Our Top Luxury Winter-Sun Destinations For 2021

The thought of a long-haul flight might not appeal right now, but we’ve all got our fingers crossed for 2021 – not least because a luxury winter-sun holiday is a great thing to look forward to. From Caribbean islands to tropical hotspots in the Pacific, here are our top winter-sun destinations.

LANGKAWI, MALAYSIA

Flight Time: 16 hours 45 minutes with a connecting flight from Kuala Lumpur.
 
Current Travel Info: UK travellers must show a negative Covid-19 test upon arrival. 
 
Off the mainland coast of north-western Malaysia, Langkawi is an archipelago that’s home to some of the most stunning beaches in the country. Often referred to as a tropical paradise, it’s famed for its mile-long coastlines, dense tropical rainforests and fantastic diving reefs. Skip the summer monsoons and head to Langkawi between November and April for the best weather, when temperatures range from a balmy 30°C to 35°C. Malaysia is often overlooked as a luxury destination, but it has some of the most stunning landscapes in south east Asia and many of its hotspots are much quieter than in neighbouring countries – making it a great choice for 2021.
 
Where To Stay
You’ll struggle to find a stretch of land on the island that doesn't look fit for a postcard home, but for a luxury holiday, head to the Datai Hotel. In a tropical rainforest on the west of the island, it overlooks a private beach with breathtaking views. The hotel is a great choice for couples who can relax at the on-site spa, swim in a private pool, and take in the sscenery. Book a Beach Suite for a romantic getaway or opt for a Canopy Suite if you want to spot local wildlife in the nearby mountains. 
 
Rooms from £204 per night
 
Visit Datai.com

NORTH COAST, BARBADOS 

Flight Time: 8 hours 40 minutes 
 
Current Travel Info: UK travellers must provide a customs form and take a Covid-19 test on arrival. If you test positive for Covid-19 during your stay, you may be required to self-isolate until you have recovered.
 
Next year should be a great time to explore Barbados’s north coast. The beaches, which have seen fewer tourists this year, have seen a resurgence in wildlife, so visitors can enjoy the white shores while spotting sea turtles and tropical birds. The Caribbean Sea is most gentle during the dry season, so make a beeline for Barbados between January and early June. Snorkelling, scuba diving and sailing are just some of the water sports on offer, while those after a quieter holiday can enjoy the beaches and relaxed lifestyle in the coastal towns. Saint Lucy is a beautiful place to visit in the north, though Saint Peter is an SL favourite thanks to its glorious beachfront, quiet towns and friendly locals. 
 
Where To Stay
Cobblers Cove is a luxury hotel set in exotic gardens that overlook the beachfront in Saint Peter. The bay, just a few minutes’ walk from the hotel, has a beautiful reef where snorkellers can spot exotic fish and divers can make the most of the crystal-clear waters. Inside, you’ll find stylish interiors throughout, with signature Caribbean flair in the colourful furnishings. Guests can explore the extensive grounds, relax in one of the swimming pools, or book a guided tour of the local area. Ask for a room on the oceanfront so you can relax on a veranda and watch the sunset.
 
Rooms from £447 per night
 
Visit CobblersCove.com

MADEIRA, PORTUGAL

Flight Time: 3 hours 50 minutes 
 
Current Travel Info: UK travellers must take a Covid-19 test upon arrival and will be subject to a health screening if travelling to mainland Portugal. 
 
Although the UK government currently advises against all but essential travel to mainland Portugal, the island of Madeira is exempt from any restrictions. Known for its subtropical climate, pebbly beaches and mountains, Madeira is a great choice for a 2021 trip. For a bit of winter sun, head there between March and April, though the volcanic island is warm year-round. There’s so much to do and see – lovers of the great outdoors will relish the hiking and cycling opportunities around the mountains, while those after a culture fix will be spoilt for choice with the galleries, museums and award-winning restaurants dotted around the island. 
 
Where To Stay
Estalagem Da Ponta Do Sol is on top of a cliff in Quinta da Rochinha. This luxury farmhouse has traditional Portuguese flair and is the ideal location if you want a relaxing escape away from the city. Guests can appreciate the beautiful coastal views, infinity pool and hot tub during the evening, while the day is best spent exploring the local area and walking along the picturesque coastline. Rooms are chic and minimal – the total white decor is a haven for the senses. The hotel has a spa and wellness centre where guests can relax in the sauna, enjoy a unique hydro-massage, or take a chromotherapy bath.
 
Rooms from £109 per night
 
Visit Pontadosol.com

MAHÉ, SEYCHELLES

Flight Time: 10 hours
 
Current Travel Info: UK travellers must show a negative Covid-19 test within 48 hours of arrival, and may be required to self-isolate in a designated hotel for up to five days.  
 
Home to one of the most beautiful landscapes in the world, the Seychelles is one of our top destinations for 2021. For a winter-sun holiday head to the dreamy Indian Ocean island just off East Africa between April and May, or October and November, to dodge the monsoons. Clear waters, tropical fauna and some special sunsets make the Seychelles a great destination for a honeymoon, though families will also enjoy the variety of water sports and outdoor activities on offer. Bay Ternay National Marine Park and Sunset Beach have some of the island’s best dive sites, while Shark Bank and the Unesco-listed Vallée de Mai nature reserve are both must-sees. 
 
