Far-Flung Romance

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The Taj Lake Palace creates an iconic image of India as it seems to float like a lotus on Lake Pichola. To add to the romantic ambiance, suggest couples take one of India’s luxury rail lines to the location as the rail station is about two miles away. One of the jewels in this crown is the Royal Spa Suite, adorned in Rousseau-like wall designs and set on two levels with a private in-suite massage room and jacuzzi, all overlooking the lake and nearby Jagmandir Palace. Private butlers are on hand to attend to all needs and a fleet of vintage and classic cars are on hand for nearby jaunts into town, attended by a personal butler. The Jiva Spa presents an eclectic menu of Indian-style treatments as well as lessons in meditation and yoga.

A Royal Honeymoon stay at the Taj Lake Palace in the Royal Spa Suite runs $1,722 for the couple for two nights and includes transfers in a luxury car, breakfast in bed, a champagne tour of the palace, a sunset cruise on the lake and cultural performances inside the courtyard. It also brings an exclusive dinner with wine and live instrumental music, a private consultation and couples’ massage at the Royal Taj Spa, an evening session of Cigar & Cognac in the candlelit lobby lounge, a late-night Shikara boat cruise on Lake Pichola, turndown amenities and hand-picked room amenities, such as scented candles, aromatic oils and a bottle of wine. A special bath is set up from the exotic bath menu on any one night during the stay and couples can stay in and watch movies from a collection of Hollywood classics and enjoy fresh-picked flowers of choice. Discounts on spa treatments and F&B are also included. Use of the spa wet areas is complimentary.

The Umaid Bhawan Palace, meanwhile, which sits on a hill overlooking Jodhpur, is the last of the great palaces of India and one of the largest residences in the world—set amidst 26 acres of lush gardens. The art deco monument dates back to 1943 and brings a strange blend of eastern and western architectural influences.

The Maharani Suite here is a sensuous accommodation t

o recommend. It is dominated by a mural of the Goddess Kali, etched on shining black glass. Completely renovated, it has a spacious sitting room, a dining room for 12 with attached kitchen, a large bedroom and a long verandah overlooking the formal gardens and the Mehrangarh Fort in the distance. It provides a private, couples’ spa therapy room and adjoining yoga/meditation room. The bathroom is carved out of a single piece of pink Italian marble.

The more masculine Maharajah Suite features murals of leopards, tigers and horses. The suite’s original, art deco furnishings and lighting has been restored and blended seamlessly with newer pieces. The suite features a dining room, a private bar, sitting room, huge master bedroom, private spa therapy room, dressing room, and fully refurbished, 6-fixture bathroom with adjoining steam room. The rooms open on to a generous verandah overlooking one of the palace’s grand courtyards.

The palace itself is a wonder to be explored freely and the location is an easy walk to the enchanting town of Jodhpur for shopping. The average stay for honeymooning couples from the U.S. is three days, according to Taj onsite sales manager Rachita Maini.

Room rates at the Umaid Bhawan Palace start at $364 per night with historic suites starting at $810 per night.

fiji for lovers Fiji is no newcomer to the romance scene and offers a plethora of choices—from private islands to overwater bungalow villas—ideal for couples in love. Most resorts take some time to get to after arriving in Nadi, whether driving up the coast of Viti Levu or flying onward to one of the country’s 106 inhabited South Sea islands.

On top of the list consider the Matangi Private Island Resort off the coast of Vanua Levu, near the Matai Airport. This small and luxury-filled Fiji resort offers 11 beachfront and oceanview bungalows plus three tree house bures on a 240-acre private island. With its white powder beaches and tropical forest it was included as a must in the notorious “1,000 Places to Visit Before You Die” tome. The resort accesses some of the best diving in Fiji along the Somo Somo Straits.