Finding Mr/Mrs Right is easy. The hard part is doing the right thing by them for Valentine’s Night. The
Insider considers your options.
“It is better to have loved and lost than never to have lost at all.” So go the words of Samuel Butler. Catchy you might think. Maybe even wise. Well, unfortunately, also very wrong. Losing is horrible, and on February 14th the chances of just that rise uncomfortably high. Remember when Valentine’s was easy? When all that was required was a single red rose and Notting Hill on VHS. Well those days are gone. History. Instead, we live in dangerous times in which actions are judged. Friends, welcome to the Valentine’s minefield. One false move and you’ll be drinking on the sofa while shuddering to Adele – even scarier, you’ll be doing so on your own.
And don’t think you’ll find the Valentine’s cause helped by your city of residence. In Paris, for instance, a cheapskate can just about plead poverty and get away with a moonlit walk on the banks of the Seine. Warsaw though can’t offer such a solution. Really, there are times when winter in Warsaw makes Rochdale look like Rome. So what do you do when the odds are stacked against you? When the all demanding partner demands to be dazzled? No probs – follow the Insider.
Make your own heart shaped candy at Manufaktura Cukierów (www.manufaktura-cukierkow.pl). For chocolate, check out Karmello (www.karmello.pl), purveyors of Warsaw’s finest chocs. Or what about cupcakes? Find the best that there are at the cult La Vanille (www.lavanille.pl). Next, pick up a jar of personalized cookies from Na Słodko Baba Wróżyła (ul. Mysia 3).
In past times Warsaw’s adult stores could be pigeon-holed as grim little haunts run by suspect little men. Not anymore they ain’t – at least not all. For high class erotica, add a playful slant to your bedroom japes with a visit to Horn & More (www.hornandmore.pl) or Barbarella (www.barbarella.pl).
Champagne & Oysters
According to Balzac, “great love affairs start with champagne.” Start your own by enjoying the ‘food of Aphrodite’ in Champagne Bar by Flaming & Co. (www.flaming-co.pl). Expensive, so suggest going Dutch to see the look on her/his face.
A Night at the Pics
Snuggle up on the back row for a night at the flicks. Any cinema will do, but damn right you’re best off swerving the latest action blockbuster. Instead, check out the intellectual, art house offerings at Kino Muranów (muranow.gutekfilm.pl) or Kino Illuzjon.
Be Chef for the Night
Most cooks are truculent sods. Not so Joseph Seeletso, a Botswanan born chef with a permanent smile. Best known for his TV appearances and award-winning restaurant, Mr Seeletso is now revealing the secrets of his trade at his own culinary school. Join other couples for a night of wine, food and cookery in Seeletso’s custom-made kitchen (www.josephseeletso.com).
Shake Your Thing
Tango is hot! Raise the temperature with an evening of steamy Latin tango at Złota Milonga (www.milango.pl).
Go all Dr. Zhivago and head out to the forests surrounding Warsaw for a woodland sleigh ride pulled by shaggy, panting ponies (www.ulmag.com.pl). City slickers should look no further than Old Town, where horse drawn carriages clip clop through the area’s mist-cloaked alleys from zł. 50 per ride.
Up & Away
If the wind is in check and the fog is at bay, then visit the stationary hot air balloon by the National Stadium. Feel like Phileas Fogg as the balloon rises 120 meters for twinkly views of Warsaw below (stacjabalon.pl). A warmer, wiser option is a trip to the Marriott – glittery views are guaranteed no matter what the weather from the 40th floor Panorama Bar (www.panoramabar.pl).
Get the Skates On
Overlook the stale smell of the rental skates and zip about in the shadow of the Palace of Culture (www.pkin.pl). It’s not the Rockefeller Ice Rink, but it’s not a bad second. With prices set at zł. 7 per person, make it Plan A if you’re a tightwad.
Sometimes, only wine will do. Muffle up for a walk down boutique lined Mokotowska, Warsaw’s most Parisienne street, before stopping for a glass of red in the intimate Ale Wino (www.alewino.pl).
There’s a shortage of truly romantic restaurants in town, but you can’t go far wrong with La Rotisserie in New Town (www.leregina.com). For zł. 355 per person expect an aphrodisiac based menu created by the celebrated Paweł Oszczyk. For Italian, then the candle-lit Delizia (www.delizia.com.pl) remains a personal number 1. For an alternative Italian, nothing says “I love you” like a trip to San Lorenzo (www.sanlorenzo.pl). Or enjoy a Scandi-style design and a night of vintage vinyl in Nabo (ul. Zakręt 8).
Stay the Night
Who cares if you live down the road. Add a bit of variety to your life and check-in somewhere special – you know, somewhere without dishes piled up in the sink. In New Town, Le Regina is a deluxe boutique experience that’s guaranteed to impress. In the center, then nowhere else than H15 (ww.h15boutiqueapartments.com) will do. Once the interwar Soviet Embassy, this designer clad residence is Warsaw’s premier hotel. It’s magnificent, it’s stylish, and it’s what she/he deserves.
Take a Trip
What’s stopping you? Two and a bit hours away you’ve got Kazimierz Dolny, a quaint riverside town bursting with high end pensions like the romantic, Provence-style Vincent (www.pensjonatvincent.pl). Or how about a night in a Gothic castle? The Krasicki (www.hotelkrasicki.pl) in Lidzbark Warmiński is a standout, with interiors that won Best Design in the 2011 European Hotel Awards. If all else fails, be boring – Kraków’s always a safe bet, and the spread of boutique hotels and atmospheric streets is perfect for Valentine’s.