The lovely Maldivian weather means this archipelago is a wonderful place to visit year-round. But the sunny climes of the Maldives are appreciated most by British tourists when the UK is at its coldest and wettest – that is, in the depths of winter. There are over 150 resorts to choose from, and luckily here at C&TH we have collated a number of guides to help you choose the best for your needs:
How To Get To the Maldives From the UK
London Heathrow airport is the only UK airport with direct flights to the Maldives. You could alternatively from Manchester, Birmingham, Edinburgh or Belfast with a stopover.
Where To Stay in the Maldives
Huvafen Fushi: A watering hole for the fashion set, this resort’s 44 villas are each bedecked with a private infinity pool and private deck. huvafenfushi.com
The Nautilus: Located in a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, this small resort (with 26 houses) provides an unforgettable winter sun experience, whether that’s because of the spa, the butlers, chartering a luxury yacht, or swimming with manta rays. thenautilusmaldives.com
Soneva Jani: A snazzy sibling to Soneva Fushi, all rooms at Soneva Jani have a kitchenette, rooftop dining area, private pool, sitting room, bed with retractable roof so you can sleep under the stars. soneva.com
JOALI Being: This immersive nature retreat (the first of its kind in the Maldives) offers a mix of integrated wellness programmes, built using Vastu Shastra principles, a scientific ancient Indian system of architecture and design which integrates nature, aiming to ‘achieve harmony by eliminating negative energies and enhancing the island’s positive energies’. joali.com
Image: Huvafen Fushi.
Morocco is a year-round favourite – perfect for a milder spot of winter sun amid gorgeous scenery, with average winter temperatures around 21°C.
How To Get To Morrocco
Fly direct to Marrakech, Morocco from Gatwick, Heathrow, Luton, Stansted, Manchester, Bristol, Birmingham or Edinburgh airport.
Where To Stay In Morocco From the UK
Fairmont Royal Palm Marrakech: A desert oasis 20 minutes from the Medina, the Fairmont Royal Palm Marrakech boasts 134 rooms, suites and villas each with a contemporary design and a terrace peering over manicured gardens. fairmont.com
Mandarin Oriental, Marrakech: Situated in 20 hectares of olive groves and gardens featuring 100,000 roses, head here for mountain trekking, a traditional hammam, or check out the new Discover Essaouira day trip and visit the UNESCO World Heritage site with one of Morocco’s best beach destinations in Essaouira. mandarinoriental.com
Royal Mansour Marrakech: Celebrating the stunning saffron harvest, the Royal Mansour – with its four acres of lush gardens – is ideal for an early-winter escape. royalmansour.com
Le Farnatchi: Led by British hotelier James Wix, six merchant houses make up the Le Fanatchi riad, filled with authentic interiors and furnishings sourced from nearby. You can’t miss the glimmering emerald courtyard pool, but make sure you don’t miss the marble-clad Farnatchi Spa and the esteemed Le Trou Au Mur restaurant. lefarnatchi.com
Image: Fairmont Royal Pal Marrakech.
The Caribbean is a dreamy winter sun destination, with hot and dry weather drawing thousands of visitors to the isles. But with more than 700 islands and 13 nations comprising the Caribbean, it’s easier said than done to choose your location.
How To Get To The Caribbean From the UK
The UK & Europe chapter of the Caribbean tourist organisation notes that: ‘Around 18 operators fly to the Caribbean with direct flights from UK international airports with British Airways and Virgin Atlantic to Jamaica, Anguilla, The Bahamas, Barbados, Saint Lucia and Antigua.
‘For Grenada, Nevis, St. Kitts, Trinidad & Tobago and the Turks & Caicos, you would normally make a stop in Antigua, Nassau or Saint Lucia,’ it says.
Where To Stay In The Caribbean
Bequia Beach Hotel: Bequia is laid-back and cool, and this hotel is the understood go-to place on the isle, with throngs of tropical palms, papaya and almond trees lining Friendship Bay Beach, where the hotel’s suites and cottages are nestled. bequiabeachhotel.com
The Aerial BVI, British Virgin Islands: This resort is set over 43 acres on Buck Island, sleeping 30 guests in five residences, and visitors can try a range of bespoke activities designed to enhance mind, body and soul, including environmental healing, red light therapies, acupuncture, hikes, yoga and ocean water therapy. World-class nutritionist chefs, wellness consultants and spa therapists are also on hand to guide you throughout your stay. aerialbvi.com
Cabot St Lucia: On an idyllic emerald stretch of coast, Cabot St Lucia is primarily a private community centred around an 18-hole golf course and a luxury resort. But 2022 has seen the launch of 40 new one, two and three-bedroom luxury suites for visitors, enabling them to take advantage of the stunning location, vibrant Beach Club, restaurants, spa and, of course, the golf course. cabotsaintlucia.com
Castara Retreats, Tobago: The sparsely populated younger sibling to Trinidad, Tobago is often described as the unspoilt part of the Caribbean, characterised by quiet palm-lined beaches and lush rainforest – perfect for a winter sun getaway. Nestled on a hillside on the edge of a friendly fishing village, Castara Retreats’ 17 eco-conscious treehouses melt seamlessly into this landscape. castararetreats.com
Sugar Beach, St Lucia: Set within more than 100 acres of rainforest in the World Heritage-listed Val des Pitons, with stunning views of the Caribbean Sea and the Pitons, this resort features luxury rooms, cottages, bungalows and villas, each of which has its own private plunge pool. viceroyhotelsandresorts.com
Image: Bequia Beach Hotel.
