No, you don’t need to put up with freezing temperatures, bitter windchill, and snow-everywhere landscapes this winter without at least some form of a break. You deserve a trip to the sun — after all, Vitamin D is very important. And, as your 24/7 vacation cheerleaders here at HAP, we’ve done the research for you — below are our favorite warm-weather getaways + boutique hotels for escaping wintertime cold.
Where to Visit: St. Barth
New York City and Paris’ elite flock to St. Barth come winter — and we can’t blame them. The French-Caribbean island’s palpably chic identity pairs exceedingly well with the pristine beaches and verdant foliage spanning its perimeters. Head to the town of Gustavia, where you will find upscale boutiques, cafes, restaurants on the waterfront, and a marina with super yachts.
Where to Stay: Cheval Blanc St-Barth
5 Stars | Website | Gustaf III Airport (SBH)
61 | 2 swimming pools; Beachfront; Spa | 1
Saint-Jean, Saint Barthélemy; Shell Beach; Colombier
Often considered the island’s most elegant stay, the distinguished Cheval Blanc St-Barth sits on the idyllic Flamands Bay. The hotel recently underwent a revamp that saw French Interior Designer Jacques Granges transform its 61 rooms, suites, villas, spa, and two restaurants into an archetype of how to-the-times ritzy fare should look and feel. Lush gardens permeate the edifice, blueprinted by renowned landscape architect Madison Cox (among other projects, he’s known for her work at YSL Jardin Majorelle in Marrakech). Spend the afternoon getting pampered at the Cheval Blanc Spa, and segue into the evening with dinner at fancy on-site restaurant La Case by accoladed Executive Chef Jean Imbert.
Where to Visit: Guanacaste, Costa Rica
Costa Rica’s Pacific Ocean-fringing Guanacaste region offers a medley of activities: Those seeking quality time with “Mother Earth” can explore local naturals wonders such as Rincón de la Vieja Volcano, Rio Celeste, resident thermal pools enveloped in nature, as well as the beautiful beaches and coastline comprising the Gulf of Papagayo. When visiting, fly into Liberia International Aiport.
Where to Stay: El Mangroove, Autograph Collection
4 Stars | Website | Daniel Oduber Intl. Airport (LIR)
85 | 1 swimming pool; Fitness center; Spa | 2
Coco Beach; Playa Hermosa; Papagayo Peninsula
Preserved mangroves ensconce this luxe outpost and its 85 spacious suites. The beachfront haven’s tree-topped Bearth Spa features outdoor terraces, massage decks, and exclusive top-line wellness products. Treatment-wise, opt to nourish your body with a locale-inspired “Tropical Body Polish,” which stimulates collagen production and re-firms the skin via tropical fruit extracts.
Where to Visit: Palm Springs, California
Ok, so it might not be so warm you want to jump in a non-heated pool, but it’s warm enough to wear a t-shirt, lounge outside, and soak up the sun — average winter temperature highs in Palm Springs stand in the low 70s. This desert escape’s retro identity is ubiquitous, from its pioneering mid-century-modern architecture to its prolific art gallery scene. Mosey around Downtown Palm Springs and admire irreverent art at Michael Weems Gallery, or if in the mood for some sartorial retail therapy, you can get your 1950s-tennis-club aesthetic on with the retro-inspired clothes at Trina Turk and Mr. Turk. Grab dinner and drinks at Birba, where you can expect delicious pizza and other ambrosial bites served within a tree-studded outdoor patio.
Where to Stay: The Colony Palms Hotel & Bungalows
4 Stars | Website | Palm Springs International Airport
57 | 1 swimming pool; Spa; Bar | 1
Moorten Botanical Garden; Palm Springs Air Museum; Desert Highland Park
Vacation like golden-age Hollywood did when they visited Palm Springs with a stay at the Colony Palms Hotels and Bungalows. Right off Palm Canyon Drive — the main heartthrob of the city, where all the best shops, restaurants, and bars are — this Spanish-style hotel’s boutique-style feel reigns supreme in our books. The courtyard pool, its array of sun-loungers, and the white- and green-striped umbrellas providing shade for them celebrate the area’s abundance of year-round sun.
Where to Visit & Stay: Playa Viva (Guerrero, Mexico)
4 Stars | Website | Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo International
8 | Beachfront; Pet-friendly; Spa | 1
Zona Arqueológica “Xihuacán” Soledad de Maciel; Playa Valentín; Playa la Antena
A luxe eco-friendly hotel 35 minutes away from Zihuatanejo-Ixtapa International Airport, the 18-room Playa Viva recently unveiled six stunning bamboo treehouses right on the beach, thoughtfully blueprinted to be intrusive-less to local flora & fauna based on drone footage revealing local Mobula Manta-Ray migration patterns. The hotel’s regenerative travel approach embraces sustainability and natural preservation, from its 200 acres of untouched terrain to its baby turtle sanctuary right on the beach. (The latter ensures resident Leatherback Turtles experience an unobstructed egg-laying and -hatching process from start to finish. Guests can help with these efforts, too).
Hawaii’s garden isle’s verdant landscape pairs harmoniously with the azure Pacific Ocean waters surrounding it. Nature reigns supreme here: Nā Pali Coast State Wilderness Park, Waimea Canyon State Park, and Hanalei Bay are feasts for the eyes (and the inner explorer’s sole).
