A Dozen Ways to Make Valentine’s Day Sparkle
A dozen long-stemmed roses. A box of 12 chocolates. Classic but doesn’t quite cut it in today’s times where love too needs to be celebrated in superlatives, be special, slick and Snapchat-worthy! Instead of those old shenanigans, we give you 12 different ways to delight your V-day date…
Make magic in Mandwa
Since the weather is still quite pleasant, an outdoors plan could work wonders. Take a catamaran (45 minutes by Maldar, PNP or Apollo) or speedboat (15 minutes) from The Gateway of India across the Mumbai harbour to the Mandwa Jetty. En route you’ll enjoy the fresh air, see beautiful seagulls and some luxurious cruise ships. Warning: Your significant other may want to do the Titanic pose with you! Once you’re there, head to Kiki’s Café & Deli (colourful décor by the talented Krshna Mehta and a fantastic beach view) for a five-course meal that segues seafood and strawberries in the most aphrodisiacal avatar. Follow it up with drinks and sheesha sundowners by the sea at Boardwalk by Flamboyante right next door.
Top tips: Go to the top of the catamaran for the best experience. Book much ahead at the restaurants as both these have become major hotspots in recent times.
Have a wow day on wow wheels
Living in Mumbai, everyone tends to think of their car as something practical and often pestilential thanks to the perennial parking problems. But for this special day, why not treat yourself to the car of your dreams and head out on a day of adventure together? Vehicle rental services such as MylesCars.com, EcoRentACar.com, ZoomCar.com, SelfDRive.in and LuxuryLimo.in give you many options from modest self-drives to over-the-top opulent chauffeur-driven limos.
Top tips: Pack a gourmet lunch, pop some bubbly, add in your favourite tunes and you can have the most romantic moments on the move. The traffic won’t bother you when you’re at the date destination from the start!
Imagine yourself at Imagica
Just a couple of hours’ drive from Mumbai along the Mumbai-Pune Expressway is the Imagica Theme Park. We’ve been there for an incredibly romantic New Year’s Eve celebration and believe it would make for a fab V-day getaway too. Apart from a pretty palace, a fairy-tale carousel and unlimited access to a host of rides and activities to suit every level of daring, Imagica has some special surprises for couples coming there between February 11-14, 2017. From a romantic gondola ride to a dreamy candle-lit dinner, from putting a lock with your names on it on the bridge just as you’ve probably dreamt of doing in Paris to learning the Waltz together, there’s a lot on offer. And a chance to win an all-expenses paid trip to the Taj Mahal too!
Top tips: Plan which rides you want to do wisely so you don’t land up spending most of your time waiting. There’s even the option to stay at the Novotel Imagica hotel overnight and visit their Water Park and Snow Park the next day.
The way to your lover’s heart
No special occasion is complete without a shared meal. Every high-end restaurant will be laying out the red carpet for Valentine diners, and you can just take your pick from excellent a la carte to a well-constructed multi-course meal. There’s something for every palate and pocketbook and we won’t presume to tell you where you should go. But just in case you’re looking for alternative options, here’s what we suggest. If you decide to stay home together this Valentine’s Day, you could prepare an exotic meal for your partner. Even if you aren’t quite the Masterchef, there’s hope for you yet! D-I-Y dinner kits from places such as burgundybox.in, ichef.in, chefkraft.com and letschef.in offer high quality ingredients and detailed directions on how to whip up a gourmet meal for two. Some, like Burgundy Box, even offer the same service for creating cocktails.
Top tips: Cook up a storm by yourself to surprise your significant other or do it together as a different way to bond.
Make the mood mellow
If you’re going to celebrate at home, how do you make your mundane, everyday space seem extra special? First and foremost, tidy up. Add some mood lights if you can. Play your favourite music for some melting moments. And don’t discount the importance of having the right fragrance setting the mood. We recommend Niana’s luxury Fine Fragrance Home Collection, which has been created in collaboration with Givaudan, the world’s leading fragrance and flavour company. Think soy candles, reed diffusers, room sprays and scented sachets for your wardrobe, all hand-crafted, all exquisite.
Top tips: Try the Luminous variant, with white violet, creamy musk and warm sandalwood, guaranteed to evoke intimacy and deep romance.
Get the gift right
No one knows your loved one better than you do. We hope! Be aware of what they’ve been wanting for a while and get it. Does she want those diamond-and-ruby earrings and pendant from 2Divine, crave a shopping sojourn to Kashish Infioré on Hughes Road to pick from clothes, bags and jewellery from 80 designers, have her eye on some luscious lingerie from Victoria’s Secret or La Senza, or have something simply pure and serene from Body Shop’s British Rose range in her wishlist? Does he prefer a hand-crafted German Waldmann pen in solid sterling silver with a gold nib, reversible Indian vests from Krishna Mehta, printed silk boxers from Rohit Bal, bespoke shirt jewellery from The Bro Code, or some quirky yet useful hipster hair products from Beardo?
