In search of amorous inspiration for Valentine’s Day, we take notes from the American Express Concierge team* – and some of our hotelier friends – who went the extra mile (or hundreds of miles) to help Cardmembers show their devotion, each eschewing flowers and sweet treats in favour of a truly memorable trip

Lesson one: a shared experience tops a gift every time

Roses wilt, chocolates melt, but memories last forever – especially on Instagram

“A Cardmember called us for help arranging a romantic trip to Tuscany; it quickly emerged he planned to pop the question while away. We booked a gorgeous, historic hotel in the Tuscan countryside for the first leg of their stay, and arranged a hilltop picnic for the proposal – nothing elaborate, just a beautiful, secluded spot at sunset. We also set up a few nights in Rome and Florence to make it a more encompassing Italian trip – taking in the iconic Renaissance art and architecture, the pretty cobbled streets and world-famous restaurants of both buzzy cities – but it was the simplicity and intimacy of rural Tuscany that was just magical; the perfect setting for a proposal.” – American Express Concierge

Note to potential proposers: hot air balloons have proven to be a particular hit too. We’ve also had mid-air successes above Africa’s plains and America’s wine country.

Lesson two: but a gift doesn’t hurt

Especially if it’s bespoke

“As part of our Valentine’s package last year, we arranged for guests to have a private consultation with an award-winning London jewellery designer, who would then create a bespoke piece of jewellery for them to take away. Couples loved having a personalised memento so much we also offered custom-made candles from a renowned perfumer, and a couple’s monogram courtesy of a professional calligraphist.” – The Rosewood, London

Lesson three: spell it out

Need to get your message across? No need to be subtle

“Testament to his city’s romantic reputation, one Roman customer arranged for a path of rose petals to lead from the elevator to his hotel room on arrival. Once inside, he and his girlfriend were greeted with a candle-lit room, a huge rose petal heart, a heart-shaped cake bedecked, no less, with the name of his girlfriend, and two glasses of Champagne – one containing an engagement ring. (Funnily enough, she said yes.)” – American Express Concierge

Lesson four: know your audience

A bit of inside info goes a long way; rose petals aren’t for everyone  

“Mid-trip in Florida, one guest arranged for the entire bathtub in his room to be filed with M&Ms – his partner’s favourite chocolate. Thankfully, there was a separate shower.” – American Express Concierge

Lesson five: don’t leave the romancing to the men

Lesson five dont leave the romancing to the men

It’s 2016: romantic gestures are the domain of all

“We had a football player staying with us in Monte Carlo over Valentine’s Day. His wife wanted to surprise her husband with a magical experience to celebrate the day, so got in touch. We organised a private yacht for the evening, moored up in a scenic spot with exceptional views over Monaco’s marina, and filled it with flowers and little personal presents. A chef came in to create a special candlelit dinner for them both, a barman was on hand to mix bespoke cocktails, and a South American mariachi band came aboard to serenade them. After dinner, the team disappeared to leave the couple to enjoy the evening alone.” ­– Columbus Hotel, Monte Carlo

Lesson six: bring in reinforcements

Don’t underestimate the power of the celebrity

“I helped a client to fly out to Lapland with his girlfriend to meet Santa. Father Christmas gave the young lady a diamond ring and stood to one side while my client proposed. How could she have possibly declined?” – American Express Concierge

And one for the last-minuters: it’s never too late

…you just need friends in the right places

“We once had a Cardmember calling from the airport – 20 minutes from the hotel – asking for their fireplace to be lit, and their room to be filled with candles and flowers, with a romantic message to their partner. The team pulled it off with just a couple of burns between them.” – American Express Concierge

Of course, you don’t have to call in the professionals to dazzle your significant other, but hopefully this has sparked a Cupid-worthy idea or two. Rose Petals at the ready…

*The American Express Concierge service is available to Platinum and Centurion Cardmembers

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