Two Valentine's Day breaks

Choose from fireside romance high up in the Austrian Alps, or sunny seclusion on a car-free island off Antigua.

Carinthia, Austria

Snow, mountains and a roaring fire it doesn't get much more romantic than that. Almdorf Seinerzeit is a collection of chalets, 1,400m up in the mountains, with a craft shop, sauna, wine cellar and restaurant.

How they rate it

"If you could bottle everything that sums up the Alps, this could be it," says Lonely Planet Magazine. "Mountain peaks rising like shark fins, medieval hamlets lining deeply gouged valleys dotted with crystal-clear lakes." And Almdorf Seinerzeit "might well be the most romantic place to stay" in the area. "In winter, borrow a book to read by the fire; in the summer, take a picnic into the mountains or sit with a glass of wine by the village pond." All the accommodation comes with a kitchen and open fire, but if you can't be bothered to cook then you can have meals delivered to your door. "It's not cheap, but it is unforgettable, so find an excuse any excuse to visit."

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The menu

The Holzknechthutte (woodcutter's hut) may well be the smallest restaurant in the world, but it offers delicious traditional Carinthian food and has panoramic mountain views.

The cost

Prices start from €290 per night for two people, including breakfast. To find out more, call 00 43 4275 7201, or visit

Jumby Bay, Antigua


If you want a bit of seclusion, book into Jumby Bay resort in Antigua, a car-free private island two miles off the coast. It reopened just before Christmas, after undergoing a major revamp, and is now ready to welcome guests for a relaxed, romantic break in the sun.

How they rate it

This resort offers "the quintessential Caribbean experience", says Francesca Syz in Cond Nast Traveller. The refurbishment has created 28 new suites, two new restaurants and a new spa. The spa is set close to the beach with treatment rooms that open onto private terraces. All treatments use ingredients picked from the gardens. "One of the highlights involves lying in a soft, handmade hammock while a therapist focuses on pressure points in your head, back, hands and feet to release tension." For a romantic treat take a Champagne picnic dinner to Pasture Beach for a spot of star-gazing.

The menu

For fine dining, visit the resort's Estate House restaurant. It offers a Mediterranean-inspired menu, including lobster risotto with prawns, spinach, and almond and balsamic glaze.

The cost

Elegant Resorts offers a seven night break at Jumby Bay, costing from £7,660 per person on an all-inclusive basis, including flights and transfers. Call 01244-897517, or visit to find out more.

What the travel writers are saying

The next decade will see the opening of several amazingly futuristic hotels. To get to the Galactic Suite, for example (scheduled to open in 2012), you'll need to complete 18 weeks of training and then embark on a 17,500mph rocket trip. The suite is a floating space station accommodating two couples and their driver for four nights on an all-inclusive basis. "While orbiting at 18,750mph around the planet, guests will see 45 sunsets," says Chris Haslam in The Sunday Times. Packages start from £2.8m per person. Visit for more information.

There may already be one underwater hotel Jules's Undersea Lodge in Key Largo but two new ones will push the concept further in the next decade. Hydropolis in Dubai will be the largest with 220 suites. Meanwhile, the Poseidon Undersea Resort in Fiji is the stuff of a Bond villain's dreams. The exact location is a closely guarded secret, but the hotel will be 40ft underwater with 24 suites. You will be able to feed the fish with the push of a button on your in-room console. Opening in 2011, a week's stay will cost £9,500, including driving lessons in a three-man submarine. Check out this watery retreat at

Denise Lewis: My dream holiday

The Trisara in Phuket, Thailand, was Denise Lewis's honeymoon hotel. "I was sceptical that it wasn't going to be as good as it looked in the photos," she says in The Independent, "but it blew me away." The resort is luxurious and the food "incredible", and you can even learn how to make the recipes from the menu in the hotel kitchen. See for booking details.

Ruth Jackson-Kirby

Ruth Jackson-Kirby is a freelance personal finance journalist with 17 years’ experience, writing about everything from savings and credit cards to pensions, property and pet insurance. 

Ruth started her career at MoneyWeek after graduating with an MA from the University of St Andrews, and she continues to contribute regular articles to our personal finance section. After leaving MoneyWeek she went on to become deputy editor of Moneywise before becoming a freelance journalist.

Ruth writes regularly for national publications including The Sunday Times, The Times, The Mail on Sunday and Good Housekeeping among many other titles both online and offline.