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Looking for a Winter Sunny Retreat?





1.    Low-key Caribbean: Anguilla, West Indies

Skip the overdeveloped Maldives and head to romantic Anguilla in the Caribbean instead, where you’ll find intimate hotels, low-key resorts, temperatures in the high 20s and 11 hours of sunshine a day. On Anguilla’s 33 beaches (all public), you might spot the likes of Robert deNiro, Uma Thurman and Brad Pitt, but nobody makes a fuss here. If you want to rub shoulders with the A-listers, book into Anguilla’s most luxurious resort, the romantic new Viceroy.

2.    Safari Plus: Kenya

Until April, Kenya has idyllic weather, with temperatures in the mid-20s and 12 hours of daily sunshine. You’ll no doubt see at least a few of the Big Five anywhere in the national park, but get more from your holiday by staying at Ngerende Island Lodge  Situated overlooking the Mara River and employing local people, Ngerende gives back to the community, offering guests the option of visiting the nearby villages and even teaching at the schools. But that doesn’t mean you won’t get safaried, spad and spoilt to the max back at the lodge.

3.    Walk like a Caveman: Gran Canaria, Spain

Located off the coast of Morocco, the Canaries have temperatures in the late teens and more than 10 hours of daily sunshine in winter, which is why they’ve long been a favourite with Brits looking for a dose of Vitamin D. But if you want more than to flop on one of the island’s sandy beaches, the Canaries also have beautiful hills covered in almond blossoms in February, followed by spring flowers. After a day of walking through ravines and around volcanoes, cool off by staying in a cave-house in Artenara, where locals have lived in homes cut out of the hillside for centuries.

4.    Lighten Up: Stockholm

Culture vultures who fancy a dose of sun needn’t fly south for the winter. Stockholm has evolved into a northern European hotspot for year-round rays – and it’s not because of global warming. Despite freezing temperatures and few daylight hours, you can soak up plenty of SAD-busting rays at the city’s Iglo light cafe and the Nordic Light Hotel. At both, you can get a dose of radiant therapy from special bulbs proven to lift moods and reduce the winter blues. The Nordic Light Hotel also has rooms with controls to change the colour, hue, pulse and tempo of the lights to help boost your mood. If you don’t fancy Stockholm, make any winter holiday a blues-busting one by taking your own portable SAD light, like the Philips golite blue energy light – easy to carry, it helps beat jet-lag, too.

5.    Water World: Egypt

With air and water temperatures around 20C, the Red Sea is blissful in winter. But instead of getting up at dawn to try to nab a prime spot on the sand, head to Soma Bay, 45km from hectic Hurghada. Situated on a private-access peninsula jutting out into the sea, Soma Bay has just five hotels, including the new, opulent five-star Kempinski Hotel Soma Bay, and soon, the affordable four-star Breakers Diving and Surfing, Egypt’s first watersports hotel, where you can expect expert tuition in diving, laser sailing, kite surfing and wind surfing.

6.    Desert Sun: California

Some like it hot, but only if you like it practically fiery should you visit California’s Death Valley National Park in the summer. To explore one of the hottest places on earth in relative comfort, come here in winter. Although the park contains part of the Mojave Desert, it also has rugged canyons, dramatic mountains and a surprising amount of flora and fauna. If you have time, venture into nearby Yosemite National Park, or live it up in Las Vegas and LA, all within 100 miles of Death Valley. Accommodation in Death Valley ranges from campsites to the elegant Furnace Creek Inn.

7.    Beach Plus: Bali

If you want more from your beach holiday than stunning seas, long stretches of sand and lazy days socking up sun, then Bali is for you. This Indonesian island might be only 144km long, but it packs in the sights. Spend mornings and afternoons on the beaches (the temperature rarely gets below the mid-20s), and the hottest part of the day exploring the vibrant Hindu culture of the cities and towns. If you feel the need for more heat, you can always soak in the volcanic hot springs that litter the island. The island has accommodation for everyone from backpackers to luxe lovers, but because winter is considered low season, you can nab some amazing deals, such as seven nights in a traditional Balinese Bungalow at the opulent Matahari Beach Resort, with full use of its award-winning spa, for just £300pp - a 40% saving.

8.    Snow Bunny: Paradiski, France

Anyone who has hit the slopes without sunblock can tell you that you’ll catch plenty of rays on the pistes. But one of the Alps biggest ski areas is also one of its sunniest. Paradiski has huge, wide-open slopes, perfect for catching the rays while cruising over freshly fallen snow. To make the most of your visit, stay in La Plagne, where you can hit the slopes early during their First Run Ski Weeks, watching the sunrise as you glide down a blue run. When you need a break, catch the sun-saturated view from the pool of Les Granges du Soleil spa before an après le ski massage (EUR 50/30 minutes) to soothe tired muscles.

9.    Maximum Sun: Uruguay

A week in Uruguay should dose you up with enough sunshine to see you through the bleakest of British midwinters. It’s summer there now, and that means more than 14 hours of sunshine a day, with temps in the late 20s. Tucked between southern Brazil and Argentina, this secret South American hotspot has more than its fair share of coastline. And those in the know head straight to Punta del Este, two hours from Buenos Aires, for its beautiful beaches, some on the wild Atlantic side, and others on the calm Silver River, an inlet of the Atlantic. For that home away from home feel, book your own beachhouse from Pure Holiday Homes.

10.    Indian summer: Udaipur

It might be landlocked, but that doesn’t mean Udaipur is short of water. Filled with more than its fair share of lakes, this stunning city in the Indian state of Rajasthan is filled with royal palaces, many of which have been converted into small hotels and villas. Winter temperatures in the early 20s makes exploring the opulent medieval palaces, temples and gardens a divine experience. One of the city’s newest hotels is the sumptuous Leela Palace, bang on the edge of Lake Pichola.


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