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All-inclusive resorts
By Lena Katz

Drinks, non-motorized water sports, 7,000 calories a day, and a kick-start for your relationship too? Yup, that’s what you can get for one price at my favorite all-inclusive resorts this Valentine’s Day. Check out the following inspirations and romance recipes for a Caribbean vacation or Mexico getaway.

Breezes SuperClubs Resorts top the list of romantic all-inclusive resorts for one major reason: With a 3-night minimum stay, you can get an entire wedding or renewal of vows for free — marriage license, ceremony, cake, champagne, and flowers. Each resort even provides a staff wedding planner to make sure everything goes smoothly. Note: You must pay for the photographer, as well as government/administration fees (though some Breezes properties will waive this with a 7-night minimum stay).

Breezes is known for its fun, unpretentious, often rowdy vacation vibe — at the moment, the brand is not positioned as luxury. However, some properties, like popular Breezes Runaway Bay Resort in Jamaica, have undergone renovations to vastly improve the quality of service and accommodations. A romantic Caribbean vacation at the newly renovated Runaway Bay might include welcome champagne service to your room, dinner for two under the stars, a horse & buggy ride, and vows renewal in the oceanfront gazebo or even underwater. All these things must be pre-arranged, and the underwater vow renewals or weddings are only offered to people with scuba certification.

Of course I couldn’t do a romantic all-inclusive resort roundup without giving a shout-out to Couples Resorts. This Caribbean mini-chain is the leader in lovey-dovey twosome experiences, and its formula is such a fan favorite, there’s even a message board for longtime repeat guests to swap their vacation stories and ideasfor next time.

My favorite Couples extra is simple but oh-so-memorable: The Director of Romance will help one person craft a personal love letter to the other, and deliver it at the time and in the manner of their choosing. If, as the saying goes, ‘tis the thought that counts, then this service is invaluable to those brave enough to use it.

Three Couples resorts are currently open on Jamaica, with the flagship Ocho Rios property currently being renovated, to open in April 2009 as Couples Tower Isle. Stay tuned for more info as the date approaches.

An up-and-coming travel destination that still offers some great bargains, the Dominican Republic is the home of Barcelo Bavaro Palace Junior Suites Deluxe. Located in Punta Cana, this high-end all-inclusive resort within a 6-hotel Barcelo Resorts complex explains everything in its name, really: Expansive oceanfront suites feature hydrotherapy tubs, private terraces and “occupancy sensors” which let the housekeeping staff know when guests are ensuite. This is one of our favorite new technologies, since it alleviates the constant (and well-founded! Who hasn’t this happened to?) worry that the maids might bust in midway through an intimate moment.

Over in fabulous Cancun, the Paradisus Riviera Cancun has a Romance Specialist on staff to help guests pre-arrange the perfect couples getaway. Some of their suggestions for your Mexico vacation? Breakfast in bed — a curtain-swagged Bali bed, no less. A torchlit dinner al fresco. Vow renewals by the sea. Couples massage. Let the professionals spin your romantic daydreams into reality.

Related Orbitz resources:

Lena Katz lives on the Left Coast and writes about tropical islands, beach clubs and ski resorts, but her heart belongs to NYC.

Tagged: Caribbean, Mexico

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