Sun-soaked winter holiday ideas
Whether it’s a lazy beach holiday you’re after, a family getaway that will keep everyone happy, or an anticipatory, post-holiday detox vacation from the 8 lbs of turkey and fixings you plan to ingest, here’s a selection of sun-soaked travel ideas that can help you escape the cold clutches of winter.
The most romantic place for playing nookie
Island seclusion. That’s what you’re looking for. You want to head to a remote corner of the world with your loved one for the chance to escape the madness of the holidays, the cruelty of winter, and the monotony of everyday life. There is perhaps no better place to reconnect with your partner than Bora Bora, which Travel + Leisure magazine named the world’s most romantic island for 2013. Overwater bungalows suspended above turquoise waters offer couples an intimate milieu with nothing but the sound of gentle waves to lull couples to sleep -- or otherwise -- while miles of quiet beaches also offer a sense of privacy. Resorts to try: St. Regis Bora Bora Resort or the Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora.
Detoxing the body of turkey, bonbons, and everything in between
You anticipate a gluttonous, maybe even debaucherous holiday season of turkey, butter-soaked mashed potatoes, bottomless boxes of chocolate bonbons and egg nog. And despite good intentions, you’ve never been able to resist temptation: you know this year will be no different. Why not just accept this calorific fate and book a post-holiday detox vacation that will cleanse your body of fatty, alcoholic toxins under the Balinese sun? The Golden Rock Retreat offers 4, 7 and 10-day programs that involve drinking body-flushing broth teas, fresh papaya or coconut juice, liver-cleansing shakes and massages in beachfront bungalows or villas.
Get the Latin feeling
You’re not the all-inclusive, beach lounger-type. You’d rather soak in some culture and history while you’re soaking in the sun. Consider planning a trip of enlightenment to Quito, Ecuador, described as the cradle of ancient pre-Incan history and recently named South America’s leading tourist destination at the World Travel Awards South and Central America, an event known as the Oscars of the travel industry. Just in time to coincide with their 35th anniversary as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Ecuadorian capital was highlighted as the next great destination in the region, stealing the spotlight from contenders like Rio de Janeiro, Lima and Buenos Aires. Founded on the ruins of an Inca city and tucked between Andean volcanoes, Quito is described as a freeze-frame in time, boasting the best-preserved historic center in Latin America.
Post-holidays silent treatment
You swear some years your jaw’s gone unhinged from all the small talk, polite banter, catching up and gossip during the holidays. You anticipate the need for serenity and tranquility once the festive season is over. Recover at The Suan Mokkh International Dharma Hermitage in Chaiya, Thailand, which has hosted more than 22,000 visitors looking for peace and quiet. And we mean real quiet. Beginning on the first day of every month, the center organizes a 10-day silent meditation retreat that teaches participants how to meditate using the power of silence. This is a no-frills retreat, where visitors sleep on a simple straw mat, wooden pillow with a blanket and mosquito net. Obviously, there is a no-phone policy.
Child-friendly family getaway
Whoever coined the saying 'happy wife, happy life,' obviously didn’t have 11-year-olds. Or teenagers. Or kids for that matter. Because every parent knows that family vacations are actually run by micro cartels of kids who rule with the force of whines and tantrums. According to TripAdvisor users, the luxury, condominium-style accommodations at the Floridays Resort Orlando is the best hotel for families in the US. The property is strategically located near Walt Disney Resort, SeaWorld and Universal Orlando Resort, and shuttles will transport guests to and from the parks.