Planning a vacation can be a stressful endeavor -- and it gets even trickier when you throw a new guy into the mix. For many, the first vacation together is an important step in the relationship -- and an important test. It's hard to know in advance whether you'll cohabit blissfully or be at each other's throats, but smart planning can help prevent catastrophe for your romantic rendezvous. Nothing kills the mood like a bad hotel stay, and the following information will help you make a shrewd choice for your couples getaway.
Here's what to know:
1. Peek-a-boo bathrooms aren't always sexy.
Glass-walled bathrooms, open bathrooms, and so-called "peek-a-boo" bathrooms -- where there's an open window between the bathroom and the rest of the room -- are increasingly popular, especially at hotels geared toward couples. The name certainly sounds sexy, and there's nothing wrong with wanting to give your guy a peek while you're in the bath or shower. But here's the rub: You may end up sharing more than you'd planned. If there's an opening between the bathroom and the room -- well, let's put it this way: noise carries. And in some glass-walled bathrooms, such as the Standard Downtown in LA, it's possible to see your guy on the toilet (and vice versa).
If you're already comfortable peeing with the door open, this may not present an issue for you, but if you're still at the phase where you'd like to preserve a little mystery, you might prefer a bathroom with solid walls. Or at least a privacy screen.
2. Get a room with a rockin' bed.
If you're envisioning the type of romantic trip where you spend most of your time in bed, it's important to pick a hotel with decadent beds. Many hotels can provide details such as mattress type, linen brand, and thread count, which can help you feel confident about the bed's level of comfort in advance. Look for beds with extras such as brand-name, pillow-top mattresses, super high thread count (over 300 -- and keep in mind that thread count can sometimes be misleading), and sheets by Sferra, Frette, Mascioni, or other luxury names. The St. Regis New York's sumptuous beds, for example, come with Serta mattresses, fluffy down duvets, and Egyptian cotton sheets.
3. Room service is a must.
If you're planning on a romantic night in or breakfast in bed -- and on amorous activities that will make you work up an appetite -- room service is not optional. 24-hour room service is even better. Don't assume the hotel offers it; many hotels cut room service hours or eliminated it altogether to cut costs during the recession. Some, however, still offer above-and-beyond room service -- or even room service prepared by a celebrity chef; The Surrey, for example, serves 24-hour room service from the Michelin-starred Café Boulud.
4. Agree on a budget.
Money is one of the leading factors that contributes to break-ups, so it's a good idea to chat about budget with your guy before you book anything. If you're hoping to dine on caviar while he has hostels in mind, your trip could go south pretty quickly. Agree on a budget and stick to it.
5. Stay at a hotel geared toward couples.
Screaming children or swarms of conventioneers can really ruin the atmosphere -- so steer clear of kid-friendly hotels or hotels geared primarily toward business travelers. If a hotel targets couples, it's more likely to provide the sort of thoughtful extras that can elevate your stay from good to great. The romantic boutique Fifteen Beacon in Boston, for example, delivers a decadent dessert to the room as a welcome treat, and guests will find classical music, a cheery fire, and dimmed lights after the evening turndown service. Check out lists of some of the world's best romantic hotels on Oyster.com.