Our top six trending holiday destinations
Now that travel restrictions have relaxed, holiday bookings are on the rise. But with so many destinations to choose from, how do you decide where to go? Whether you’re itching for a winter sun getaway or planning ahead for next year, these are our most sought-after holiday hotspots to put on your radar.
Now’s the time to explore Mauritius
This month, Mauritius welcomed back tourists with the complete reopening of the island and Kuoni travellers (and our experts) are beelining back to the serene shores. The timing couldn’t be better as the cooler months are the perfect time to visit; from October through to December, expect balmy days and low rainfall across the island. Still, the subtropical climate is blissful all year round; there are fantastic offers during Mauritius’s low season (May-August), when temperatures average around 25 degrees, and Easter escapes are particularly popular.
One of our favourite resorts is Zilwa Attitude, where you can embrace ‘islander’ life with sunrise pirogue trips and barbecues on their private island. We recommend pairing a beach stay alongside a few nights at Lakaz Chamarel Exclusive Lodge, a boutique eco-hotel tucked in the mountains of the Black Gorges National Park. Wow-factors here include private pool suites with breath-taking views and zen-inducing activities such as meditation in the outdoor labyrinth, nature hikes and spa treatments accompanied by bird song.
Splash out on a Maldives escape
If there’s anywhere that’s worth the wait, it’s the Maldives. At long last, this tiny island nation has been taken off the UK’s red list and to say we’re thrilled is an understatement. As a destination that ranks high on wish lists, we’re not surprised that holidays here are flying off the shelves as we look to make up for lost time with a blow-out trip.
With the peak tourist season fast approaching, you could escape the winter blues and treat yourself to some self-care on Kagi Maldives Spa Island. This relatively new island focuses on wellbeing with uplifting yoga sessions, an immersive spa, and good-for-you menus. Or head off to Kuramathi Maldives. This is one of our largest islands and is a great all-rounder, thanks to the vast choice of villas and restaurants. We recommend upgrading to the Select All Inclusive package to try out the à la carte eateries; feast on flambé steaks at the toes-in-the-sand Island Barbecue and don’t miss Kobe’s signature fine dining.
Start 2022 in style in Sri Lanka
Exotic escapades have been few and far between these last few years, so a lot of us are looking to fulfil our bottled-up wanderlust with a big adventure. And now that Sri Lanka has opened its doors, British holidaymakers can once again look forward to exploring this tropical teardrop island.
If you’re seeking relaxation, the golden coast is dotted with luxury beach resorts waiting to spoil you with delicious dining and renowned Sri Lankan hospitality. Cinnamon Bentota Beach is an iconic resort nestled between the river and the sea, and has a fresh new look following a complete makeover. Relax poolside under the palms with a ‘secret mocktail’, retreat to the Ceylon spa or try your hand at artisan experiences include mask carving and drumming lessons. The best way to see the temples, tea-plantations and time-worn cities is by private car with your own driver/guide, whose local knowledge and expertise will help get the most out of your time.
We suggest starting with a few nights at Cinnamon Lodge in Habarana, a peaceful lakeside lodge that serves as an excellent base to discover the Cultural Triangle. Spend the day in the company of elephants in Minneriya National Park or strap on your boots for an energetic climb up mighty Sigirya Rock – trust us, the views are worth the hike. Next, swing by the cultural capital, Kandy; riverside Cinnamon Citadel is a welcome sanctuary after touring the sights of this delightfully chaotic city. Finally, rest on the apricot-hued sands of Negombo. At Jetwing Beach, a muscle-soothing massage in the spa is the ideal way to unwind, or prop yourself by the pool with a good book and watch the surf roll in.
Go wild in Kenya
Kenya is a hot topic at the moment; besides this East-African gem now having the green light for travel, a safari holiday couldn’t be better placed for these times. You could head straight to the action; Governors’ Camp has a fabulous spot on the banks of the Mara River, in the heart of the world-famous Maasai Mara reserve. In your secluded tent, you’ll have plenty of privacy and space and most of your time will be spent outside exploring the game-rich wilderness. Of course you’re likely to tick off the Big Five on the twice-daily game-drives, but you may also have animal encounters in the camp; giraffes, hippos and elephants often wander through the grounds.
Round off your wild adventures with a stay on the beautiful Kenyan coast. Leopard Beach is a great-value hotel, and you can enjoy some post-safari relaxation in the forest spa. For a more upscale beach retreat, Hemingways Watamu has just reopened after a multi-million-pound refurbishment, which has breathed new life into this long-standing resort. Spend your day’s snorkelling in the Watamu National Marine Park or trailing around the mysterious Gedi ruins, and in the evenings, dine on fresh seafood under starry skies. Top it all off with a nightcap in the iconic Hemingways Bar, located right at the water’s edge.
Warm-up your winter in Europe
With the dark evenings setting in and travel restrictions eased, we’re seeing a demand for last-minute hops to the warmer climates of the Mediterranean. The Canary Islands are a super choice for winter sun; temperatures rarely dip below 20 degrees and the four-five hour flight time holds a stronger appeal than travelling to the tropics. Tenerife may often get overlooked as Brits-abroad turf, but look a little closer and you’ll find many hidden treasures. Hike through the lunar landscapes of Tiede National Park, go tapas tasting in sleepy mountain villages and indulge in Michelin-starred cuisine. At Las Terrazas De Abama, an exclusive apartment complex on the prestigious Abama golf course, the divine Melvin restaurant has menus designed by 12-Michelin-Star Chef Martín Berasategui.
Known as the ‘Island of Eternal Spring’, Madeira is another winter-warmth superstar. This emerald-clad island is a paradise of exotic blooms, coves dusted with black sand and spectacular cliffside hotels. One of the best is The Cliff Bay, an ultra-luxurious haven that has spellbinding views over the Bay of Funchal. Relax by the pool or on the sun-drenched deck, head to the spa for a tranquil treatment and wine and dine in style; this is another hotel showcasing Michelin-starred fare. When you’re ready for a change of scene, hop on the courtesy bus to be whisked to the quaint shops and cafés in pretty Funchal.
Get a dose of Vitamin Sea in the Caribbean
A trip to the Caribbean will explode some colour into the cooler months. Think aquamarine seas sprinkled with tiny fishing boats, gleaming beaches lined with rainbow shuttered-shacks and candyfloss-pink sunsets. Barbados is a top pick for sunbathing weather, and if you’re ready to pack your suitcase, you could be among the first to stay at the latest hot property: the O2 Beach Club & Spa By Ocean Hotels opening its doors in November. This super sleek hangout has a trendy beach club vibe and fun activities offering a nod to the island’s heritage. You could take home a new skill with the daily ‘Learn to’ lessons, such as tapping out calypso beats on steel pans, and the all-inclusive dining includes Bajan specialities and seafood. At sunset, the nautical-themed Sky Terrace is the perfect place for a golden-hour cocktail before hitting the reggae-belting rum bars in St Lawrence Gap.
But a Caribbean holiday isn’t all about the party scene. Over in Antigua, things are a little more low-key at Keyonna Beach, one of the island’s best kept secrets. Cocooned under swaying palms on a secluded stretch of sand, this couples-only hideaway has a scattering of bijou cottages and suites; we love the Beachfront Pool Cottages that have alfresco rain showers, privately assigned Bali beds and mesmerising sea views.
This feature was published on 12th October 2021. The information within this feature is correct to the best of our knowledge at the time of print. Feature by Heather Flanagan.