By Dennis Seid/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – In anticipation of Valentine’s Day, business is brisk for florists, candy shops and jewelry stores.
But with Americans poised to spend nearly $16 billion for the holiday, another chunk of change is being spent at hotels.
Specifically, hotels with rooms offering special “romance” packages that feature large, comfortable suites, along with amenities like whirlpool tubs, champagne, flowers, meals and the all-important late checkout.
Danielle Del-Grand, the general manager of Comfort Suites on North Gloster Street in Tupelo, said the eight suites at her hotel have been booked for the weekend for two weeks.
“They each come with a king bed and a two-person whirlpool,” she said.
Last year, the hotel had special romance packages including flowers, champagne and chocolates. While they weren’t available this year, the hotel can custom-make a package for guests – within reason, of course.
Down the street at the Clarion and Summit Center, owner and General Manager Jimmy Pappas said his suites also are popular.
“We have a lot of people who booked the suites for the weekend,” he said. The hotel also is offering a special package of its own, which includes a long-stem rose, champagne – or beverage of choice – and a candlelit dinner for two. Tickets to the Elvis Presley Birthplace and Museum also are included.
Some of the suites are as large as 1,500 feet, and some also have heart-shaped whirlpool tubs.
“We offer the packages throughout the year, and not just for Valentine’s Day,” Pappas said.
At the 158-room Hilton Garden Inn near downtown Tupelo, six junior suites and eight executive suites are available – and they, too, are booked for the weekend.
“We had gotten a great online review from one of our guests who liked our romance packages and then they started to really sell,” said Shari Long Neely.
Champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries are popular options with the packages, as are meals cooked by the hotel’s executive chef, Joshua Simpson.
“One of the things that’s especially appealing for guests is that we can do special ordering … we also have evening room service available, too.”
Rates and availability vary by hotel, but guests can expect to pay around $120 and up for a suite.
As for the availability of any rooms this weekend, it’s best to call hotels directly.
“Right now we don’t have anything available, but somebody could always cancel,” said Comfort Suites Assistant Manager Kim Ayers.