Take Him Out: Valentine's Treats for Men

Four suave ways to sweep him off his feet this Valentine’s Day and beyond

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By Alison Taylor 

Why does romantic law dictate that it's the guy in a partnership who does the whisking away? What if the woman takes on that role? The name's Bond, Jane Bond…

Take up residence at your country bolthole

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Nothing says 'you're important' like a lavish country estate to call home and swan around like you own the place.

Wilderness Reserve in Suffolk, above,  is the rural idyll du jour. Fashion people of note having a birthday party? This is where they head.

It's gorgeous and luxury and way out of anyone's league to actually live there, which is exactly the point.

It's also run discreetly and charmingly by estate manager 'Scottie' who greets you on arrival wearing tweed, smelling divine and leaning against his Land Rover.

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Hex Cottage bedroom

Wilderness is a sprawling country estate set in the grounds of Sibton Park, near Southwold.

There is woodland to roam through, a huge lake for fishing, an outdoor swimming pool for skinny dipping and tennis courts to thrash a ball around.

Accommodation-wise there are several dwellings to choose from - ranging from the main, rather splendid, manor house, which sleeps 16, to the cart shed (a sumptuously modernised cattle shed with gobsmacking floor-to-ceiling glass doors running the length of the building) and the pink farmhouse cottage.

Really these are designed to house larger groups (though you can book for two), so get this on your radar for summer group jaunts.

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For a romantic hideaway, we suggest Hex Cottage, above,  a dreamy thatched cottage for two, which is electricity-free, candlelit and set in its own woodland.

Going without electricity is so chic in this day-and-digital-age, and, anyway, the Esse wood-fired range cooker in the kitchen expertly heats the cottage and provides endless piping-hot water for the roll-top bath.

The single room for two has a fairytale canopy bed and sheepskin rugs, which is textbook romance.

Rent Hex Cottage from £250 per night; Yoxford Rd, Sibton, Saxmundham, Suffolk, IP17 2LZ; +44 (0)20 7484 5700

Take him for a Martini 

This is where the James Bond vibe really kicks in. For a more metropolitan date, Dukes in St James's is one of those vintage London hotels that reeks of history and high-class debauchery.

Hip new hotels are all well and good but if you want glamour that evokes crisp suits, clandestine rendezvous and classic martinis, then Dukes is the place.

Also, frequented back in the day by James Bond author Ian Fleming, the bar is said to be the inspiration for the classic line, 'shaken, not stirred'. Cool.

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It's an intimate sort of place – more like a townhouse lounge than a bar – so perfect for ear-whispering and getting cosy.

The final gentlemanly touch? Retire to the Cognac and Cigar Garden.

And if you're feeling really flush, take a room upstairs and carry on through till morning.  It's the only way to start the working day.

Dukes Hotel, 35 St. James's Place, SW1A 1NY; +44 (0)207 491 4840, dukeshotel.com  Doubles from £335 B&B, with complimentary upgrade to next room category. 

Get some hot wheels 

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The bit In Pretty Woman where Julia Roberts takes the wheel of Richard Gere's sports car? That was cool.

So what if you rocked up in the new Ferrari California T for your date? Exactly.

The reaction a man has to a car of this specification, beauty and speed is a reaction like no other.

Have the launch button explained (basically, instant acceleration – like a rocket taking off) and he will quite literally lose his mind. Ferrari describes this model as a 'sophisticated prancing horse grand tourer' and, as daft as it sounds, we get it.

It's an animal – an extremely elegant, graceful and handsome beast.

It has all the features of a racer but without the all-out-showiness. It's stylish. The front styling is based on the iconic Testa Rossa, and the tail and signature grille are just sexy.

It's low to the ground too and ridiculously quiet so by the time passers by lock you into view you're already gone.

And people will gawp. Especially if there's a woman behind the wheel too.

The main thing to take away from getting a ride in this car though, is the excitement.

You get a rush as soon as you climb inside the whisky-hued leather seats and hit go.

Granted, you're looking at upwards of £150k to buy one but it's definitely something to aim for (california-t.ferrari.com). 

Failing that, you can hire one from Premiere Velocity or  Apex Luxury Car hire; price on application 

Take him to the grooming parlour

The spa day for her though always welcome is a little tired, gift wise. A barbershop experience for him? Now you're talking. So to Murdock London, above, 'the grooming specialists for gentlemen of good taste'.

With branches in Shoreditch, Soho, the City and beyond, founder Brendan Murdock wanted to recreate the experience inspired by the grand heritage of St James' barbershops but for modern, style conscious men.

The surroundings are suitably Esquire-ish – retro leather barbershop seats, British racing green walls, a whiskey bar…

We suggest treating him to the Murdock Luxury Full Service.

Beginning with a consultation with one of Murdock's expert barbers your lucky chap will receive a shampoo and haircut, luxury wet shave (or full beard reshape) with hot towel and straight razor, a signature revitalising facial, and finish with a male manicure or shoe shine 'for a man to fully realise his dapper potential'.

Murdock Luxury Full Service is £120,  020 3393 7946

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