Dangling above Sundance Mountain Resort’s snow-blanketed slopes and powder-frosted pines alongside my husband, securely tethered to the cable running parallel to mine, I take a deep breath and prepare myself to race down a zip line at 65 miles per hour. This adrenaline-laced adventure might not scream Valentine’s-themed romance, but for a couple who usually celebrate the day with a bottle of wine and a few chocolates after tucking our three kids into bed, it’s yet another dreamlike diversion we’re experiencing on this rare sans-children getaway. There’s something unexpectedly romantic about braving new adventures with the person you love — even when safety helmets and thousands of vertical feet are involved. I give him a look of hesitation infused with utter fear, close my eyes and pull down hard on the handlebar to zoom full-speed ahead on the Alpine Winter Zip Tour. Within seconds, I cannot contain my gleeful squeals, and as soon as my feet hit the platform a minute later, I am begging to do it all over again. Only we can’t — we’ve spent the entire morning skiing down silent, uncrowded runs together and reserved the afternoon for unwinding at the resort’s nature-inspired eco-spa.
Here at Sundance Mountain Resort, an enclave of solitude sitting on 5,000 acres of protected wilderness at the foot of the 12,000-foot Mount Timpanogos in Utah’s Wasatch Mountain Range, reconnecting and relishing each on-mountain moment together becomes second nature.
But whether your hearts belong to the mountains or your souls yearn for the sea, couples seeking everything from snow and sun to wine and fun this spring will discover that romance comes easy at these escape-worthy destinations.
Want snow? Find romance in Sundance
WHY GO: Time is unhurried, the rest of the world seems to disappear and spring days are dreamlike at Sundance Mountain Resort, a snow-drenched and stunning alpine wonderland tucked beneath majestic Mount Timpanogos. Sundance Mountain Resort, like the Sundance family, owes much of its fame to celebrity founder Robert Redford, who purchased the property in 1969. But over the years Sundance Mountain Resort has clung tightly to its rustic charm and conservation mindset, evolving into a carefully preserved and inspiring all-in-one-destination that marries art and nature. Couples escaping to Sundance can enjoy everything from a surplus of snow beneath their skis and snowboards in the winter and spring months to an array of creative art workshops, live music and fine dining experiences on offer year-round. Travel from Austin is a breeze — a direct early morning flight into Salt Lake City puts you at the resort by breakfast and, if you book an evening return, you can enjoy an extra day of on-mountain magic before returning home.
STAY: Get cozy in a rustic yet elegant private wood cottage discretely tucked into the mountainside replete with romantic touches like plush and pillowy beds, stone fireplaces that beckon crackling fires and big-window views prime for soaking in the stars and mountain sunrises.
DO: Defined by plenty of powder to play in during the winter and spring and a wealth of activities spanning fly fishing, mountain biking, horseback riding and hiking during the warmer months, couples can make their days as diverse as they desire at this year-round resort. Play on the mountain all day, enjoy a healing spa treatment or two, take a pottery or painting class, indulge in an award-winning brunch at Foundry Grill or foodie-worthy dinner at the nationally-renowned Tree Room before having a night cap at the Owl Bar, which houses the original 1890s Rosewood bar relocated from Thermopolis, Wyoming, that was once frequented by Butch Cassidy’s Hole in the Wall Gang.
Want sun? Cuddle up at Caneel Bay Resort
WHY GO: Sparkling turquoise seas, sugar-white sand and a blazing Caribbean sun set the scene for romance on St. John — and nowhere is the island’s beauty more blatant than at Caneel Bay Resort, a pristine 170-acre paradise nestled within the Virgin Islands National Park wrapped by seven breathtaking beaches. Remaining true to founder and preservationist Laurance Rockefeller’s vision, low-key luxury defines this enchanting escape where sun- and sand-seeking couples can tune out the rest of the world, watch daily stresses roll out to sea and enjoy one another.
