It’s official! The best way to beat the January blues is by spoiling yourself with a far-flung escape to warmer (and sunnier) climes. There’s scientific evidence to prove it. It’s well known that exposing your skin to the sun (to accrue valuable vitamin D) enhances your mood and energy levels. This means you’ll not only be happier, but also healthier. Leave your worries behind and read on for some tempting holiday ideas…
The Thai island of Koh Samui once topped the travel wish-lists of backpackers and party-goers but, in recent years, the island has grown up and reinvented itself as a retreat for spa seekers looking to relax and rejuvenate on sandy shores. These days, celebrity visitors to the island include Madonna, Scarlett Johansson, Beyoncé and Rihanna. Kate Moss, meanwhile, has been a regular visitor to the island for New Year celebrations. Koh Samui now boasts the crème de la crème of upscale hotel chains. You’ll find Four Seasons, Banyan Tree, Intercontinental, W, Six Senses and – our pick of the bunch – Conrad Koh Samui.
Serenity reigns supreme here and it’s certainly one of the more dazzling choices when it comes to Samui’s spa scene. The luxury resort’s exquisite villas (each with its own pool) are nestled on a secluded hill on the south-west tip of the island and you’ll enjoy panoramic views of the Gulf of Thailand's stunning sunsets, outlying islands and lush coconut plantations. The idyllic surroundings make the Conrad Koh Samui an exceptional place to indulge in a spa day. Gaze out to sea and pristine white beaches while enjoying a range of luxurious spa therapies, from a rich facial or full-body massage to a nourishing moisture wrap, before stepping out onto the private deck and soaking up the sunshine as you gaze at the panoramic view. This is the world that Alex Garland was writing about in his bestselling novel The Beach, published in 1996 (adapted into a film starring Leonardo DiCaprio). If paradise truly exists on earth, this is it.
Find inner calm in the Indian Ocean this January. Few places in the world can beat the Maldives for serenity and sublime scenery. If you’re looking for complete seclusion, look no further than the Jumeirah Dhevanafushi – the only all-suite resort in the Maldives. This decadent sanctuary is found on a tiny, remote, palm-fringed island at the southern end of the Maldives archipelago, surrounded by unspoilt coral reefs, soft-white sand and crystal-blue water. The resort’s spoiling private butler service is second to none (all villas have private pools and butlers), the over-water spa has glass squares on the floor so you can admire the colourful fish and sea life mid-massage and, even though the resort has three restaurants, guests can dine anywhere they desire – pick a sublime spot on the island (or a neighbouring one) and the chef will prepare a lobster picnic or delicious wagyu beef barbecue. Truly a resort with the wow factor.
The magic of Disney, in Florida
Brighten your mood with a magical family holiday to Walt Disney World, the place where fantasy and fun reign supreme and dreams come true. Walt Disney World is the most popular entertainment resort in the world and, while there are too many reasons to list here, we couldn’t resist sharing a few: how about four huge theme parks, two thrilling waterparks, back-to-back shows and performances, heaps of themed restaurants, bars and shops? And, it’s all delivered with impeccable attention to detail and a dusting of Disney magic and sparkle. You can fly with Dumbo, ride in a vintage fire engine, see Indiana Jones-style stunt shows or join Buzz Lightyear for a trip to the stars. There’s a 120-foot high waterslide to ride, over 1,700 African animals to spot and you can even visit 11 different countries in the Epcot area.
The Reunion Resort and Club Wyndham Grand is close to Walt Disney World, Sea World and Universal Studios. This upscale Orlando resort sits in lush parkland and landscaped gardens just six miles from Walt Disney World. At the resort itself, there are no less than ten swimming pools and an exclusive 5-acre water park, which combines thrilling water slides with a lazy river.
Add a fun-packed kids’ club into the mix, where the little ones can be entertained while you enjoy a luxurious treatment in the spa after a day at Disney, and you’ve got a real recipe for sun-and-fun-filled happy holidays.
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