7 of the best hotels for a winter or spring escape
If you can’t wait till summer to feel the sun on your skin, we’ve huddled together a few of our favourite hideaways that are perfect for a last-minute escape. Whether you’d love to leave behind the last few weeks of winter or put a spring in your step with an Easter getaway, here are some ideas for a beachy start to 2022.
Swap winter blues for ocean blues in Mauritius
Early this year, you could jet off to the tranquil, sunny shores of Mauritius. March to April is nearing the tail-end of summer, and although there are still some showers, they are usually short and sharp and are rather refreshing in the high-20s heat The swanky new Anantara Iko Mauritius Resort & Villas has a wow-factor setting on a secluded beach, just a stone’s throw from the aquatic wonderland of Blue Bay Marine Park. Aside from the location, we love the fun activities included in your stay – Creole language lessons, forest hikes and smoothie-making, to name a few. Don’t miss the Spice Spoons cooking experience, where you can rustle up traditional Mauritian dishes with a master chef before tasting your creations.
Snorkel in the Seychelles
A guaranteed way to liven up the cooler months is by escaping to a tropical island, especially one that has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. One of our top picks in the Seychelles is Hilton Seychelles Labriz Resort & Spa, a luxurious island retreat surrounded by a national marine park that's renowned as one of the richest biodiversity hotspots in the Indian Ocean. While away the hours' snorkelling among colourful reefs and sinking into a cushioned lounger by the pool or pick up the pace and explore fantastic hiking trails around the island. Foodies will delight at the choice of eateries; there are seven restaurants here serving up everything from traditional Seychellois cuisine to freshly grilled seafood right on the beach. At sunset, head to 4th degree bar to bury your toes in the sand, sip on island-inspired cocktails and gaze at the perfect golden hour view.
Go on great-value getaway to Thailand
Winter and spring are a dreamy time to visit Thailand as there's low rainfall across most of the country. We’re especially fond of the island playground of Phuket, where both partygoers and relaxation-seekers come to play. Some areas, such as Patong, are a maze of neon lights and lively bars, but there are also sleepy beaches and hideaway hotels. You can have the best of both worlds at Marina Phuket Resort, a great-value resort that we've made exclusive to Kuoni guests in the UK. This secret jungle oasis is a picture of tranquillity yet only a short stroll away from the urban buzz of Karon, so you can dip in and out of the action as much as you like. When you're not lounging by the lagoon pool or paddling up to the swim-up bar for an icy refreshment, you can feast on Thai cuisine in a trio of restaurants or venture out to sample local street food in the nearby night market.
‘New Year, New You’ in the Maldives
If you need to get your healthy New Year mindset back on track, you could refocus your motivation whilst holidaying on a tropical island. Maafushivaru Maldives is a tiny speck in the South Ari Atoll, where you can keep up your fitness regime with laps in the azure lagoon and working out with a view in the ocean-facing gym. Taking care of yourself is no hardship here; the sound of rolling waves accompanies your morning yoga session and you can tuck into fresh, tasty dishes in a choice of restaurants – we love the sublime seafood and sushi in Umi, the overwater Teppanyaki restaurant. There’s plenty of restful therapy on offer here too; you can unwind with a blissful spa treatment, take to the water on a whale shark safari or simply soak up the peacock-blue views from your beach or water villa, some with their own private pool.
Discover the Caribbean’s best-kept secret: Dominica
During the high season, from November to April, the big-hitting Caribbean islands of Barbados, Antigua and Saint Lucia are especially popular with holidaymakers. To escape the crowds, we have a little-known gem up our sleeve. Dominica is an island of hidden volcanic coves, bubbling springs and pristine rainforest. Although many lodgings come in the form of rustic guesthouses and small, eco-friendly boltholes, there are a handful of five-star retreats where you can enjoy this slice of paradise in style. At Cabrits Resort & Spa Kempinski, you have all the comforts of a high-end hotel but still feel a huge sense of place. The low-rise buildings are in keeping with the wonderfully wild setting – tucked between towering mountains and the Caribbean Sea. Cabrits Market, the signature restaurant, is reflective of a traditional Creole market with fresh, farm-to-fork food. Once the stars appear, head to the Rumfire bar to sip pirate-themed cocktails by the fire pit – we recommend the ‘Black Pearl’, a heady blend of spiced rum, grapefruit and local sugar-cane syrup.
Try watersports in Sri Lanka
The ‘teardrop of India’ is ideal for a winter sun with an exotic twist. The southwest coast is peppered with plush resorts – one of the best is Cinnamon Bentota Beach, an iconic hotel that’s recently upped its game with a serious makeover. Inside, the space has a stylish design – think rich colours, bold artwork and hand-loomed textiles, and the lobby’s intricately-painted ceiling is a highlight in its own right. Outside, well-kept gardens wrap around the caramel-hued buildings, leading to either a mangrove-fringed river or the ocean, depending which way you walk. Relax by the pool, have a go at windsurfing and jet-skiing, or take a thrilling ride on a WoKart®. For calmer pursuits, you can try your hand at locally-inspired activities like cinnamon tea tasting, puppet making or coconut leaf art. When you’re ready for a change of scene, hire a driver for the day to explore Sri Lanka’s temples, towns and tea plantations.
See Madeira burst into bloom in spring
If you're not keen on travelling too far-flung, Madeira is an excellent alternative for a balmy break over the wintry months. The Cliff Bay is the place to be for ultimate luxury; expect Champagne breakfasts, a gorgeous spa and world-class dining – this hotel is home to the island's first Michelin-starred restaurant. Stroll around the pretty gardens that surround the hotel, cool off by one of the two pools or treat yourself to an afternoon tea on the terrace – once a week, music fills the garden as a violinist serenades you. If you'd like to see more of the island, stretch your legs on one of our walking excursions or take a trip into pretty Funchal to explore the cobbled streets, chic cafes and stylish seafood restaurants.
If you’d love to plan a getaway this winter or spring, talk to one of our Personal Travel Experts who can help to find your perfect last-minute trip. For more inspiration, browse our late offers page or you can now order a bespoke brochure, packed with travel ideas on the destinations that interest you the most.
This feature was updated on 2nd February 2022. The information within this feature is correct to the best of our knowledge at the time of print. Feature by Heather Flanagan.