STAY: Caneel Bay Resort’s 166 rooms boast a Caribbean aesthetic outfitted with local stone, natural woods, luxurious linens and handcrafted furnishings. Seamlessly blending into the landscape, exteriors don’t divert from the views, and the absence of modern technology in the rooms allows couples to focus on each other.
DO: Blessed with some of the best beaches in the Caribbean, couples can lounge on adult-only Paradise and Scott beaches while enjoying food and beverage service, test out a new watersport together or book a massage in a beachside cabana. Enjoy the best dinner and sunset on the island at ZoZo’s at the Sugar Mill, perched above Caneel Bay’s 18th-century ruins.
Want wine? Wine down at the Allison Inn and Spa
WHY GO: Tranquility flourishes at the Allison Inn and Spa, sitting just over a half-hour drive from Portland at the beginning of Oregon’s Willamette Valley, one of the world’s premier pinot noir producing areas and home to hundreds of wineries.
STAY: A blend of contemporary architecture and impeccable craftsmanship defines the property where spacious guest rooms are rife with dreamy features including soaking tubs, gas fireplaces, oversized windows that look onto the postcard-worthy landscape spilling out below and an impressive private art collection encompassing hundreds of original works from Oregon artists.
DO: Unwind at the Allison’s Zen-like, full-service spa offering signature treatments such as “pinotherapy,” which incorporates grapes grown on site into hydrotherapy. Cruise down vineyard-fringed roads through the wine country — guests of the resort can reserve a Lexus for free on a first-come, first-serve basis. Stop at Stoller Family Estate (stollerfamilyestate.com), a family-owned turkey-farm-turned-winery, or nearby ROCO Winery (rocowinery.com), where you can swirl more pinot and chat with the owner, a native Texan and renowned Willamette Valley winemaker. The property’s signature restaurant, JORY, boasts a strong garden-to-table philosophy, serving seasonal dishes that rotate with what’s growing in its sprawling on-site garden.
Want fun? Discover Maui’s magic at Travaasa Hana
WHY GO: The Road to Hana, the legendary serpentine stretch fringed with visually stunning pit-stops spanning rain forests, botanical gardens and waterfalls, hints at the unspoiled, windswept town that awaits on the other end. And there’s no place more romantic — or fun — to absorb Hana’s heavenly essence than at Travaasa Hana. Perched on the eastern tip of Maui, nestled between a mountain range and the Pacific Ocean, Travaasa Hana is the first resort on the island to see the rising sun and offers plenty of fun ways to fill the daylight that follows.
STAY: Rest up in one of 71 tranquil rooms spanning roomy suites to cliffside ocean bungalows where you can watch the humpback whales breech during season (November through May) from their private lanai or fall asleep to the roaring sounds of waves crashing below.
DO: The experiential resort, much like its sister property here in Austin, thrives on five pillars: adventure, culinary, culture, fitness and spa and wellness. Experience authentic Hawaiian pursuits next to your sweetheart including ukulele lessons, lei making classes or bamboo pole fishing. Venture out on a fruit-tasting tour at a local sustainable farm, explore Hana’s unspoiled coastlines and lush valleys on horseback or paddle together on the Wananalua, Travaasa Hana’s outrigger canoe. Follow up the fun with a Hawaiian-inspired treatment or the Hana Couple’s Escape at the award-winning spa.
More recommended romantic retreats
- Spend your days biking along the shore and your nights noshing lobster at the Tides Beach Club on Goose Rocks Beach in Kennebunkport, Maine. tidesbeachclubmaine.com
- Get cozy at the luxurious-meets-contemporary Hapuku Lodge + Tree Houses in Kaikoura, New Zealand, which sits at the base of the Kaikoura Seaward Mountain Range on the rugged coastline. hapukulodge.com
- Luxuriate with your lover at Ladera, St. Lucia’s romantic resort perched above the cerulean Caribbean Sea and eyeballing the soaring Pitons. ladera.com