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Winter 2008 | Hotels We Love: Room for Romance

Winter 2008 | Hotels We Love: Room for Romance

Dip below the equator for a Valentine’s Day getaway with decadent gay appeal.

LUSH TROPICAL RETREAT
Qamea Resort and Spa
Fiji
Deserted isle fantasies can come true without giving up gourmet dining and high-thread-count Egyptian cotton sheets. At Qamea Resort and Spa (866-867-2632; from US$690 per couple, including meals and activities), the only vacation property on the rain forest?dotted, road-free northern Fijian island of the same name, the jungle explodes around the 17 island-inspired rooms at daybreak with the calls of rare orange doves, and an internationally acclaimed coral reef sits in clear waters 20 feet off the powdery white sand outside each door. Inside the thatched-roof bures, with their 20-foot ceilings and unobstructed lagoon views, the man-made amenities rival the natural paradise: king-size four-poster beds, hand-polished mahogany floors, and locally created artworks. Owners Ron Eckstrom and Bryce Earwaker, a couple for 15 years, created this all-welcoming South Pacific escape (accessible only via boat) with an eye for privacy and top-notch service; 100 staff members tend to a maximum of 34 guests, none under age 16. If sharing 100 lush acres with other couples feels claustrophobic, book a private candlelit dinner in a hut cantilevered over the water or a trip to one of three private beaches, where you and your partner can frolic au naturel and recast From Here to Eternity with same-sex leads.

HIDEAWAY DOWN UNDER
Sea Dragon at Pink Bay
Kangaroo Island, Australia
Adventurous couples who get weak in the knees thinking of Baz Luhrmann?s new Oz epic should hop the 30-minute flight from Adelaide or 45-minute ferry ride from South Australia?s coast to wildlife-rich Kangaroo Island, where the casually upscale Sea Dragon at Pink Bay (011-61-8-8553-1449; from approximately US$203, including breakfast) provides a sweeping backdrop for cinema-worthy romance (minus the WWII-era hardships). Opened in January 2008, the lesbian-run lodge sits on 254 acres?four fifths of which is undeveloped Australian bush?overlooking a secluded pink-sand beach nestled between granite cliffs. With a six-adult maximum capacity in two cozy ocean-view suites, human sightings are rare, but resident kangaroos, sea eagles, and echidnas frequently patrol the grounds. More wilderness exploration awaits via custom-tailored four-wheel drive tours: The rugged headlands of Cape Willoughby, Penneshaw?s fairy penguin colony, and Chapman River canoeing access all lie within 30 minutes of Pink Bay. End the day back at the lodge for a sunset beach walk or a glass of wine on the deck; when the sea air turns chilly, a fire blazes in the guest lounge. Looking for a final romantic flourish to woo your partner? Order a specially prepared four-course candlelit dinner for two in your room.

AFFORDABLE URBAN OASIS
The Cocker
Buenos Aires
In the sultry Argentinean capital of cosmopolitan caf?s and cobbled streets, The Cocker (011-54-11-4362-8451; from US$90) provides a minimalistic five-suite sanctuary with rooftop gardens for couples who prefer their romance in an urban setting. Set in a more than century-old nouveau town house in boho-artsy San Telmo, one of Buenos Aires?s oldest barrios, the LGBT-popular property transforms its small spaces into intimate scenes with vintage-meets-modern furnishings and jasmine-entwined terraces. A glass-walled bathroom built above a four-poster bed and private slate-tiled circular garden keep suite 19-03 in demand. Step outside the hotel and seductive city thrills abound: the gay Pride Caf?; the central Plaza Dorrego, home to a lively weekly antiques market; and Lugar Gay, a B&B that hosts a gay milonga (tango party) on Sundays, are all within six blocks. To get completely swept away by B.A.?s steamy rhythms, arrange for private dance lessons at the hotel or sign up for the five-day same-sex tango trip hosted by the Cocker in February 2009 (through ParagonTango.com) that includes breakfast and lessons on-site followed by field trips to restaurants and clubs throughout the city, like gay milonga hot spot La Marshall.

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