10 Winter Sun Escapes

The hip hideaways booking experts at i-escape.com have given us their insider tips on the 10 best winter sun hotspots this year.

Sea View Villas, Cape Town, South Africa

These two ultra-modern self-catering pads, located in the chi-chi beachside suburb of Camps Bay, are as sleek and stylish as a James Bond villain’s hideout. Each sleeps four to six in two or three ensuite bedrooms, or you can book both together for up to 10. Floor-to-ceiling glass doors frame spectacular views of Table Mountain and the South Atlantic, and the open-plan interiors lead onto terraces with private pools. A beautiful white-sand beach is a stroll away, as are fantastic restaurants, and it’s an easy drive into the city for day trips.

Jamaica Inn, Ocho Rios, Jamaica

Peace and relaxation reign at this elegant hotel, set in a stunning private cove. It’s been a Caribbean classic since the 50s, and Marilyn Monroe, Noel Coward and Errol Flynn have all cast their shadows on the terrace. The 45 suites and eight cottages are spread over eight acres, so it never feels crowded; all have sea views. There’s also a sandy beach, a spa, and six-course dinners served at candlelit tables in one of the two restaurants.

Hotel by Beldi, near Marrakech, Morocco

Hotel by Beldi is an oasis of calm, set in flower-filled gardens a 10-minute taxi ride from Marrakech’s bustling medina. Arranged as a traditional village, it has 28 beautiful rooms (some with private terraces and outdoor bathtubs), as well as pools, a spa, tennis courts, a cinema, craft workshops and souks selling Safi pottery and Berber carpets. Come evening, dozens of lanterns glow along serpentine paths to the three restaurants, bar and cosy salons, creating a magical atmosphere.

Song Saa, Koh Rong Archipelago, Cambodia

The ultimate tropical paradise, this luxury resort is spread over 2 islands in the undeveloped Koh Rong Archipelago. You get here by speedboat, and there’s nothing to disturb the peace other than the sound of lapping waves. Some of the 27 one and two bedroom villas are wrapped around trees in the jungle, others are suspended above the sea with steps down to the water, and all have private decks and plunge pools. Water-ski or snorkel, explore the local village, book a massage in the spa, then kick back with a cocktail, happy in the knowledge that the chef has dinner at the ready whenever you feel like eating.

Maya Villa, near Tangalle, Sri Lanka

Cleverly formed from one of Sri Lanka’s ancestral abodes, this stylish hotel is just inland from Tangalle and its stunning beaches. The original 19th-century manor house and a sleek new wing sit around an L-shaped indigo pool, creating a striking take on colonial style. The five contemporary rooms are available individually or together as a staffed villa for 10-15, and the two acre garden is home to scores of exotic birds. Rolling out beyond the lawns is a sea of emerald paddy fields, providing a beautiful backdrop to alfresco meals whipped up by the superb chef.

Ranvas, Nagaur, Rajasthan

Ranvas is a romantic heritage hotel set within the walls of Nagaur’s magnificent fort, which looms over the Thar Desert a  two hour drive from Jodhpur. Spread across a cluster of 18th-century havelis are 27 spacious rooms with ensuite marble bathrooms, an open-sided dining pavilion and lounge, an air-conditioned restaurant, a central courtyard with fountains, ponds and peacocks, and a pool so inviting you can barely muster the energy to visit the enchanting palace and museum complex next door.

Txai Resort, Bahia, Brazil

Rustic simplicity meets style and luxury at this eco-friendly beach resort, hidden among coconut groves and Atlantic rainforest on Bahia’s undeveloped Cacao Coast. The 40 rooms sit in thatched bungalows around three sparkling pools: wake to an ocean view, indulge in treatments at the hilltop spa, soak up local culture and nature on one of the daily eco trips (river rafting, surfing, riding to waterfalls), then lounge on your balcony with a caipirinha and dine on the freshest fish as stars emerge overhead.

Six Senses Con Dao, Con Dao Island, Vietnam

Set on the idyllic island of Con Dao, on the edge of a beautiful national park, Six Senses offers barefoot luxury, crystal-clear seas and limitless skies. The 50 wood-panelled eco villas all have private plunge pools, and there are several restaurants with a fantastic choice of food. It’s hard to tear yourself away from the blissful spa and private beach, but if you can there are spectacular lagoons, turtle sanctuaries, traditional villages and remote lighthouses to explore.

Neeleshwar Hermitage, Kerala, India

Located on Kerala’s unspoilt northern coast, Neeleshwar Hermitage is a wonderful blend of wellbeing retreat and hotel, where you can relax, regain your balance and rejuvenate the spirit. The 16 thatched cottages sit in 12 acres of lush gardens, only 200m from a beautiful beach where endangered sea turtles hatch their eggs, and there’s an ocean-facing infinity pool with a bar. Spend your days in the Ayurvedic spa, doing yoga and learning to meditate, or explore languid backwaters on the gorgeous two bedroom houseboat.

La Posada del Faro, Jose Ignacio, Uruguay

Sandwiched between Argentina, Brazil and the vast Atlantic, the pretty towns, celebrated restaurants and pristine sands of Uruguay’s Riviera have long attracted hip South Americans. La Posada del Faro is an Aegean-style villa hotel overlooking the beach in the shadow of former fishing village Jose Ignacio’s historic lighthouse. Soak up the relaxed atmosphere on cushioned loungers, swim up to the pool bar for cocktails, and take in the ocean views from the 15 rustic-chic rooms, most of which have private balconies.