Saint Valentine was a third century saint associated with the tradition of courtly love. Courtly love was practised in secret by the high born. It was not generally practised between husband and wife. Valentine’s Day was essentially a celebration of doing the dirty with someone you are not married to. Today’s sanitised version is all about Hallmark cards, long stemmed roses and marital coitus. Although they had poor pre natal care and sometimes got martyred, I think our ancestors probably had more fun on Valentine’s Day…
What is inevitable however, is that you will get in trouble if you don’t plan to do something romantic with your number one lady or main squeeze this Friday. Here are a few suggestions covering my favourite cities. A big thank you to my co-contributors. I hope you all get lucky!
Avoid the ordinary with a shared bathing ritual at Aire Ancient Baths in TriBeCa. It consists of a series of different mini pools or baths at different temperatures. You pass through all of them. The experience is coed, beautiful, very sexy & great to explore. Also check out the Great Jones Spa which features couples or personal massages followed by jacuzzi time in a sunlit atrium. Raoul’s is the longstanding go-to for long romantic dates in Soho. A classic bistro from the seventies, those in the know still flock here for the atmosphere (jazz portraits, tin ceilings), the crowd (kittenish models, faux and possibly real european types and stylish locals) plus classic bistro dishes served with a laid-back, left bank vibe.
Recommendations courtesy of Save Our Souls and Shak Attack.
Start with a Martini Manicure at the Sofitel St James – a manicure accompanied by the elixir fixed the way you like. For dinner, Momo on Heddon Street is an old favourite, combining louche decor, excellent Moroccan cuisine and the inevitable shared hookah experience. Heddon Street has musical heritage, featuring on the cover of David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust album. Stay with the musical theme and check out the bar at the Gore Hotel in Kensington where The Rolling Stones launched the Beggar’s banquet album. Check in to the Tudor Room where Mick Jagger lived during the recording of the same album. There’s nothing quite like this in London outside the royal residences. There’s high oak beamed ceilings, a four poster bed, a portland stone fireplace, candelabras and a 15th century minstrel’s gallery. Whatever 50 shades of high jinks you have planned for the evening, there’s a pretty good chance Mick got there before you…
Take a moonlight hike and catch a dramatic panorama of Cape Town from the top of Lion’s Head. Make sure your partner is fit enough to make the climb. Heart attacks can put a dampener on romance… Chill out afterwards with a couples Thai massage at Enmasse, in a zen like environment with a Buddha Bar sound track and rare teas. No happy endings here – that part is up to the two of you! Afterwards Bistrot Bizerca is hard to beat for classic French bistro fare in the gorgeously restored Heritage Square. Ask for an outside table.
Recommendations courtesy of Bodacious from Bulawayo
Part owned by cricket legend Sanath Jayasuriya, Qbaa features live jazz, an eclectic crowd, good food and a proper wine cellar. There’s always a groovy scene here. Book a table at the restaurant for some alone time with your sweetie. Afterwards, the Sky Lounge at the Kingsbury Hotel provides molecular cocktails, cigars and jaw dropping views. This being Colombo, there’s a pretty good chance you’ll run into someone you know at some point in the evening, so its best not to practice courtly love with someone you shouldn’t be with…
Recommendations courtesy of Shehuahua
Ultimately, making someone feel special is not just about how much you spend on them or how cool the place is that you chose for the evening. It could help you get lucky though…
Happy Valentine’s Day!