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Southlake Style

Romantic Rendezvous

Feb 07, 2014 10:22AM ● By Anonymous

By Linden Wilson

Spice up your Valentine’s Day with something new

In February, we kick off a month of celebrations — of women’s history, black history and even Presidents’ Day — but perhaps none is more stimulating, economically or, ahem, otherwise, than Valentine’s Day. Last year, CNN estimated that American consumers spend more than $2 billion a year on Valentine’s Day flowers alone! We spend an additional $2 billion on candy every year in honor of this day of romance. And did you know that Hallmark offers approximately 1,400 varieties of Valentine’s greeting cards?

Chocolate and roses and love letters are all wonderful tokens of affection, but if you’re searching for something a little more inspired, we’ve got you covered. Dallas-Forth Worth offers a cornucopia of fantastically creative options for Feb. 14, whether you’re marking an anniversary, enjoying another day of romantic bliss or embarking on an exciting first date. From an intimate garden picnic to a cozy gondola ride, check out a few of DFW’s most romantic rendezvous that we’ve fallen for.

Spend a night at the opera

Death and the Powers might not seem to promise much in the way of romance, but we assure you that this poignant opera is full of passion. Take your other half to the Winspear Opera House for an evening filled with song and dance like none other. Brought to you by Tod Machover of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Media Lab, Death and the Powers weaves science fiction with family drama to pose existential questions that will leave you mesmerized. The performance stars Hal Cazalet in his Dallas Opera debut as Nicholas and features set design by Alex McDowell, who previously worked on Steven Spielberg’s Minority Report. The show opens Feb. 12 but also runs Feb. 14–16.

Lose yourself in a garden sanctuary

True romantics don’t need to spend a fortune on extravagant gifts to convey their affection. This year, you and your love will definitely appreciate all that the picturesque Dallas Arboretum has to offer. Visit the arboretum’s Lula Mae Slaughter Dining Terrace to pick up lunch — menu items range from a wide selection of specialty wraps, sandwiches and paninis to soups and salads, plus coffee and desserts — before enjoying your meal amongst the vibrant flora of the many charming gardens. The 1.8-acre A Woman’s Garden comprises several smaller garden rooms like the Poetry Garden and the Majestic Allee, both of which offer privacy for displays of affection and vivid views of White Rock Lake. The Nancy Rutchik Red Maple Hill also serves as a lush oasis both you and your date will love: 200 Japanese Maples create a sweeping canopy above a flowing creek and waterfall that lead to a quaint lily pond.

A lovely stroll through the grounds of the Fort Worth Botanic Garden will offer plenty of opportunities for stolen kisses and sweet photo ops. Since 1934, the 110-acre garden has provided couples with a beautiful backdrop encompassing more than 2,500 species of native and exotic plants. Take a moment to explore the Oval Rose Garden: This historic haven, renovated in 2012, brims with hundreds of roses nestled around a pretty gazebo. Be sure to check out the tropical foliage in the 10,000-square-foot Conservatory, where meandering paths lead to exotic trees, or explore the Japanese garden, seven acres of winding pathways that run alongside ponds full of exotic Imperial Koi to accompany you and your loved one as you take in the surrounding enchantment. 

Take off for a romantic getaway close to home

Save yourself trouble and expense by enjoying a romantic retreat in your own backyard. The Gaylord Texan’s Remember Romance discounted package includes a one-night stay plus a bounty of amazing amenities like champagne or wine as well as cakeballs upon arrival. The package also offers 20 percent off services at the Gaylord’s tranquil Relâche spa plus complimentary priority access to the always-exciting Glass Cactus Nightclub. Not included in the package but highly recommended is dinner for two at Zeppole, where you can savor coastal Italian fare in a cozy setting just steps from your hotel room. Good news: If you don’t have the time for a day or two of leisure right now, the Remember Romance package is valid through the end of July. 

Get pampered at the spa

Visitors from across the Metroplex and throughout the country often choose to enjoy a getaway at the boutique-style Hilton hotel in Southlake Town Square because of its spacious rooms, renowned hospitality, first-class dining and perhaps most importantly, luxurious amenities. During your stay this Valentine’s Day weekend, take a few hours (or more) to relax in the Terrace Retreat Salon and Day Spa, located in the hotel’s lobby. The Couples Romance Retreat package lets you and your sweetheart spend an hour of pampered heaven together, followed by pedicures and complimentary beverages. Then, treat yourself to a facial, body wrap, body scrub, scalp massage or one of the spa’s other fabulously lavish treatments. Terrace is also a full-service Aveda salon, where expert hair-care professionals can coif your mane however you’d like (complimentary skincare consultations and makeup touchups come with any salon service).

