Winter Sun Getaways with i-escape

Friday 22 December 2023
Winter Sun Getaways with i-escape

Azul Nomeolvides, Mexico

This unique off-grid jungle hideaway has a hard-to-beat setting: deep in thick jungle, near the Belize border, overlooking tropical Lake Bacalar (which has some of the clearest and bluest freshwater you’ve ever seen). The six A-frame cabanas are cleverly designed to maximise the picturesque views and remain cool inside, each with private outdoor bathrooms. There are hammocks to lounge in, the lake to float in, wonderful wildlife to spot and kayaks to borrow.

Quinta da Casa Branca, Madeira

Set in immaculate gardens just 15 minutes’ walk from Funchal, with two heated pools and a sumptuous spa, boutique retreat Quinta da Casa Branca is both classic and classy. Stay either in the original Manor House whose suites have beautiful antique furniture and modern luxuries, or in the striking contemporary glass-walled Quinta where each room has a private slice of terrace overlooking the gardens. The standout shining feature? The food, whether world class fine dining in the opulent Dining Room or laid-back a la carte fare in the Garden Pavilion.

The Capaldi Hotel & Spa, Morocco

If you’d like to visit Marrakech for all its bustle and colour, souks and heritage, yet prefer to stay in tranquil sumptuous surroundings, then romantic retreat The Capaldi Hotel & Spa is for you. This 4-hectare country estate is in the Low Atlas Mountains and has two pools (one is heated during the winter months), a superb gourmet restaurant plus a spa with hammam, and is only a 35-minute drive from the airport. It’s well placed for many other adventures from dune-buggy excursions and camel rides in the desert to guided treks in the mountains, return to relax in the lovely gardens and the library as well as in the gorgeous rooms and suites (most with terraces, some with private pools). Don’t forget to see the sunset from on the lantern-lit roof terrace with a cocktail in hand.

Goldeneye, Jamaica

In the year of James Bond's 25th cinematic outing, where better to chill than at magical immaculate Goldeneye, Ian Fleming’s holiday home where he penned the 007 series. Think luxurious beach-shack styled villas strung along a vibrant green lagoon and white-sand shore, plentiful watersports, delicious Jamaican-inspired food and funky cocktails. It’s also amazing for families who love exploring the 58 acres of gardens, woods, caves and beaches.

Unguja Lodge, Zambezi, Tanzania

An utterly blissful small retreat on the southern tip of Zanzibar, Unguja Lodge has bush on one side and the stunning Menai Bay on the other, as well as an onsite PADI dive centre to make the most of the fantastic dive sites nearby. Other water-based activities include dolphin tours, fishing trips and snorkelling; there’s a super beach at low tide and steps directly into the water at high tide for easy swimming. You stay in huge architect-designed open-plan villas with curved white walls and lots of Zanzibari character, all with terraces to watch the sun rise and set. There’s an organically shaped swimming pool, and meals are served in the spacious restaurant adjacent under a big palm-leaf roof.

Six Senses Zighy Bay, Oman

Only 2 hours from Dubai airport, Oman's Musandam Peninsula has majestic cliffs plunging into warm sparkling turquoise waters, fantastic coral reefs, fjords aplenty, and Six Senses Zighy Bay. This hidden jewel is set on a private stretch of talcum-fine sand, and consists of ultra-private villas of varying sizes, each with a private infinity pool. There's a trio of excellent restaurants, a sensational spa, free kids clubs, and two gorgeous pools - both freshwater and saltwater - the latter in a lagoon style.

Cap Maison, St Lucia

Once a sugar plantation, now a gorgeous coastal estate with lush tropical gardens set above a secluded sandy cove, sociable resort Cap Maison has been built to resemble a Spanish village. White-washed villas are separated by cool passages, courtyards and pools, top suites come with private pools, Jacuzzis and roof terraces with loungers (great for star gazing). You can borrow sailing craft, kayaks, snorkelling gear and windsurfers from the beach club; charter the hotel’s yacht and cruise to Martinique or the Grenadines. There’s a kids club in the holidays too. You can self-cater in your villa or indulge in the excellent food in the restaurant, bar or beach bar.