Your Questions Answered: Best Tropical Vacation Destination for a Romantic Getaway

Last week a reader named LC wrote to us for suggestions on the best tropical romantic getaway to celebrate a significant milestone; she and her husband will mark their 25th wedding anniversary next year. Now, if that doesn’t deserve a stellar adult vacation in a romantic, tropical spot, I don’t know what does!

Her parameters: They are traveling in mid-January and asked for a vacation that is reasonably priced. She said that friends have suggested Cabo San Lucas, Costa Rica and the Excellence Riviera Cancun. She noted that she didn’t want to go to Cozumel or Cancun, Mexico, for this trip — so I’m guessing that the Excellence Riviera, which is technically south of Cancun proper in Puerto Morelos, mights still be under consideration. I absolutely adore the Riviera Maya, which is on the Yucatan coast of Mexico, from Puerto Morelos stretching down to Tulum. The Excellence Riviera is an adults-only resort that is ranked #1 among all the hotels in Puerto Morelos on TripAdvisor.com. With its luxury amenities, this resort sounds divine.


View from the Azul Sensatori

From firsthand experience, I’d also recommend Dreams Tulum, an all-inclusive resort also on the Riviera Maya. This is a fairly large property, with beautiful recently refurbished rooms, with romantic canopy beds and Jacuzzi tubs in some suites. I was just at the all-inclusive Azul Sensatori and Azul Beach in Puerto Morelos, and give huge props to these resorts for their unparalleled service. Although these properties attract families with their rock-star amenities for kids, Azul Sensatori has an adults-only building with an adults-only pool, and intimate Azul Beach is wonderfully laid back for couples who just want to enjoy relaxing on the beach together (and some excellent cuisine).

I think all-inclusive resorts provide great value because food, drink and activities are included in your room rate. Check out BookIt.com, which sells all sorts of all-inclusive vacation packages, and is currently running a “book a trip, get a Blackberry” promotion.

Outside of Mexico’s Riviera Maya, my immediate thought for a romantic, tropical vacation is Hawaii. The Vacation Gals spent three nights at the Westin Maui on Ka’anapali Beach on the island’s west coast and I’d heartily recommend it for couples. (Again, yes, it’s also very family friendly, but if you’re traveling in mid-January, when school is typically in session, my guess it won’t be overrun with rugrats.)

Charming Hotel Lanai in the cool upcountry

Charming Hotel Lanai in the cool upcountry

Other Hawaii accommodations I love: Hotel Lanai, a 12-room bed and breakfast on a wonderfully quiet island of Lanai and the Outrigger Lae Nani, a condo property on the east coast of Kauai. In general, Hawaii is not a super-cheap destination, but it is pulling out all the stops to attract visitors in this downturned economy. There are some great deals to be had on accommodations and airfare (you still might pay $6 for a gallon of milk, but your room might be cheap).

As far as the Caribbean goes, you might consider the San Juan Marriott in Puerto Rico for a very easy-to-get-to, convenient vacation (no passport required). The Mamas and I had a ball drinking mojitos and enjoying spa treatments there earlier this spring. It’s an urban locale, however, so if you’re looking for a remote resort on a secret beach with plenty of seclusion, this isn’t it.

What Our Twitter Followers Had to Say

I asked our followers on the social-media site Twitter for their suggestions on places for a fabulous romantic tropical vacation and Hawaii fans piped up loud and clear! Here’s what they had to say.

@NerdsEyeView, who pens a blog about Hawaii for WorldHum.com, suggested Kona Village on the Big Island, “though it’s pricey.” She said,  “We just stayed at Hanalei Colony Resort [on Kauai]; that was lovely, too.”

@GoVisitHawaii noted that January can be a generally wet time in the Hawaiian islands. She recommends the dry Kohala coast of the Big Island. Fairmont Orchid, Manua Lani, Mauna Kea & Hapuna Beach are four resorts she sugested. The Wailea area on Maui is also a “drier” region, offering some fabulous resorts (albeit not cheap): Fairmont Kea Lani, Grand Wailea, Maui Prince & Marriott

@Nathan Kam, a vice president at MacNeil-Wilson, the PR company that reps the Hawaii Convention & Visitors Bureau had plenty of suggestions:

  • Kauai: Hanalei Beach Resort on the North Shore or the Waimea Plantation Cottages on the west side
  • Big Island: Hilton Waikoloa Village on the Kohala Coast or Hilo’s Shipman House B&B
  • Maui: Kaanapali Beach Hotel or Old Wailuku Inn on Maui might work, too!
  • Oahu: JW Marriott Ihilani Resort & Spa in Ko Olina or the North Shore’s Turtle Bay Resort

@rherhe, who also works in public relations for Hawaii, seconded some of Nathan’s picks, but also suggested Maui’s Napili Kai Beach Resort and Sheraton Maui.

And some other destinations got some love:

@EliteTravel, a luxury travel planner for high-end clients, suggested Capella Ixtapa Resort & Spa on Mexico’s west coast. Although this gorgeous property doesn’t sound terribly “reasonably priced,” deals happening now include rates from $350/night, with one night free. An oceanfront plunge pool comes with every suite!

@DreamsResorts piped in with, naturally, some Dreams Resorts: In the Caribbean, Dreams La Romana but the Riviera Maya’s Secrets Maroma Beach is a fav for romance. (And don’t forget my Dreams Tulum plug above!)

@NomadicTweets recommended Panama’s Punta Caracol Acqua Lodge, Popa’s Paradise Beach Resort and Costa Rica’s Tabacon.

Whew! Lots to sort through. In the mix, I know I’ve mentioned some relatively expensive resorts and our reader “LC” asked for “reasonable.” Here’s my thinking: you only celebrate a 25th wedding anniversary once!

Although I’ve listed a bunch of recommendations, I’m sure the other Gals and our readers have other thoughts on where you could spend your tropical romantic getaway in January, and I’m hoping they’ll chime in with comments. I also hope, LC, you’ll let us know where you end up booking your fabulous adults-only vacation!

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