Five Spectacular Places to Beat the Winter Blues
With the festive season waning, many people’s dreams start drifting towards a tropical paradise break. Five of the very best, spread across the globe, are guaranteed to lift spirits and rejuvenate whatever the weather back at home.
Samara Beachfront Lux in Koh Samui is the ultimate Thai villa, combining virtually everything that attracts visitors to this ancient and beguiling South East Asian nation, from spa facilities to a swim up bar. With room for 17 guests, it has ample accommodation for hosting one of those famous Thai beach house parties, and combines an elegant indoor/outdoor dynamic which makes the most of the beautiful weather. A stunning pool backs directly onto the pretty, pristine Lipa Noi beach. Wildlife and wonderful sunsets form part of the landscape, and the villa also has some surprises in store, from an indoor playground to a fascinating local artefact collection.
Ban Rak village, also on Koh Samui, plays host to another world class villa, Maeve. The lovely terrace and pool deck offers a vista including the neighbouring island of Koh Phangan, creating an enchanting take on the Thai coastline’s famous island chains. The villa offers an exquisitely pampering space for up to six guests, making it perfect for families or small couple groups. Its many attractive features include a lap pool with a Jacuzzi, access to a sail boat for independent island-hopping, and a barbeque for home cooking local delicacies. Its offers proximity to all of Koh Samui’s key attractions, such as the Big Buddha statue, whilst retaining an aura of total privacy and tranquillity.
Vila Flor de Vida in Barrinha, Ceará, Brazil offers a wonderful opportunity to escape the winter blues and commune with the natural world. Its rooftop offers an intoxicating view on the night sky and the constellations of the Southern Hemisphere. The creature comforts are also stellar, with eight bedrooms and bathrooms right on the beach front, seven staff members, a pool house and entertainment options such as a ping pong table and relaxing hammocks. It provides the ultimate escape in a nation that enjoys the height of summer while Europe is plunged in midwinter gloom.
It is little wonder that many celebrities choose Barbados as their winter retreat, and the Coral Stone House in St James is worthy of any VIP. A six bedroom property with every conceivable modern luxury, it nevertheless seamlessly blends into its natural surroundings, with a sympathetic construction largely from regional materials. A private beach, adjoining cottage for an additional four guests and efficient and generous staffing make this an excellent Caribbean winter entertaining spot. St James has numerous great dining options, and the Folkestone Marine Park, complete with artificial reef, is one of many nearby activity sites.
Another property which very much falls into that category is Bouganville in neighbouring St Lucia. It sleeps up to ten guests and has a gorgeous pool with spectacular sea views and its own grotto and waterfall. The master bedroom has a fabulous “secret garden” including a private swimming pool, Jacuzzi and shower. The villa’s prime location on the Beau Estate lies between the iconic Pitons peaks. Its setting in Soufriere provides easy access to many of gloriously green St Lucia’s attractions, including the world’s only drive-in volcano, complete with sulphur springs for adventurous bathing.
Whilst all five properties combine lush tropical vegetation, sultry heat and a break from the everyday, each of them also has their own unique abilities and facilities to chase away the winter blues.
By Phileas French, Travel Writer