Adventuregirl’s Eco-Friendly Picks for Valentine’s Day 2009
Each year, Adventuregirl.comÂ´s Stefanie Michaels releases her list of ValentineÂ´s Day Top Ten Global Places for Romance. Michaels says this yearÂ´s picks will offer more than just romance.
“When coming up with the list for ValentineÂ´s 2009, I felt it was important to highlight places that offer a great exchange for the US Dollar, and celebrate locales that are eco-friendly,” states Michaels. “What better place to get romantic then somewhere enchantingand natural, global destinations which inspire us to fall in love over and over again with each other and with nature.”
MichaelsÂ´ top 10 picks include:
Marnei Mare Villa Rentals in Samos, Greece. What can be more romantic than escaping to a private villa on one of GreeceÂ´s hideaway isle, where Hera, the Greek goddess of marriage- one of the most powerful ancient Greek goddesses is most celebrated. It is also a “green island” with pine forests, olive groves, citrus trees, and grapevines, which produce the famous Samos wines. MichaelsÂ´ shares, “Grab a glass of Samos wine, find a quiet spot and toast to each other over a vibrant Grecian sunset.”
Byron Bay, Australia is “the perfect flip-flop spot” to chill out, surf and spa. Michaels recommends The Byron Resort and Spa, set among an ecologically sound 45-acre rainforest. “It has a stunning rainforest cupping this gorgeous resort, where a lush, tropical walk drops you onto one of my favorite beaches called Tallow Beach,” says Michaels. Low key is on the menu, with a spa boasting all natural products and unique treatments to inspire love.
Spice Island Beach Resort, in Grenada is the place to “spice” up your love-life. Grenada is the most southern of the Caribbean’s Windward Islands, and a unique Caribbean all-inclusive will make any eco-ValentineÂ´s heart melt once they learn about the eco-measures the resort has put into place, such as solar heated water, energy-saving light bulbs, a chemical-free treated pool, and uber-recycling programs. Michaels shares, “ValentineÂ´s looking for seclusion can choose from four private pool suites.” Book a “Spice up your honeymoon” package including a couples massage and sunset cruise.
Michaels loves the idea of a romantic interlude in a glass igloo in Lapland, but she warns, “This is for the die-hard romantic willing to freeze a bit.” Kakslauttanen Hotel & Igloo Village is located in the Saariselka Fell area amidst beautiful Finnish Lapland scenery along the road leading to Nordkap and the Arctic Ocean. “ItÂ´s a great place for snuggling all night in your glassigloo and gazing at the stars and Northern Lights, or taking in a reindeer sleigh ride, followed by a romantic dinner and great wine” Michaels says. “For those brides looking for a unique ValentineÂ´s wedding destination, it even has an ice chapel.”
The literal translation in Italian of Ti Amo means “I love you”, so why not get amorous at Tiamo Resort on South Andros Island in the Bahamas. Only eleven bungalows set on the most pristine beach on the island, brings lovers a truly exotic island experience. “If you are into crystalline warm waters, fresh local seafood, moon lit beach walks, Tiamo is it,” says Michaels, “I also love that the resort offers biologist guided island tours.”
Step back into time in Namibia. The ultimate African sojourn takes place in luxury tented safari camps, Wolwedans in NamibRand, one of Southern AfricaÂ´s largest private nature reserves. Celebs Brad, Angelina and Charlize Theron are fans, taking downtime to relish the quiet beauty. “This is glamping at its finest,” mentions Michaels, “gastronomy, luxe-everything, parlays into a truly romantic adventure.” DonÂ´t miss the mysterious bare circles in the sand, called fairy circles. Adopt a fairy circle in honor of your sweetheart, and funds raised go directly to the NamibRand Conservation Foundation. For a donation of $50.00 US, a numbered disk will be placed in your specially chosen circle of love.
If you are looking for a truly out of this world experience, head to AdrÃ¨re Amellal in the Siwa Oasis of Egypt. This is where time has stood still for centuries, where it is so exotic to all human senses that lovers canÂ´t help but be swept away by the spirituality and beauty of this remote and relatively untouched corner of Egypt’s Western Desert. “AdrÃ¨re Amellal is one of those once-in-a-lifetime places to share with a loved one,” Michaels says. “If I were someone wanting to propose, this is where I would do it. You will get a YES for sure.” Surprise your sweetie with a trip to their gift shop to grab locally handcrafted jewelry by local artisans.
A romantic renaissance is sure to take place at Tenuta di Spannocchia in Siena, Italy. The1100-acre organic agricultural estate in central Tuscany, offers sumptuous vegetable gardens, a working organic farm, endless vineyards, miles of forests with hiking trails, plus warm Italian hospitality all rolled into one magical place of romance. “My favorite activity is the organic cooking classes,” Michaels says. “ItÂ´s so romantic choosing ingredients from their garden, cooking side by side; there is something bonding about creating a beautiful meal together.” Choose an intimate villa or stay at the main house turned B&B. Either option oozes romance.
Iceland is the land of “fire and ice.” and a quick romantic getaway just 5 hours off the east coast. “I absolutely fell in love with Iceland,” says Michaels, “from the people, the gourmet food, to countless activities, like glacier trekking and horseback riding, and a fantastic place to see the Northern Lightsâ€” this is truly the place for lovebirds to get adventurous.” Hotel Ranga is a new luxe-eco lodge surrounded by views of the famous Mt. Hekla Volcano, glaciers and the Westman Islands. Its seven suites, each with a unique themed decor, their natural geothermal hot tubs to canoodle in, and delicious and healthful organic meal make for a special Valentine memory.
Rounding out MichaelsÂ´ top 10 is Lodge at Tarraleah, a small luxe hotel in Tasmania. Love stories unfold in an original 1930s Art Deco building. GUEST Rooms feature silk filled doonas and mohair throws adding a colorful touch to bespoke king-size beds. Fireplaces, heated floors, and indulgent bathrooms add to the sensual surroundings. A luxury choice with accolades from Vogue- “best cool hotel”, Conde NastÂ´s “hot list for scene-stealing hotels” and Tattler MagazineÂ´s “best hotels in the World”. “This hot spot has amazing cliff-top hot tubs with views to die for, plus you can have breakfast with a platypus, or track a wombat for the most unusual experience,” says Michaels, “anything your heart desires, just ask the butler.”
*Michaels is a branded celebrity known as Adventure Girl. She has appeared on morning shows across the nation, is author of Adventure GirlÂ´s Guide to Finding Adventureâ€¦without breaking a nail! She is a lifestyle, travel and green writer for the Huffington Post and Tonic News Network.