14 Romantic Hotels
These spectacular, affordable spotssome close to home, some in classic Europeare perfect for a secluded getaway.
The hotel with the best combination of style and value in all of Sicily is on a coastal road in Siracusa's historic center of Ortigia. Gutkowski's owner, Paola Pretsch, converted a pair of powder-blue houses overlooking the Mediterranean into a 25-room hotel. She decorated the properties along minimalist lines, enhanced by traditional touches, with mod furnishings near old stone doorways. In the main building, the rooms with direct sea views are 3, 4, 8, 9, and 15—the last reached via a terrace. In the annex up the road, the views are best from second-floor rooms 24 to 26. (From the first floor, only the sea horizon is visible above stone fortifications across the road.) The scrumptious breakfast consists of homemade cakes and cookies, fruits and cheeses, organic marmalades and honey, and fresh-squeezed orange juice. Lungomare Vittorini 26, 011-39/0931-465-861, guthotel.it, from $163.
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Mount Haven Hotel
Orange Trevillion was drawn to Penzance, at the west end of Cornwall, because of the town's proximity to St. Michael's Mount, an ancient craggy island that looks a lot like a lopsided volcano. "It's a sacred place," says Trevillion, an eccentric with carrot-colored hair (of course) who believes that four of the Earth's energy lines come together there. Formerly the site of a Benedictine priory and rumored to have once been home to a giant, the island got its name when a fisherman claimed to have seen the archangel Michael there many years ago. Trevillion and her partners bought Mount Haven in 2001. They knocked down walls and reconfigured the old coach house to maximize views of St. Michael's Mount and the ocean. Most of the 18 rooms look out on the water. They have a distinctly Asian feel, with silk bedspreads and throw pillows covered in embroidered fabrics from Trevillion's frequent trips to India. (Room 6 is the quietest, away from both the front desk and the terrace.) Even the restaurant—where many dishes are flavored with curry and lemongrass—has views of the mount from one end. But the best seats are on the terrace: You can see the island rising steeply out of the water, with a medieval castle on its tip-top. (Owned by The National Trust, the castle is open to the public.) At low tide, when people stroll across a granite causeway to visit, it appears as if they're walking on water. Farther west beyond Mounts Bay and Penzance—the city made famous by Gilbert and Sullivan—is Land's End. 011-44/173-671-0249, mounthaven.co.uk, from $88, breakfast included.
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This story quotes starting rates for a one-night stay in a double room during low season.