20 affordable romantic retreats

Create interest by changing things up. Here are our favorite places to start

In the West, we’ve got a leg up on romance. For one thing, we’ve got natural beauty galore. But we’re also a breeding ground (forgive us) for cultivating the three golden rules of romance: making things beautiful, new, and interesting.


$ = $100 or less

$$ = $100-$175

$$$ = $175-$250

$$$$ = over $250

Korakia Pensione, Palm Springs: Grab the glass of mint tea that awaits you in your Moroccan- or Mediterranean-style room, then head out through French doors onto your bougainvillea-edged patio to sip and stare at the San Jacinto Mountains. Later, go for a swim in one of the inn’s two torch-lit pools under clear desert skies, or catch an outdoor movie. Make it new: Take a 2½-hour guided hike to scenic Tahquitz Canyon ($13 entrance fee; 760/416-7044). $$, including breakfast; two-night minimum on weekends. – Kathleen N. Brenzel

Waters Edge Hotel, Tiburon, CA: Throw open the bayside door of your tranquil coffee- and cream-colored room to hear the clang-clang of rigging knocking against masts on boats below. Look across the sparkling bay to San Francisco and think about how nice it is to be here, out of reach, together. Make it new: Arrive by boat instead of driving. A ferry ride from San Francisco drops you a few doors from the hotel. The salty air on deck lets you know you’re really getting away ($9.50 one-way; blueandgoldfleet.com). $$$, including continental breakfast. – Lisa Trottier 

Todos Santos Inn, Baja, Mexico: Hidden away in a quiet village near Cabo San Lucas is this enchanted brick-and-adobe hacienda. Disappear into one of its antique canopy beds, or head to a nearby beach. $$ U.S., including breakfast. – David Lansing

Figueroa Hotel, Los Angeles: Humphrey Bogart would fit right in at this cinematic Moroccan oasis in the middle of downtown's flurry. Make it interesting: Catch a concert at the L.A. Live entertainment complex before you head back to North Africa. $$ –MacKenzie Geidt

Hotel McCall, McCall, ID: An urban-chic hotel plunked down in the midst of mountain scenery. Make plans for the next day’s playtime as you stare from your comfy leather couch at huge, glacier-cut Payette Lake and its surrounding ponderosa pines and snowy slopes. Make it new: Drive to Ponderosa State Park and ski an easy mile to the Blue Moon Yurt, where you’ll sit down to spiced wine and a candlelit meal. Torches light your way back. (Ski trip: $90 per person; reservations required; Blue Moon Outfitters, 208/634-3111.) $$, including breakfast. – Laura Stavoe

Indian Springs, Calistoga, CA: There’s no better way to warm up, literally and figuratively, for an amorous evening than with a soak in steamy water so rich with minerals it feels like silk ― especially when your private cottage is just footsteps away. Make it interesting: Try Watsu on each other in the pool. Wat-what? Enthusiasts claim that this aquatic massage technique ― which involves rocking and cradling ― promotes a blissful sense of letting go. $$$ (ask about winter Sun–Thu spa packages). – Amy Wolf