Big Sur: Off the beaten path

Brian Borgia’s business cards should read “King of Hearts” instead of co-owner – with his wife Heidi – of Romantic Room Designs.

Together, the couple decorate hotel rooms with roses, assemble sunset beach bonfires with big hearts drawn in the sand and otherwise further Cupid’s cause in whatever way they can. They don’t need much time to surprise a loved one and will go anywhere on the Monterey Peninsula, San Francisco, Big Sur and even Pismo Beach and Santa Barbara.

“There was one guy who called us from (his car) on Highway 1,” Borgia said.

He wanted to propose and needed the Borgias to create a candlelit atmosphere with rose petals strewn on the bed, a service that starts at $99. Prices vary according to the package. A room design with 48 roses, candles and chocolates runs $229.

If you’d rather celebrate the occasion outdoors, the Borgias can whip up a romantic picnic, filling a willow basket with gourmet cheeses, nuts, olives, wine, two wine glasses and a dozen red roses. They also throw in the cozy blanket. For this, they charge $139 plus tax.

Choose from several other packages for family beach bonfires, anniversary or birthday celebrations and even “romance in a box” getaway invitations. Borgia specializes in coaching men on creating romantic marriage proposals.

It’s difficult, however, to keep beach bonfires secret, but the couple still manage to astonish their customers. For example, one woman wanted to surprise her husband for his birthday, so Brian told her to walk by the bonfire and point it out. When she did that, however, her husband kept on walking. She had to insist on examining the roses and bonfire up close, with her husband protesting that the items belonged to someone else.

“She finally just told him that she had masterminded the whole thing,” Borgia said.

Borgia’s been creating amorous atmospheres since his college days at Santa Clara University. He majored in marketing but excelled in romance, transforming his apartment into an Italian restaurant, among other things, to attract girls.

A jack-of-all trades, Borgia advertises his services as a nondenominational wedding officiant. He also writes articles about keeping romance alive.

The Borgias met while working in sales at the Monterey Hyatt Hotel. Heidi also takes photographs professionally (, and Brian teaches Introduction to Hospitality and Sales at Monterey Peninsula College.

For more information, visit www.romantic- or call (888) 871-3248.

– Eren Göknar

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