Since 1969, restaurant, hotel, travel & other witty reviews by a handpicked, worldwide team of discerning professionals—and your views, too.

Top 10 Romantic Gifts

By Barbara Bowman


We love the ornate heart necklaces handmade by Sarah Castro Jewelry. Sarah’s artist father, Gilbert Castro, creates the sterling silver and 14-karat gold pieces that Sarah crafts into one-of-a-kind necklaces made with serpentine, pearls or aqua quartz. Jade and coral are used on the necklace pictured here. The necklaces can be custom-made with other silver or gold shapes, or without any at all. $70-$500 each. For more information or to order, email Sarah at or call 510-409-0755.



Creative, funny and smart, Love Notes by Amy Maniatis, Elizabeth Weil and Natasha Bondy covers all facets of amour, from infamous love poems and how to say "I love you" in verious languages to information about oxytocin ("the love hormone") and how to choose a mate based on the shape of his or her head. Find a good Champagne cocktail recipe, learn about the anatomy of the human heart and read the legend of St. Valentine’s Day in this fact-packed reference guide. For those who are curious about facts and find fun in the unconventional, Love Notes is sure to tickle the funny bone. Chronicle Books, $12.95. Available through



Feel like staying in this holiday? Get him (or her) a steamy movie, light some candles, and Lights, Camera, Action! With a focus on the sexy, perhaps even the scandalous, find out which films are still titillating even after all these years.

Check out our Top 10 Sexy Movies.



For those who delight in the playful, we recommend Smittens—mittens meant for holding hands. Rather than as two individual pairs of mittens, Smittens come with two regular mittens and one large one that two hands can fit in. Made of fleece, Smittens are sure to keep hands and hearts warm. The old saying "Cold hands, warm heart," may just melt away. $32-$36. To order yours, visit



Take your tea in the tub, alone or as a twosome with Tub Tea from Bath by Bettijo. An all natural mix of herbs and botanicals, the tub tea comes in invigorating Eucalyptus Spearmint or calming Lavender Chamomile. Just stuff the tea infuser with the tea and drop in a hot bath. Contains enough for 30 baths. $24. For more information, visit


From the red rocks of Sedona to the waterfalls of Costa Rica, find the right destination to serve as the backdrop with your significant other in our Top Ten Romantic Destinations.

Be sure to check our Specials section for great upcoming romantic travel packages!



Chocolate seems to be standard when giving sweets to a sweet on the day of love, but sending baked yum-yums from B&G Cookies in beautiful valises (a fancy way of saying suitcases) sends that loved one a message that being with them is like a journey.

Read the full review.



Safe and sexy, the new Volvo C70 T5 is both a sedan and a convertible with its hard-top that converts within 30 seconds. Wind through the hills with the wind whipping through your hair in this evolved, state-of-the-art hot car.



A romantic meal is a must on Valentine’s Day, but where to go?

Check out our Culinary Events, the Top Spots for Valentine’s Day Dining and the Top Romantic Restaurants in your city.


I Coloniali is a line of natural body products by J&E Atkinsons, one of the world’s oldest perfumers, who were highly popular in the early 19th-century in London for selling rose-perfumed bear grease for the hair. I Coloniali products, such as the Deep Massage Body Cream with Myrrh, are inspired by the Orient. The cream contains small granules that become entirely absorbed into the skin while massaging. Perfect for an evening alone with a loved one. Although not readily available in stores in the U.S., I Coloniali products are for purchase on $48-$90. For more information, visit


(Updated: 10/25/12 SC)

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