Dreaming of a beachfront cabana with the sound of lapping waves or a 5-star room with glittering city skyline views? Escape from winter temperatures with a break in one of these 10 hotels we’ve selected as some of the best places for winter sun. Whisk a loved one away for quality time in an opulent lodge in the Oman mountains, or head to Dubai with the girls for sunny rooftop spa sessions overlooking the Palm Jumeirah.
Families with children will be tempted by a 5-star hotel with its own water park in glorious Cape Verde and, of course, a stay at Universal Orlando – and once the kids are tucked up, couples’ spa treatments await. Find your ideal spot for a warming winter getaway on our list.
Best places for winter sun: a family-focused, adventurous resort in Tenerife
For a break bursting with activities, check in at Roca Nivaria. The hotel mascot Roni will make the kids feel right at home with dance and tennis sessions, leaving you to try a treatment (or two) at the Azules de Nivaria spa. Indulge in a couple’s massage looking out over the island of La Gomera, or sip a cold glass of cava as you polish up with a manicure or pedicure. Then, slip into your complimentary robe and spread out on the soft bed in your sea-view room.
Prepare for an action-packed day with breakfast at the Garoé restaurant buffet – just pick out the ingredients for your favourite omelette and watch the chef cook it in front of you. Raring to go? Happily, this ocean-front hotel has 2.5 acres purely dedicated to sports activities. Try your hand at archery or challenge your travel companion to a game of volleyball on the sandy beach. When you need to recharge your batteries, float in the shade of the palm trees in the lagoon-style pool or head up for a dip in the rooftop Jacuzzi.Compare prices
Best places for winter sun: a tropical beach hotel in Goa
Tucked away among 75 acres of subtropical vegetation and situated on its own private stretch of beach, the Leela Goa feels like paradise. Recover from your journey with a complimentary coconut drink as a private buggy takes you to your room, winding around the three freshwater lagoons on the way. Colonial architecture and calming earthy tones in each guestroom heighten the feeling of tranquillity, while unrivalled views out to the Arabian sea, the lotus-filled lagoons or the Sal river allow for complete serenity.
Feel in harmony with nature when you try an Ayurveda treatment at the spa – this ancient practice is said to bring the body in balance with the earth. Revitalising facials by Clarins, Himalayan salt scrubs and blissful massages are also on the menu, alongside OPI pedicures and manicures. Continue your journey through nature with a guided tour of the verdant hotel grounds or an afternoon on the 9-acre golfing green. End your day with dinner on the terrace, where glowing hurricane lamps set the mood for an evening of romance, and sample an authentic favourite like Goan fish curry.Compare prices
Best places for winter sun: a luxe beachfront hotel in Dubai
Every aspect of Five Palm Jumeirah epitomises the luxury you’d expect from a Dubai holiday, from the Italian marble bathrooms in each guestroom to the extravagant 180ft pool. With the warm sands of the Arabian Gulf just 9 minutes away and the Mall of Dubai within 3 miles, you can set the pace for a lively or relaxing break. Take it easy in the Ottoman and Turkish-inspired rooftop spa, where you can select from an extensive range of massages, facials and body treatments, or sit back in the detoxifying heat of the hammam.
Michelin-starred chef Antonio Mellino heads up the menu at Quattro Passi, serving up scrumptious dishes from Southern Italy like fresh linguine and red prawn. Later on, retire to your private balcony – this hotel’s exceptional location, at the trunk of Palm Jumeirah, means that each one overlooks the water or the Dubai Eye. Take in the view from your sun lounger with a glass of champagne or sink into your king-sized bed and watch the city by night from the floor-to-ceiling windows.Compare prices
Best places for winter sun: a secluded mountain lodge in Oman
Alila Jabal Akhdar lends an entirely new meaning to the phrase ‘getting away from it all’. Over 1.2 miles above sea level, this serene wood and stone hotel blends seamlessly with the Al Hajar Mountains. Make the most of the rugged views and watch the sun set from your balcony before easing into your free-standing tub or rainfall shower. Once refreshed, visit the Juniper Restaurant, named after the trees that scatter the highland regions of Oman. Here, low-hanging Edison lanterns enhance the mountain-lodge ambience as you dine on authentic Arabic cuisine made with local, seasonal ingredients.
Wake up to views of the mountains in your spacious room – dark wood furniture mingles with sandy tones for a minimalist feel. Begin your day with a guided sunrise walk or lap of the infinity pool that overlooks a gorge. Then, pay a visit to Spa Alila. Frankincense and juniper berry fragrances entice you the moment you step inside. Try a traditional Balinese massage or reduce tensions with a Tibetan Sound and Vibration Balancing treatment. Signature packages blend massages, foot treatments, body wraps and facials with centring Tai Chi sessions.Compare prices
Best places for winter sun: a 5-star hotel on the white sandy beaches of Cuba
Sip an ice-cold mojito – made with Havana Club rum, naturally – on the beach at Meliá Varadero. You’ll be able to ease right into the laidback beachside pace of life with a massage beneath a palapa on the sand, or stand beneath the cascading hydromassage waterfalls in one of the two freshwater pools. Manicures, pedicures and hair treatments add the finishing flourish. Children are entertained at Club Amigos, where they can play supervised games in the pool or on the beach. Come back together for an unforgettable afternoon of horse-riding along the Varadero peninsula.
