However you view Valentine’s Day, it delivers a baked-in excuse to escape the doldrums of winter. Better to spend on wine and food than greeting cards, right? Here are seven American hotels that furnish the prerequisites for romance: great spas, wine cellars and restaurants. They’re all within striking distance of wineries, should you decide to leave the room.
Wine & Roses
Where better to toast your relationship’s longevity than Lodi? Its old vines boast patches of Zinfandel that date a century or more. The region’s leading boutique hotel, Wine & Roses, stocks a bevy of wine from local producers, served either in the intimate bar or Towne House Restaurant. Two-time James Beard Award-winner Bradley Ogden steers the property’s culinary direction. Head out to wineries or downtown tasting rooms by day, then return for a soothing candlelit seawater soak and massage, part of the Couples Interlude package, before dinner. It may be February, but Lodi enjoys relatively warm weather year-round.
New York City
Though Brooklyn boasts urban wineries, Manhattan has long been the draw for those in need of a wine-soaked escape. In the Time Warner Center about 280 feet above the ground, the Mandarin Oriental, New York offers endless views and an exquisite spa. Book a VIP Couple’s Escape to watch dusk settle over Central Park from the indoor pool. On the 35th floor, sip high-end cocktails at The Aviary NYC (reservations are not required but recommended). For a whimsical, singular setting, dine on a three-course tasting menu with wine pairings at Asíate, or pair the entire dinner with pink Champagne from Bollinger. The glass wall of wine showcases 1,200 bottles and will compete with the glittering city skyline for your attention.
Calistoga has fancier resorts, but they don’t capture the spirit of the Old West like Indian Springs. But that’s not to say the historic property doesn’t embrace modern design, evidenced by a geyser-fed spa and pools. Opened in 1861, the 17-acre resort has seen several upgrades and expansions, but it retains key attributes like the concrete mud tubs and Olympic-sized mineral pool that dates back to 1913. Get naked in a volcanic ash soak or Chardonnay bubble bath after you hit the wineries. Here, Cabernet, like elsewhere in Napa, rules. For dinner, head to Sam’s Social Club, where you might sit next to the winemaker of the bottle you’ve chosen.
Watch Hill, Rhode Island
Lovers of East Coast wine who seek a windswept getaway and spa vacation should look to Ocean House. This stately resort, built just after the Civil War, is one of New England’s last grand dames. The cliffside property was reopened in June 2010 after a $140 million restoration that included the addition of the Center for Wine & Culinary Arts (CWCA). The 3,000 square-foot education space hosts wine appreciation classes. Nearby wineries are worth an afternoon, though don’t feel guilty if you settle into your cozy confines. At night, the onsite restaurant, COAST, offers a seasonal tasting menu based on New England ingredients like Stonington sea scallops.
Santa Barbara, California
Pacific Ocean views, leafy grounds and Spanish Colonial architecture: No hotel in Santa Barbara exudes California coastal romance like the Ritz-Carlton Bacara. The property was built to lure movie stars seeking a secluded getaway. Fortunately, you don’t have to be a celebrity to book the Hollywood Facial or a couple’s treatment at the facility’s 42,000-square-foot spa. Nearby, hop between tasting rooms in the Santa Ynez Valley town of Los Olivos to sample Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Drink responsibly with Sustainable Vine, which will chauffeur you in a Tesla SUV to private appointments. Return to plunder the 12,000-bottle cellar at Angel Oak.
Salamander Resort & Spa
Middleburg was established in 1787 by a Revolutionary War lieutenant colonel. Today, politicians flee D.C. for second homes nearby. The vibe is horses, history and vineyards, and the best property to soak it all in is Salamander Resort & Spa. Spanning 340 acres along the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the hotel earned acclaim for its equestrian program. But expansions into the culinary realm, like cooking classes or wine and painting sessions, keep travelers returning. Nearly 40 nearby wineries grow an assortment of grape varieties, though Cabernet Franc and Viognier do well here. Sample local bottlings at Salamander’s wine bar or Harrimans Virginia Piedmont Grill, after you rejuvenate with a couples’ treatment at the spa.
L’Auberge de Sedona
Nestled along Oak Creek with views of Sedona’s red rock buttes, L’Auberge de Sedona is magical year-round. Take in the glow of a desert sunset with a glass of Arizona wine, a southwest region that’s steadily growing. L’Auberge has expanded its cellar to include the state’s best producers and arranges winery tours to nearby Verde Valley. Other activities include Shinrin-Yoku, or forest bathing. Book a guided hike or take a free walk with your partner, then visit the spa’s couples’ suite for massages. Dinner at Cress on Oak Creek often serves local meat and produce on the banks of the stream.