To double-up your destinations is to truly get to know a country. Dual-aspect breaks reveal a fresh perspective, let you delve deeper and indulge in bed-hopping between the world’s most seductive hotels (it’s Valentine’s season, after all). As the travel club for hotel lovers, we’ve years of experience in matchmaking stays from our 1,400-strong collection – these are some of our favourite twosomes for 2020, both opposites that attract and complementary classics…
A double date in: Miami and the Bahamas
Hotelier Alan Faena and Moulin Rouge director-turned-designer Baz Luhrmann innately understand Miami’s love for the kitsch and camp, in glamorous fashion, of course. Just north of Ocean Drive’s deco treasures, on the fringe of Miami Beach, Faena Hotel is theatrically garbed in scarlet and gold, animal print and bold florals. Muse over Damien Hirst’s gilded mammoth (encased in the garden), clink gold-speckled cocktails in the peacock- and tiger-prowled bars and catch a cabaret in the in-house theatre – after all, Faena has a flair for drama. But if 10,000sq m of private beach isn’t enough, hop on the one-hour flight to the slender pink-sand-edged isle of Eleuthera, to “glamp” at The Other Side. Pad about barefoot, swim in the pool seemingly suspended over the ocean and cruise around the harbour when the sunset’s at its most magnificent: you’re on island time now.
A double date in: France
France’s chic capital and rustic south pair as effortlessly as Beaujolais and brie. Boxfresh stay JK Place Paris – the first French opening for the Italian hotel group – has amour-inspiring rooms styled with midcentury pieces, luxe linens and well-met colours and prints. Custom perfumes scent its halls and the restaurant is good enough to lure you from local gastronomie. Roam the Rive Gauche arm in arm, then ride a train through cathedral cities and pretty parks to the Loire Valley – home to around 300 châteaux, of which 18th-century Hotel Château du Grand-Lucé might be the loveliest. It’s a setting that invites fantasising, furnished in antiques, archival wallpapers and statues gifted by King Louis XV, plus a guest list of enlightenment royalty (Mozart, Voltaire, Rousseau). It’s a green counterpoint to Haussmanian haute-ness – landscaped grounds roll out over 80 acres and domaines dot the surroundings.
A double date in: Colorado
This double act stars a dynamic Centennial State city and behemoth mountains. In Denver, Halcyon, a Hotel in Cherry Creek has a Gear Garage full of fun toys to play with: Vespas, e-bikes, longboards, Leica cameras and other diversions. When you’re not pedalling in tandem or sharing skateboarding close-scrapes, find a secluded bower in Denver Botanic Gardens (tickets are included with your stay). The four-hour trip from metropolis to the mighty Rockies is one of immense beauty, crossing prairies and forested peaks. Taylor River Lodge’s western-luxe log cabins are tucked away in Gunnison National Forest close to the Gold Rush town Crested Butte, and all-action couples can go wild. Seriously – room rates include axe-tossing, BB-gun shooting, white-water rafting and fly-fishing in the titular water body, plus custom meals and goodie-crammed minibars to keep you fuelled up.
A double date in: Portugal
Start on a high on this two-stepping getaway at Casa de São Lourenço, a coolly minimalist mountain lodge amid Serra de Estrela’s rugged ranges. It’s a stay for all seasons: pick wildflowers together on a summer hike (there are 250km of trails to cover) or chase skiing with sauna sessions and heated swims come winter. But year-round the scenery is a show-stealer, which is why all rooms have amply sized windows. On your descent, you’ll spree cross-country (roughly a two-and-a-half-hour drive) to gourmet hub Porto where the eponymous tipple flows freely. Luxury hotel Monumental Palace borrows from baroque, art deco and art nouveau styles, boldly mixing up jewel-toned velvets, gilded follies and multicoloured marbles to evoke a Parisian air, evident in its Gallic-accented dining with port-laced drinks and plentiful sharing plates to feed each other.
A double date in: Japan
Split your time between Japan’s historic former capital Kyoto and Pacific-lapped Ise-Shima National Park on this jaunt for “Aman Junkies”. Kyoto claims the country’s oldest wooden machiya houses, alongside hundreds of temples and shrines and the Imperial Palace. However, it’s also a forward-thinking metropolis with youthful energy. Aman Kyoto is well-placed to experience both sides (close to the Kinkanku-ji temple) and embraces the city’s meditative mores, with 80 acres comprising medicinal hot springs, dainty gardens and rooms with traditional soaking tubs, where you can gently ladle mineral-rich waters over each other in peace (not possible in split-sex public onsens). A three-hour drive away, Amanemu rests by natural hot springs in untamed coastal parkland. Minimalist design lets the scenery shine and mineral-rich spa treatments will help you both achieve an inner balance, too.
Absence makes the heart grow fonder, so Mr & Mrs Smith is encouraging us all to be more absent this year. Find out more at mrandmrssmith.com.