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Romantic Getaways in the city

FOR more grown-up fun on Valentine's Day, Aubrey Buckingham suggests dinner at one of the city's finest hotels, followed by a double rose-petal bath, a massage for two ... and Sunday breakfast in bed served by your butler.

Ah, Valentine's Day is here again. That blissful time of roses, chocolates and corny canned messages on overpriced greeting cards. The day when you pretend that your partner is the most special person in the world, and then go back to being selfish as soon as the clock strikes 12. What isn't there to love?

All this cynicism, however, will just make you come off as a modern-day Scrooge: Nothing kills romance faster than an unwillingness to get in the spirit of things.

While other festivals like Christmas or New Year's are distinctly social, Valentine's is all about two people being intimate for usually an evening, this year for almost a whole weekend. The possibilities are endless, weather permitting of course, for a day of fun for both. Don't look to us for advice; come up with something on your own.

When the sun goes down, however, the real fun starts. Everyone remembers the Valentine's Days of our youth with the hand-made cards and chocolate-covered candy hearts.

Now, for more grown-up fun, hotels are ideal place to slip away, enjoy a sensuous dinner and explore some amorous pursuits behind closed doors. Best of all, since the event falls on a weekend this year, you can sleep in on Sunday in comfort. Chances are you'll need to.

The Hilton Shanghai has a five-course dinner at the sublime Leonardo's for 1,288 yuan (US$188) net per couple, while Sichuan Court is serving local delights at 788 yuan, plus 15 percent tax, for two. If it's the buffet you are after, then Atrium Cafe has a deal at 688 yuan per couple, following which you can whisk your lover upstairs where the property will have roses, two glasses of Champagne and rose petals in the bath for 888 yuan net (1,650 yuan plus 15 percent for a deluxe room).

Over at The Portman Ritz-Carlton, chef Francesco Greco has a seven-course feast at Italian restaurant Palladio at 794 yuan per person and 1,194 per couple, which includes a half bottle of Champagne. Meanwhile, the newly renovated Tables is serving a lavish buffet spread at 388 yuan per person.

Shanghai JC Mandarin is offering a special room service menu at 799 yuan plus 15 percent (1,999 yuan++ including room), which also includes a bottle of Champagne. For the ultimate in decadence, it is offering its Presidential Suite at 299,999 yuan. For this princely sum, you will be picked up in a limousine, serenaded during your meal, enjoy the Wellness Spa for two, receive a diamond ring from Forevermark and enjoy breakfast in bed the next day. Breathtaking.

The buffet at the JW Marriott's Marriott Cafe and an intimate candlelit dinner at JW's California Grill can be enjoyed for 888 yuan plus 15 percent. Voted the Most Romantic City Hotel in the Urban Oasis Category of DestinAsian magazine's 2004 reader survey, the Tomorrow Square's stunning views will set the scene for a long night of passion at 1,400 yuan plus tax.

The Pudong Shangri-La is offering something slightly different - precious cocktails accompanied by exquisite Swarovski jewelry. The 2,888-yuan price tag may put some off, but you cannot put a price tag on love.

Last but not least, the St Regis Shanghai is offering its Imperial Suite for 35,000 yuan. This comes with a private, candlelit Champagne dinner, 24-hour butler service, one-hour massage for two and breakfast served by your butler the next day.

The Grand Hyatt Shanghai may no longer be the tallest hotel in town, but it is still the perfect place to get high on love this weekend. Cupid will make his rounds at the Grand Cafe (888 yuan per couple), Italian restaurant Cucina (1,288 yuan plus) and up in the sky at Cloud 9 (1,488 yuan). With romance fueled and passions stirred, check into the Grand Deluxe Room at 1,388 yuan to get as close as you can to the mile high club.


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