Luxury Romantic Outings in the West
Valentine's Day mountain getaways
No matter what your ideal Valentine’s weekend includes, Natural Retreats has just the setting to make it unforgettable. The company’s Xplore Team, their group of in-house travel experts, share Valentine’s Day tips and suggestions on how to best enjoy some of their most romantic destinations.
This year, Valentine’s Day falls over a long weekend, giving lovebirds the perfect excuse to fly off on a romantic vacation. For a memorable weekend, opt for fresh air and celebrate your love surrounded by the natural beauty of the Mountain West.
Located just over the pass from Jackson Hole, Teton Springs Lodge & Spa is a 51-room hotel, surrounded by some of the best views in the West. Awarded the #1 hotel in Idaho by US News & World Report for 4 years running, Teton Springs is a quieter, more romantic alternative to nearby Jackson. “Couples really love our one-bedroom luxury suites because they’re so intimate,” shares Xplore Team member, Brittany. “There’s a seating area, a cozy fireplace, and a balcony with gorgeous views of the Tetons.” Couples will also love the generous bathrooms and full en suite kitchens.
Thrill-seeking couples can package their stay with a once-in-a-lifetime heli-ski adventure. With a helipad located on site (one of only 2 hotels in the lower 48 to offer this adventure), guests can roll out of bed and onto the bird for an adrenaline-filled 6 runs in some of the freshest powder you’ll ever experience. Then return to the lodge for a warm lunch at their Storehouse Café.
If a little R&R is what you’re after, pay a visit to Stillwaters Spa, located onsite at the lodge. Choose from a full menu of luxurious spa treatments, ranging from massages (yes, couples' massages, too!) to body treatments and facials. After a day of pampering, Brittany recommends stepping out for a romantic meal at either the Knotty Pine or Teton Thai, a favorite among locals.
A sunshiny and cheerful destination can’t help but rub off on its guests, and this one will certainly leave you and your honey sporting an unmistakable Sun Valley glow. With 300 days of sunshine each year and a selection of seasonal outdoor experiences, it’s no secret how Sun Valley got its name. Xplore Team member, Jacquie, can’t help but grin. “It’s just such a happy place,” she swoons. “It’s gorgeous and so full of excitement.”
Natural Retreats’ collection of Sun Valley homes and condos are located throughout the area and range from condos in downtown Ketchum to estates along the Wood River. “Our one bedroom and studio condos are luxurious and perfect for a Valentine’s weekend escape,” notes Jacquie.
While Ketchum is full of fantastic restaurants and shopping, the surrounding landscape is brimming with adventure. Jacquie recommends starting the day with breakfast at The Kneadery before hitting the slopes at Sun Valley Resort for a day of skiing at America’s oldest ski resort. “For an incredible meal after a great day of skiing, ride the gondola to The Roundhouse, a delicious restaurant, perched atop iconic Mt. Baldy.”
If you and your sweetheart love fresh powder almost as much as you love one another, then Taos Ski Valley beckons. Just a 30-minute drive and a few thousand feet above the artsy old-world charm of Taos proper, this Southwestern ski destination is famous for its champagne powder, steep, vertical thrills, and exciting chutes. “Taos Ski Valley is a bucket-list destination for avid skiers, and visitors come from all over to experience it.” But Xplore Team Member, Stephen, recognizes that Taos Ski Valley is unique to other American ski destinations. “There’s a spiritual element to Taos,” he points out. “It’s just a really special place.”
Natural Retreats has a collection of Southwestern-style homes and condos, perfect for a couples’ get away. While most visitors are in town to ski and snowboard, there are plenty of other adventures to keep you entertained. “Taos is iconic and unique,” shares Stephen, “and there are several things you should do and see while in town.” What’s included on this list? “Visit Taos Pueblo, a UNESCO World Heritage site, get a picture in front of the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge, take a tour of the fascinating Earthship buildings, and relax in the natural hot springs at Ojo Caliente.” And foodies certainly will not go hungry in the Taos area. Stephen recommends Michael’s Kitchen for breakfast, Phoenix Grill (New Mexico’s highest elevation restaurant) for après ski, and The Bavarian for a romantic dinner.
After working as a freelance photographer and travel writer for nearly a decade, Jenn Winter currently works in Marketing and lives in Virginia. Her work can be viewed at www.jennwinter.com