Diners at Kisik, the Ayana Resort’s open-air seafood grill, are privy to a romantic enough view — candlelit tables on the tip of a cliff jutting out over the ocean — but on a recent balmy night in Bali, people dining on the freshly grilled seafood looked wistfully at the couple far out on the end of a pier in the ocean below. They could hear the soft bamboo xylophone and see the decorative palm wall hiding the couple from view.
What they couldn’t see was the grilled lobster or the other four courses that accompanied it. They also had not watched the dramatic descent of the couple down the cliffs and the candle-lit walk along the pier. The “dessert,” however, was something all the guests got to appreciate: a fireworks display that included lighting up one lucky lady’s name in sparklers.
The Pesta Lobster Dinner on the pier is one of the Ayana’s signature romantic experiences, a specialty of the Balinese resort, which caters to blissful couples in love, from the various intimate chapels to the private cliff-side villas with black stone-lined infinity pools. The Ayana is not the only hotel that has some tricks up its sleeve. Increasingly, properties around the world are planning over-the-top romantic dates for couples that are willing to spend serious cash on an extraordinary night.
Could it be the influence of reality dating shows like The Bachelor, in which producers extensively plan out romantic dates to top the previous episode’s one? Romance is hard to define — sometimes it’s not a rose petal path and soft music; more often it’s creating a memory to look back on together. More adventurous couples should look to dinners like the ones that the luxurious Anantara Resorts plan. At the location in Thailand, which also serves as an elephant sanctuary, they will plan a dinner for two in a rustic mahout hut followed by an evening visit with baby elephants in the jungle.
There are more classically romantic dates to be had as well, like at Le Meurice in Paris where a couple can dine on a private balcony by the light of the Eiffel Tower sparkling in the near distance. Or what about the sexy, tropical feel of a Caribbean island? The ruins of the colonial Sugar Mill on the grounds of Caneel Bay in St. Johns provide a dreamy backdrop for an intimate dinner.
Food, of course, is a sensual experience by itself, and none of these amazing dinners lack epicurean delights. In particular, lovers who are gourmands will be especially interested in the Table Lumiere at the Dorchester’s Alain Ducasse restaurant. Like a nest of sparking lights, the curtained-off table is as exquisite as the food.
Rugged food lovers, on the other hand, will cherish an aphrodisiac dinner of oysters that they catch themselves and subsequently eat right there in the pristine wetlands of Tasmania, Australia — with champagne of course. Whatever the flavor, these 10 incredibly romantic dinners may inspire you to go above and beyond, and not even wait until Valentine’s Day to make it a special night.