Few things beat a city break with someone special, but after a day exploring you might want to retreat from the world and enjoy some quality time à deux. Step forward our collection of self-catering boltholes for 2, set in some of the world’s most enchanting cities. Here are a few of our favourites…
Where better to whisk your loved one than the city of Romeo and Juliet itself? It’s packed with fountain’d piazzas, fresco’d mansions and excellent restaurants – and it’s home to this gorgeous hideaway, which overlooks the Adige river in the trendy district of San Zeno. Inside you’ll find a stylish mix of custom-made wallpaper and vintage mid-century furniture, together with state-of-the-art technology (a Sonos sound system, Apple TV with Netflix) and a marble bathroom in a funky glass cube.
A visit to Porto and its historic port lodges is a must for oenophiles, but the heart of this Unesco-listed city can be rather raucous. Basing yourselves a short tram ride away at these slick apartments, which sit on the wave-lashed seafront where the Douro meets the Atlantic, is the perfect solution. All are cool and contemporary, with designer furniture and pieces by up-and-coming Portuguese artists; many have ocean views. Start your day with a gourmet breakfast delivered to your door; end it by cooking up a storm in your well-equipped kitchen, then sipping some of the city’s finest (you get a free taster for booking through i-escape) as you listen to the breakers outside.
Don’t be fooled by the name: this isn’t a hotel, but a seriously hip and utterly unique penthouse apartment for 2. Set above the Droog design emporium in Amsterdam’s historic heart, it has an open-plan living area and kitchen, a bedroom and a wet room, all drenched with light and furnished with signature Droog pieces and colourful prototypes. The floors beneath are home to a concept store, gallery spaces and an arty café serving lazy brunches, lunches and cakes; there’s even a fairy-tale garden with giant toadstools and a mix of real and faux plants, which you have to yourselves come evening.
Set in the elegant Vinohrady district, this beautiful apartment is owned by a well-travelled interior designer and photographer. The decadent sitting room and master bedroom have stucco cornicing, deep red curtains, carved Indian mirrors and glass chandeliers, and a double-ended tub awaits in the bathroom. The kitchen is kitted out with everything you need for whipping up a romantic feast, and there’s even a cabinet stocked with fine wines and Champagne. When you want to venture out, the nearby tram will whisk you into the city centre in minutes.
This serene river retreat is perfect for those seeking tranquillity in a buzzing capital city. Moored on the outermost pier of Rummelsburger Lake marina (a quiet inlet of the River Spree), it has a sleek interior dominated by polished concrete and natural pine, with floor-to-ceiling windows that maximise views of the water. In winter, snuggle up by the wood-burner and gaze over the frozen river to the Berlin skyline; in summer, lounge on the wraparound deck with a bottle of wine. Come morning, there’s nothing but the gentle quacking of passing ducks to wake you from your slumber.
Opened in 2015 in a former ironmonger’s shop, this cluster of studios and apartments radiates coastal chic, with white-washed floors, wicker furniture and harbour views. They sit in the up-and-coming neighbourhood of Santa Catalina, to the west of Palma’s historic centre and just 15 minutes from the airport. All have well-equipped kitchenettes, plus sun-trap terraces where you can unwind after a day spent strolling along the promenade or exploring the sights. Palma’s oldest and best market lies nearby, but if cooking sounds like a chore you can have breakfast delivered to your door.