10 Sunny Destinations for a Great Warm-weather Holiday
The weather outside is about to get frightful, so head to somewhere a little more delightful—like a white-sand beach or a villa in the desert. If you’re sick and tired of walking in a winter wonderland, work the world’s hemispheres to your advantage and head to a sunny climate for a holiday spent making sand castles instead of snow angels.
Ahead: 10 great spots for a warm weather holiday—or a vacation any time of the year.
Playa Grande, Dominican Republic
Give yourself the gift of peace and joy by booking a room at Aman’s Amanera hotel on the golden sand beaches of the Dominican Republic’s Playa Grande. The hotel is nestled between the ocean and 2,170 acres of jungle, making it a great place for getting in touch with nature while tucked into the lap of luxury. Make your days merry and bright poolside by relaxing in your chic casita or simply enjoying the incredible views of the turquoise waters outside your door while visions of sugar plums dance through your head.
Get a jumpstart on your New Year’s resolutions by spending the holidays at one of Tucson’s finest spas. Learn the art of mindfulness while hiking through the stunning landscape surrounding Canyon Ranch or learn to optimize your brain function under the desert sky near Miraval. Partake in luxurious spa treatments, get in touch with your inner yogi or spinning enthusiast, all the while eating deliciously healthy food, instead of gorging on midnight fruit cake (or do both, no judgment!). Whichever spa you choose, you’ll end up feeling fitter, healthier, and maybe even happier.
Playa Manzanillo, Nicaragua
When he’s done delivering presents around the world, Santa probably skips the North Pole and heads straight to this private beach to work off the winter chill. Set on Guacalito de la Isla on Nicaragua’s Emerald Coast, Mukul Resort is a tropical dream with deep blue waters, jungles to explore, and a golf course with an oceanfront view. The hotel offers both seaside villas and treehouses that give you a front-row view of the jungle. Take a trip to the spa or lounge on the beach—don’t be surprised if you see Santa himself in the next chair over.
Elvis Presley sang about the sorrow of having a blue Christmas, but that’s just because he probably never spent the holiday next to the crystal blue waters of Curaçao. Head to the Baoase resort to spend your vacation days mulling the important questions like the precise shade of blue that best describes the Caribbean, while relaxing on the white-sand beaches. Kick back at your private pool, take a sunrise yoga class, or head to the sea to sail, dive, and fish. Head to nearby Willemstad to wander the streets of one of the most colorful cities in the world and you’ll quickly realize that there’s nothing wrong with a blue Christmas at all.
Head to Georgia’s oldest city (est. 1733) for Southern hospitality and plenty of Christmas cheer. Spend your days shopping on River Street, eating your way through town, and creating your own Nightmare Before Christmas by touring the historic Bonaventure Cemetery. Located in downtown Savannah on the city’s 30-acre peaceful park, the Mansion on Forsyth Park is a classically luxurious hotel filled with an incredible art collection, perfectly appointed rooms, and a cozy atmosphere. Grab a seat by the fireplace and you’ll feel like you are home for the holidays—but in a much warmer climate.
Santa may have never brought you a pony for Christmas, but this year you can have a zebra—specifically, La Zebra, the boutique hotel in Tulum on the Mexican Riviera. Spend a memorable Christmas spent on the idyllic shore in this chic spot with a laidback vibe that will make guests feel right at home. Do like the locals and stay up until midnight for a Christmas Eve fiesta or wake up early to catch the sun rising over the ocean. Make a new tradition with a Christmas feast of ceviche, tamales, and chicken mole and you may never go back to boring old turkey and stuffing again.
Saba Island, Lesser Antilles
If you’re looking to spend Christmas far from the maddening crowds, head to Saba Island. The tiny green speck of land is part of the Lesser Antilles archipelago in the heart of the Caribbean Sea, just a short flight from the more well-known island paradise, St. Maarten. The island is basically a tropical forest lined with beaches and cliffs and dazzling views. Rent a villa or stay at the Queen’s Gardens, one of the island’s few hotels, and spend days diving into the Saba Marine Park, hiking to the aptly named Mount Scenery, and re-connecting with the world and your family.
Trade in gingerbread and mulled wine on your in-laws’ couch for an adventure in the spice islands of Zanzibar. The lush island off the coast of Tanzania sits like a jewel in the Indian Ocean and served as an important stopover for the spice trade. In fact, its perfumed streets inspired poets like Rimbaud. After you’ve traveled so far to reach the bougainvillea and palm tree-filled tropical paradise, the Zawadi Hotel will treat you like visiting royalty—no frankincense, myrrh, or gold required.
Years ago The Andrews Sisters sang about Christmas Island, a tropical idyll where Santa delivers presents via canoe and the sun always shines on Christmas day. Make that vision of Christmas in the sun a reality by swapping gingerbread houses for sand castles and heading to Maui. Check into one T +L’s favorite resorts, the Montage Kapalua Bay, for an enchanted holiday far from a winter wonderland and keep an eye out for Santa touring in an outrigger or hanging ten in Maui’s Honolua Bay.
If you’re dreaming of a white Christmas, why not make it a white-sand one? Swap swimsuits for snowsuits and head to Nusa Dua in Bali, Indonesia for a white Christmas that even Bing Crosby would agree is an improvement on the original. If you’ve been very good this year, check into The Mulia Villas for a luxury experience with lavish amenities, impeccable service, private pools, and sunrise and ocean views.