Written by Celece Seegmiller for The Spectrum Newspaper 2/12/2017
It’s February and that means romance is in the air. After all, we are just two days away from Valentine’s Day and I can’t help but think about romantic vacations as I am in the middle of planning my own destination wedding and honeymoon.
Throughout my career, I’ve been very fortunate to visit some incredibly romantic destinations with my fiancée, Rob. While I can’t possibly write about all of them, I collaborated with him to come up with our top three. Some are close to home and some are bucket list destinations far away. Each one of them is special to us in their own unique way.
- For obvious reasons, number one on our list was our Paul Gauguin cruise. Two years ago, we were engaged on the ship and last summer we took a group back to the Cook and Society Islands. Not only was the cruise incredibly beautiful, the highlight this time was Bora Bora. Because the ship overnights there, we decided to get off the ship and spend the night at the Intercontinental Resort Bora Bora and Thalosso Spa, located on Motu Piti Aau, known as the islet of two hearts. Our overwater villa was twice the size of my first apartment – 1022 square feet. The living room had a glass floor with a view of the water and tropical fish; a wall that opened two a two-tiered, 323 square foot deck with steps into the bright blue water; a separate bedroom and the largest bathroom and shower I have ever seen in a resort. Each room offered incredible views of the water and the famous majestic Mount Otemanu. I’ve been very fortunate to stay in amazing hotels and resorts throughout my career, but this overwater villa is the best one yet.
- In July 2014, we had the opportunity to travel with Uniworld Boutique River Cruises. We were on the Burgundy and Provence itinerary on the newly-christened S.S. Catherine. We started in Lyon, France and visited charming towns and villages throughout the region. This trip consisted of everything from wine tasting and a delicious French luncheon in Chateau de Rully, a castle from the 12th century; to kayaking under the arches of the two-thousand-year-old UNESCO -designated Pont du Gard (a Roman aqueduct) on the Gardon River; and hiking to the top of a vineyard for a stunning view of the Rhône River Valley. My favorite stop was Arles. Sunflower fields were abundant along both sides of the road and you could see them well into the horizon. It was easy to see why Van Gogh received his inspiration from this region. He produced more than 300 paintings in 15 months in Provence, including one of my favorites: Starry Night. From the massive amphitheater to the Baths of Constantine and the charming sidewalk cafes with beautiful flowers lining the buildings, Arles encompassed the true spirit of Provence. We ended our vacation in one of the most romantic cities in the world: Paris. Strolling the streets and dining at the quaint outdoor cafes with the Eiffel Tower lit up in the background was the perfect way to say goodbye to France. In one word, it was Magnifique!
- Five years ago, Rob surprised me with a trip to Maui for my 40th The quote from Mark Twain sums it up best: “I went to Maui to stay a week and remained five. I never spent so pleasant a month before, or bade any place goodbye so regretfully. I have not once thought of business, or care or human toil or trouble or sorrow or weariness, and the memory of it will remain with me always.” From the drive to Hana in the convertible with a picnic lunch on the beach; to holding hands as we snorkeled at Molokini Crater; and watching the sunsets at Duke’s Canoe Club, we enjoyed every moment on this picturesque island. Everyday people asked us if we were on our honeymoon. Maui will always hold a special place in my heart and I could visit again and again.
Although I am out of space, there have been many unforgettable vacations throughout the years. From our first trip to Lake Las Vegas for a weekend; a stay at Red Mountain Spa; kayaking at Lake Mead, escaping the desert heat at Deer Valley with a summer concert; and a day trip hiking through Bryce Canyon National Park, we have always found a way to get away, create life-long memories, and just enjoy time together. You don’t have to go far away to enjoy a romantic getaway. Happy Valentine’s Day!