It’s now, when gloomy winter months approach, that friends and family ask for my advice.
They want to know where they can luxuriate in the sunshine.
Here’s my pick of 25 destinations to whet your winter-sun appetite.
CYPRUS – Pissouri
The Columbia Beach Resort in Cyprus, which is located in the south-west of the island
The Columbia Beach Resort hotel in the south-west of the island has indoor and outdoor pools, plenty of places to soak up the sun and a pleasing Mediterranean feel to the architecture. Seven nights from £891pp including flights, transfers and B&B accommodation (sovereign.com).
The area around Ronda is known as Spain’s frying pan, but in winter the El Ventorillo villa comes into its own. It has a tennis court and 50 acres of olive groves and grounds to explore. You just need to find 12 or so friends to join you… Seven nights from £3,617, not including flights (scottwilliams.co.uk).
Lanzarote – Playa Blanca
Adult-only H10 White Suites is one of the island’s best smaller hotels with some great deals if you can travel in November (when temperatures are around 23C).
Seven nights from £789pp including flights and B&B accommodation (ba.com/lanzarote).
Lanzarote – Yaiza
This pretty village is surrounded by vineyards, lava fields and farmland, so the ten-bedroom La Casona de Yaiza is a good base if you like active holidays. It’s within easy reach of the coast and Timanfaya National Park. Seven nights from £715pp B&B including three dinners, car hire, walking notes and maps but not flights (inntravel.co.uk).
The island of La Palma in the Canary Islands mixes warm temperatures and black sand beaches
This island mixes clear skies with a collection of villages and black sand beaches. Just inland, the Hacienda de Abajo is a restored 17th Century sugar estate with a restaurant, spa and swimming pool. Seven nights from £899pp including flights, B&B accommodation and transfers (prestigeholidays.co.uk).
On the sheltered west coast near Playa del Duque, the five-star Vincci La Plantacion del Sur was once a banana plantation but now glistens with gardens and a swimming pool. Seven nights from £935pp, including flights, transfers and B&B accommodation (sovereign.com).
ISRAEL – Tel Aviv
The average daily temperature in Tel Aviv in December is 19C. New direct flights have started from London to Tel Aviv with Virgin Atlantic
With new flights from Virgin Atlantic, and December average temperatures of 19C, Tel Aviv makes sense, while the Dan hotel, on the beach, provides the glamour. Three nights from £699pp including flights and room-only accommodation (virginholidays.co.uk).
MOROCCO – Marrakech
Villa des Orangers has suntrap rooftops and cosy fires; plus this package has plenty of extras, including hammam treatments and a tour of Marrakech by sidecar. Four nights, including Club Class flights, transfers and half-board from £1,819pp (carrier.co.uk).
The smallest emirate in the UAE is 25 minutes from Dubai but has little of its neighbour’s high-octane presence and temperatures of 25C in November. The Oberoi Beach Resort Al Zorah is a good fit, a low-rise but luxurious hotel on the beach. Five nights from £999pp B&B including flights (wingedboots.co.uk).
OMAN – Old Muscat
The Chedi Muscat hotel in Oman, which has infinity pools and a relaxed ambience
Lying on the Gulf of Oman, the Chedi Muscat hotel has infinity pools and a relaxed ambience that suits this historic Middle Eastern country well. Old Muscat is a short drive away and temperatures will be in the high 20s in November and December. Four nights from £1,375pp B&B including flights and transfers (turquoiseholidays.co.uk).
Opening in December 1, adults-only Hammock Cove will have 42 villas with private plunge pools. It’s aiming for ‘ultra all-inclusive’ style, with 24-hour room service. There are two restaurants, a spa, pool and beach. Seven nights from £2,969pp including flights, transfers and all-inclusive accommodation (kenwoodtravel.co.uk).
Nonsuch Bay Resort may be all-inclusive but all the rooms also have kitchens. Set in tropical gardens, it has its own white-sand beach in a protected reef. Sailing is big here – and tuition is included in the price. Seven nights from £2,139pp all-inclusive, including BA flights and transfers (ba.com/antigua).
