Candlelit restaurants and heart-themed towel sculptures are overrated. Tamara Hinson discovers 11 weird but wonderful places to add some wow factor to the most romantic day of the year
Over the Moon, La Plagne, France
We all know that feeling—you turn up to your supposedly ski-in, ski-out chalet, only to discover that getting to the slopes involves a one-mile hike. Not so at Over the Moon, a converted piste-basher perched on the Arpette Summit, 7,874 feet above sea level.
Inside, you’ll find a queen-sized bed, spa bath, television, stereo and coffee machine, along with a gift hamper filled with champagne, macaroons, massage oil and what’s described as an “erotic board game.” We’re assuming it’s not Monopoly.
Human Nest, California, US
If roll-top baths and rose petal-sprinkled beds don't do it for you, why not spend the night snuggled up to your loved one in a super-sized nest on the Californian coast?
Book this beautiful structure, built by Big Sur artist Jayson Fann, and you’ll enjoy spectacular views over the ocean, with only some local wildlife for company. And although we're primarily talking about eagles and hummingbirds, it's worth noting a disclaimer on the website which reminds guests that raccoons, mice and bats are partial to a night in the nest, too.
Nothing says romance like a rabies shot.
The Helicopter at Ream Hills, Lancashire, UK
Admittedly this next option is only suitable for couples who are passionate about all things airborne—drifting off to sleep as your other half witters on about fuselages and flight manuals is hardly the most romantic way to spend Valentine’s Day.
The helicopter in question (a 1977 Westland Lynx XZ262, if you were wondering) contains a kitchenette and sleeping area and has its own spacious patio—the perfect place to sip champagne while admiring the stars (or failing that, the BA316 from Paris to Manchester).
Free Spirit Spheres, British Columbia, Canada
Fancy challenging your inner Ewok? Book a night at the Free Spirit Spheres, where you'll several giant, nut-shaped structures hanging from some of British Columbia's tallest trees.
There are three to choose from, but all are surprisingly roomy and contain a bed and dining area. If you opt for Eryn, the largest one, you’ll also get a hi-tech sound system and a small lounge area. There are plans for a dedicated sauna sphere, too.
The Underwater Room, Pemba island, Tanzania
To truly get away from it all, book the beautiful Underwater Room, part of Pemba Island’s Manta Resort.
Amazingly, the Tardis-like structure has three levels: the upper level serves as a sunbathing terrace, the landing deck, at sea level, contains a lounge and bathroom, and the lower, underwater level contains a double bed, surrounded by glass walls which allow you to admire the local marine life as you drift off to the land of nod—bringing new meaning to the phrase “sleep with the fishes.”
The Queen Mary Hotel, California, US
After decades sailing the seven seas, the Queen Mary retired to Long Beach, California, where it now serves as a luxury hotel. But if you’re picturing cramped cabins, think again.
Rooms are huge, with large portholes, original artwork and vast expanses of polished wood panelling. There are 346 first-class cabins to choose from, although we recommend the Sir Winston Churchill suite (the former prime minister was a regular guest on the liner), with its beautiful lounge area and art-filled bedroom. Just don’t mention the Titanic.
Arctic TreeHouse Hotel, Rovaniemi, Finland
Admittedly, when viewed from a certain angle, these next rooms might bear a certain resemblance to an enormous microwave, but step inside and you’ll find what might just be the world’s most romantic accommodation.
Nestled in a forest in the heart of the Arctic Circle, each suite contains a bedroom, bathroom and kitchenette.
Under-floor heating ups the cosiness factor, and the bed is positioned to make the most of the spectacular views of the forest beyond.
Sky Lodge Adventure Suites, Sacred Valley, Peru
Although this next option is certainly worthy of a place on this list, it’s probably not ideal for those with a fear of heights.
Why? The rooms in question (which are actually polycarbonate capsules hanging from the side of a cliff) are 1,312 feet above the valley floor and getting to them involves being strapped into a harness and lowered down a cliff face.
On the plus side, it’s one of the world’s most beautiful spots—a spectacular gorge which runs through Peru’s stunning Sacred Valley. Who needs room service in a place like this?
Liberty Hotel, Boston, US
If someone told you they'd spent a night behind bars with their loved one, you'd assume the date in question was somewhat of a disaster. Not so at the Liberty, a former prison which has been converted into a luxury hotel.
Despite plenty of reminders of its past (including the original, exposed brickwork and the gangways which doubled as lookouts for prison guards), it's a rather cosy affair, with huge, throw-draped beds and gorgeous views over the city.
Our favourite spot is the Alibi bar (once the prison's drunk tank), where you'll find some of Boston's best cocktails and mug shots of various celebrities, including Lindsay Lohan and Mick Jagger.
Crane Hotel, Amsterdam, Holland
Nothing says romance like a spectacular city view, and that's exactly what you'll enjoy if you book one of the three suites tucked inside the structure of this riverside crane in Amsterdam, Holland.
Inside the cabins, which all have a split-level design, you'll find Condé Nast-worthy decor and separate bedrooms and living areas. Our favourite is Mystique, with its golden ceilings, standalone bathtub and luxurious fabrics.
If you're feeling flush, you can even arrange for a helicopter to whisk you from the airport to the base of the crane.
Silo Stay, Little River, New Zealand
We realise that the thought of a night in a grain silo might not scream "romance", but bear with us.
To start with, these converted silos, each of which sleeps two people, are wonderfully snug without feeling cramped, and the ideal option for couples who care about the environment as much as they care about each other.
Rooftop panels allow you to admire New Zealand's night sky from your bed, and Silo Stay's mean, green waste water harnessing system uses worms to break down waste and turn it into energy. Clever indeed, but admittedly not something you'll want to dwell on while you're admiring that gorgeous night sky.