5 bespoke romantic destinations to celebrate your love this Valentine’s Day

A couple enjoying a sunset stroll at the beach. Picture: Unsplash

A couple enjoying a sunset stroll at the beach. Picture: Unsplash

Published Feb 1, 2023


With February being the month of love and Valentine’s Day being around the corner, celebrating love with your loved one has never been more important.

Some relationships didn’t make it through the coronovirus pandemic, as we all saw scary reports of couples going through break-ups and divorces during the 2020 to 2022 period.

Celebrating your love and overcoming the challenges that come with relationships and marriage is pivotal to the longevity of your relationship. It’s important that you take the time out to appreciate your lover and rekindle your romance.

Choose to make Valentine’s Day 2023 memorable by taking advantage of the revenge travel trend and booking a romantic getaway for you and your partner. Whether you are new lovers or veterans in the love game, cupid put you together for a reason.

Here are five bespoke romantic destinations to jet-set to and celebrate your love this year.

andBeyond Benguerra Island, Mozambique

A private vaille at andBeyond Benguerra. Picture: Instagram

If you’re looking for a romantic island getaway, consider the private beaches of andBeyond Benguerra Island. This resort off the coast of Mozambique is perfect for honeymoons and for lovers seeking ‘privacy’.

Benguerra Island is a luxury beach holiday destination and an exquisite paradise boasting warm waters on the Indian Ocean. It is within the protected marine reserve of the Bazaruto Archipelago National Park, so this island hideaway is blessed with marine life, idyllic beaches, inland freshwater lakes and towering sand dunes.

A dhow sailing in the sunset off the coast of Mozambique. Picture: Instagram

Lovers can disappear for a secluded afternoon romantic castaway picnic, a sunset dhow cruise where you can toast to your love, swimming on horseback or scuba diving at Two Mile Reef. Consider a stay at andBeyond’s Cabana from US$920 per person per night, which is all-inclusive of accommodation and meals.

Lion Sands Game Reserve, Sabi Sand, South Africa

Tinyeleti Treehouse means "Many Stars" in Tsonga, and it's your unique vantage point to see wild game roaming below and shooting stars above. Picture: Instagram

Imagine saying: “Love, pack your bags, we’re going to Kruger National Park”. For the safari-lovers , Lion Sands Game Reserve is set on the banks of the Sabi River, and this luxurious resort comprises four lodges and two villas.

The reserve has three unique treehouses, Chalkley, Kingstone and Tinyeleti, which are lit by lanterns, candles, the stars and the moon, providing the perfect bush experience for lovers.

Enjoy dinner under the stars at the game reserve. Picture: Instagram

After viewing elephants and lions on an open jeep drive, enjoy traditional Boma dining, then settle in for the night, surrounded by the distant sounds of hippos, hyenas, leopards and lions. You can also enjoy a bush breakfast, dinner or riverbed dinner.

If relaxation is your thing, enjoy bush walks, yoga and spa treatments at the lodges. A stay at the Ivory Lodge Villa starts at R 39 000.00 per person sharing per night.

Aman Kyoto, Japan

A Zen suite at the Aman Kyoto. Picture: Instagram

Aman Kyoto is steeped in Japanese culture and history and a perfect getaway for the couple seeking a nature escape within a city setting.

According to Conde Nast Traveller, there’s no shortage of things to see and do in historic Kyoto, including Buddhist temples, Shinto shrines, and the cherry blossoms gardens that burst to life each spring. The Aman, set in the city’s northern suburbs, is surrounded by hilly woodland and criss-crossed by coursing streams and moss-covered paths and feels worlds away from everyday stresses.

The sedate green space in front of the Living Pavilion has been named the Kerry Hill Garden, in commemoration of the visionary architect who created Aman Kyoto, but who did not live to see it complete. Picture: Instagram

You can enjoy the resort’s sublimely quiet, peaceful feel, exploring the forested slopes it shares with the nearby Kinkaku-ji Temple, or Temple of the Golden Pavilion, a protected Unesco site, and strolling the property’s lush garden, where camellias bloom in winter and azaleas arrive in summer.

Book meditation sessions with a zen Buddhist monk and the chance to dip into the mineral hot springs in the resort’s onsen bathing pools, and you’ll find a thoughtful, almost unexpectedly romantic trip that allows you both the chance to relax and regroup on your own terms. A stay at the resort starts at 320 000 JPY a night.

Ion Luxury Adventure Hotel, Selfoss, Iceland

Nestled into the slopes of Mt. Hengill, near Thingvellir national park, the Ion sits perched atop a series of high-seat pillars. Picture: Instagram

Although it’s less than an hour east of Reykjavík, Ion's isolation makes it a popular first stop for international travellers doing bigger cross-country drives as well as for Reykjavíkers who want a peaceful, but action-filled weekend getaway.

It’s perfect for the adventure or thrill-seeking couple who likes activities such as fissure-diving and snorkelling at Silfra in Thingvellir National Park, where North American and Eurasian tectonic plates meet, or a glacier trek at Sólheimajökull.

A stunning view of the surrounding nature at Ion Luxury Hotel. Picture: Instagram

Its privacy and seclusion also makes it a perfectly romantic destination where couples can enjoy a thermal pool and relax and warm up before heading to the bar. The 46-room hotel has floor-to-ceiling windows, making it easy to view the Northern Lights. A stay at the hotel starts at ISK 52 700 a night.

La Residence, Franschhoek, South Africa

Ease into a state of bliss after a day of memorable explorations through the undulating Wine Country. Picture: Instagram

La Residence is the perfect place for oenophiles looking to discover the flavours of South African wine. Set in the charming and picturesque town of Franschhoek in the Cape Winelands, La Residence 30-acre wine estate is the perfect place to unwind with its swimming pools, spa restaurant, vineyards, and many private corners.

The farm produces its own wines named affectionately after members of the Biden family. You can try out the Nicole Charlotte Cabernet Sauvignon, the Alexandra Frances Shiraz, and the Rosemary Jane Rosé.

The calming blues and joyful yellows of the Huguenot Suite welcome you home while the private balcony allows you to take in the magic of golden hour as the day comes to a close. Picture: Instagram

Guests can also enjoy the many wine estates in and around Franschhoek with fabulous tasting rooms and restaurants or take the wine estates specially curated wine-tasting excursions and find yourself choosing between a wine tour by helicopter, by road, on horseback, by bike, or on foot.

A stay at One Bedroom Vineyard Suite starts from R16 000 per suite.

The list was compiled according to Conde Nast Traveller’s Most Romantic Places to stay in the World.