It's not too late to book a fantastic romantic getaway for Valentine's Day, even though it's a mere three weeks away.
Travel journalist Valarie D'Elia, whose family has been in the travel business since 1902, has suggestions for trips that won't cost and arm and a leg, and some that will cost a whole lot more than that.
Among them: an affordable skiing package, cheap getaways to Europe, a chocolate-themed package at the Ritz-Carlton Battery Park, an island splurge at gorgeous Little Palm Island in the Florida Keys, and a whopping $850,000 package at the Ritz-Carlton Central Park that includes transportation on a private jet and a 10-carat diamond from Tiffany and Co.
As for specifics:
SKIING IN WINTER PARK, COLORADO $99 per person per night
Includes two nights lodging an a two-day lift ticket
Valid through next month
Rates are per person based on double occupancy in a hotel, in-town.
Airfare to Colorado is very affordable right now. There are plenty of deals out there. A roundtrip flight from New York to Denver runs as low as $150. Fares are similar from Florida and Chicago.
EUROPE Packages range from six to nine days and may be extended up to a month.
Steal someone's heart this Valentine's Day with a fling for two to Brussels, Amsterdam, Vienna, or any of 15 romantic international destinations on specially-priced departures from Gate 1 Travel.
They start at $399 plus tax for a six-day getaway to Paris, with airfare from New York.
Prices are per person, based on double occupancy, and include roundtrip airfare, accommodations, and daily breakfast.
Low-cost add-on air fares are available from cities nationwide.
Packages can be customized with a wide selection of moderately-priced sightseeing excursions.
Gate 1 Travel offers other Valentine specials to London, Amsterdam, Prague, Budapest, Barcelona, Florence, Athens, Rio and Dublin, and many other destinations. Amsterdam starts at $599, and Brussels starts at $499.
CHOCOLATE IN NEW YORK
The "Sugar & Spice Romance Package" at the Ritz-Carlton Battery Park includes a chocolate buffet. Sugar & Spice provides a lovers' escape, complete with a passport to indulgence.
The package includes: One night luxury accommodations in a city-view room
Entry to "The Chocolate Bar" in the 14th floor award-winning Rise bar. It has an all-you-can-eat gourmet buffet showcasing the most unforgettable chocolate desserts. Indulge in this sinful selection while experiencing the most breathtaking views in Manhattan.
Relaxing hour-long massages for two
The rate for weekends in February 2006 start at $699 per couple.
But you don't have to spend the night to indulge in the amazing chocolate. The chocolate buffet alone is $75 per person.LITTLE PALM ISLAND
If you're looking for a fabulous splurge, the "Islander Package" may be just for you:
Four nights on a private island in the Florida Keys.
Upon arriving you will be shown to your private Bungalow Suite, where a bottle of chilled champagne awaits.
Includes breakfast, lunch and dinner daily.
A $150 spa credit at Spa Terre, for each person.
Romantic turndown service can include dozens of red roses, champagne and rose petals in your bed and bath for extra charge.
Packages rates are per couple and include tax and service charges.
Available through May 31, 2006; the price for this package is $6,550.
THE ULTIMATE SPLURGE Private jet roundtrip transportation in a Hawker 800 XP private jet for guests within the continental U.S.
The "Love On The Rocks" package at the Ritz-Carlton Central Park costs a whopping $850,000. It includes:
Three-night luxury accommodations in The Ritz-Carlton's Royal Suite overlooking Central Park
A 10.14 round brilliant cut, "F"-color, internally flawless diamond
The diamond includes a consultation with a Tiffany & Co. master designer, personalized renderings, and a select amount of accent stones to complement the diamond, thus creating a masterpiece that defines your personal style
Meet directly with Tiffany & Co. chief gemologist
Exclusive opportunity to join Tiffany & Co. master craftsman for a behind-the-scenes tour of the Jewelry Manufacturing Workshop
Your Tiffany & Co. custom-designed diamond piece will be hand delivered to your home. Delivery is available in the continental U.S. only.
Personal 72-hour white-gloved Ritz-Carlton butler
Luxurious, limited-edition Bentley Spur with chauffeur at the guest's disposal throughout the stay; includes roundtrip airport transfers
Candlelit dinner for two served in The Royal Suite: specially prepared and personalized menu by the hotel's executive chef. Each course is accompanied by wines selected by the hotel's Wine Sommelier
Bottle of Cristal Champagne and a generous Beluga caviar service
Suite filled with romantic floral arrangements by celebrity florist Jane Packer
Breakfast for two in suite each morning
Two La Prairie Spa Diamond Perfection Treatments
Two La Prairie Spa Diamond Perfection Eye Treatments
Two 90-minute couples massages in suite
Rose Petal turndown
Embroidered his and her signature Ritz-Carlton Robes
Package pricing starts at $850,000 and excludes taxes and gratuities. A non-refundable 14-day advanced payment is required.