story spa, and the stylish Corinthia Bassoon bar that's a 22-foot-long expanse of polished wood that ends in a working grand piano.

6. InterContinental Palacio das Cardosas Hotel, Portugal

© InterContinental Hotels.
Portugal is on several 2012 hot lists as the go-to place this year. And InterContinental hotels has opened its first property in the country — not in Lisbon, the capital, but in Porto, whose city center is a UNESCO World Heritage site. In constructing Palacio das Cardosas Hotel, InterContinental kept the outer façade of an 18th-century palace while installing a brand-new hotel past its portal. Its lobby-level Astoria café opens onto vast Liberty Square, perfect for people-watching and toasting one another with the exquisite nectar known as port wine.
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7. Amanruya, Turkey

© Amanresorts.
Couples who haven't yet discovered the Turkish Riviera will find it a glorious, sun-washed area on the Aegean Sea. Half an hour beyond the the lively port city of Bodrum lies Amanruya, which opened in December 2011. It's from the Amanresorts group, known for building dreamlike getaways that provide the setting for ultimate romance. Amanruya consists of 36 cottages, each with its own swimming pool and outdoor shower. Salute the sun in complete privacy, or commune with fellow guests at one of the four restaurants, the library, on the tennis court, or at the beach club.
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8. Yotel, New York City

© Yotel.
Modernism reigns at the crossroads of 42nd Street and Tenth Avenue, where the Yotel opened its doors to young lovers in 2011. Small "cabins" (as opposed to rooms) make rates affordable -- but don't mistake them for pods. Queen-size beds, powerwalls with flatscreen TVs, wi-fi, and monsoon showers provide the necessities we require even on a honeymoon. Four restaurants, the largest outdoor hotel space in the city, and a location that's walking distance to Broadway make this a Times Square-area hit.
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9. Hotel Ignacio in St. Louis, Missouri

© Hotel Ignacio.
Midwestern lovers, you need not travel far to experience a bold, contemporary, art-filled boutique hotel that attracts the coolest people between two coasts. From its Tempur-Pedic mattresses to its bamboo-fiber towels, the keywords are smart and modern. Hotel Ignacio is minutes from many of the city’s most popular theaters and museums and a short drive or taxi ride to the downtown area dominated by Eero Saarinen’s masterpiece: The Gateway Arch.
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10. Ballyfin House, Ireland

© James Fennell.
How does a Regency estate established in 1820 make its way onto the Best New Hotels for Romance 2012 list? By undergoing an eight-year-long, multi-million-dollar renovation that yields a restoration surpassing its glory days. Set amidst 600 beautifully landscaped acres (bicycles and golf carts are at the ready for you to explore), Ballyfin is a small, 15-bedroom hotel, complete with butler to row the two of you across the scenic lake (or hand over the oars and leave you to your own devices). Despite the fine art, antique furnishings, vast grounds, and glorious food, it manages to create a relaxed, “just dropping by to visit the aristocracy” sort of feeling. So come for a romantic escape — and live like the lord and lady of the manor.
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11. Revel, Atlantic City, New Jersey

© Revel Resorts.
It's been a couple of years since a new hotel opened in Atlantic City, and Revel, scheduled for a spring 2012 opening, is likely to become the biggest thing on the Jersey shore since Snooki's pouf. This one doesn't come cheap, though: More than $2 billion has been poured into building the vast (6.3 million square feet) project.

More than a hotel-casino, Revel will have a bevy of attractions (stores, a dozen restaurants, a huge spa, both an intimate 600-seat theater and a larger 5,500-seat one) to keep adult visitors occupied. And when the weather's warm, Revel will invite couples to make use of its private beach and cabanas overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.
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