If you’re looking for adventure, exploration and shopping – and you’re looking to narrow down your Caribbean hotel hunt efficiently – look no further than Barbados.
How To Get To Barbados From the UK
You can fly directly to Barbados from Gatwick, Heathrow, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, East Midlands, Glasgow, Manchester or Newcastle airport.
Where To Stay In Barbados
Beach Houses by The Crane: This secluded tropical retreat on the east coast of Barbados is home has a breath-taking view of the Atlantic, and each villa offers a ‘no tan lines’ level of privacy. beachhouses.bb
Cobblers Cove: One of the Caribbean’s finest family owned establishments, this is one of those rare hotels still steeped in lost-in-time elegance. Behind coral stone walls you’ll find cool bedrooms by Soane Britain decked in rattan and billowing, colourfully printed cottons, while outdoors pink parasols cluster around a retro pool overlooking the ocean. cobblerscove.com
Sandy Lane: Known as the first luxury hotel in Barbados, Sandy Lane legends include Aristotle Onassis being rowed in from his yacht while Maria Callas swam ashore with a pet marmoset on her back, and Elton John adhering to the New Year’s Eve black-tie dress with a black tie around his thigh, and later giving an impromptu concert at the piano. Care to add to the legends yourself? sandylane.com
Image: Beach Houses by The Crane.
For white sand beaches, dramatic landscapes, rustic shacks, and a glimpse of sun amid the wintery cold, head to Thailand.
How To Get To Thailand From the UK
You can fly directly from London Heathrow to a variety of cities in Thailand; to Phuket from Gatwick or Manchester airport; or indirectly from a range of airports across the UK.
Where To Stay In Thailand
Soneva Kiri Resort: Based on the belief that luxury and sustainability can work harmoniously, the Soneva Kiri Resort is nestled on an unspoiled island and offers everything from beach tours and snorkelling to Treepod Dining in the highest branches of the rainforest. soneva.com
The Resort Villa: This sustainable luxury stay in Rayong has idyllic surroundings and expansive views over the Bay of Thailand, with eight villas sleeping up to 16 guests, multiple infinity pools, 70 plus full-time staff, a home cinema, spa, and 15-metre aquarium. theresortvilla.com
Image: Soneva Kiri.
In the equatorial Indonesia, temperatures rarely drop below 20°C throughout the year, with the months of December to April typically sitting at a balmy average temperature of 27°C. From Bali to Jakarta, it’s a gorgeous winter sun destination.
How To Get To Indonesia From the UK
There are no direct flights from the UK to Indonesia, but connecting flights are easy to find, with common stopover destinations being Singapore, Hong Kong and Bangkok – you could even make it a multi-destination trip.
Where To Stay In Indonesia
Bawah Reserve: This remote tropical paradise in the Anambas Archipelago was previously an uninhabited marine conservation, and today maintains protected marine status, but with guests invited from across the world to appreciate its natural beauty. bawahreserve.com
Nihi Sumba’s Villa Rahasia: A 50-minute flight from Bali, this villa paradise offers the ultimate in privacy, surrounded by rolling rice fields, cliff top views, and the sound of crashing Indian Ocean waves. nihi.com
Image: Bawah Reserve.
Known for its soft sandy beaches, idyllic island vibe and clear waters, the Seychelles’ tropical climate means it never gets cold here – where better for a winter sun escape?
How To Get To The Seychelles From the UK
You can fly directly to the Seychelles from London Heathrow airport, or indirectly via a range of UK airports. Common stopovers include Paris, Frankfurt, Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
Where To Stay In The Seychelles
Anantara Maia Seychelles Villas: With architecture that blends seamlessly into the landscape, from the moment your feet touch the sand at Anantara Maia, you’re deeply immersed in tropical paradise (with a little help from meandering gardens designed by Bill Bensley). anantara.com
Four Seasons Desroches: In the Seychelles’ remote and less-visited Outer Islands in the Amirantes Bank atoll – six kilometres of sandy coral island teeming with beaches and forests of towering palms – sits hidden villas with breezy interiors and a beachy-chic vibe. fourseasons.com
Image: Anantara Maia.
