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Top 5 Winter Sun Destinations

I like the phrase winter sun. Summer sun is a lovely phrase too of course but it’s two words we expect to see together. Winter sun though, now that is exciting. If the temperature gets over 20 degrees, us Brits walk around in a state of semi-shock giving consideration to getting the barbecue back out again but not quite doing it in the end because it’s just a bit too maverick. And when we go somewhere hot in the months of November to March our favourite social media game is to say something like: “It’s December, and I’m sunbathing!” or “It’s snowing! But not on this beach I’m drinking cocktails on.” Nobody cares. Nobody is interested. I occasionally hear tuts in the office when people come across these smug declarations.
But almost without fail everyone starts looking at where they might go, which beach they might lay on or which incredible part of the world they might explore while everyone at home wears long johns and a woolly hat.

I thought I’d save you the googling time today and pick five of the best places to go to for a bit of vitamin D. Just promise me you won’t tease your friends by sending them photos of your sand-sprinkled feet dangling in clear blue waters…

Casa Bonita Barahona, Dominican Republic

Casa Bonita in Barahona, Dominican Republic

1. Casa Bonita in Barahona, Dominican Republic

Does anyone else feel a bit guilty on holiday occasionally? I do. When I checked-in here for example the staff, quite rightly, told me all about the beautiful nature walks, organic coffee plantation tours and eco tours to local national parks. I nodded and smiled genuinely intending on definitely doing one of, if not all of these. But then I saw my room (one of just 12). And the pool. And the sea. And that was that. The only reason I found to leave one of these three glorious spots during my 5 day stay was to eat. Oopsy.

AKARYN resort koh samui, thailand.

Akaryn Resort & Spa in Koh Samui, Thailand

2. Akaryn Samaui Resort & Spa in Koh Samui, Thailand

Is there anything more luxurious than a room with a pool that nobody else is allowed to use? As I floated around the surface of mine at this hotel (every room has one) I struggled to come up with anything. But I was a little more active here you’ll be pleased to hear and made it to the cookery lessons. It didn’t take long to realise that my Thai food would never be as good as the Thai food the professional chefs teaching me could make so I was actually quite pleased when I nicked my finger with a knife and swapped cooking for watching and eating.

The Lodge at Pico Bonito Atlantida, Honduras

The Lodge at Pico Bonito in Atlantida, Honduras

3. The Lodge at Pico Bonito in Atlántida, Honduras

I had a boyfriend once who liked bird watching. I didn’t mind particularly but I remember wondering what on earth it was he liked about it. Probably because all the birds he pointed at looked the same to me. Grey and a bit dull. If he’d brought me here and then announced his love of birds I would have thought it the best hobby ever and probably joined him. 400 bird’s species in the jungle surrounding the hotel and the colours, shapes and sizes were well worth donning an anorak and some binoculars for.

Hotel Habita Monterrey Monterrey, Mexico

Hotel Habita Monterrey in Monterrey, Mexico

4. Hotel Habita Monterrey in Monterrey, Mexico

I don’t think I’ve seen such a good looking hotel interior. It’s like walking into the future. A future which is a little bit cooler than everything we have in boring old 2013. If this were your grandmother’s house she’d never let you in for fear of staining the perfection. It clashes wonderfully with the vibrant boutiques and restaurants of the surrounding Monterrey which you can see from the rooftop terrace and the infinity pool.

Angkor Village Resort Siem Reap, Cambodia

Angkor Village Resort in Siem Reap, Cambodia

5. Angkor Village Resort in Siem Reap, Cambodia

Strangely enough I found sitting on the back of an elephant more relaxing than any other animal I’ve ridden. Horses don’t like me, camels don’t like anyone as far as I can see and Teddy, our poor dog while I was a toddler, certainly didn’t enjoy me trying to straddle him while shouting giddy up.

It might have been because I was riding my elephant in a very pretty part of Cambodia I guess. And perhaps the massage and Vietnamese food in the hotel’s beautiful garden afterwards helped. Either way for those of you, who, like me, don’t feel entirely comfortable sitting on animals, I can happily recommend an elephant’s back.

These are my five top picks but you might like something a little different. Here are 50 of SLH’s last minute hotel deals to help you be the one sharing the social media, not staring at it drooling.

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