For couples looking to reconnect (yes, in the bedroom), there’s no better remedy than a steamy tête-à-tête — especially when the rendezvous feels worlds away from real life, and in a beautiful setting. Romantic getaways for couples can be therapeutic.
“It’s important to carve out time to rekindle intimacy between couples,” says Dr. Jennifer Jackson, a clinical psychologist working with couples and families in Montclair, NJ. “In my practice, I see the toll that busy, modern life puts on maintaining healthy close relationships. Making time to get away together is essential to rediscovering the intimacy and passion that can wane between couples. Travel can be rejuvenating, especially to a new exciting place — these trips can be an essential ingredient to rediscovering that spark.”
Marissa Nelson, a licensed marriage and family therapist, certified sex therapist and educator, and founder of IntimacyMoons, an intimacy retreat designed to help couples reconnect, agrees. Nelson was counseling couples in D.C. when she noticed a trend in her work. Couples not getting along would book a vacation; couples not having enough sex would book a vacation; couples contemplating divorce would book a vacation. Her observation — of couples getting away as an effort to stay together — led to the creation of IntimacyMoons. The retreats — which focus on intimacy, trust, and communication — are not “just for couples in trouble,” according to Nelson. “Even in the best relationships, there is always room to tweak sexual wellness, and enhance communication. My retreats are about a complete relationship reset.” Mornings are spent on relationship-focused workshops; afternoons, doing fun group excursions (snorkeling, spa treatments, chocolate-making). Evenings are private dinners for two and customized ‘homework’ assigned by Nelson, based on her one-on-one sessions with each couple.
From breathtaking views and breakfasts in bed, to couples’ spa treatments, aphrodisiac-laden meals, and beyond-decadent minibars, we offer these five vacation ideas for couples — guaranteed to spice things up on your next romantic getaway.
Bela Vista Hotel & Spa, Portugal
The intimate, 38-room Bela Vista Hotel & Spa, a turn-of-the-century villa on the clifftop of Praia da Rocha in Portugal’s romantic Algarve. Reserve one of the light-filled suites by acclaimed interior designer Graça Viterbo, overlooking the sea. Pair the stay with an oyster-farm adventure with the hotel’s Michelin star chef, João Oliveira.
Spend the afternoon waterside with Chef Oliveira at a nearby oyster farm learning about the fascinating creatures long reputed an aphrodisiac (legendary ladies man, Girolamo Casanova, reportedly swore by them as a ‘virility-booster’). After a relaxing day by the sea, return to the hotel for a fabulous wine tasting and private table for two prepared by Chef Oliveira, who dazzles with his plated oyster (and other) delicacies. Awaken to coffee delivered in room; savor it together from your private balcony with sea views.
Hotel Pigalle, Sweden
Sweden’s 19th-century, Parisian-inspired Hotel Pigalle, in the seaport city of Gothenburg, is “nothing like home.” Here, in the decadent Suite Bella — said to be “the world’s most decadent suite” — lovers play out their luxury, fashion, foodie, and romantic fantasies.
Pack light or bring nothing at all – pjs are not needed, and everything else for a high-glam night is provided. Just be sure to send clothing sizes at the time of booking. The size-chart check-in ensures the correct attire (i.e. Dior) and shoe (Louboutin) selection is waiting upon arrival — all of which can be borrowed for the night (designer jewelry, too), or even purchased. Bathroom amenities include designer (Tom Ford) nail polish and (Marvis) toothpaste, but it is the mini-bar that will really get the party going. Couples staying in the velvety, jewel-tone suite have access to an entire wine cellar, including vintage Cristal, served alongside caviar, truffle crisps, and Valrhona chocolate. There’s a bar cart, too (with full-sized bottles) for cocktails — or simply have your personal bartender mix them for you. A four-course dinner is also delivered in-suite with full-waiter service.
Shou Sugi Ban House, The Hamptons
The vibey Shou Sugi Ban House in the Hamptons. Although only a few hours from New York City, couples will feel a world away from real life in this Japanese-inspired wellness center, based on the principles of eastern healing and wabi-sabi. Get started with the romance package (a rose quartz, fresh flowers, organic chocolates, and bottle of champagne).
Relax and indulge in one of the guest studios with a fireplace, deep soaking tub, and garden patio before going to work with more intense couples offerings. Begin with hydrotherapy for two providing private access to the thermal suite with infrared sauna, dry sauna, experience shower and ice fountain. Follow it up with a Sacred Sound Journey — set a shared intention for the experience, then relax as your vibrational frequencies weave together via tuning forks, gongs, Himalayan and crystal bowls. End with a couples massage using a signature blend of ylang-ylang, rose geranium, and bergamot paired with a euphoria spirit elixir.
Esalen Institute, California
Esalen Institute on Big Sur California’s rugged coastline. The original 1960s hippy enclave that brought yoga, organic food, and meditation to the forefront of the American consciousness, offers around 600 workshops throughout the year — many specifically designed for couples, with topics like touch and intimacy. The list of those who have spent time here — Bob Dylan, Ansel Adams, Deepak Chopra — speaks to the healing powers of the center’s varied seminars.
The view alone – dramatic cliffs dipping into churning sea – is worth the trip. But when coupled with couples workshops, intimacy classes, massages, and pair yoga, the experience is life-changing. For ultimate privacy (and luxury), splurge on a private house with a balcony overlooking the Pacific. Enjoy long walks through the gardens, and be sure to spend some alone time in the center’s famous cliff-hugging soaking tubs heated by natural hot springs. Make a stop in the resort’s kitchen, too for chef’s famed sourdough rye bread, served with apricot spread or peanut butter.
Cover image, courtesy, Fredrika Stjarne for Shou Sugi Ban House.