Where to Stay: The Lodge at Kukui’ula
5 Stars | Website | Lihue Airport
40 | 3 swimming pools; Spa; Fitness center | 3
Poipu Beach; Allerton Garden; Poipu Beach Park
When it comes to a luxe boutique hotel on the island, The Lodge at Kukui’ula outranks. Here, island-style cottages, villas, and bungalows rub shoulders with the edges of the gorgeous Poipu Beach. The Hawaiian escape boasts a medley of amenities: a ten-acre upcountry farm, golf course, nourishing spa, and private club for meals and hangout time, are a few of many.
Where to Visit: Antigua & Barbuda
Frigid wintertime temperatures see droves of Northeasterners decamp to the Caribbean for sun-soaked holidays. Might we suggest the understated islands of Antigua and Barbuda? The beaches here reign as some of the region’s best. While the hotel we recommend staying at is in Antigua, it would be amiss not to highlight Barbuda. Take a yacht from the former to the latter, spending your day at Robert DeNiro-conceived Nobu Barbuda — an exclusive beach club with sunbeds and cabanas (opt to book the “Lobster Cookoff,” where you will catch your meal while snorkeling around the chef’s lobster traps).
Where to Stay: Hermitage Bay
5 Stars | Website | V. C. Bird International Airport
30 | 1 swimming pool; Spa; Beachfront | 1
Mosquito Cove Beach; Jolly Beach; Pinching Bay Beach
Hermitage Bay is a luxe 30-cottage hotel right on the beach. Expect a soft contemporary-yet-elegant design. Oversized bathtubs and alfresco showers make bathing here a treat and a half.
Where to Visit: Mauritius
Mauritius is a dream, full stop. Located off Madagascar’s eastern coast, the African archipelago nation is known for its white-sand beaches, crystal-clear Indian Ocean waters, and azure lagoons. Opt to visit Pamplemousses Botanic Garden, the oldest botanical garden in the Southern Hemisphere — you’ll be privy to the blossoming of many exotic and rare flowers, including crimson bottle brushes, plumeria flowers, purple lilies, numerous varieties of cacti, and more than 60 species of orchids. Temperature highs between October and April average 91 degrees Fahrenheit.
Where to stay: One&Only Le Saint Géran
5 Stars | Website | Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport
163 | 2 swimming pools; Spa; Fitness center | 5
Île aux Cerfs; Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanical Garden; Bras D’Eau National Park
When it comes to idyllic Mauritian hotels, One&Only Le Saint Géran ranks high. But then again, can we expect anything less than perfection when it comes to the One&Only brand? You will love the spa here, with its Mauritian-inspired treatment menu using Biologique Recherche and ESPA products. The haven’s accommodations are for the discerning sybarite — opt to book Villa One, a 6,695-sqft standalone two-bedroom slice of paradise that wraps around an expansive infinity pool looking out at sea.
Where to Visit: The Maldives
Crystal-clear seawater and white-sand beaches make this Indian Ocean Island nation nothing short of a dream. November to April is dry season, which means temperatures are hot, plus skies are clear and sunny.
Where to Stay: JOALI
5 Stars | Website | Dharavandhoo Airport
73 | 1 swimming pool; Beachfront; Spa | 4
Indian Ocean; Saoke Restaurant; Vandhoo Restaurant
Situated on Northern Maldivian Island of Muravandhoo, JOALI is a luxe hotel located on a private isle fringing a marine life-abundant atoll. The five-star escape has a reef-restoration project through which they’ve implemented a “Coral Table Nursery” that will allow guests to help with coral reef restoration. The 73-key hotel is a sybaritic dream: dedicated butlers known as “jadugars” (the Maldivian word for “magician”), various innovative dining concepts, plus the nourishing JOALI Spa by ESPA, are a few of the many pleasures and treasures here.
Where to Visit: Yasawa Island, Fiji
Fiji’s mid-December temperatures are around the mid-80s, and Yasawa Island Collective is the perfect place to take advantage of these warm sunny days. In addition to basking under the sun while lying on one of the isle’s beautiful beaches, make sure to experience an excursion to the Sawa-i-Lau limestone caves.
Where to Stay: Turtle Island Fiji
4 Stars | Website | Nadi International Airport
14 | Beachfront; Free WiFi; Spa | 1
Blue Lagoon; “The Blue Lagoon” film locations; Turtle Island
Hosting 14 beachfront villas, Turtle Island Fiji is a private island eco-resort on the Yasawa Island Collective in Fiji. It’s exceedingly romantic: 12 private beaches, snorkeling, and mountain-top private pontoon dinners are just a few reasons why this hideaway is made for couples.
Where to Visit: New Smyrna Beach, Florida
This lesser-known seaside town is on Florida’s eastern coast. With 17 miles of beach, the area is known as one of the state’s best spots for surfing.
Where to Stay: Victoria 1883
5 Stars | Website | Orlando Executive Airport
7 | Free WiFi; Pet-friendly; Breakfast included | 1
New Smyrna Beach; New Smyrna Beach Historic District; Riverside Park
You know we love a bed & breakfast/boutique hotel moment. So, it’s with great pleasure that we introduce you to Victoria 1883. The 1.5-acre estate equips seven rooms, a pond, three gardens, and covered porches. The on-site historic edifice’s interior catches eyes: tropical patterns imprint guestroom ceilings, spherical pendant lights hang in various spaces, and moody dark blues plus eccentric lamp fixtures adorn the lobby living room area.
Other articles you may like: