As tradition goes (although the times, they are a-changin'), the man is the one who gets down on one knee and pops the question -- but there is "one" loophole. Supposedly, since the fifth century, it has been acceptable for a woman to ask for her significant other's hand in marriage on one day that comes only every four years: leap day. (You can thank the Irish for this tradition.) And you're lucky ladies, because 2012 brings with it the birth of hip-hop royality, the possible end of the world, and -- most importantly of course -- leap day, February 29th. So if you want to snag your man for keeps, the time to do it is tomorrow. Whisk your better half away on a last-minute romantic getaway and propose at one of our favorite romantic spots.
The Hotel: Spring Creek Ranch in Jackson Hole
Set in a wildlife refuge more than 700 feet above the Jackson Valley, the Spring Creek Ranch has arguably the most stunning views of the Tetons in the area. It has a wide array of room categories, from standard hotel rooms to immense two-bedroom condos, and he delicious, popular restaurant and the excellent heated outdoor pool are not to be missed.
Best Spots for Proposing: If your soon-to-be-fiance is the active type, hop on a horse (how romantic?) and take him to a secluded spot on one of the property's many trails. Beside the lake or in the teepee are also romantic spots for popping the question.
The Hotel: Geejam in Jamaica
The Geejam is made up of only five private, high-tech cottages on the lush (rainy) foothills of Port Antonio. The setting is gorgeous, the service is extraordinary, and one of the Caribbean's most beautiful beaches is only 10 minutes away.
Best Spots for Proposing: A love song can make anyone swoon. Bring your significant other to the recording studio and serenade him with a song asking "Will you marry me?" Or if vocals aren't really your thing, book a suite with an ocean view and get down on one knee.
Hotel: &Beyond Xaranna Okavango Delta Camp in Botswana
This ultra-remote, luxurious safari lodge on an island in Botswana's Okavango Delta isn't a hotel, it's an experience, where everything -- including the excellent food and the guided excursions (game drives, bush walks, river cruises) -- is included in the price of the stay. Guests can get up close to exotic wildlife on both land and water (think: lions and hippos), and even arriving to the property is an adventure, requiring transport by small plane, safari vehicle, and a boat. The nine safari "tents" are fully screened in and thoroughly high-end, with huge soaking tubs, four-poster beds, lots of wood, and private pools.
Best Spots for Proposing: Propose like a royal (William proposed to Kate Middleton in a secluded cabin in Kenya) by popping the question in one of the camp's luxurious, airy tents. Beside the private pool is a great spot.
Hotel: Calistoga Ranch, An Auberge Resort in Napa Valley
It's no wonder royalty, A-list celebrities, and athletes keep returning to the luxury Calistoga Ranch: It's in a class all by itself. Guests rent exquisite private lodges, set on a private 157-acre park-like property complete with hiking trails and a top-of-the-line restaurant and spa. Attention to detail carries over from room design to landscape planning -- all modules for the lodges were flown in by helicopter to minimize impact on surrounding trees and to maximize privacy. The property boasts plenty of activities, including outdoor yoga, a beautiful heated outdoor pool, a bocce court, a fabulous fitness center, and wine tasting seminars.
Best Spots for Proposing: Just about everywhere at Calistoga Ranch is romantic enough for a proposal. If you'll need some liquid courage, take your better half to the private wine cave. Or if you want to keep it really intimate and cozy, snuggle up in front of the working fireplace in the room or soak in the private Jacuzzi.
Hotel: Travaasa Hana in Maui
The Travaasa Hana hotel overlooking Hana Bay delivers rustic luxury in the middle of Maui's lush, secluded east coast. Incredible service, top spa, excellent food, a long list of stuff to do, and only 70 rooms on acres of uncrowded property. The rooms are large, clean, sleekly furnished -- and stripped of TVs, clocks, and radios. Hard to reach, but worth the trip.
Best Spots for Proposing: Situated along craggy cliffs on the rainforest-like east coast of Maui, hours from other big resorts, the Travaasa offers guests ample chances to be alone (and get down on one knee!). Nearby waterfalls and hidden beaches are ideal for a romantic proposal after a hike (the concierge can direct you on how to get to them) and afterwards couples can take a dip in the infinity pool or the Honua Spa's outdoor lava-rock pool.