My boyfriend Michael and I are both into fitness. Whenever we go on holiday we like to be active, whether it’s walking for hours exploring, hiking, hitting the gym or burning calories in the pool. That’s why I wanted to think of a way we could combine our love for fitness with romance for an active and romantic getaway this Valentine’s Day.
I teamed up with Novotel Hotels, Suites & Resorts to create the perfect blend of romance and fitness for the ideal active and romantic getaway If you’re stuck for an idea of what to do this Valentine’s Day, I’ve got you covered!
The Hotel Setting
Novotel has hotels around the world so you can be as extravagant as you want for Valentine’s Day. Michael and I wanted to stay closer to home so we chose to stay at Novotel Blackfriars in London. Our room was on the 11th floor and gave us views of the Shard which looked lovely all lit up at night! Our room had
The hotel is very close to the River Thames which offers a lovely walk down to Southbank and the London Eye in one direction and Tate Modern in the other. Check-in at the hotel is from 2pm but you could arrive early and make a day of it, exploring London and having lunch together before going into the hotel.
The staff at Novotel Blackfriars were all very lovely to Michael and I. It was pouring down with rain during our stay but Novotel came to our rescue with two huge umbrellas when we wanted to venture outside. The check-in process was very smooth and checking-out was even faster, as you just drop your room keys in a box! No need to wait around which is great if you’re in a rush.
Work up a sweat
Now, for the active part. Once you’ve checked in, I recommend getting changed and heading straight to the gym and pool. At 3 in the afternoon Michael and I found it to be quite quiet, in fact we had the whole pool to ourselves when we went. I suspect it may get busier later in the day.
The gym is equipped with high-quality machinery by Technogym and has a mix of cardio and resistance equipment. By all means you can hit the weights or the treadmill, but as it is a romantic getaway, why not do a couples workout? There are loads of example couples and partner workouts on YouTube. Warm up on the treadmill or the rower for 10 minutes, then grab the mats and a dumbbell and follow a workout like this ‘10 Best Partner Exercises‘ or this ‘Total Body Partner Workout‘. The gym has hand towels and a water dispenser so no need to bring your own.
After working up a sweat in the gym, why not hit the pool for some lengths or just splash around together? Novotel Blackfriars has an indoor pool, jacuzzi and sauna. The changing rooms have lockers, showers and fresh towels so you’ll have everything you need to get changed into your swim stuff and hit the pool.
If you’d rather get outside and the weather is nice, you can join the many runners jogging along the Thames. Lace up your trainers and head out, staying at a pace where you can keep a conversation with each other the whole time. I’m really not a runner, so you’ll probably know a good running route better than I will!
Now for the romance…
After working up a sweat, it’s time to turn up the romance haha. Hit the jacuzzi together to help relax your muscles and turn on the bubbles for a gentle massage. Next, enter the sauna for as long as you both can stand it. I found this sauna to be one of the most breathable ones I’ve been in – usually I struggle to breathe in hot saunas, but this one was actually quite pleasant. Once you’re well and truly relaxed together, it’s time for dinner.
Novotel Blackfriars has it’s own restaurant called Jamboree Foodfest & Bar, serving up burgers in international-inspired flavours. However, for a truly romantic meal I recommend venturing out of the hotel. Just a 7 minute walk away is the Oxo Tower Restaurant & Brasserie with beautiful views of the city over the river. Slightly further away at a 19 minute walk, or just one stop on the Jubilee line is The Shard, with a choice of romantic restaurants and stunning views over London.
I’d recommend The Shard or the Oxo Tower to anyone really trying to pull out the stops. However, for a more affordable option, Michael and I chose to go to The Real Greek which is a 10 minute walk away along the river at Bankside. Plus, what’s more romantic than sharing food?! I highly recommend ordering several dishes between you and trying them all together.
If you’d prefer, you can enjoy the evening at the hotel instead. Throw on your bathrobes and slippers provided by Novotel, order room service and settle down for the night with a good film. Side note: the wall next to the shower in our bathroom had a switch that turned it see-through, so you could be sat on the bed watching someone else in the shower. Erm, do with that as you please, haha!
How to create your perfect romantic getaway
- Decide on your budget. You really don’t have to spend a fortune to show your love for each other, in fact you can do that for free every day of the year. Saying that, it is nice to do something special with each other sometimes. Decide whether you can afford to go abroad, visit a different city, or stay local to home. Check for last minute deals online before booking.
- Take it in turns. Michael and I like to take it in turns planning our date nights and romantic getaways. One month he’ll plan it all and take me out, the next month it’s my turn. You could do this too, or split the date or getaway in half – let him plan the night and you plan the day.
- Do what you both love. You no doubt have some things in common as that is most likely what drew you together. Try to incorporate both your interests in your day. For example, go to a restaurant that serves his favourite food and then do an activity that you love. Maybe he can introduce you to some new food and you can show him something different to do? Have fun with it.