6 dirty weekend ideas
Some like it hot in a four-poster, others need a sea view to widen their horizons, or a tiny cottage far from prying eyes. This selection of romantic venues in the UK and Ireland will satisfy all desires.
by Anna Goldrein, with photography by Jon Martin
Pelirocco, Brighton (pictured above)
Ambience: Kitsch and playful.
Attraction: An ex-PR girl and a former DJ have transformed a chintzy guesthouse into a funky hotel, equipped with PlayStations in each room. Breakfast is served until 10am (11am weekends) and you can extend checkout until 2pm (£10 fee).
Which room: The newest Durex Play Room (8 foot circular bed, mirrored ceiling, plunge pool), Absolut Love (lilac ceiling, lipstick red bed), Betty's Boudoir (inspired by 1950s pin-up Betty Page), bubblegum pink Pussy or the Magic Room, decorated by Sex Pistols' Album cover designer, Jamie Reid.
Dream lover: 20-30s muso or fashionista
If you venture out: Head past the crumbling West Pier to The Lanes for razor-sharp bars and sexy seafood.
Vital Statistics: £90-£290 B&B accommodation for two
Hotel Pelirocco, 10 Regency Square
Brighton, BN1 2FG (01273 327055) www.hotelpelirocco.co.uk
The Samling, Lake District
Ambience: Romantic with a capital R (Wordsworth stayed here!)
Attraction: Ten individually designed suites split between the main house and cottages scattered in the 67-acre grounds, which overlook Lake Windermere. Soft sofas, real fires and good local food by Chef Chris Meredith from London's Aubergine.
Which room: Favourites are Bothy, a tiny slate cottage with a huge bathtub (said to have belonged to Winston Churchill), patio and lake views, or Manmire mezzanine bedroom, steps lead from the room up to an open-air hot tub.
Dream Lover: True romantic
If you venture out: No need. Breakfast is served in your room at anytime. If the urge doesn't take you, arrange boating, guided walks or romantic picnics.
Vital Statistics: B&B prices from £200 per room (£400 Bothy and Manmire); dinner, B&B packages from £290 (£520 Bothy and Manmire).
The Samling, Ambleside Road
Windermere, LA23 1LR (01539 431922) www.thesamling.com
Le Manoir Aux Quat' Saisons, Oxfordshire
Ambience: Oral pleasure
Attraction: Superchef Raymond Blanc's country house hotel stimulates the appetite with a two-Michelin-starred restaurant and luxurious accommodation.
Which room: Ruby-red Opium with private Zen garden or the Dovecote bridal suite
If you venture out: Wander the hotel's fragrant gardens, slow-paced Great Milton Village or take a trip to nearby Oxford, Blenheim Palace and the Cotswolds.
Vital Statistics: Rooms from £380 (Opium £825; Dovecote £590), menus from £89.
Le Manoir Aux Quat' Saisons, Church Road, Great Milton
Oxford OX44 7PD (01844 278881) www.manoir.com
Hotel Tresanton, Cornwall
Ambience: Chanel sailor suit with the sleeves rolled up.
Attraction: Olga Polizzi, daughter of Lord Forte, transformed a yachtsman's club into a stylish hideaway on the windswept Cornish coast.
Which room: Any. All have sea views.
Dream Lover: Media mover
If you venture out: St Anthony's lighthouse, Lamorran Gardens or further afield, the Eden Project and Land's End.
Vital Statistics: Accommodation from £230. Valentine's Package £480 (includes two nights' B&B accommodation, Friday and Saturday dinner and Sunday's oyster lunch).
Hotel Tresanton, Lower Castle Road, St Mawes Cornwall, TR2 5DR (01326 270055). www.tresanton.com
Stoke Park Club, Stoke Poges
Ambience: Sedate grandeur
Attraction: Gleaming white palatial house revamped as a lavish hotel, set in sweeping grounds landscaped by Capability Brown and once owned by Elizabeth I.
Which room: Pennsylvania Suite, the setting for Bridget Jones' dirty weekend with Daniel Cleaver (Hugh Grant)
Dream lover: Golfing pro or sophisticated high-flyer
If you venture out: Stroll the 350-acre estate (but watch out for golf balls). Dine at the Fat Duck in Bray (01628 580 333). Drive to nearby Eton or Windsor Castle.
Vital Statistics: Luxury Weekend Break from £299 per person Package includes two nights accommodation, three-course dinner on one evening and full English breakfast both mornings.
Stoke Park Club, Park Road, Stoke Poges
Buckinghamshire SL2 4PG (01753 717171)
Leslie Castle, County Monaghan, Ireland
Ambience: Vibrant and fun-loving
Attraction: Aristocratic and richly eccentric, the Leslies open up their family home to guests. No reception, no check-in, no phones or television; this is true escapism. The Leslies are frustrated if they can't help fulfil your fantasies.
Which room: Shane's room for its candlelit bath in the bedroom; the Nursery room for its giant bed (designed to make visitors feel child-size); the Mauve room for its soft, lilac aura.
Dream Lover: Young at heart (Sir John Leslie, 88 and still having it. His club reviews are included in the Castle newsletter)
If you venture out: Take it slowly - breakfast is served until 12pm (or book the whole castle and demand bacon butties at 4am). Go boating on the lake with picnic and champers, frolic through the ancient woodlands or visit the nearby cut-stone village of Glaslough and Navan Fort (site of the High Kings of Ulster), predating the pyramids.
Vital Statistics: Valentines package (two nights B&B including dinner on one night from £290 per person)
Castle Leslie, Glaslough
County Monaghan, Ireland (+00 353 47 88109). www.castleleslie.com
Details and prices were correct at time of publication