Sexy City Escapes
By Isabelle Gullö
Springtime in Paris. Summer in Sydney. New York at Christmas. A bustling metropolis can provide the perfect backdrop for a honeymoon or dreamy weekend retreat, anytime of year. Here’s our list of the world’s most sensual cities, along with a five-point plan for exploring their sweetest spots.
It’s known as the city that never sleeps, and for good reason. From hip restaurants, bars and shops to spectacular musicals, art shows and historic landmarks, The big Apple promises excitement around the clock.
- Have brunch at Sarabeth’s, a NYC staple (sarabethscps.com). The restaurant has a quirky bistro feel, and the food is fantastic. Go early, as the place fills up fast.
- Cuddle together during a horse-drawn carriage ride through Central Park, past famous Strawberry Fields, Sheep Meadow, Bethesda Fountain and the many lush gardens.
- Take in panoramic city views from the Brooklyn Bridge.
- Dazzle your date with dinner at The Sea Grill, overlooking the ice rink at Rockefeller Center (212.332.7610, theseagrille.com), followed by one of your favorite Broadway shows: The Producers, Mamma Mia!, Chicago or Phantom of the opera (800.276.2329, broadway.com).
- Sip wine at Louis (louis649.com). The owner handpicks all of the wines at this intimate bar, and is on hand to pour them most nights. Plus therer’.s always fabulous jazz playing, often live-not surprising, considering the place is named for Louis Armstrong.
With epic landmarks set amid a hub of fashion, fine dining and arts, the City of light presents opportunities for l’amour at every corner.
- Venture to charming Ile Saint-Louis in the heart of Paris, home to cute cafe boutique shops and superb restaurants and nightclubs.
- French kiss on a bridge overlooking La Seine, then walk along the riverbank and take in the artists and street vendors coloring the scene.
- Bring romance to its absolute heights with dinner at Jules Verne on the second floor of Tour Eiffel (tour-eiffel.fr).
- Take a train to stunning Chateau de Versaille (www.chateauversailles.fr). Be sure to bring some wine, cheese and baguettes to nibble on while exploring the lush grounds.
- Stroll through Jardin du Luxemburg, among the most romantic parks in Paris.
Built around one of the world’s most striking harbors, the Australian metropolis tempts couples with its sandy beaches, laidback vibe, cultural attractions and endless adventure.
- Savor the city’s most famous landmarks from its highest point, the Sydney Tower. Your ticket to the top includes an OzTrek virtual adventure ride across Australia (sydneytoweroztrek.com.au). Intrepid couples can also sign up for a Skywalk, a glass-floored viewing platform that extends over the towers’ edge (sydneyskywalk.com.au).
- Walk under water to discover 11,500 aquatic animals at the Sydney Aquarium(sydneyaquarium.com.au).
- Wine and dine at Aria, rated one of the city’s best eateries (61.2.9252.2555,ariarestaurant.com). From here, you’ll enjoy unobstructed vistas of the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge, both Aussie icons.
- Take a coastal walk from bondi beach to Coogee, exploring four of Sydney’s beaches along the way. Bluff-side trails offer exceptional views, and there are plenty of places to stop for a drink or fish-and-chip picnic by the sea.
- Stop by Pizza Mario Republic in Surry Hills, where a father-and-son duo cooks up authentic Napoletana pizza (61.2.933.3633) using buffalo mozzarella from Campania, San Marzano tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil and Italian flour. The Salamino (house-cured spicy sausage, mozzarella, parmesan and ricotta) is one of many treats.
South Africa’s cultural portal, the seaside city captivates couples not just with its stunning scenery and intriguing past, but with a growing number of great bars and eateries, renowned vineyards, brand-new spas and, of course, exotic wildlife.
- A cable-car ride to the top of Table Mountain (www.tablemountain.net) promises awe-inspiring vistas of the city as well as views of Devil’s Peak and Lion’s Head, the two flanking mountain ranges.
- Savor a sundowner at Polana, a restaurant literally built on the rocks. Cushioned windowsills overlook the beachfront of Kalk Bay and the Atlantic beyond.
- Taste excellent Chardonnays and Pinotages in nearby Cape Town winelands, including Stellenbosch and Franschhoek. At Spier Wine Estate, you can get close and personal with cheetahs (spier.co.za).
- Book a day of indulgence at African-inspired Spa at Cape Grace, then continue the pampering with dinner at the hotel’s award-winning restaurant, Onewaterfront (capegrace.com).
- See the big 5, including the rare white lion, just three hours from Cape Town at Sanbona Wildlife Reserve (www.sanbona.com).
The Argentinean capital sparkles with passion and culture. Beyond the music, the architecture, the arts and the restaurants, you’ll find tranquil parks, colorful markets and charming, cobblestoned neighborhoods.
- Visit MALBA (Museo de Arte Latinoamerica de Buenos Aires,www.malba.org.ar) and stay for lunch at its chic cafe – the food is to die for, especially the burrata, a decadent fusion of mozzarella and cream.
- Spend an afternoon in Jardin Botanico Carlos Thais, an enchanting garden filled with twisting pathways, babbling brooks, statues and exotic flora and fauna.
- Following a Mediterranean-style dinner at De Olivas I Lustres (54.11.4867.3388) in the quiet neighborhood of Palermo Viejo, walk hand in hand through cobblestone streets lined with enormous, 100-year-old oaks.
- Discover the passion of tango during a lesson at Escuela Argentina de Tango, inside Galerías Pacífico shopping mall (54.11.4312.4990;eatango.org).
- Share a nightcap at Bar Uriarte in Palermo Soho (54.11.4834.6004), a gorgeous bar offering two-for-one Champagne until 10 p.m. all week long.