April 18, 2014

10 Best Love Tokens

1. One piece of furniture is tailor-made for romance: the love seat. And what would Valentine's Day be without something red? Roche Bobois covers both contingencies with its red Italian leather love seat. The company makes its leather furniture from the best part of the hide, ensuring luxurious texture and long wear. $3,595; 3601 Tamiami Trail, Naples. (239) 435-1602.

2. Champagne makes every special occasion sparkle, but this Valentine's Day go beyond basic bubbly. Smaller-production houses offer champagnes with fuller flavors and complex layers thanks to greater attention to detail and longer aging. Added cachet comes with their limited release. Look for 1989 Henriot Cuvee des Enchanteleurs; Wine Spectator dubbed the 1988 vintage "graceful and distinctive." Full-bodied and finely bubbled, it goes well with food, too. $120; Bacchus of Naples, 301 Fifth Ave. S. (239) 659-3232.

3. For another romantic view of the world-albeit from a higher vantage point-try a hot-air balloon. A 60- to 90-minute ride with Gone With the Wind Balloon Co. affords a unique perspective of the Florida landscape and ends with a champagne breakfast picnic. What a way to start the day. $225 per person; Lehigh Acres. (239) 369-6656.

4. Valentine's Day, like any other day, begins and ends in bed. Then again, you and your loved one might never want to get up if you're tucked under a king-sized set of lace-trimmed 1,000-thread Egyptian cotton sheets from Dea. Woven in Florence, Italy, these luxurious linens offer incomparable softness and comfort. $1,800; Gattle's, 1250 Third St. S., Naples. (239) 262-4791.

5. For a toast that comes with fine food and a romantic setting, check into the Ritz-Carlton, Naples and order a Sunset Basket. The resort's new gourmet gift shop's Twilight Martini Mixer, Best Cellars and Chocolate Indulgence baskets include an assortment of fine Ritz chocolates and other goodies, as well as an iPod mini for mood music-all arranged and served by your private beach butler just in time to watch the sun sink into the Gulf. Sunset Basket, $200-$300; 280 Vanderbilt Beach Road. (239) 598-3300.

6. Cozy up with nature while gliding along Estero Bay during a full-moon kayak tour. Beginning (where else?) at Lovers Key State Park, the two-hour trip departs at sunset, so paddlers can see ibis, herons and roseate spoonbills swoop in to roost for the night in the mangroves. Then, as the moon rises, nocturnal birds come out to feed and phosphorescence glows in the water. Mark your calendar: This month's full moon falls on Feb. 23. $35 per person; GAEA Guides. (239) 694-5513.

7. When it comes to accessorizing, watches are one of the few essentials for men. They don't get much more exclusive than Carl F. Bucherer's limited-edition Patravi Fritz Brun watch. The Swiss watchmaker crafted just 125 of these 18-karat rose gold timepieces, which boast a perpetual calendar with moon-phase display. He'll never be tardy again. $36,900; Bigham Jewelers, 2900 Tamiami Trail N., Naples. (239) 434-2800.

8. When you give estate jewelry, you give history and beauty as well as an appreciating investment. A one-of-a-kind Art Deco platinum sapphire and diamond bracelet hand-fabricated by a French master jeweler will show your love is written in stone. To be exact: five round diamonds of about five karats each, 228 smaller stones totaling 19 karats, and 93 square sapphires weighing in at a combined six karats. $75,000; the Gallery of Estate and Precious Jewels, Venetian Village, Naples. (239) 434-7070.

9. For something equally picturesque-but less fleeting-the artists of Le Classique Art Guild will paint your portrait in the classic Renaissance style in a setting of your choice. Just picture yourself in a John Singer Sargent hung over the fireplace. Much like your love, this picture will never fade. $5,000 and up, depending on canvas size. (239) 489-1322.

10. Hearts are what Valentine's Day is all about. So show your partner you've got a generous one by adopting a dog or cat from the Collier County Humane Society. You'll be giving an abandoned pet a new leash on life while winning over someone special. $50-$250; 370 Airport-Pulling Road. (239) 643-1880. 

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