As the cold creeps up on us and the sun slips away, know that somewhere in other pockets of the universe there is someone idly watching time go by, feet dangling in crystal clear water, without a taxing thought in the world.
Our answer to the Winter blues comes in the form of island escapes and chic beach retreats, cultural honey pots and exotic hideaways.
Here are our top five destinations for perfect Winter sun…
In the past, Mexico has long suffered from an age-old misconception that all it has to offer is sloppy margaritas and sunburnt tourists. However, the reality is far from an uncultured disaster. Conjure up idyllic stretches of sandy beaches and candlelit dinners in ancient Mayan ruins.
Mexico is now a go to for both beach and culture particularly in the Yucatan Peninsula. Apart from beach side hideaways, a traditional ‘hacienda’ draws you into real Mexican aesthetics – stone fountains, large pools, vibrant hues and sophisticated elegance come hand in hand with its rich culture. In the colonial cities you’ll find that horse and carriages still roam the streets and in the bohemian town (or rather cluster of beach shacks) of Tulum some of the most innovative local entrepreneurs are setting the restaurant scene alight. Ancient Mayan temples are set within cliff top backdrops and hidden Mayan cities are dotted at intervals in the thick, green jungle. The adventurer, the beach goer and the culture enthusiast can all take a pew here.
Over the last year, the Maldives has had some serious airtime but justifiably there is much to be said about this unassuming cluster of islands. Calling all couples, this is the ultimate romantic island escape but there are enough serene spots and private islands to keep you far away from a cheesy set up. The Maldivians certainly know a thing or two about how to make the most out of the surrounding white powdery sand and turquoise, shimmering water; stand out villas sitting on stilts make for private gateways to your nautical garden where tropical fish thrive and elegant manta rays can be fed by hand in the shallows.
Essentially a chocolate box for the serious island hopper – we can help you pick the right island for you. There’s an island for diving enthusiasts and another for complete spa goers and the activities don’t stop there.
View the islands from above in a private seaplane or spot dolphins on the way to your very own private island for an indulgent seafood lunch under the palms, there is much we can do to help make the ultimate beach destination even more enchanting. In the Maldives, all you need to do is ask the question.
Oasis-like Riads, rolling dunes, bustling souks and fragrant spices, it’s surprising to think that Morocco’s exoticism is only a short hop away from mainstream Europe. Board the plane in a damp cold London and arrive into whimsical scenes of Arabian nights, it’s the defiant competitor of the European mini break – a long weekend in Marrakech or Fez isn’t out of the question. Our little black book can take the hassle out of haggling whilst you sweep through bazaars and souks with a savvy personal shopper or we can breathe life into medieval architecture with a local historian. There is also some outstanding windsurfing in Essaouira.
For nomadic beauty a la Indiana Jones, hitch a ride with a camel on golden sand dunes or take a walk on the wild side through the enigmatic, rocky Atlas Mountains.
The island of Mauritius has long been at the helm on the winter getaways list, championing azure waters and jungle landscape. Lending itself to Robinson Crusoe style luxury, it’s a haven for the barefoot explorer and families alike.
Pass the time exploring the mangroves by kayak, visiting secluded islands on a private catamaran, fishing out in the deep blue – it’s not uncommon to bump into a friendly school of whales.
Energy fixes can be found easily through water sports, and an abundance of them – diving, sailing, water skiing, snorkelling, windsurfing or if you prefer to keep your feet on the ground then you can hike the surrounding sugar plantations or walk 18 holes on some of the world’s most pristine golf courses. The restaurants here are nothing less than world class.
Bohemian style parties in Goa and sunset boating on Keralan backwaters, Southern India’s lifestyle and culture rich escapades should not be overlooked. It might not be long white beaches and glitzy hotels but jungle clad mountains and hazy golden evenings evoke a sense of bygone eras in a region largely unaffected by the commercial world, an unusual feat in this day and age. Here civilisation takes form in simple pleasures, where history speaks though painted temples, breezy fields and charming rice paddies. Watch fishermen cast their nets in Kerala at sunrise or wander through lush green tea plantations with a specialist guide showing you the method behind the drink that Britain is most known for. Ancient sites beckon to be rediscovered whilst French style towns illustrate history’s colonial influence. We can help you make the most out of discovering this mysterious region.