12 lavish Valentine’s Day travel experiences for 2018
(CNN) — For many of us, February 14 usually involves picking up some flowers on the way home from the office and hoping the best ones haven’t already gone (they usually have).
Or showing your special someone how much you care by attempting to bake for the first — and last — time.
Luckily, Valentine’s Day can be a whole lot more exciting — and successful.
With a little preparation — and maybe a generous bank manager — you could be floating above elephants in a balloon, getting a classical piece of music composed just for you or even diving for pearls.
Here are some of the most remarkable ways around the world to spend February 14 with your special someone in 2018.
Composing music in Vienna
One of the Austrian capital’s most historic places to stay, The Hotel Imperial offers a unique way to show your love by working with a composer to create your own piece of music.
Following a specially developed music test and consultation, a piece of music is crafted based on individual desires and characteristics. Of course, you’ll also need the CD to go with it, so it’ll be recorded by members of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.
The “Your Individual Note'” package in the city of music also includes two nights in an Imperial Suite with champagne breakfasts, dinner at their Michelin-starred restaurant Opus and butler service throughout your stay.
$30,000 per couple for a two night stay.
Hotel Imperial. Kärntner Ring 16 1010 Vienna; +43 1 501 100
Heli-picnic in New Zealand
Picnics are usually well received, but even more so when they come with a helicopter trip and incredible views of Lake Wakatipu and the Southern Alps of New Zealand.
Queenstown provides the setting as couples take off above breathtaking scenery, before landing on one of the majestic peaks. Once up there, a champagne picnic is served before guests get to spend some quality one-on-one time in the remote, tranquil location.
Luckily the chopper returns to pick guests up and bring them back down to earth, literally and figuratively.
Picnic on a peak is priced at $562 per person.
Blue Hangar, 10 Tex Smith Lane, Queenstown, New Zealand; +64 3 442 2233
“Don’t forget your toothbrush” in London
This inventive Valentine’s idea in a London hotel may mean you end getting much more than you bargained for. Located in the heart of the city’s iconic Trafalgar Square, the Trafalgar St. James hotel and its Dining Rooms restaurant is offering a tempting four-course menu.
Inspired in part by cuisines of the Middle East, guests can choose from plates including eggplant with pomegranate and feta or grilled salmon.
So far, so tasty, but the kicker is that the dinner includes a “don’t forget your toothbrush” activation, meaning that one lucky couple who dine in on February 14 will win an overnight stay — that same night — in one of the hotel’s top suites.
Handily, the prize also includes a set of pajamas for two from Karen Mabon — as well as breakfast the next day.
The four-course Valentine’s Day dinner is $63 per person.
The Trafalgar St. James, 2 Spring Gardens, Trafalgar Square, London, SW1A 2TS; +44 20 7870 2900
Off-grid in Alaska
If no tweets, no Instagram and no Facebook updates sound heavenly, then a very remote corner of Alaska may be the answer to Valentine’s prayers.
The Sheldon Chalet in Denali National Park sits at almost 6,000 feet, meaning a helicopter is the only way in and out. It also means that there’s no cell phone or internet access, hopefully ensuring guests only have eyes for their beloved.
Experiences include skiing, snowshoeing and heli-fishing, while the all-inclusive price allows access to a sauna and all food and beverages — including champagne – and helicopter flight in and out.
Sheldon Chalet, Ruth Glacier, Denali National Park, Alaska, accessible by helicopter only); +1 907 854 7007
Cave swimming in Mexico
From the frozen mountain wilderness of Alaska to a natural swimming hole in the balmy climes of Mexico.
Hacienda Temozón, a Luxury Collection Hotel, features a tour to Sacamucuy, a 20-meter wide circular cave known as a cenote where guests can plunge in privacy to their heart’s delight.
The stunning subterranean world was created as a result of the collapse of porous limestone over millions of years. Other experiences are on offer, including the Mayan Ritual, where a Mayan Shaman performs a cleansing and wellness ceremony that includes incense, local vegetation and candles.
Back on the luxury property, there’s a chance to kick back at more modern pools, take advantage of the spa and enjoy local cuisine.
The tour to Sacamucuy is $25 per person, while the Mayan ritual is around $350 per couple.
Hacienda Temozon, 182 Carretera Merida-Uxmal, Temozon Sur, Yucatan, 97825, Mexico; + 52 999 923 8089
A special night at an American museum
For a Valentine’s Day that’s perhaps more cerebral than usual, there’s an unconventional private museum tour with Museum Hack?
Participants can choose from tours in top museums across five cities including the American Natural History Museum in New York and the Art Institute of Chicago.
Expeditions are customized to particular areas of interest, be it “Game of Thrones” or 19th Century French Impressionism and the operators promise to take visitors truly behind the scenes and reveal some of the museums’ secrets.
