I'm a romantic and I'm a cynic. Turns out the two are not mutually exclusive, especially when it comes to Valentine's Day and deals.
Love does mean saying you're sorry if you needlessly overspend. Overpriced champagne and chocolate shouldn't take precedence over common sense and genuine emotion. So, this is the season to be creative in expressing that emotion to your significant other...be wary of Valentine's Day packages. The markups can be huge.
It's all about quiet, alone time for the two of you. Because Valentine's Day falls on a Tuesday, you might even benefit by waiting a few days to take your special trip together. Try getting a reservation at a remotely popular restaurant on Valentines' Day -it's tough and expensive.
Instead, follow the Travel Detective's plan: Celebrate with dinner on the 13th and give your significant other a great romantic weekend away in two weeks. Why not the week after? You'll also pay a premium on President's Day weekend. Instead, get your own chocolates, bring your own champagne, and get less expensive roses and aim for the weekend of February 24-26. You'll thank me.
That said, if you're set on a Valentine's Day package, here are some of the more interesting deals available this month.
Compete for a Sweet Escape
Do you and your special someone have a memorable engagement story? It doesn't need to romantic or crazy. In fact it could just be funny. Submit your "best engagement" story to The Charles Hotel in Cambridge for a chance to receive a complimentary Sweetheart Escape package this Valentine's Day. Send your submission in to firstname.lastname@example.org by noon February 6, 2012. The winner will be chosen and notified by February 8. Or book the package directly online. Rates start at $319 per night and include a deluxe guestroom, a bottle of sparkling wine with a Valentine's Day-themed dessert, breakfast in bed or in the hotel's restaurant, late checkout, and skating passes with rental for two at The Rink at The Charles.
I Do, Part Deux
Do you remember your wedding bells? Valentine's Day might be a great opportunity to re-live that moment again, whether it's your two, 10, or 25-year anniversary, Casa Monica Hotel in St. Augustine, Florida, is celebrating V-Day with the Renew Your Vows Valentine's Package available either weekend of February 10 or 17. You'll spend three days and two nights in the restored 1888 landmark hotel including dinner for two, a horse-drawn carriage ride with a bottle of champagne, and the ceremony.
Outrigger Hotels in Oahu has a Renew Your Romance package on Valentine's Day. If your dream beach wedding never happened, you'll be pleasantly surprised with a hula performance at the edge of iconic Waikiki Beach and a ceremony recited in Hawaiian. Enjoy a glass of champagne and flower lei after the ceremony whilst enjoying the beautiful (and free) view.
Departure to Romance
This Valentine's Day, why don't you ditch the chocolate and flowers and take off to Tahiti with your love by your side? Tahiti Tourism can help you escape with the Tahiti Getaway; offering round-trip airfare, five nights at the Manava Suites, and daily breakfast starting at $1,699.
Don't sneak off to a hotel to get the sparks flying. Instead, rent your own private villa at The Retreat in Laguna in Laguna Beach, California. Through April 30, save up to $185 on a three-night stay with the Laguna is for Lovers package. Rates are from $790 for three nights, including flowers, champagne and in-villa massage. Ask about add-on experiences like an in-room dinner for two, art tours or a night out on the town. Click here for more details.
Single & Loving It!
Valentine's Day, also known as Singles Awareness Day, isn't just a holiday for couples. Singles love to party and celebrate too! Take it from Gansevoort Meatpacking NYC, their Single + Mingle Package is available the entire month of February. The Package starts off at $585 per night and includes overnight accommodations, continental breakfast, two cocktail vouchers for rooftop Plunge Bar, and an Exhale Deep Tissue Massage in the morning.
If that doesn't take Cupid off your mind, jet off to St. Barth's Hotel Le Guanahani & Spa with your girlfriends. For $4,700, you get three days of white sandy beaches, fine dining, scuba-diving and partying!
Plus, the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, in Atlantic City, is rewarding singled travelers with its Single & Fabulous package. Rates start at $139 a night and include overnight stays for two in a class room with two queen beds, breakfast at the Borgata Buffet, drinks at the Gypsy Bar and discount shopping at The Water Club.
Romance in San Juan
Head to San Juan's Caribbean beach front district with the LA Concha Resort's Discover Romance Package. Available from February 9 through February 15. Rates start at just $289 per night and include an ocean view room, Godiva chocolates, champagne, breakfast for two, late check out and more.
Or head to the Isla Verde Beach Resort for their Romance Under the Stars package. Rates include ocean view rooms, dinner for two with your own personal chef, a couples' massage and more. Rates start at $410 per night. To book call 1-800-791-2553.
Love at the Club
The Hard Rock Hotel San Diego's Whole Lotta Love Package sets the mood for a steamy night ahead. Starting at $299 per couple, the Valentine's deal presents chilled champagne with strawberries and cream, VIP priority access to hotspots Float and 207, $100 credit to Rock Spa and reservations to Nobu San Diego.
Spa or Sweat It Out
Tropical weather not your cup of tea? That's fine, Pure Entertainment's Valentine's Day package in Quebec whisks you away to snowy Mont Tremblant for two nights at the slopes with a half-day guided dog sledding tour, a couple's massage, and a Valentine's Day dinner at La Quintessence all for a cuddly $2, 700 per couple.
For the couple that favors a day of sports, La Manga Club in Murcia, Spain is the place for you. Valid year round, the five-star hotel's Love Tennis Package gives you two hours on the tennis court, breakfast, and a fitness pass for $260 per couple per night.
For those who favor a day at the spa, head Deep in the Hearts of Texas for the romance package at the Barton Creek Resort & Spa. Available February 10-14 with rates starting at $214 per night, the package includes accommodations, breakfast in bed and an additional food and beverage credit as well as a consultation with the resort's Romance Concierge who will help personalize a romantic escape . Plus if you get engaged during your stay, you will be given credit for a future one-night stay to celebrate your anniversary.
Follow Peter Greenberg on Twitter: www.twitter.com/PeterSGreenberg