Top tips: If you know what you want but are finding it hard to figure out the logistics, you could rope in a concierge service like the world-famous celebrities do! For example, an app called DoneThing has a Valentine’s Day special on, where they can execute special requests which you can tell them on chat. Whether you want to surprise your better half with roses, plan a proposal, book a couple’s spa or a romantic dinner date, arrange for gifts or even a handwritten letter to the one you love, they have it covered.
Let aromas accentuate the evening
Gifting or wearing the right fragrance can make the night extra special. We’ve always been Bvlgari loyalists but their latest offering from the High Perfumery selection has us even more floored. Bvlgari Le Gemme Imperiali is a scintillating new range of fragrances for women inspired by the opulence of ancient China. While they also have the magnolia, jasmine and musk-scented Irina and the magnolia, rose and musky Desiria, the one we give our nod to is the truly sensuous Splendia. Encased in oriental elegance with black and gold detailing topped with a milky green jade cover, it encompasses the senses with deep floral chypre notes of magnolia, narcissus and oakmoss.
Top tips: ‘A ravishing eau de parfum that expresses the majestic elegance and nobility of China’s last great Imperial dynasty’ is how they describe it on their website. We think it’s just right for date night!
Do something different
Roses, chocolate and wine are great but this time, why not wow your lover in a different style. Revisit your first-date place and relive those early moments of will he-won’t she. Also, whatever stage in life you’re at, nothing beats a romantic stroll, hand in hand, where you only have eyes for each other. Make sure you pick a pleasant time of the day when the heat and the hordes aren’t going to mess up your experience. Or you could take a class together. Try pottery or dessert making. Or head to a place like Copa in Juhu, which is doing a Bachata night with live music and even livelier dancing.
Top tips: Take initiative, scout around, check out event aggregator sites such as bookmyshow.com, insider.in, etc to see what’s on offer near you.
Say cheers in style
An interesting way to personalise your celebration is to pop open some Moët & Chandon. What’s so special about that other than the great champagne, you ask? Well, their limited edition Moët Rosé Impérial Emoëticons has the unique option of allowing you to choose the emoticons that best express your mood from the label and stick it on the bottle. Speak your heart through eyes, lips, heart sunglasses, musical notes, smileys, the words ‘pop!’, ‘kiss’, ‘love’, and more. If you prefer mixology, almost every restaurant and bar worth its licence will have some V-day specials to woo your business. Try an edgy Femme Fatale from Matahaari, the newest nightclub in the city. Else head to the excellent One Street Over restaurant in Khar to surrender your self to a Cranberry Kiss (cranberry sorbet with Chandon Rose) or do His & Hers shots (his has Bacardi Gold, ginger and vanilla while hers has Beefeater, lemon and honey).
Top tips: Make sure you toast each other and make the drinks about celebrating togetherness rather than a mind-numbing marathon. You want to remember the rest of the evening, right?
Sweet dreams are made of this
If there’s a day that makes you and your loved one forget about diets, it’s this one. Make your cheat treat count by going for the best. If it’s ice-cream that satisfies your soul, taste some Sucres Des Terres at Worli (www.sucresdesterres.com). This artisanal ice-creamery takes its frozen offerings very seriously and once you’ve tasted their creamy goodness, there’s no going back. The flavour to suit the season is Pepperazzi Pink (Rs 950 for 500ml), which fuses the freshest strawberries with an unexpected kick of charcoal black pepper! Sugar and spice and all things nice… just like your relationship, right? We also recommend the Heart of Passion (red velvet fondant, a dark chocolate passion fruit centre with fresh strawberries, strawberry coulis and vanilla ice cream) from The Sassy Spoon.
Top tips: If you’re gaga about games, you can have your cake and play with it too. Try playing noughts and crosses with their Hugs and Kisses, which has gold-brushed X and O macarons with strawberry fruit ganache and a meringue lattice.
Get locked in love
Locked room mysteries aren’t everyone’s cup of tea. But if you think you’re smart, are good at puzzles and like a team challenge, these are a fun way to bond on Valentine’s Day. Clue Hunt has various locations and themed rooms across the city. And a brand new venture called The Amazing Escape at Kamala City in Lower Parel promises bigger and better rooms with fun clues. How does it work? You get locked into a room together and have one hour to search for and solve all the clues to be able to come out.
Top tips: If you feel stuck, you can ask for hints from the guys who run it, who will be watching you rack your brains via CC TV cams. Some rooms need a larger team so you may want to do this with another couple.
Pamper your partner perfectly
A relaxing and yet very romantic way to end this special day would be to book a late-night couple’s therapy at Spa by JW, the spa at the JW Marriott Mumbai Sahar. Their treatments focus on giving you four core benefits – to calm, indulge, invigorate and renew you. We recommend the Ultimate Aromatherapy massage or the Intense Nourishment luxurious body treatment to feel truly pampered.
Top tips: Don’t forget to allocate time for the private Jacuzzi within the well-appointed couple treatment suite. It’s sure to put you both in a dreamy, delighted state of being.