Wine and chocolates are also included as couples wander with a guide surrounded by art, beauty — and most importantly, no other visitors.
The private Valentine’s Day tour costs $599 per couple.
Museum Hack; +1 800 210 9676
Bubbles and tents down under
There’s a whole new spin on Valentine’s Day bubbles down under, with the option to sleep under the stars in an inflatable bubble tent. Located some 200 kilometers from Sydney, Bubble Tent Australia sits on a secluded working farm and overlooks a massive canyon, second only in size globally to the Grand Canyon.
Its glamping tents are named Leo, Virgo and Cancer and all have different features. Virgo offers a wood-fired hot tub on arrival, as well as a herb garden to help take al fresco culinary skills up a notch.
Being a bubble, of course, means being entirely exposed to the breathtaking night skies above. Mod cons provided include a telescope, hot water bottles and a fridge for your another kind of bubbles.
Bubbletent Australia, Running Creek, New South Wales, Australia;+61 0412 133 052
Private slopes in St. Moritz
Corvatsch is one of the main slopes at St. Moritz , the glitzy Swiss resort known as one of Europe’s top winter playgrounds.
It’s normally full of well-heeled skiers, but a very special package allows guests to have the entire slope — and lift — to yourself, from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Not only that, they also get transfers, Swiss culinary specialties such as fondue, drinks — and even a private DJ — so they can kick back to their own playlist at 3,000 meters.
The package offered by the Kulm Hotel St. Moritz costs around $10,500 and also offers extras such as a romantic horse-drawn carriage ride to whisk guests to their personal slope.
Kulm Hotel, 7500 St. Moritz, Switzerland; +41 81 836 80 00
Love through beadwork in Durban, South Africa
The lush hills around Durban in South Africa are the gateway to the area inhabited by the country’s largest ethnic group, the Zulus. Many practice artistic traditions passed down over generations, notably the delicate and intricate art of bead work.
One unusual way to woo a Valentine comes in the form of a Zulu love letter, where the different patterns and bead colors chosen offer different meanings. For example, white apparently symbolizes purity and true love, while blue indicates both fidelity and loneliness.
The WowZulu beading workshop at the craft marketplace allows participants to learn the ancient skills and also discover more about other rich elements of Zulu culture.
The experience ends with a visit to the picturesque homestead of a master crafter to see how it should be done.
Classes cost 385 rand ($32) each, which includes coffee, bottled water, and guide service.
WowZulu, Durban, South Africa;+27 81 324 1338
A balloon with a view in Kenya
Few experiences sound like they could match the romance of a balloon ride, especially one at sunrise over Kenya’s magnificent Masai Mara national reserve.
This wish list favorite from Olare Mara Kempinski Masai Mara enables guests to look down on the theater of wildlife below, floating silently by for 45 minutes.
They’re likely to observe an extraordinary diversity of wildlife, before landing and enjoying a full English breakfast, glass of champagne — and collecting their flight certificate.
After a game drive back to the Olare Mara Kempinski, guests can kick back in a safari experience under canvas in luxurious tents surrounded by rolling savannah. Throw in sundowner drinks and bush walks for memories set to last well beyond Valentine’s Day.
Tented suites from $900 per room per night, balloon ride $450 per person.
Olare Mara Kempinski Masai Mara, 00800 Masai Mara, Kenya; +254 703 049 000
Diving for pearls in Bahrain
Bahrain has a rich history of pearl diving and visitors can now add serious sparkle to their Valentine’s Day with a scuba diving tour during which they can try their hand at scooping up to 60 oysters from the seabed.
The best bit? They get to keep whatever they find.
The scuba action is part of a Pearling Trail, a UNESCO World Heritage experience departing from the ancient capital of Muharraq that also takes in beautifully preserved old merchant’s houses before a four-course dinner or a spa experience.
Pearl Scuba Diving costs around $98 per person, which includes a licensed pass.
Delma Marine; +973 17 311 120
Cruising in Koh Samui
Finally, to the warm waters of the Gulf of Thailand and the island of Koh Samui where a private yacht, Siam Seas, offers cruises that are almost guaranteed to get a positive answer to the big question.
Seemingly no one has ever said “no” when the question has been popped here, so throw in Valentine’s Day for even more pressure not to break the successful run.
With canapés, champagne, picture-perfect sunsets and snorkeling turquoise waters all part of the package, the setting should do most of the hard work.
Sunset cruise is THB 30,000 ($950) per couple plus taxes and service charge.
Four Seasons Resort Koh Samui, 219 Moo 5, Angthong, Koh Samui, Surat Thani 84140 Thailand; +66 77 243 000