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Amanda Statham

Back to Inspirations
From a first date in a glam hotel, via a Valentine's night in a country mansion, to a chic honeymoon off the Cornish coast, I've scoured the UK to find the ultimate romantic retreats for the early years of a relationship. Designed to help ease those all-important decisions, such as where to head on your first weekend break or where to pop the question, my top ten doesn't guarantee a lifetime of happiness together, but a night at one of these is a great start!
Corinthia Hotel London

Okay, we're not necessarily saying book a hotel for the first date, that could appear a little, ahem, keen, however an upmarket hotel bar does make a brilliant first date: expertly mixed cocktails, great people-watching and a little bit sexy. One of the hottest places in the capital at the moment is London's new Corinthia Hotel and a date at its Massimo Oyster Bar, knocking back glasses of Champagne and fresh seafood (oysters are an aphrodisiac don't you know!), is pretty much guaranteed to lead to a second meet-up.

Bodysgallen Hall Hotel, Restaurant & Spa

Things are hotting up. If you're still together at V-Day it's time to up the romance (unless they say it's a commercial con by greetings card companies, in which case ditch them and take your best friend instead!). Bring on the roaring log fires to cuddle in front of, rolling countryside for romantic windswept walks, gourmet restaurant and bedroom with a four-poster. Bodysgallen Hall & Spa, a former 17th century mansion in north Wales (it's the AA's Welsh hotel of the year) has all of the above plus views across Snowdonia and Conwy Castle and a three AA rosette restaurant, not to mention a full Welsh breakfast served in the morning. Valentine-tastic.

Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons

Meeting in-laws for the first time is always daunting and mother-in-laws are particularly intimidating, so start off on the right foot by getting together on neutral ground, preferably somewhere with fantastic food, so there's a distraction if they don't find your jokes/job/manners/face (delete as appropriate) as good as you'd hoped. Lunch at Le Manoir Aux Quat'Saisons, celeb chef Raymond Blanc's gorgeous two-Michelin star escape in Oxfordshire, is spot on. It's suitably special (and pricey), but Monsieur Blanc has made sure that it's not stuffy, so you'll be able to get to know each other without worrying about which fork to use or what half the menu means. What's more, the garden, with its lavender beds, vast veggie plot with labels for all the produce and croquet lawn, makes a great place to stroll around together/escape from interrogation post-lunch.

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