Where To Stay
An SL favourite, Mahé is the largest island in the Seychelles. Here, you’ll get the best of both worlds as the island has a vast rainforest plus several white sandy beaches. Constance Ephelia is a five-star resort that’s not to be missed. Whether you’re after a romantic villa for two, or a suite for a family trip, each room is made with the luxury traveller in mind. There are private pools while panoramic views of the surrounding lush greenery will help you’ll feel at one with nature. For an extra special stay, book the Spa Villa, complete with its own pool, tropical garden and beautiful outdoor seating area. 
 
Rooms from £369 per night
 
Visit ConstanceHotels.com

ST BARTS

Flight Time: 13 hours 30 minutes, including two stops.
 
Current Travel Info: All travellers over the age of 11 must undertake a test for COVID-19 within 72 hours before departure. 
 
Saint Barthélemy – aka St Barts – is one of the most luxurious holiday destinations in the world. The French-speaking island, in the eastern Caribbean Sea, is known for its beautiful beaches, excellent shopping areas and fantastic seafood restaurants. It’s also relatively small, so you’ll be able to see the best spots during a single trip. One of our favourite places to stay is the northwest area of Colombier, where you’ll find some of the best diving waters in the whole of the Caribbean, as well as a great hiking route through the mountains. Head to Colombier Beach – arguably the most beautiful on the island – to relax on the white sands, take a guided boat tour of the bay, and even spot rare sea turtles. 
 
Where To Stay
If you’re in Colombier, head straight to Villa Marie – a stylish boutique hotel in the hills overlooking the famous Flamands Beach. Book a chic family bungalow, or opt for your own private villa, complete with an outdoor pool. Guests can enjoy the on-site spa, surrounded by a tropical garden, and enjoy some local cuisine from one of the many restaurants or bars. While the hotel welcomes families, we love the Tropics Bungalow for a secluded beach holiday. Decorated in boho chic style, the room has panoramic views of the sea, as well as a suspended terrace and an outdoor bath – ideal for stargazing. 
 
Rooms from £380 per night
 
Visit Saint-Barth.VillaMarie.fr

BORA BORA

Flight Time: 28 hours, including two stops.
 
Current Travel Info: All travellers over the age of 11 must take a Covid-19 test within 72 hours before departure. 
 
Bora Bora, a small island in the South Pacific, has some of the best diving waters in the world. Circled by a turquoise lagoon within a coral reef, the clear waters are home to an extensive range of tropical fish, sharks and rare underwater wildlife. From London, you’ll need to take two or three flights to reach the island, but the scenery is worth the journey. The best time to visit is between November and April when average temperatures are 28-34ºC. Lagoon tours, snorkelling, parasailing and hiking are just a few of the activities on offer, while there are several excellent restaurants to choose from on the island.  
 
Where To Stay
For an unique over-water suite, book a floating bungalow at Conrad Bora Bora Nui. This luxury haven offers a mesmerising view of the South Pacific. Conrad has everything you need for a special stay, from topaz-blue swimming pools and on-site activities to a hilltop spa and a mini golf course. The hotel is a great place for a secluded holiday where you’ll be discreetly tucked away from the other guests in your own private bungalow. Inside the suites, expect beautiful interiors, private infinity pools and oceanfront decks with hot tubs and saunas. 
 
Rooms from £457 per night
 
Visit ConradHotels3.Hilton.com

ANTIGUA 

Flight Time: 8 hours 40 minutes. 
 
Current Travel Info: UK travellers must take a Covid-19 test within seven days of arrival in Antigua or Barbuda.
 
As one half of Antigua & Barbuda, this island is surrounded by beautiful coral reefs, mile-long beaches and small sheltered bays. Visit during high season between December and April when the humidity is at its lowest, with temperatures around 28.5ºC. The capital of Antigua – St John's – has an interesting English harbour with much of the architecture intact since colonial days but, for a luxury holiday, head for Antigua’s the white sandy beaches. The north of the island has some of the best, including Blue Waters, Galleon and Darkwood, where the waters are fairly quiet. Visitors can go snorkelling in the coral reef before enjoying a rum cocktail on the beach. 
 
Where To Stay
One of our favourite beach resorts is Jumby Bay on the west coast. Set on a beautiful undisturbed beach, the hotel has everything you’d want for a secluded stay. With 28 newly renovated suites, each room has a touch of nautical flair and has been stylishly decorated, though the best feature has to be the view. For a treat, book a Beachside Suite overlooking the sea with an outdoor garden shower and soaking tub. Guests can also use the wellness spa, book a day trip around the local beaches, or simply relax in one of the many outdoor pools.
 
Rooms from £2,013 per week
 
Visit Jumbybay-Residences.com
 
 
*DISCLAIMER: At the time of writing, all countries and provinces mentioned were exempt from advice against ‘all but essential’ international travel, though travel restrictions are changing daily, so please check the latest government advice before you book. Please ensure you are aware of the social distancing guidelines in place as well as rules on meeting up in groups larger than six.

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