Looking ahead to cooler climes, make sure you’re prepared by booking a escape to a destination promising winter sun, sea and relaxation. Whether you fancy diving in the coral reef of the Riviera Maya or soaring across the Whitsundays by seaplane, take a look at our list of destinations promising winter sun, and swap out the beanies and gloves in favour of swimsuits and sunglasses.
Best Time to Visit: Late November to February
Mexico is a real cornucopia of beautiful beaches, cultural heritage and elegant luxury, and the Riviera Maya, a district south of Cancun, is no exception. Brimming with ancient Mayan ruins, natural cenote swimming pools, corridors of white-sand beaches and even the world’s second-largest coral reef, it’s no question why it’s become an increasingly popular tourist destination.
Mid way between the Riviera’s two focal points, Cancun and Tulum, lies the Rosewood Mayakoba. The 1600 acre-resort, which is nestled amongst a mile-long arc of white Caribbean sand and verdant jungle, is certainly an oasis of luxury offering 129 suites with private plunge pools, rooftop sundecks and individual docks. The resort boasts three restaurants, a fitness centre and spa, plus an abundance of ocean and land activities.
Best Time to Visit: November to March
Dubai is the epitome of the modern world with its spectacular skylines, architecture, and plentitude of luxury shopping spots. There is no better way to take in Dubai’s skylines than with flight on a seaplane or helicopter, however nestled amongst these extravagant new builds, the country is also rich with cultural activities, from haggling for spice in the bustling souks to camel rides in the Sahara.
Hidden away from the hustle and bustle is the Al Maha Desert Resort: a green oasis set amidst Dubai’s red-tinted dunes with impressive views and 42 safari-style luxury tent accommodation. All suites feature a terrace with private pool, handcrafted Arabian furnishings and a spacious bathroom. Other resort facilities include a swimming pool, gym, and spa offering treatment rooms, a sauna, Jacuzzi and steam room.
Best Time to visit: December to Mid-April
Whilst famed for its beautiful beaches, Barbados is also bustling with a range of activities and sights. In addition to white sands and turquoise bays, there’s the British colonial architecture of Bridgetown, beautiful gardens, plus if you’re lucky, you might catch a glimpse the nation’s famous green money. Escape the cooler climes in favour of a visit to a plantation or sugar cane field, or perhaps dive with the Atlantis Submarines and witness an array of sea life, from lionfish to hawksbill turtle.
When you’re not busy exploring the island, Sandals Royal Resort is the perfect place to relax. Including a rooftop pool and bar, bowling alley, barbershop, unlimited scuba diving and watersports, plus six restaurants, there is something for everyone. The 222 all-suite resort contains stunning ocean views, butler service and luxurious swim up suites.
Best Time to visit: December to May
Perhaps the most fascinating country of the Caribbean, Cuba is a mix of historic and faded Spanish colonial cities such as Havana, eclectic architecture, live music and idyllic beach escapes. Take a vintage car ride along the streets of Havana; or east of the city is the 20km blonde sand stretch of beach, Hicacos Peninsula, where you can explore the Bellamar caves or Cayo Santa Maria.
Arguably the best accommodation is the Royalton Hicacos Resort and Spa. Combining the charming culture of Cuba with luxury and exceptional service, the Royalton Hicacos is the perfect adult-only destination. Situated between white sand and jungle greenery, the beachfront resort is a real tropical retreat with swimming pools, spa access and a plethora of beach and water activities.
Best Time to Visit: May to December
Mauritius is best known for its white sand beaches and volcanic mountain backdrops. Get lost on the island exploring the Indian temples, botanical gardens and colonial houses whilst spotting the many wildlife that inhabit the island. There is an abundance of activities from walking in the national parks, watersports or swimming with dolphins, as well as plenty of outstanding gourmet cuisine and spa facilities.
To stay, head to Shangri-La’s Le Touessrok Resort & Spa. There are water sports and island activities for the more active traveller, and pampering spa days or beach days for the more laid back. The resort also contains fashionable restaurants and bars and exceptional entertainment options. Made up of 200 rooms, every room and suite incorporates indigenous island touches and picture perfect views of the sparkling turquoise waters.
Best Time to Visit: September to November
Located at the heart of the Great Barrier Reef lies the Whitsundays; a collection of 74 island wonders. Mainly designated national parks, four offer resort accommodation with the wild and ocean life on their doorsteps. Major attractions include snorkeling and diving in the coral reefs and secluded beaches, relaxing by the pool, or island hopping on a private yacht. For the action seekers hire a jet ski or take in the breathtaking panorama on a seaplane or helicopter.
Hamilton Island includes the luxurious Qualia resort, on the secluded north tip. Every moment of your trip will be memorable from the VIP transport from the airport to the spa treatments, private restaurants and water activities during your stay. Each of qualia’s 60 light-filled pavilions faces the water, surrounded by lush tropical bushland within the resort.