POSTCARDS FROM FLORIDA

Spa spells Valentine romance

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Sunset off Clearwater Beach

A Florida sunset at Clearwater Beach offers the backdrop for romance. (Orlando Sentinel File / May 20, 2000)

At last, I'm starting to understand my problems with romance.

Looking over the Valentine's Day promotions offered by various Sunshine State resorts, I couldn't help wishing for a baseball-themed getaway. Pitchers and catchers report Feb. 19 for the start of Grapefruit League spring training in Florida, less than a week after the Feb. 14 holiday. Isn't that romantic?

No? Fortunately, there are more conventional couple-oriented escapes in the works. Here are a few options:

•South Florida's Acqualina Resort & Spa on the Beach (17875 Collins Ave., Sunny Isles Beach) offers Valentine's spa packages throughout February. Prices do not include tips.

The "Couples' Private Lesson" is an hourlong session with an Acqualina therapist followed by another hour of private time to enjoy what you've learned in a private suite, with glasses of champagne, a healthy spa Bento lunch for two and chocolate truffles ($500 per couple).

The "Singular Sensational Spa Day" is a 75-minute session that includes a holistic facial, body massage and a glass of champagne ($170 per person). There's also the "Romantic Escape," a couples retreat to a private spa suite followed by a soothing two-hour escape ($1,050 per couple). For details, visit acqualina.com or call 1-877-417-1162.

At the Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach (301 S. Gulfview Blvd., Clearwater), guests who book between by Feb. 16 for stays through that date will receive a free suite upgrade. All suites feature one or two bedrooms, fully equipped kitchens and a private balcony with sunset views.

In February, the resort's Sandava Spa features romantic specials. For $250 per couple (plus tip), guests can enjoy massages with warm chocolate oil. The treatment begins with a shea sugar exfoliation and finishes with an application of white velvet whoopie cream, which sounds pretty wild. On Valentine's Day, the resort's SHOR restaurant offers a special dinner menu. Visit clearwaterbeach.hyatt.com or call 1-800-233-1234 for details.

•In Fort Lauderdale, "Rekindle Romance" runs Feb. 10-15 at the Westin Beach Resort & Spa (321 North Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd.). Starting at $319 per night, it includes breakfast in bed, Wine & Dine at Shula's on the Beach and more. Visit westin.com/fortlauderdalebeach or call 1-888-627-7108.
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