Help to make Valentine’s Day special

love-opera-victoria-bakerIt’s always a challenge to find something new and interesting to do on Valentine’s Day. There’s the classic romantic dinner of course, but if you can it’s nice to do something a little extra through a special gift or a thoughtful surprise.

All women love Romance and Coco Chanel and not necessarily in that order. Gentlemen, if you can’t go all out in terms of the latest Chanel handbag you could substitute it with a drink for two at Bar Pleiades at The Surrey Hotel in New York on Madison Avenue. The décor is inspired by the iconic French fashion designer Coco Chanel, replete with quilted walls to resemble her handbags, black and white lacquer finishes and a 1930 Art Deco feel.

And, after drinks at the bar, I recommend having dinner at Cafe Boulud right next door. Café Boulud is a Michelin Star restaurant founded by celebrity Chef Daniel Boulud.

I’m a big fan of Daniel Boulud. His classic French cuisine has never disappointed me. My favorite dish there is the wild mushroom risotto with parmesan froth- it’s culinary nirvana. Follow it up with their molten chocolate cake with vanilla ice-cream: it’s to die for.

If you really want to impress your valentine after dinner, instead of driving home treat yourselves to a stay at The Surrey Hotel. Built in 1926 as a residence hotel, it catered to some of New York’s most iconic celebrities like JFK and Bette Davis.

Today, it still feels like a discreet townhouse — an elegant home away from home. Cafe Boulud is housed within the hotel so you’ll barely need to walk outside to get there. As the only Relais & Chateaux property in New York City, I highly recommend a stay.

Ask the concierge for dinner reservations, to organize a trip to one of the Museums (you could visit Jewels by JAR at the Met) or just take time to enjoy the company of your valentine.

But gentlemen, if you really want to treat your valentine — book her a surprise treatment at the Cornelia Spa housed in The Surrey. I’m not usually a fan of spa treatments, I find that often they’re more hyperbole than anything else, but the aesthetician at Cornelia Spa gave me a new face.

Just kidding, of course, but they did give me a much nicer skin tone. I got the oxygen mask with the pumpkin papaya enzymatic masque- ladies. Valentine’s Day or not I recommend stopping by for a visit.

Whatever you do for Valentine’s, remember to let that special someone know you love them. And if there’s no special someone in your life right now, be your own valentine and treat yourself to something special- not because it’s Valentine’s but because you deserve it!


Victoria Baker, of Greenwich, is an opera singer. Winner of many prestigious competitions, she has performed and worked with distinguished artists all over the world (notably at Lincoln Center). Should you have any questions that deserve answers and may be in print please call 203-531-7499 or e-mail [email protected]

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