Whether you’re lovesick or lustful, syrupy or sentimental, unleash your inner lover this coming Valentine’s Day with a selection of some of the best romantic escapes. From sunset dinners beside the Pacific Ocean and personal pampering at one of L.A.’s most luxurious spas or sweet treats in a charming chocolate box village to a romantic liaison at the Happiest Place On Earth, these are the area’s best V-day destinations.
Parkers’ Lighthouse and Queensview Steakhouse
435 Shoreline Drive
Long Beach, CA 90802
Price: $95 per person Valentine’s Day prix-fixe menu
Treat your significant other to a romantic candlelit dinner at the new Queensview Steakhouse — located on the third floor of Parkers’ Lighthouse in Long Beach — and enjoy prime steaks, chops, lobster or fresh-grilled fish while listening to a live jazz and stunning 360-degree views of the City of Long Beach and the world-renowned ocean liner, the RMS Queen Mary. There’s even a complimentary shuttle to the restaurant from downtown Long Beach hotels, The Aquarium of the Pacific and The Queen Mary if you decide to incorporate this epicurean liaison into part of a longer romantic weekend break.
Solvang: The Danish Capital of America
Solvang Conference & Visitors Bureau
1639 Copenhagen Drive
Solvang, CA 93463
When Cupid has a hankering for a flaky pastry, an all-butter shortbread cookie or a creamy chocolate éclair, he’ll head for Solvang, an idyllic storybook village filled with half-timbered buildings located in the heart of California’s Santa Ynez Valley. A smörgåsbord of Scandinavian-themed bakeries and confectionery outlets offer budding Casanovas a mouth-watering array of traditional Danish and American sweet treats — from aebleskivers and kringles to cookies and cakes — that will leave your sweetheart swooning from an overdose of amore as well as from sugar and spice. Provide a fairy tale ending to the day with a stay at the luxury boutique Hadsten House hotel.
The Strand House
117 Manhattan Beach Blvd.
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266
Price: $125 Valentine’s Day five-course prix-fixe menu includes glass of sparkling rosé and other extras
The classy Strand House with the Strand Bar below — previously known as Beaches — is a must-see eatery for both the amorous and the epicurious. The beach-side restaurant offers an exceptional contemporary American dinner menu — including Steelhead salmon, prime filet of beef, rack of lamb, roast duck and Jidori chicken breast — as well as picture-perfect views of Manhattan Beach Pier and the Pacific Ocean beyond. Round off a delightful evening by treating your partner to a night at Manhattan Beach’s only boutique luxury hotel, Shade.
The Spa at Terranea
6610 Palos Verdes Drive S
Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275
Price: from $95
Pamper yourself and your partner at the 50,000-square-foot oceanfront Spa at Terranea. The state-of-the-art Fitness and Wellness Center and Salon offers a cornucopia of personalized spa treatments — facials, massages, manicures and pedicures — along with access to an outdoor pool and spacious gym. For an extended amorous engagement indulge yourself with Terranea’s spa rejuvenation package, which includes overnight accommodation in a Resort View room, two 60-minute spa treatments and breakfast for two in the Catalina Kitchen.
The Blue Bayou
Disneyland’s New Orleans Square
1313 S. Harbor Blvd.
Anaheim, CA 92802
Lovers of Cajun and Creole cuisine looking to add a little spice to Valentine’s Day can make a date at Disney’s Blue Bayou restaurant, a hidden gem located inside the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction. Guests can choose from a variety of traditional Acadian dishes — including Cajun-spiced salmon, seafood jambalaya and Tesora Island chicken — whilst kicking back in a subtly-lit venue on the edge of a wonderfully atmospheric Louisiana bayou that’s teeming with croaking bullfrogs and chirping crickets. Make a lasting impression on your prince or princess by whisking him or her off to the romantic Fairy Tale Signature Suite at the Disneyland Hotel to to put the finishing touch to an enchanted evening.
Julian Gothard is an internationally published freelance writer covering all things Los Angeles. You can check out his popular RVing and travel column at Examiner.com.