Madeira is shrugging off its reputation as a destination for older travellers, and Next Hotel in the lively capital of Funchal hopes to attract a new wave of tech-savvy young guests.
The waterfront property has arcade games in the lobby and an app via which guests control everything from check-in to room keys and TVs.
Alongside a large pool there is easy access to the sea – something rare along the capital’s rocky coastline – while a rooftop bar offers sweeping views over the Atlantic and the volcanic hills that serve as a backdrop to the city.
Winter is a good time for an active break on the Portuguese archipelago, when cool ocean breezes make for perfect hiking and biking weather. Doubles from €50 (£42, hotelnext.pt)
Covid: Proof of vaccination or antigen test (48 hours). Under-12s exempt.
Florida – Winter highs of 24°C
The rooftop pool at the new Moxy South Beach in Miami is one for the body-confident, given that guests in the lobby can stare up at swimmers through a window beneath the pool.
The latest opening from Marriott’s Moxy brand, known for free cocktails upon check-in and its neon pink logo, is a match made in heaven for Miami.
Corridors are covered in bright surrealist murals, while design-led rooms include floor-to-ceiling windows, with double bunk-bed rooms perfect for groups of four friends holidaying together.
There is a Muscle Beach-inspired indoor-outdoor gym, six dining and drinking venue options, and guests can take out complimentary pink bicycles to explore the local Art Deco district in style. Doubles from £115 (moxysouthbeach.com).
Covid: Proof of vaccination (under-18s exempt) and antigen test one day before travel (under-twos exempt).
Oman – Winter highs of 26°C
Winter is the best time to explore the natural beauty of Oman’s secluded south-west.
The mountainous Dhofar region includes Jabal Samhan Nature Reserve, one of the last refuges of wild Arabian leopards, the waterfalls of Wadi Darbat and Sumhuram Archaeological Park, an old harbour used for the trade of frankincense.
Alila Hinu Bay resort, a low-rise property on a private bay overlooking the Arabian Sea that opened last summer, is a luxurious base from which to explore the local ecology and culture.
Its minimalist design take cues from the Omani architecture, including “majlis” social seating areas and soothing fountains.
Visit the nearby ancient coastal town of Mirbat for its public garden, old fort, a revered prophet’s tomb and old merchant houses. Doubles from £229 (alilahotels.com/hinubay).
Covid: Proof of vaccination and PCR test (72 hours). Under-18s exempt.
Puerto Rico – Winter highs of 29°C
San Juan, the capital of Puerto Rico and the oldest city in US territory, is squeezing the most from its 500th anniversary with special events running until June 2022.
The city was founded as a Spanish military settlement in 1521 and history is all around the cobbled streets of Old San Juan, from Bautista Cathedral to the San Cristóbal fortress and city walls.
Situated in a 200-year-old former government building in Historic District is the Palacio Provincial hotel, a lovingly restored boutique hideaway with a rooftop pool deck and views over San Juan Bay. Doubles from £221 (palacioprovincial.com).
Covid: Proof of vaccination (under-18s exempt) and antigen test taken one day before travel (under-twos exempt).
British Virgin Islands – Winter highs of 29°C
After the destruction of Hurricane Irma in 2017, then the pandemic, the British Virgin Islands are on the road to recovery, with several hotels reopening.
Resort institution Saba Rock now has nine whimsically nautical guest rooms – surfboards on the walls and porthole doors – off Virgin Gorda, the archipelago’s third-largest island. Sir Richard Branson is known to kite-surf in Saba Rock’s North Sound, where lessons are from $75pp (£55). Doubles from £553 (sabarock.com/stay).
While most of the archipelago’s hotels and resorts cater to a high-end crowd, there are more affordable self-catering options available.
Make yourself at home at Cachette Cottage on Virgin Gorda, which has a private pool surrounded by palm trees and sea views. Three nights’ rental start at £1,041 for two (airbnb.com).
The Lighthouse Villas on Tortola, meanwhile, come with plunge pools, and are a short drive from the bustle of Road Town. $180 (£135) per night for two (bviholidays.com).
Covid: Proof of vaccination and PCR test. Under-18s exempt from proof of vaccination; unvaccinated children aged five to 17 must test on arrival.
Gran Canaria – Winter highs of 16°C
The sun-drenched Canary Isles may be a fly-and-flop favourite, but don’t write them off for a winter city break.
Las Palmas, the capital of Gran Canaria, kicks off its annual carnival on 11 February. Though cancelled in 2021, the month-long festivities are due to go ahead this year.
The event, like a mini version of Rio’s famous fiesta, includes a popular drag queen competition with this year’s theme being “La Tierra” – or Earth.
Stay in the heart of the action at new boutique hotel Cordial La Peregrina, where a rooftop terrace and pool are framed by views of the Plaza de las Ranas Library and the Santa Ana Cathedral. Doubles from £70 (becordial.com/en/gran-canaria/boutique-hotel-cordial-peregrina).
Covid: Proof of vaccination for over-12s.
Cape Town – Winter highs of 29°C
With South Africa off the red list and over its Omicron peak, this is the time to swap hemispheres and enjoy its summer sun. In the heart of Cape Town is the new Kloof Street Hotel, with a roof terrace and pool views of Table Mountain. Doubles start at R2,423 (£115, kloofstreethotel.com).
Kloof Street and Long Street – into which it merges – are lined with bars and restaurants on first-floor verandas, such as Beerhouse on Long.
From the hotel it is a short walk to Cape Town Train Station, where you can hop on the 50-minute train to Muizenberg Beach, one of the country’s top surf spots.
Here, a host of surf schools and board rental shops are on hand to help you catch some waves in False Bay, where, cautious bathers will be relieved to hear, the local shark population is said to have recently disappeared.
February is usually festival season in the winelands around the legislative capital. Though most are not running this summer, you can still take tasting trips, with most vineyards open to visitors.
Covid: PCR test (72 hours before departure). Under-fives exempt.
Mauritius – Winter highs of 31°C
From its rainforest to its reefs, Mauritius reopened to UK tourists in October.
The honeymooners’ favourite is known for its five-star resorts, but there are more accessible options, too.
Veranda Resorts, for example, has four boutique family friendly beach hotels on the island, with doubles from £71 (veranda-resorts.com).
All champion local flavours and experiences, from traditional pirogue boat trips to e-bike village tours and Mauritian cooking classes. Mauritius has a year-round tropical climate, but is slightly cooler in the winter months.
Covid: Proof of vaccination and PCR test (within 72 hours of last point of embarkation). Under-18s exempt from proof of vaccination.
Source : https://inews.co.uk/inews-lifestyle/travel/best-holidays-winter-sun-now-where-travel-canary-islands-cape-town-miami-14001081609