Situated near the Dallas North Tollway on Lovers Lane (appropriately so), Hiatus Spa + Retreat offers just that — a tranquil escape from the hectic activities of everyday life. Featuring 18 private treatment rooms, a nail therapy lounge with zero-gravity chairs and an assortment of spa treatments, Hiatus is a sanctuary you and your sweetheart will fall in love with. Select a massage for two called The Couples Retreat or choose treatments like the Stress Fix — a Swedish/deep-tissue massage that uses lavender, lavandin and clary sage aromas to reduce stress. The spa also caters to men with treatments like the Sports Therapy massage, which relieves tension in sore and tired muscles, and the Well-Groomed Men’s Facial, which includes exfoliation, a custom masque and aromatherapy steam. A day spent at Hiatus (also an Aveda salon) will ensure that you both emerge in an idyllic state of mind.

Combine dinner and a show

Add some suspense to your night of romance with murder, mystery and a little bit of comedy. This Feb. 14 and 15 at the Texas Star Dinner Theater — located in historic downtown Grapevine — catch the hilarious Derailed and Departed, set in the Old West of the late 1800s. During the one-of-a-kind performance, you can nosh on items from the theater’s special Valentine’s weekend menu: rib eye steak, chicken cordon bleu or sole almandine filet plus desserts like chocolate cake and strawberry cheesecake. Tickets for dinner and a show start at $75 a person (every lucky lady who attends receives a beautiful rose at the door), with dinner served at 7:30 p.m. and the show beginning at 8 p.m. The Texas Star Dinner Theater puts the audience first — with great views and acoustics from no matter where you sit — when it comes to its award-winning shows sure to keep you laughing throughout the night. 

Enjoy a taste of France in Fort Worth

You don’t need to go to southwest France to experience an authentic French meal. Bernard Tronche, owner of Fort Worth’s Saint-Emilion Restaurant, grew up 40 miles outside of the centuries-old Saint-Emilion village, located in France’s Bordeaux region famous for its wine. In 1979, he moved to Fort Worth, opening a restaurant just six years later that draws on his home village for inspiration. Located in a charming brick building atop W. 7th St. overlooking downtown Fort Worth, Saint-Emilion offers upscale dining in a chic, intimate atmosphere, ideal for couples who want to enjoy scrumptious French food in an elegant setting. Classic hors d’oeuvres like escargots, filet mignon tartare and duck pâté as well as traditional French dishes including roasted duck, beef tenderloin and spiced lamb round out the flavorful menu that will no doubt lure you and your loved one back time and time again.

Experience historic Dallas luxury

Celebrate Valentine’s Day in sophisticated style when you stay and dine at the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek. The Mansion, most of which was built in 1920, is nestled within the Oak Lawn neighborhood of Dallas. With exterior architecture influenced by 16th century Renaissance Italy, the building boasts an interior full of ornate furniture and design elements that harken back to grand estates scattered throughout Europe. Enjoy 143 modern yet historic guest rooms and suites and one of the top-rated restaurants for fine dining in Dallas, the Mansion Restaurant. Dubbed “haute cuisine — Texas style,” the menu at the Mansion offers dishes that incorporate regional flavors and ingredients, like king crab, bison carpaccio (featuring hatch chili chutney), quail and Texas Akaushi beef. And don’t skip out on dessert: Pear with honey, vanilla crème brûlée and pumpkin cheesecake make for just a few of the sweet treats available for you to enjoy. If you want your Valentine’s Day to include exceptional quality, presentation and service, the Mansion offers the perfect destination.

Take a private gondola cruise

It’s the next best thing to an authentic Venetian gondola ride in Texas. Lake Carolyn and Mandalay Canal, nestled in the Las Colinas neighborhood of Irving, offer some of the most breathtaking sunset views in the Metroplex, so sit back and let it all soak in as the gondola captain takes you on a fun, relaxing ride. Depending on the weather, you can choose a covered or open gondola, and food service is also available should you want to enjoy a leisurely meal during your cruise. Whether it’s your 50th anniversary, the day you plan to propose or just a fun, out-of-the-box date idea, a peaceful gondola ride down the canal sets the perfect mood for romance. P.S.: Tradition dictates that couples kiss beneath each bridge they sail underneath, so pucker up!