Best bets for Valentine getaways

By CARY ORDWAY

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, there still may be time to book your Romantic California Weekend – and save some money in the process.

With just a little looking, you’ll happen on some great packages that offer that extra special touch that you know your lover will most certainly appreciate. But don’t forget the element of surprise -- we suggest that you sneak onto California Weekend.Com, find and book your Valentine getaway, but wait until the 13th or 14th of February to let your true intentions be known.

                                                                                                                                                       The Daly Inn

Even better, suggest to your significant other that the Feb. 14 weekend is being set aside for that major project you’ve been putting off for months. “Remember, dear, that’s the weekend we’re going to dig gutters for the new sprinkler system.” Or, “Get out your calendar, Sweetheart – here’s the weekend we’re going to clean out our storage locker and have a two-day garage sale. 

Then let your sweetie simmer for a few weeks, looking with dread upon that dark weekend coming up in mid-February. Sometime pretty close to departure, call your loved one to attention and hand him or her a gift certificate from a major department store. “Before we tear out the bathroom plumbing, dear, I just thought it would be helpful for you to go down and get something to wear for the occasion.”

Of course, sneaky you, at this point will load your unsuspecting partner into the car (a new BMW with a bow on it would be a nice touch) and off you go to your getaway with one stop at the department store to make sure your loved one has the appropriate attire for this very special weekend away from home.  Maybe one more little sidetrip to Long’s Drug Store for some sundries would be nice. A surprise is one thing; a kidnapping is quite another.

But of course, there’s one nagging question about this – where to go? Fortunately, California Weekend has the answer. A few suggestions would include:

The Cornelius Daly Inn

This spectacular property, located in Eureka, California, is rolling out the red carpet on Valentine’s Day. Cornelius Daly Inn is in the historic district, a few blocks from the Pacific Ocean and minutes away from the majestic Redwoods. Eureka’s Old Town, with its wonderful shops and restaurants, is within walking distance of the Inn. This exquisite Colonial revival home was built in 1905 by Cornelius Daly for his wife Annie and their five children. The inn has been lovingly restored to its original elegance with modern conveniences added.

Original features include four wood-burning fireplaces and lovely Victorian gardens. Each room of the B&B is furnished with turn-of-the-century antiques reflecting the charm of the early 1900s. Recapture the warmth of the Victorian family breakfast. Enjoy a leisurely morning meal in the elegant dining room, seated before a cracking fire, or on warmer days, you may be served on the garden patio.

For Valentine’s Day, deluxe guest rooms with private bath are on special for $202.50 for two nights – normally they sell for $270. Deluxe Suites with sitting room and private bath are just $225 for two nights – normally $300. (A 9% occupancy tax will be added to all room packages.)

You’ll enjoy the evening wine and special hors d’oeuvres created especially for the occasion served in the main parlor by a glowing fire.  Also included in the room rate is the full gourmet candlelit breakfast served in the dining room at intimate tables for just the two of you. For those of you who REALLY think ahead, just call and let the inn know that you want champagne, chocolates, a bouquet, a massage – or all of the above – and they’ll be happy to have it waiting for you for a nominal extra charge.

To book, call 800-321-9656 or e-mail innkeeper@dalyinn.com.

The Queen Mary

The ultimate setting for a unique romantic experience this Valentine’s Day may be the Queen Mary, in Long Beach, where you can enjoy a unique dining experience at one of the three restaurants aboard.  The Queen Mary is home to a 365-stateroom on-board hotel, three casual to elegant, full-service restaurants, banquet and meeting facilities, a wedding chapel, and is open 365 days a year. 

Romance will be at the top of the menu at the award-winning Promenade Café, the Chelsea and Sir Winston’s.  Sir Winston’s will be offering dinner for $65 per person plus tax.  One of the special entree selections will be “Romeo and Juliet,” broiled filet mignon with a six ounce Maine lobster tail, served with truffle sauce, fried leeks and butter.  Dinner will be served from 4 p.m. until 11 p.m. on Feb. 14. Reservations are required and attire is semi formal.

The Chelsea restaurant will also offer a special menu available on February 14th from 4 p.m. - 10 p.m.  The price is $48 per person and reservations are required.  One of the appetizer selections will be “Wrapped Around You,” asparagus wrapped in smoked salmon on a grilled bruschetta, topped with Bermuda red onion. Dress is business casual. 

The Promenade Café will offer a special buffet on February 14th from 4 p.m. – 11 p.m.  The cost is $30 per person.  Menu offerings will include grilled chicken with opal basil sauce and assorted mini pastries.  Dress is casual. Reservations can be made by calling 562.435-3511.

Adding yet another option to an already magical night, KOST 103 radio will be celebrating their Love Song’s Valentine Party with an evening of dinner and dancing in the Grand Salon of the Queen Mary.  Tickets are $89 per person and include a reception from 7-8 p.m., Champagne; Dinner from 8-10 p.m. featuring a four-course meal; Love psychics and giveaways; Dancing from 10 p.m. to 12 a.m., featuring KOST Love Songs hosted by on-air personality Karen Sharp.  In addition, half hour Queen Mary tours will be given at passenger information from 6-8 p.m.  Reservations can be made by calling 562-499-1625.

For more Queen Mary information or hotel, restaurant or group tour reservations, the public may call (562) 435-3511 or visit www.queenmary.com.  The Queen Mary is located at 1126 Queens Highway at the south end of the 710 Freeway, on the water in Long Beach, California.

Boutique Resorts Bel-Abri

Instead of the usual wine-tasting at the Bel-Abri, Valentine’s Day will include a champagne and chocolate tasting – two hours, no less. The all new Boutique Resorts-Bel Abri is a 15-room French Country Hotel located just off I-29 and First Street in Napa Valley, California.

Boutique Resorts-Bel Abri echoes the furniture, fabrics, and accessories linked with the region of Provence. Rooms feature plantation shutters and window treatments, French tapestries, solid granite bathrooms, regal bedding with down comforters, beautiful handcrafted furniture, wrought-iron occasional pieces, lighting, and accessories. Most guest rooms include a fireplace, and two of the rooms (considered Junior Suites) also offer jacuzzi tubs. Plantation shutters and tapestry window treatments allow for privacy and block sunlight for those days when you just want to sleep in.

Prices at Bel-Abri will actually be slightly higher Valentine’s Weekend because of the demand, but management assures that a full breakfast is always included in the cost, and there are many relaxing and surprising touches you will find throughout the property.

El Encanto Hotel & Garden Villa

Perched in the Mediterranean-like setting of Santa Barbara's exclusive Riviera residential district above the Mission Santa Barbara, historic El Encanto Hotel and Garden Villas invites you to relax and rejuvenate in the tranquillity of luxuriant gardens and panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean and the Channel Islands. First built in 1915, El Encanto has been a preferred retreat and the center of Santa Barbara's social, cultural and architectural heritage for over 80 years.

 

You’ll enjoy peaceful seclusion and energizing serenity in 84 unique California Craftsman and Spanish Colonial Revival-style accommodations clustered throughout the lush grounds.

For Valentine’s Day, the hotel is featuring a romantic champagne dinner for two inside their guest rooms. The hotel also is featuring a restaurant champagne dinner for two – your choice of two seatings early and late – in a restaurant that has won the “Most Romantic Restaurant” in Santa Barbara for the past 10 years. And all those guests who come to the hotel Valentine’s weekend will receive lavender flowers wrapped in organdy sachets as well as Wishing Well Cards with a Penny that are left by your bedside.

To book, please call 800-346-7039, or email: info@elencantohotel.com.

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