In need of a siesta? Head back to your spacious room, where vibrant throws bring a shot of Caribbean colour to the neutral décor. Your balcony, overlooking the sea, is a peaceful spot for a cup of Cuban coffee. During the evenings, get a taste for local life at the Trinidad Ranchón restaurant, where local musicians set a lively pace and the menu serves up traditional eats like ropa vieja – a spicy beef dish. Later on, head to Las Palmas to be serenaded by live piano.Compare prices
Best places for winter sun: an intimate adults-only break in Barbados
For a romantic winter break, head to Fairmont Royal Pavilion, which is adults only between November and March. Wake up to the sound of the Atlantic ocean lapping at the shore of Alleynes Bay in a room that has direct beach access or a balcony overlooking the turquoise waters. Having recently undergone a multi-million dollar restoration, rooms are fresh, luxurious and peaceful. Handcrafted wooden beds enhance the beach-paradise feel, while work by local artists Sheena Rose and Llanor Alleyne adds a homely touch.
Plan an intimate evening in with one of a number of in-room spa treatments, like aromatherapy, hot-stone therapy and reflexology. The tempting massage menu includes holistic Swedish and revitalising anti-jet-lag options. Follow up with a wood-fired pizza and bottle of Shiraz by candlelight on your terrace. As the sun rises, stretch with a light yoga session on the sands before renting a kayak to get out on the water. Return salt-sprayed with a healthy appetite and head to the Taboras Restaurant for al-fresco dining. Sea views beckon as you try locally caught seafood like red snapper or yellowfin tuna.Compare prices
Best places for winter sun: a rejuvenating stay in Mauritius
Once the sugar estate of Domaine de Bel Ombre, the Heritage Le Telfair Golf & Spa is now a haven of relaxation. Follow the white bridge over the river in the grounds to the very edge of the Indian Ocean. You could while away a morning in the crystal waters or bask in nature with a yoga session or wellness walk in the hotel’s very own 1,300-hectare nature reserve. Then, spend your afternoon at the edge of the infinity pool overlooking the tropical gardens.
Head back to your suite to refresh before dinner. Canopied beds and a palette of fresh whites create a peaceful ambience in your room. Have your 24-hour butler bring you an infused tea while you put your feet up on the sofa in your living area. Once you’re feeling revived, dine under the stars at the Boma. Cosy up around a fire pit and try fresh game to the beats of live African drumming. If romance is on the menu, the champagne sundowner at Gin’ja is a fitting way to end the evening.Compare prices
Best places for winter sun: a fantasy European escape at Universal Orlando
Wander down the Cyprus tree-lined streets at Loews Portofino Bay and you’ll be fooled into thinking you’re on the Italian Riviera. Your faux-European escape is perfected with a trip to Mama Della’s Ristorante, where you can dine on Tuscan specialities like tender rack of lamb and fresh ravioli. Still hungry for adventure? You might want to burst the Italian bubble to claim your VIP perks, including early access to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and complimentary water taxis to Universal Studios.
Once you’ve ridden the Hulk rollercoaster, send the kids to a night at camp. They can play video games and watch movies, while you head to the Harbor Piazza. Order a glass of Pinot Grigio and watch the nightly ‘popera’ concert – a lively blend of opera and pop classics – as the sun goes down. In the morning, snooze in your king-sized bed, plush with velvet cushions and throws, and wake up with a fresh brew from your Keurig coffeemaker before having a couple’s treatment at the ELEMIS spa.Compare prices
Best places for winter sun: a tranquil island resort in Thailand
Seclusion and serenity are on the menu at Phi Phi Island Village Beach. Your thatched bungalow sits peacefully among 70 acres of coconut palms, which give way to the sandy Loh Bagao Bay and Andaman Sea. Inside, guestrooms are modern with light wood furniture, calming blue tones and unexpected amenities like iPod docks. Relax on your wrap-around terrace and listen to the breeze rustling through the surrounding jungle vegetation. For romance, head to the Ruan restaurant nestled in the hillside. The menu here delivers fragrant favourites like Thai green curry.
Take island life at your own pace and spend the day reclining on a shaded day bed by the pool. The Wana Spa offers traditional Thai massages as well as facials, body wraps and scrubs. If you want to learn more about your home-from-home, spend an afternoon at the resort’s Marine Discovery Centre or take a snorkelling tour of the island. Kayaks can be rented for a morning on the water or you can learn a new skill at the hotel’s 5-star PADI diving centre.Compare prices
Best places for winter sun: a Cape Verde hotel with a wonderful water park
Keep little ones happy with a break at Sol Dunas by Melia. Let them loose in the pirate-themed mini water park, where they can cool off by whizzing down the plunge slide. If they have energy left, they can work it off at the nightly kids’ disco. Meanwhile, you can treat yourself to a facial in the Yhi spa. Sit back in the Jacuzzi or Finnish sauna, or work up a sweat with a Zumba session.
Situated right on Algodoeiro beach, this is a lively spot for a family snorkelling session or a game of volleyball on the sands. A lunch of fresh pasta is served al-fresco at the Il Terrazzo restaurant so you can grab an extra hour of winter sun. Next, stop by the Odyssey Bar and indulge in a classic martini cocktail as the live pianist serenades you. When you’re ready for bed, your guestroom is welcoming with air conditioning to cool off and a balcony looking out to the garden or sea.Compare prices