AAA polled its professional inspectors for their favorite places to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Discover their top 14 picks below, also highlighted on AAA’s travel blog at AAATravelViews.com.
The Boheme, Orlando, Fla., AAA Four Diamond Restaurant
While downtown movers and shakers can be spotted here during the lunch hour dining on cashew salmon or crab ravioli, an amazing transformation takes place for dinner service. Live background music, dim lights, rich fabrics and wood accents create a warm and tranquil atmosphere perfect for a romantic dinner. Special Valentine’s Day brunch and dinner menus feature exquisite selections including mouthwatering seafood specialties and desserts.
Casa Madrona Hotel, Sausalito, Calif., AAA Three Diamond Lodging
A well-known getaway for honeymooners and sweethearts, this intimate hotel is nestled on a lush hillside overlooking the San Francisco Bay. The Casa Madrona blends the amenities of a full-service hotel with the charm of a historic bed and breakfast. Guest rooms are individually decorated with elegant décor and personal touches from canopy beds and claw-foot tubs to artist lofts and private balconies.
Don CeSar Beach Resort, A Loews Hotel, St. Pete Beach, Fla., AAA Four Diamond Lodging
Known internationally as “Florida’s Pink Castle” and locally as “The Don,” this property is located directly on the Gulf of Mexico. Built in 1928, this resort features awe-inspiring Mediterranean architecture and lushly landscaped grounds enhanced by marble fountains. One can view romantic sunsets from the courtyard area, guestroom balconies and during walks on the beach.
The Hay-Adams, Washington, D.C., AAA Four Diamond Lodging
The Hay-Adams, located across from Lafayette Park and the White House, is rich in both history and luxury. The hotel offers a refined setting with a service-oriented staff that has welcomed celebrities and foreign dignitaries since it opened in 1927. Each guest room is decorated with high-quality furnishings and fabrics in soothing tones. Many rooms have a view of the White House or St. John’s Church. Premium amenities and services make this an ideal venue for a romantic getaway.
Henderson’s Wharf Inn, Baltimore, Md., AAA Three Diamond Lodging
Tucked away in the historic Fells Point area of Baltimore, Henderson’s Wharf Inn is a delightful hidden gem. Guests are showered with luxuries, including a complimentary bottle of wine on arrival. Set on the harbor, the historic building, once used as a tobacco warehouse, is just a short stroll from shops, restaurants and attractions. The guest rooms combine Old World charm with the quality and comfort guests expect today.
The Hotel Viking, Newport, R.I., AAA Three Diamond Lodging
A romantic seaside retreat at The Hotel Viking may begin with a side-by-side massage at Spa Terre, voted one of the top spas in the Ocean State. Guests enjoy gourmet dining at One Bellevue, the fabulous on-site restaurant. The designer decorated suites feature lavish appointments such as four-poster beds, flat panel HDTV’s over gas fireplaces, chilled champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries.
The Inn at Palmetto Bluff, Bluffton, S.C., AAA Four Diamond Lodging
The Inn is a virtual Garden of Eden sitting alongside the tranquil May River. Single and duplex cottages offer a romantic getaway with a full menu of world-class amenities. Guests can relax with a historic yacht ride, laps in the heated infinity pool, a totally indulgent spa treatment, an in-room steam bath, or by watching the dolphins at play from an Adirondack-style rocking chair. During sunset, egrets perching for the night turn the trees from emerald green to snow white.
Inn Walden, Aurora, Ohio, AAA Five Diamond Lodging
Guests are pampered at this romantic country retreat in northeastern Ohio with unrivaled hospitality and spacious luxuriously-appointed suites complete with fireplaces, picture windows and custom-made furniture. The bathrooms are graced with glass showers, soaking tubs and Vermont slate floors. One of two dining rooms is situated in a restored, 175-year-old barn. Activities include Spa Walden, tennis, golf and horseback riding.
L’Auberge Chez Francois, Great Falls, Va., AAA Four Diamond Restaurant
Narrow, rolling roads lead to this charming restaurant, which serves country French cuisine. Alsatian specialties and wonderful classics line the six-course menu. Background music adds to the sophistication, as do knowledgeable, trained staff members who can ably assist with wine and entree selections. This may be one of the best values for a fine dining experience in the area.
Pointe Restaurant (in the Wickaninnish Inn), Tofino, British Columbia, AAA Four Diamond Restaurant
The Inn is the only resort on beautiful Chesterman Beach, built above the rocks and jutting out into the ocean. The restaurant offers more than 240 degrees of breathtaking Pacific Ocean scenery from its floor-to-ceiling windows. During the stormy winter season, guests can witness the power of Mother Nature as the waves crash onto the rocks just below the restaurant’s windows. The cuisine highlights Canada’s West Coast local fresh seafood, but it’s really the magnificent scenery guests will always remember.
The Rosseau, a JW Marriott Resort & Spa, Minett, Ontario, AAA Four Diamond Lodging
Perched above Lake Rosseau in Ontario’s exclusive Muskoka region, this resort offers a romantic getaway for the whole family. In addition to “everyday” luxurious views and indulgent dining opportunities, the resort offers organized events through the Valentine’s Day weekend, including ice fishing, sleigh rides, a guided snowshoe astronomy trek and a chocolate making workshop. Moms and dads looking for a little quality romance time can enroll children ages four through 12 in an afternoon program.
Tickle Pink Inn, Carmel-by-the-Sea, Calif., AAA Four Diamond Lodging
Located in the Carmel Highlands, the Inn is tucked away on a bluff that overlooks the rugged coastline of the Pacific Ocean. Guestrooms are elegantly appointed with European influences, many with a wood-burning fireplace, whirlpool tub and private balcony. A wine and cheese reception is available each evening where guests can mingle or relax by the fireplace before heading out to one of Carmel’s many restaurants, art galleries or unique shops.
The Townsend Hotel, Birmingham, Mich., AAA Four Diamond Lodging
For those seeking an unforgettable private Valentine’s Day experience, the concierge at The Townsend Hotel in downtown Birmingham will plan a custom event “Townsend Style.” Highlights include champagne, chocolates, roses, deep tissue massages and chocolate aroma therapy.
Vincenzo’s Restaurant, Louisville, Ky., AAA Four Diamond Restaurant
This magnificent restaurant is located in a former bank building and has been a favorite for romantic dinners for more than 20 years. High vaulted ceilings, beautiful floor-to-ceiling paintings and a large flower display attract the eye. The highly skilled and attentive kitchen and dining staff offer a menu of favorites from a wonderful appetizer of a rosebud of smoked salmon to rack of lamb. Plate presentations are artistic and clearly demonstrate colorful and delicious culinary imagination.
AAA’s professional inspectors evaluate and rate more than 58,000 lodgings and restaurants in the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean using a scale of One to Five Diamonds. Access listings of AAA Approved and Diamond Rated hotels and restaurants in the AAA TourBook guides and at AAA.com/Travel.
AAA inspectors conduct an average of more than 1,100 property evaluations per year and have a combined total of 700 years experience. The average tenure is 12 years, with the longest being 28 years. AAA inspectors work remotely and bring significant prior industry experience to the association.