Clichés exist for a reason. More often than not, they’re grounded in a hard truth. Case in point – the British winter. Writing this at 4.30 pm with a vista of grey sky and delightfully English drizzle, you realise why an estimated 316,000 people left the UK in the last calendar year. For those of us not fortunate enough to act on the hazy seduction of Californian sunshine, crumbling Tuscan villas or six-bedroom gîtes in France equivalent to the price of a one-bedroom in Thamesmead, we grumble. It’s what we do, and, frankly, we excel at it.
The benefit of guaranteed winter misery is an unparalleled ability to get excited about winter sun. It represents such escapism and joy for our vitamin D deprived populace.
For years, we at So It Goes have blocked out the noise of the crowded internet marketplace for online travel guides. Back in 2012, we stumbled across i-escape.com and for every personal and business trip since, we haven’t needed to look anywhere else.
Unlike other online travel guides and booking services, i-escape feels special, personal somehow. Catering for discerning, independently minded travellers, the team have curated a global collection of small, stylish and carefully hand-picked hotels, beach villas and boutique B&Bs.
The site currently features approximately 1500 hotels, across 35 countries and 5 continents, yet the presentation of every property demonstrates wonderful attention to detail: a broad range of photos, a property summary, list of activities, ‘highs and lows’, food, and every other possible criteria addressed and question answered. We’re yet to come across a site on which the quality control is as broad and comprehensive.
We couldn’t be happier to announce that this December we’ll be collaborating with i-escape to bring you a bumper photo diary from the ruins, temples and beaches of Sri Lanka.
Until then, take a look at our top 10 winter sun destinations, hand-picked from the wide-array of properties on i-escape.com and click away.
You can also read down to the bottom of the page to get the inside scoop on the winter sun picks of i-escape Editor, Liz Simpson.
1) Uxua, Bahia, Brazil
Topping the list is the emerald luxury of UXUA Casa Hotel and Spa in Trancoso, Brazil.
2) Kikili Beach, Sri Lanka
Dreamy private beach house on the white-sanded Sri Lankan coast. It’s been on our hit-list for as long as we can remember.
3) Jakes, Jamaica
Laid-back, windswept cottages on the underdeveloped South coast of Jamaica. Just the right side of rustic.
4) The Priest’s House, Goa, India
Possibly the most beautiful, peaceful stay of our lives was in the shade of this coconut ensconsed (restored 19th century) Portugese property. This is Goa very much not as you know it.
5) Laguna Lodge, Guatemala
Stunning cliff-carved eco-lodge in the still undiscovered beauty of Guatemala.
6) Raas, India
Visit the ‘Blue City’ in all its glory by staying in the sunbowl beneath Jodhpur’s 15th century Mehrangarh Fort.
7) Matemwe Lodge, Zanzibar
As picture-perfect as the turquoise majesty of Bora-Bora or the Maldives, Matemwe is what you dream of at your desk on nights like these.
8) Vivenda dos Palhacos, Goa, India
Our happy place. Small with colonial splendour, the service of a luxury hotel with the charm of a family home. We’ll be going here for years to come.
9) Cabanas La Luna, Tulum, Mexico
The highlight of our 2013 stay in Tulum. Hammocks, brightly coloured eco-cabanas and blissful peace and quiet.
10) Ahilya Fort, Madhya Pradesh, India
This 18th century fort in Madhya Pradesh looks a little bit special, fusing traditional Indian decoration seamlessly with modern comfort. One day...
I-Escape Editor, Liz Simpson
"South Africa is my top pick for guaranteed winter sun – and on top of glorious temperatures, it offers world-class wines, deliciously fresh seafood, massive game parks and idyllic natural scenery. Its mountains are majestic, cradling lush green valleys and backing onto the sparkling ocean and powder-soft white sand; it’s completely glorious. Better still, for Europeans, there’s no jetlag, as the time difference is just 1-2 hours! Our collection of stunning boutique hotels and villas in Cape Town and along the Garden Route are as alluring as South Africa itself. Stylish and relaxing, each is an ideal base from which to explore, and a beautiful retreat to return to when you’re footsore. Book a 7+ night stay for 2015 dates at any one of them and we’ll send you a pampering gift worth over £100.
Want something closer to home? I can’t get enough of Morocco. Exotic, bewitching and fantastically priced."
All images courtesy of i-escape