THE BLOG
02/08/2013 03:05 pm ET Updated Apr 10, 2013

Are You in the Mood for Love? Five Chicago Valentine Getaway Options That Could Sweep You Off Your Feet

I used to be slightly cynical about Valentine's Day; but, over the years, I have come to embrace it (embrasser, oui, oui!) as one more good reason to get snuggly with one's mate. If you feel the same and can get beyond the plethora of red hearts everywhere, here are some sexy-sweet treat options for romantic getaways this Valentine's Day, including royal spa specialties and sensuous culinary delights.

1. Romantic Views & Brunch Along the River.

The Trump International Hotel and Tower Chicago is all about the views. If you want to spend your Valentine's Day overlooking one of the city's most gorgeous settings, this is your place. The hotel hugs the shape of the river and every spot (the sleek rooms -- some with a complete kitchen, Rebar, Sixteen Restaurant, the gym and pool) fans Chicago's beautiful mixture of old and new architecture shining underneath sparkling stars. This is enough to put anyone in the mood!

After an evening of romance, brunch at Sixteen, which also offers a special Valentine's Day dinner, could be the chocolate covered cherry to your weekend d'amour. Here the view really does reign supreme in a palatial and heavenly room with the vista like no other overlooking the Tribune Tower. One could linger here for a long and decadent three-hour brunch while in the clouds among the various food stations: omelets, pancakes and waffles, bagels and smoked salmon, Eggs Benedict, seafood (sushi! crab! shrimp!), savory specialties (duck that is dreamy) and a meat-carving station. The dessert station does double duty with cookies (White Macadamia Nut with Toffee, please), puddings, all sorts of toffees, creams, and fancy things in cups. Executive Chef Lents gets the importance of making the connection for people between the quality of meat (ethical care of animals, along with proper diet and room to roam) and what is on your plate. So, you can eat here until your heart's content and feel rosy about it.

2. Add Creative Spice to your Love Life.

If you are looking to add a little 'somethin'-somethin' ' to your Valentine's Day, the Four Seasons and chief concierge, Kristen Klus, have created incredible packages for couples and families. (Um, remember it IS Valentine's Day. No need to feel bad if you leave the kids with the grandparents.) For example, at the spa and fitness center -- complete with little accommodations like fresh-chilled wash clothes that have been seeped in a basil-mint -- there is a beautiful Grecian-style pool where the light from the city and the large dome above streams in. Breathtaking...and filled with children. But, from 11 p.m. to midnight every day, couples can arrange to have this incredibly romantic setting all to themselves. Yes, all to themselves. If this isn't doesn't spice up your Valentine's Day, I don't know what will.

Bathing with the Greek Gods at night isn't all the Four Seasons has up its sleeves. Another example of an innovative twist that the hotel offers is the Hot Chocolate Doctor. A member of the hotel staff comes to your room with a huge cart offering hot chocolate, two flavors of Godiva liqueurs, many flavors of vodkas and alcohols, three flavors of whipped creams, several flavors of chocolate and marshmallows. You can go to town and create the best, most unique and most calorie-laden hot chocolate of your life! If you aren't afflicted with a sweet tooth, you can choose to have a visit from the Martini Man instead. (Same concept, but it packs a more powerful punch.) Also, in addition to the more traditional Valentine's Day stay in luxury accommodations, and

3. Food is the Way to the Heart.

Certainly the Peninsula is a hotel known for its classic elegance and refined accomodations. However, where the hotel really shines brightly is the extravagant and incredible breadth of the Sunday brunch. The Peninsula brunch comes alive in full force in the immense, two-story Lobby, just aside the off-street reception area. Twenty-foot windows allow light to envelope this glimmering room of beige and gold which on Sundays offers six food stations: breakfast, including omelets, waffles and pastries among other goodies, a carving station, including fish and pasta along with meat, a salad station, including quinoa and grains, a seafood station of salmon, oysters and shrimp, an Asian station of dim sum and noodles and an extra plump dessert station. Sweets for your sweets, as they say.(Note: Pistachio Pear Tart!) Plan to spend hours here because motoring through every food station is quite a feat.

Luckily, you have assistance to help you through the tantalizing maze of culinary islands. The roaming mimosa cart offers mimosa options of cassis, passion fruit, and lychee to name a few. In addition, classical music from the live trio on the mezzanine adds ease to the tasty journey. And, if you somehow feel that there isn't enough here to dazzle your eyes, ears and taste buds, for a good chuckle you can always sit by the window that over looks the Lilliputian ice skating rink to watch the sweetest of young things slip around on the ice while their parents discombobulate on skates.

4. Pure Pampering.

Chocolate doesn't have to be the answer to Valentine's Day. For some, a day at the Spa is more like it. The spa at the Waldorf Astoria resonates like a spa in Italy, with several stations for creams and makeup and special products. In addition to a lovely lap pool and an enormous jacuzzi in a stunning green and white paisley pattern tiled enclosure, the massage lounge -- filled with treats of nuts and fruit and flavored water -- sets the tone for relaxing before receiving one of the many offered treatments. For Valentine's Day and the month of February, The Waldorf Astoria, renown for its world-class service, offers a special spa package including a 90 Minute Massage, complimentary glass of red wine and a dark chocolate treat. The spa donates 10 percent for every package booked to the American Heart Association.

It isn't just in the spa area where the Waldorf works up Valentine's Day surprises. For this holiday of love, The Waldorf Astoria offers a true pamper for lovebirds: a stay in a suite with a fireplace and luxury bathroom, including a white rose petal turn-down service and a special champagne breakfast in bed (direct from the super chic restaurant, Balsan) featuring eggs, pastries (yes to the Almond Croissant), coffee, fruit, orange juice and champagne, perfect for those who want to enjoy a slice of heaven!

5. Get Zen and Stay There.

If peace of mind is what you are after, there is no more calming place than the Park Hyatt. From the lobby, to the spa, to the rooms, to NoMi restaurant, one can breathe deep and escape here. Most rooms overlook the Park and Michigan Avenue, one of the best shopping Meccas in the world, and incorporate a full, deep tub with sliding doors that open out to the bedroom and the view. With special Valentine's Day packages including late check out, you can relax in your own room together, but feel like you are at a spa... without the time limit.

Often the key to a romantic weekend is just having the ability to shut out the world around you and all its demands. The Park Hyatt brings together on one floor its food (NoMI Kitchen offering a fun Valentine's Day special and NoMI Lounge), its outdoor space (NoMI Garden -- but let's wait until Spring, shall we?), and its new spa (NoMI Spa) with a holistic approach in order to experience a full escape for life's chaos. And for those of you who want to drift away in understated Zen and never return, the 1400 ft. designer suite created by Bottega Veneta might just be the ticket. Now that's amore!

And one more for fun.

6. Just go with it!

Why does Valentine's Day have to be so serious? Maybe you aren't in love, but are tired of being left out on Valentine's Day. Maybe it is a new love and you want to ease into things slowly. Maybe you just like chocolate. Its all good. The Sofitel offers a reasonable Valentine's Day option for running away and enjoying the celebration. Plus, the rooms have toiletries from Lanvin, which means you will smell great for the whole week.

Mostly the Sofitel is just a fun place to hang out. The lobby is always hopping: swank peeps from the bar and restaurant making interesting connections spill together into the reception area ready for food with libation in hand. Cafe des Architects offers brunch the morning after with an outstanding croissant (mais, bien sur!) and pastry basket, in addition to a full menu and some great people watching. Sounds like fun to me!

PHOTO GALLERIES
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