Tangalle, Sri Lanka
With paradisal, coconut-palm beaches and cerulean ocean in abundance, Sri Lanka offers the epitome of a tropical retreat. On the country’s south coast, the quiet town of Tangalle is a blissful place to soak up the natural beauty of jungle, sea and national parks – with wildlife safaris, ancient temples and tea plantations all nearby as well. Amid the verdant landscape, Amanwella is found in a serene and secluded position, opening out onto a horseshoe beach, with the suites – each complete with a private pool – looking out over the Indian Ocean. For guests who wish to get closer to the inviting waters, activities on offer span surfing, snorkeling and whale-watching.
Riviera Maya, Mexico
Powdery beaches, emerald jungle, ancient ruins and vibrant nightlife: this stretch of Caribbean coastline on Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula is one of the country’s most in-demand destinations. The climate comes into its most comfortable from November through March, and the beautiful resort of Maroma, A Belmond Hotel, is a sanctuary of tranquility, away from the bustle. It has recently undergone an immaculate renovation under the direction of designer Tara Bernerd, who has incorporated the work of local artisans to honor Mexican heritage in the calming design. The centerpiece is the cenote-inspired swimming pool – lined with turquoise-hued tiles, handmade from volcanic stone – alongside which a mezcal can be sipped shaded by palm trees.
Winter-sun vacations aren’t solely for beach days; there are myriad inland adventures to be had too. While the safari opportunities in Namibia are at their peak between May and September, the natural wonders of the sub-Saharan plains can be marveled year-round. Amid a 51,000-hectare nature reserve, Habitas Namibia is perfectly positioned to relish the wild landscape, as well as to enjoy the versatility of Namibian cuisine and local ingredients, plus a curated arts and culture program. The rocky swimming pool is a panoramic place to cool off, while the wellness offering includes restorative treatments and meditation in the bush. The Habitas brand prides itself on committed sustainability initiatives, including integrating endangered species into the reserve and the Habitas Rise program, which aims to empower local communities through employment opportunities and training in the hospitality sector.
Palm Beach, Florida, US
Gilded-Age favorite, golden-sand-laden Palm Beach has beckoned with a new allure of late, while still retaining the old-school glamour that made its name. The weather is perennially obliging, meaning long days can be spent at its stretches of sun-drenched shoreline. The local arts and culture scene features a treasure trove of works from the likes of Picasso, Warhol, and Banksy, and has received a recent reinvigoration, with a $100 million renovation of the Norton Museum of Art. The White Elephant Palm Beach hotel, which has recently undergone a complete reimagining, has an impressive art collection of its own, as well as the lively Lola 41 restaurant, behind its chic, striped-awning façade.
Tabanan, Bali, Indonesia
An irrefutable bucket-list favorite, Bali has long beguiled visitors with its combination of tropical beaches, lush and rugged jungle, waterfalls, rolling rice paddies and rich culture. Avoid the island’s most crowded locales and stay in a quieter corner of the south coast for a peaceful immersion into the idyllic surroundings. Nirjhara is a luxuriously unpretentious retreat that blends beautifully into a glorious landscape of forest, rice fields and volcanic-sand beaches, with the Tanah Lot temple nearby. The accommodation encompasses canopy treehouse suites, with roof decks perched amid coconut groves, and capacious villas with their own infinity pools. To venture a little further afield, the coastal village of Canggu is close by, with the towns of Seminyak and Ubud just under an hour away by car.
St. Kitts, the West Indies
The mesmerizing island of St. Kitts (the larger of the duo St. Kitts and Nevis in the Lesser Antilles) embraces a relaxed and low-key side of the Caribbean, with resplendent scenery to explore. Sunset Reef is a seven-suite, 11-room boutique hotel, serving the most awe-inspiring sunsets from its stunning perch above the Caribbean Sea. With a glistening infinity pool and views from every room, it provides a dreamy base from which to experience the laid-back beauty of the verdant island – best perceived by train or boat.