Get your vitamin D fix and escape the cold with our guide to the best exotic locations to get some sun this winter.
Stay: At one of the world’s most romantic resorts, Baros Maldives. White sands are lapped by the warm waters of the Indian Ocean and every day cares fall away with each breaking wave. One of the first and finest places to stay in this mythical island nation, book a villa suspended over the blue lagoon and soak up the Maldivian sun from your private veranda.
Eat: Under the stars at the resort’s private Piano Deck. Perched above the lagoon, your personal chef and waiter will serve up a bespoke meal in magical surroundings. Linger over seafood platters and pop another bottle of champagne because, well, you can.
Do:Rise early and take a peaceful dip in the morning stillness. The resort is surrounded by a coral reef just 20 metres from the shore that teems with exotic wildlife, from turtles to shoals of barracuda. A diver’s dream.
BAWAH RESERVE, ANAMBAS ISLANDS, INDONESIA
Stay: At Bawah Reserve, a remote collection of six islands in Indonesia’s Anambas Archipelago. Accessible only by private seaplane, the adventure begins before you even land. It’s an exclusive eco-resort that will take you back to nature in the most luxurious way we can think of.
Eat: Above the jungle canopy with views of the lagoon at the resort’s fine dining terrace restaurant, or indulge in barefoot luxury at the Boat House beach bar where dinners are relaxed and the cocktails punchy.
Do: Catering to both explorers and fly-and-flop-ers, adventure meets indulgence at Bawah. Previously an uninhabited marine conservation area, thrill-seekers can hike, swim, sail and paddle around the islands’ lagoons, beaches and tropical forests, whilst guests with a penchant for relaxation can turn the chill up to max with yoga and spa treatments.
HOTEL ESENCIA, MEXICO
Stay: In what was once the private home of an Italian duchess on the shores of the Mayan Riviera. Hotel Esencia is a boutique oasis near Mexico’s trendy Tulum area on the Yucatan Peninsula. Book a penthouse with your own private champagne bar, or opt for a beachfront suite. Each one opens onto the immaculate Xpu-Ha bay, where sea turtles make their nests and guests can siesta in the languorous shade of the palms.
Eat: A liquid lunch – the skilled bar staff at the bohemian Beach Bar make a mean margarita. When you’re feeling like something a little more substantial, the Pool Restaurant serves up modern Mexican favourites and Beefbar Escencia by Riccardo Giraudi will satisfy your most carnivorous desires.
Do: If you can tear yourself away from the Hacienda-style interiors and super-chic day beds, venture out to nearby Tulum where you’ll find hip bars and restaurants and the picturesque Mayan ruins.
JUMBY BAY ISLAND, ANTIGUA & BARBUDA
Stay: in one of the Caribbean’s most secluded spots, Jumby Bay Island, which offers total privacy in an untouched paradise. Laid-back luxury with a vibrant West Indian spirit, it’s a private island with an exclusive number of luxurious villas and rooms hidden away amongst lush tropical foliage
Eat: The hotel’s fine-dining restaurant, The Estate House, is often cited as one of the best in the Caribbean. Traditional West Indian flavours are given a classic European twist and the seafood is divine.
Do: Fall asleep to the sound of the ocean somewhere along the four and a half miles of white sand beach that surrounds the resort. Island life is slow and undisturbed – take your time to enjoy the space and indulge in life’s simple pleasures. We recommend kicking back with a cocktail and a good book in the dappled shade of a palm tree, sometime around noon.
TAJ EXOTICA RESORT & SPA, ANDAMAN ISLANDS, INDIA
Stay: On one of the finest beaches in Asia at the new Taj Exotica Resort & Spa in the little-known Andaman Islands, where the pace of life is slower. For eco-conscious travellers, it’s the group’s first zero single-plastic resort, leading the charge on sustainability from paradise. Designed in and around the untouched jungle, forests and mangroves of the island, not a single tree was felled in its construction. So you can unwind in the lap of secluded luxury with peace of mind.
Eat: The Taj’s restaurants have been cleverly designed to reflect the history and inhabitants of the place, from the authentic curries of Shoreline to the fine dining experience of The Settlers. The informal poolside Turtle House dishes up a range of world cuisines for blissed-out days by the water.
Do: Explore the emerald green jungle with the resort’s in-house naturalist, go kayaking by moonlight through the mangroves, and spoil yourself with Ayurvedic treatments at the Jiva Spa. Finish each blissful day by taking in the sunsets from Radhangar Beach.
Images: Courtesy of Perowne International