Anatomy of a romantic hotel room

Story highlights

  • A tub built for two and a nice view make for a romantic room
  • The hotel restaurant should have low lighting and serve great food -- downstairs or in your room
  • A massage for two gives you and your loved one the pleasure of relaxing together

Skip the room that looks into the office building next door. Nobody wants to be reminded of work entanglements during a getaway a deux.

Infinity pools and swanky lobbies are nice, but the room matters when it's a trip for two. In honor of all the romantic getaways coming up for Valentine's Day weekend, we asked some relationship gurus for their romantic room essentials and added a few or our own.

A tub for two. The ideal hotel would have a bathtub and a cozy arm chair, each large enough for two, says Nancy Dreyfus, a couples therapist and author of "Talk to Me Like I'm Someone You Love: Relationship Repair in a Flash."

"While the centrality of a bed during a romantic weekend is obviously not up for debate, additional opportunities for snuggling on land and on sea only serve to enhance my experience, expand the sensuality of it all, and keep my partner and me from just 'heading for bed' because it happens to be a romantic weekend."

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A fireplace and a view. Your room should go above and beyond the standard-issue kind bed with a puffy duvet and that decorative scarf laid across the foot. In addition to crisp linens, perhaps you'd like a fireplace and a lovely view of the water or the forest or a nearby mountain that also promises privacy?

"Extra credit for a balcony that I can step out onto when wearing a robe or less," says Ian Kerner, a sexuality counselor and New York Times best-selling author, who writes about sex and relationships for CNN Health.

    Luxury counts. Feeling pampered is important, says Dreyfus.

    "Luxury can definitely make an evening feel particularly special and the participants feel taken care of, and feeling well taken care of can be heart-deepening, making you feel even more giving towards each other," she says. "Being in luxurious surroundings with designer soap, linens, lighting and chocolate always makes me feel thankful to the universe -- but it's my partner who'll be the recipient of my gratitude."

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    Thick walls. "You want to be uninhibited, and you don't want to hear anyone else's efforts," says sociologist Pepper Schwartz, co-author of "Getaway Guide to the Great Sex Weekend" with Janet Lever.

    Enough said.

    Romantic dining. If you want to leave your room to drink or dine, there's nothing worse than the glare and noise of a hotel restaurant that's not sensitive to your love. Yes, you can always make reservations at that lovely four-star restaurant down the block or check into a hotel where gourmet dining has replaced the lonely-business-traveler bar and grill.

    But if you don't want to leave your room, prompt, delicious room service is key. When you need that well-iced champagne, a 45-minute wait is unacceptable. You might fall asleep! And it would be a shame to mar an otherwise lovely occasion with a soggy club sandwich.

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    A massage for two. There's nothing more relaxing than a tension-reducing massage, and many higher-end hotels and resorts offer it for two if booked in advance. Some properties will bring this service to you in your room.

    Suzanne Braun Levine took it a step further on a trip to a spa in Karala, India, booking an ayurvedic hot oil massage for two.

    "You lie in a sort of canoe and gallons of warm oil are poured over you as two masseuses work simultaneously, one on each side," says Levine, author of "How We Love Now: Women Talk About Intimacy After 50." "I had this with my husband in the next canoe. Bliss."

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    What about the kids? Before you scoff, many parents travel with their children most of the time (and actually enjoy it). Should you give up on intimacy because you're traveling with them?

    No, says CNN.com columnist Kerner. He often travels with his wife and kids, and he seems unwilling to give up the romance because he has children.

    A second room, preferably with a door, is key, he says. Also, a good kids program in the hotel can help get the kids out of the room for a time. Who says romance only happens at night?