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Travel

5 of the best places to vacation in April

Goldeneye, Jamaica

From witnessing the cherry blossoms explode in Kyoto to soaking up the spiritual atmosphere in the Holy City of Rome, these are the most magical trips to take in April

Lifestyle

GOLDENEYE Jamaica

In a world of same-y seaside resorts, Goldeneye – for all its exclusivity and history as the tropical hideaway of James Bond creator Ian Fleming – feels different. It has an authentically Jamaican, low-key vibe that reconnects you to a precious sense of unhurried time. You can catch your own fish with local Oracabessa Bay fishermen, horse ride or kayak through the waves to Chukka Cove, or just play backgammon over a rum punch to the sounds of reggae bass and the whispering shore. The cottages that are dotted around the palm-fringed bay with views of the ocean are best for couples who are looking for a blissful honeymoon break. Book through elegantresorts.com

PARADISE FOUND
A tropical landscape, three beaches, a spa and two restaurants await at the boutique Goldeneye resort
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HOTEL EDEN Rome

Easter is a much bigger deal than Christmas in Rome, when bougainvillea-clad ruins burst into bloom and the Spanish Steps are lined with azaleas. The Holy City bubbles with religious fervor; incense, processions, chanting, the works. At a distance from the crowds, the Eden sits in grand marbled splendor on its hillside vantage point. It’s the kind of special-occasion institution that knows how to make even a cocktail into an event, with fizzing, smoking concoctions served by waltzing uniformed waiters and a good dose of theatrics. The highlight is the rooftop restaurant Il Giardino, with its award-winning menu and open-air terrace looking out across the seven hills. dorchestercollection.com

PERFECT PANORAMA
Take in the city – from St. Peter’s Basilica to the Altare della Patria and the Villa Borghese gardens – through Il Giardino’s floor-to-ceiling windows

HOTEL SUIRAN Kyoto

April, when the cherry blossom is in full bloom, is an almost spiritual occasion in Japan, when locals make a ritual out of sitting in awestruck contemplation of nature. The Suiran, part of the renowned Marriott’s Luxury Collection group, situated on the banks of the Hozu River next to the Emperor’s former summer palace, is one of the best places in Kyoto to take in the vivid colors of this seasonal event. Benches are strategically placed around the hotel gardens so you can achieve a state of stillness and meditative calm that is uniquely Japanese, while wallowing in the hotel’s hot spring onsen, flowing out of a bamboo-fringed rock, is an experience you can’t forget. marriott.co.uk

RICH LANDSCAPE
The Suiran’s location next to the lush Kameyama-kōen park makes it the perfect cherry-blossom viewing spot
SEE AND BE SEEN
The One Palácio da Anunciada offers three places to eat, drink and be merry, including the urban-cool Boémio Cocktail Lounge

THE ONE PALÁCIO DA ANUNCIADA Lisbon

Amid the epidemic of bright young hotshot hotels with uniform starkness and bare walls opening in Lisbon, this new palatial hotel in the grand Baixa district is a more opulent option. Each of the 88 bedrooms, complete with gargantuan marble bath tubs, have been meticulously restored by Chilean designer Jaime Beriestain, bringing a contemporary, artsy vibe to this urban oasis. Thanks to its fabulously central location, it is the perfect base to explore this incredible city: seek out the oldest café in Rossio Bairro to eat pastel de nata and scour the sprawling Fiera da Ladra flea market in picturesque Camp de Santa Clara Sao Vicente. hotelstheone.com

SANT FRANCESC Palma, Mallorca

The smell of Mallorca’s azhar (orange blossom) is at its most evocative in April, heralding the start of spring. Hidden away in the tree-lined streets of the medieval district of Palma is this outstanding boutique address; a fabulously inviting cocoon of a hotel with a rooftop pool, a small but perfectly formed spa and 42 loft-style suites. A more elegant era is conjured here, with the monochrome marble décor and the sounds of flamenco guitar drifting from the courtyard, where you can savor wafer-thin slivers of Iberico ham and jugs of sangria. You’ll find this stylish place hard to venture out from, but take advantage of general manager Miguel García Feliz’s insider track of the island: he can organize private trips to the Fundació Miró Mallorca museum; a last-minute table at the perennially booked out beach hangout Ca’s Patro March in Deia; or trips to the sleepy town of Soller, which comes alive on April 4 for the Fira de la Taronja orange festival. hotelsantfrancesc.com

HISTORIC ROOTS
Formerly a 19th-century mansion, Sant Francesc has been renovated into a modern boutique hotel complete with rooftop pool