This winter's best beach getaways
Had enough of winter already? We know the feeling. Revel in warmer climes on one of these hotter-than-hot escapes
- By Hannah Summers -
Break a sweat in the Maldives
If lying horizontal on a pristine swathe of dazzling white sand is your kind of winter sun, then move the Maldives up that holiday wish list. The dreamy atoll is chocka with glistening islands and resorts that’ll offer everything from underwater dining and underwater spa-ing, to cocktails in treetops.
But even the most avid sunbather can get restless, can’t they? If that’s the case then Cheval Blanc Randheli is the place for you.The 45-villa destination is at the higher end of the luxe scale, with contemporary rooms and private infinity pools.
Take a speedboat journey over to its neighbouring island, Maakurandhoo, and you can try the resort’s jungle bootcamp – a hardcore sweat-fest circuit that’ll work off that decadent resort-dining in no time. Cross trainer? Treadmill? Not here, thanks very much.
How: ITC Luxury Travel offers seven-night stays from £3,809pp including flights and transfers. itcluxurytravel.co.uk
Party in Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain
Party all night, pray all day that you’ll feel normal again. If that’s your gig, and you’re sad the Ibiza season is over, then hop on over to the Canary Islands, where the latest Hard Rock party hotel has just opened.
The new property’s set to revamp the island’s nightlife with Children of the ‘80s parties running each weekend, with some of your favourite throwback performers (the Village People are performing on the opening night, while Corona played in Ibiza this summer).
Fender guitars and sound systems will be delivered to your room, should you fancy bringing the party back to yours, and after all that you can swing by the spa and treat yourself to a facial, complete with personalised soundtrack (we’ll take Tina Turner’s We Don’t Need Another Hero, please). Frankie says relax, and we couldn’t agree with him more.
How: Classic Collection offers three nights from £734 including flights, transfers and breakfast. classic-collection.co.uk
Hit the pool in Abu Dhabi, UAE
If it’s fly-and-flop all-out luxury you need, try Abu Dhabi. Smoke sheesha in the cafés, haggle in the markets, ride the world’s fastest rollercoaster – then retreat to a beachside suite and just relax. Luxe hotels litter the desert and shoreline, but for sophisticated interiors – minus most of the glitz – the Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi, set on a stretch of white manicured sand, is a great choice.
Float around in the calm sea, or dip in the hotel’s pool – which is one of the largest in Abu Dhabi – then try a mangrove eco tour to experience a side of the emirate you probably never knew existed.
How: Virgin Holidays offers four-night stays from £924pp including flights and accommodation. virginholidays.co.uk
Surf in the Algarve, Portugal
Here’s a hot fact: 300 days of the year are sunny in the Algarve. Ok, so we’re not talking scorching temps, but certainly enough to warm the skin and get you through the winter. If round after round on the region’s endless golf courses is too boring to comprehend, then try some other activities, namely surfing.
On the southwest coast you’ll find some of the best surf spots in Europe – kilometre after kilometre of beaches, wedges and breaks. Check into Surfers Lodge Peniche – it’s everything you wouldn’t expect from a ‘lodge’. Boho bedrooms are dressed in natural hues for perfect calm after a few hours in the hotel’s surf academy. Hate being told what to do? Rent boards and go it alone.
Beach hop in the Bahamas
Just because Simon Cowell, Rihanna and Johnny Depp escape to the Bahamas on holiday, it doesn’t mean it’s off limits for you (unless they are you – hey, guys!). There are plenty of all-inclusive resorts to choose from, but considering you’re going to be spending the majority of the time on the beach and the sea, try the island’s Airbnb options.
It’ll give you a great insight into local life – the street stalls, bars and secret beaches – while staying in cool Bahamian beachside cottages for £60 or so a night. There’s a reason this is the A-listers’ choice – these absolutely dazzling white stretches of sand are very, very hard to beat. Time to find your own.
Sail the British Virgin Islands
Save us your belly laughs, it turns out you can do the BVIs on a relative budget. Fly with Norwegian to Puerto Rico (from £270 return) then book an inexpensive (if you get it together and book in advance) flight to Tortola.
The BVIs are all about the sailing, which is fine if your name’s Abramovich and you have ten trillion yachts hanging out in your back garden. If you don’t, then check out new boat-sharing website Antlos. It enables you to charter boats (and skippers) for a fraction of the price that you would normally pay, and allows others to book onto the same boat to save costs.
If no one else books, don’t worry, your trip isn’t cancelled. In fact, you still pay the same price, which means that, in theory, you could be gallivanting around on an eight-person yacht between just two of you (assuming you’ve convinced a mate to join your on holiday that is). Cabin hopping has never been so fun, or so pretty.
Windsurf in Soma Bay, Egypt
While some parts of Egypt may still be off limits, direct flights are still operating to Hurghada, on the country’s Red Sea coast. From there you can head to Soma Bay, a peaceful peninsula that’s about as far in vibe from the clubs and nightlife as you can get.
There’s a cluster of hotels to choose from – the Kempinski is great for all-out luxe and lazy river floating, but our pick is the Breakers Surf Lodge – a simple budget option that’s home to messy-haired divers and surfers.In fact, it’s one of the best locations in the world for the latter, thanks to high winds and a flat turquoise sea.
If that’s not your bag, then you can’t fault the swimming and sunbathing either – although don’t expect to get much more action than whatever’s happening in your book. This place is peaceful, in a good way.