Petit St Vincent in the Grenadines, pictured, has 22 cottages, which have a system of flags to summon room service
Petit St Vincent is the connoisseur’s private island. There are plenty of flashier ones but rarely with more charm or a better wine cellar. All 22 cottages have a system of flags to summon room service in customised Mini Mokes. Seven nights from £4,115pp including flights, full-board accommodation and transfers (inspiringtravelcompany.co.uk).
Le Sereno is a 39-suite hotel (plus three villas) that manages to blend luxury with a low-key presence on one of the island’s key reefs. Seven nights from £4,375pp B&B including flights and transfers (carrier.co.uk).
Silverlands in Grenada, which is described as a stylishly minimal hotel on the beach with infinity pool
Few Caribbean islands are as delightfully old-fashioned. This year has also seen the opening of luxurious Silversands; a stylishly minimal hotel on the beach with infinity pool and gourmet restaurant. Seven nights from £2,655pp B&B including flights and transfers (elegantresorts.co.uk).
MEXICO – Tulum
The Playa del Carmen can feel as if it’s overwhelmed with vast resorts but head to Tulum and there are enticing small hotels. Run by a San Francisco couple, Zamas, on a stretch of white sand, has ten simple cabanas plus a self-catering house. Doubles from £113 a night (i-escape.com).
USA – Florida
Pretty Naples is one of Florida’s best resort towns, with white-sand beaches, piers and restaurants. Villa rentals are good value; my favourite has three bedrooms and a pool. Seven nights from £759pp (based on six sharing) including flights and self-catering accommodation (ocean-florida.co.uk).
Tangalle beach in Sri Lanka. The average temperature on the south coast of Sri Lanka is 27C
Truly tropical in winter; the average temperature is 27C. Tangalle, on the south coast, has beaches, wildlife and history. Buckingham Palace in Tangalle is a boutique hotel on the Rekawa Lagoon nature reserve. Seven nights from £820pp B&B and some other meals, plus excursions and transfers but not flights (travellocal.com).
With just 30 villas and 17 houses, seclusion is part of the package price at the Six Senses Zil Pasyon, alongside snorkelling, paddle-boarding and expeditions to the nearby archipelago. The six restaurants, beaches and spa will make you want to stay put. Seven nights from £5,500pp including flights, helicopter transfers and B&B accommodation (scottdunn.com).
Mauritius enjoys highs of 27C in November. There are direct flights with BA from Gatwick
There are direct flights with BA from Gatwick to Mauritius and highs of 27C in November. The 163-room Residence on the east coast of the island has its own spa, tennis courts and gardens. Seven nights from £1,790pp including flights, transfers and half-board accommodation (expressionsholidays.co.uk).
Essque Zalu is a laid-back boutique hotel on the north-eastern coast of Zanzibar. A series of rooms and suites look across tropical gardens and towards the sand; with excursions to neighbouring Prison Island and its 180-year-old tortoises. Seven nights from £1,410pp including flights and half-board (bestattravel.co.uk).
VIETNAM – Da Nang
The Angsana Lang Co resort in Vietnam. It has a kids’ club, a golf course and a spa
The country may be buzzing with tourists these days but there are still some escapes in Vietnam. With a 2½-mile beach, the Angsana Lang Co resort allows families to blend kids’ clubs, a golf course and a spa with the Unesco World Heritage sites of Hue, Hoi An and My Son. Seven nights from £1,125pp, including flights and B&B accommodation, based on a family of four sharing (destinology.com).
THAILAND – Phuket
On one of the rare private beaches in Phuket, Cape Panwa has space and a plantation-style main building with a swimming pool, restaurant and a set of strikingly modernist suites and rooms. Seven nights full board with Tui, including flights and transfers from £1,031pp (tui.com).
AUSTRALIA – Perth
Perth is the sunniest city in Australia. This holiday allows you to explore it along with the vineyards of Margaret River and the dramatic coastline with temperatures hitting 29C in December. Eight nights, including flights, transfers, room-only accommodation and car hire from £1,599pp (prestigeaustralia.co.uk).
The super-smart but charming Ahilya by the Sea lives up to its name with a beautiful setting and a decor that’s as inventive as the food. From £192pp including breakfast (mrandmrsmith.com).