At a time when both love and fresh air are becoming increasingly scarce, a quick sojourn to these breathtakingly romantic properties is guaranteed to put the zing back in your relationship, writes Neeta Lal
Soneva Jani, Maldives
‘No news, no shoes’: that’s the only rule at Soneva Jani located in the Noonu Atoll of the Maldives. Inspired by a word that means ‘wisdom’ in Sanskrit, the property is a cluster of water villas and island sanctuaries set within a lagoon of crystal-clear waters, pristine beaches and lush tropical greenery.
Begin by taking a scenic seaplane flight from Male International Airport over the Indian Ocean. And voila, 45 minutes later, you are in heaven! Sibling to Soneva Fushi, Soneva Jani’s considerable lures include an overwater cinema, star-gazing observatory, a lush spa, award-winning cuisine and brilliant staff. Ask your designated butler to organise a beach cocktail party just for the two of you under the stars. Or how about a couple’s therapy at the resort’s overwater, lagoon-spying spa. If stargazing gets your heart thumping, have a meal at the Maldives’ first overwater observatory.
Admire stars of a different kind at Cinema Paradiso, the first overwater silent cinema in the Maldives. Explore the depths of the ocean and bond with precocious sea turtles and rays in the waters of the Noonu Atoll. Or let the Soleni Dive Centre’s multilingual PADI instructors show you the secrets of the local dive sites. Try kayaking, stand-up paddle-boarding, surfing, windsurfing and kite-surfing. Join a catamaran expedition to spot gambolling dolphins and other exotic marine fauna while experiencing Maldives at its magical best!
Koh Rang Noi Island, Phuket
A mere speck in the expansive Andaman Sea, Phuket’s most breath-taking private island is accessible only by water. Located just six kilometres from the premiere Royal Phuket Marina, and within an hour of Phuket International Airport, Koh Rang Noi is a secluded oasis of luxury and spectacular natural beauty. The sun-soaked tropical paradise is fringed by the sparkling waters of Thailand’s Phang Naga Bay. Take languorous walks with your beloved on its velveteen beaches, tune into the oceanic symphony or go stargazing at night! If you’d rather have the whole island just for yourselves that’s a possibility too.
The island is a tribute to Thai artisans. An entire village carved art for months just to make the doors and headboards at the island! A Thai mural here, a sandstone sculpture there and everywhere amazing craftsmanship. Some of the resort’s lights are fashioned from original Thai shadow puppets.
Because one can never have too many views of the island’s beaches and brilliant blue waters, each bedroom at Koh Rang Noi has its own private patio. The resort also comes with two yachts, the Blue Water and the Majesty. There are speedboats and kayaks too, as well as extreme sport-style excitement: 15 jet skis, wakeboards, and windsurfing.
Located on Thailand’s southern tip, Amanpuri overlooks the azure expanse of the Andaman Sea from a sheltered headland. At the foot of its scenic sweep of stone steps lies the white crescent of Pansea Beach.
Named after the Thai word ‘puri’ (or peace), Amanpuri exudes all the classic grace of its design inspiration derived from Thailand’s ancient capital city of Ayutthaya. Think pitched rooflines, curved eaves, warm woods. At the resort’s heart is a midnight-blue swimming pool overlooked by the lofty-triple-roofed pool pavilion, in which traditional Thai music is performed each night.
You and your sweetheart will be in gastronomic heaven at Amanpuri. Dine at its poolside Italian restaurant Arva on the bold, heart-warming flavours of Italy’s cucina povera tradition. Amanpuri’s walk-in wine cellar features 200 varieties from leading global producers. Latin American-style cocktails and street food are the highlight of its South American Lounge, while Nama showcases Japanese washoku cuisine.
Book yourself for a rejuvenating couple’s therapy at the Aman spa where chemical-free, natural products can be enjoyed in the six twin treatment rooms, each with its own private steam room and an open-air relaxation deck. High on the hillside, complimentary yoga and meditation sessions are held in open-sided teakwood salas.
The Oberoi Amarvilas, Agra
Located just 600 metres from the greatest monument to love — the Taj Mahal — which the English poet, Sir Edwin Arnold aptly described as, “Not a piece of architecture… but the proud passions of an emperor’s love wrought in living stones” — is The Oberoi Amarvilas Agra. The nine-acre property is peppered with exquisite gardens, terraced lawns, fountains, reflection pools and pavilions, a tribute to the legacy of Moorish and Mughal architecture.
The possibilities to romance your partner are endless. Experience an unforgettable star-lit dinner beside cascading water bodies at the hotel’s private poolside pavilions. Or savour a bespoke four-course menu, served by your personal butler at a white linen table for two.
Treat the one you love to a romantic dinner set with flowers and candles on the private balcony of your room. Enjoying salubrious views of the Taj Mahal, while dining on the finest handcrafted cuisine, served by your personal butler. Taj Romance at Amarvilas is a rejuvenating spa experience for couples which leverages ayurvedic techniques to relieve tension and stimulate marma points around the body.
Neeta Lal is a Delhi-based Editor and journalist and has visited 62 countries