This transcontinental country famously separates the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, northern and southern America. It is rich in culture, and beautifully sunny for a spot of winter sun. To avoid the humidity, wait until the new year to pay a visit.
How To Get To Panama From the UK
There are no direct flights from the UK to Panama, but indirect flights are available with common stopovers including Amsterdam, Paris, Madrid and Frankfurt.
Where To Stay In Panama
Islas Secas: Located just off the Pacific coast of Panama, Islas Secas is one of Central America’s best-kept secrets. Comprising four individual casita sites spread across a privately owned archipelago of 14 islands (sleeping 24 in total), each guest will drift off at night to the sounds of local wildlife in a luxury tent with day beds, plunge pools and sea views. islassecas.com
Image: Islas Secas.
USA: California & Florida
For a milder experience of these coastal southerly US states, head to California and Florida for a spot of winter sun amid a city break or hiking holiday.
How To Get To California From the UK
You can fly directly to a range of cities in California from London Heathrow airport, or indirectly via London, Paris, Amsterdam or Frankfurt. You could alternatively make your trip multi-destination and fly direct to New York City (from London, Manchester or Edinburgh airport) first.
How To Get To Florida From the UK
You can fly directly to Orlando, Florida from London or Manchester airport; directly to Miami or Tampa from London Heathrow; or indirectly from a range of UK airports.
Where To Stay In The USA
The Beverly Hills Hotel, California: This picture-perfect Los Angeles winter sun escape is a Hollywood favourite, with a recent chic redesign of its iconic cabanas, overseen by the renowned Champalimaud Design. dorchestercollection.com
The Setai, Florida: Go star-spotting in Miami at The Setai, an all-suite property that has played host to the Kardashians, Hadids and Beckhams. thesetaihotels.com
Hotel Bel-Air, California: King Charles once said, “I slept better in the Presidential Suite of the Bel-Air than in any other hotel in the world”. Convinced? dorchestercollection.com
Image: The Beverly Hills Hotel.
Hot days and balmy evenings make Mauritius – an island in the Indian Ocean, to the east of Madagascar – an ideal winter sun destination.
How To Get To Mauritius From the UK
You can fly directly to Mauritius from London Gatwick or Heathrow airport.
Where To Stay In Mauritius
One&Only Le Saint Géran: Mauritius’s first five-star hotel, this private peninsula resort is the perfect spot for soaking up some much-needed winter sun, with pristine sand, stunning waters of a sheltered lagoon, and the sparkling ocean itself. oneandonlyresorts.com
Image: Le Saint Géran.
Hottest in January and February, get your dose of winter sun in Chile this season, where incredible vistas await.
How To Get To Chile From the UK
You can fly directly from London Heathrow airport to Santiago, Chile.
Where To Stay In Chile
Vik Chile: This vineyard hotel makes a striking winter sun setting, perched at the top of a hill in the middle of a valley with views of both the Andes and the vineyards below. vikwine.com
Singular Patagonia: This intriguing architectural landmark – situated on a remote fjord and windswept views over the Señoret Channel – was carved out of a post-Victorian cold storage plant on the cusp of Puerto Natales. Fifty-seven rooms, a large spa and two restaurants promise luxe relaxation amid the exploration. thesingular.com
Image: Vik Chile.
Winter is the ideal time to go on that safari holiday you’ve been dreaming of.
Winter Sun Safari Destinations
Wilderness Safari DumaTau, Botswana: Here, guests can immerse themselves deep in the Linyanti Wildlife Reserve, sharing a home with one of the world’s largest herds of elephants across eight tented suites with private plunge pools and an onsite spa. wilderness-safaris.com
Nomad, Tanzania: For ultimate seclusion but high-octane winter sun adventure, Nomad Tanzania’s Entamanu will walk you along the rim of the country’s iconic Ngorongoro crater or along the rolling highlands. And, here, opting for an off the beaten track getaway doesn’t mean to sacrifce luxury. nomad-tanzania.com
The Saxon & Shambala Private Game Reserve, South Africa: One of Johannesburg’s beloved luxury hotels – and where Nelson Mandela worked on his biography, Long Walk to Freedom – The Saxon features sprawling gardens, exquisite art, and rooms decorated by local artists and craftspeople. Enjoy safari at sister Shamabala property, where you can spot the Big Five through a private game drive. saxon.co.za
The Safari Series, Kenya: If remote is what you’re after, The Safari Series comprises of six tents spread out across a 50,000-acre private conservatory in the Lolldaiga Hills. You’re unlikely to see another car during your stay – though you will be neighbours with elephants, zebras and buffalos, who frequent the small dam that sits beside the bedroom tents. safari-series.com
Ant’s Nest, South Africa: Situated in The Waterberg, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, Ant’s Nest offers the opportunity to catch a some winter sun rays, as well as a glimpse of more than 40 species of game, including giraffe, white rhino and both sable and roan antelope. luxtripper.co.uk
Image: DumaTau, Botswana.