Holidays this year have been pushed for many of us. But the good news is that, if you missed out on a summer break in 2021, there are plenty of spectacular destinations offering sunny escapes for those of us who would otherwise be left out in the cold. Here’s our pick of six incredible winter-sun getaways, with a selection of the finest places to stay in each of them.
Once you’ve picked your perfect winter-sun destination, or if you’re still looking for some travel inspiration, the Culture Trip Black Friday Sale will get you incredible savings on the best places to stay, experiences and our own curated trips around the world.
America’s glitziest city – sorry, Las Vegas, you’re a close second – has a spectacular summer feel, even in the winter months. There are always new attractions and hotels to recommend, with spa retreats offering a wonderful mix of glamour and leisure. There’s the allure of Hollywood, and even here things have only grown bigger and better. The new Academy Museum of Motion Pictures will take its place as the home of the Oscars from 2022 and is already proving to be a welcome addition to the list of things to do in LA.
In West Hollywood, there’s the cool Row DTLA complex, which boasts food trucks of the highest order and offers almost everything you could possibly want. You might walk away empty-handed if you ask for turkey with all the trimmings, mind you, but everything else should be on the menu.
Los Angeles is a city built for the sun and you might be surprised how enjoyable a trip here can be when other parts of the world are hibernating for the winter.
Hotels we love at prices you love: Mama Shelter Los Angeles
The Mama Shelter brand specialises in finding great locations in popular cities, then creating what feels like a fun place to stay in the heart of the action. There’s no shortage of such spaces in Los Angeles, but this affordable option is only a few minutes’ walk from the Hollywood Walk of Fame and has a rooftop that feels like a classic slice of movie glamour.
This perennial favourite had to be on our list. The country has so much to offer, from ancient ruins to luxurious resorts, and there are greater efforts at the moment to showcase some of the lesser-known areas of Mexico, too. We’re big fans of Riviera Nayarit, which has positioned itself as one of the best places to go if you want a relaxing break that still feels like an exotic Mexican vacation. Tulum has also repositioned itself as a great sustainable destination – one that many travellers will be keen to return to.
If you fancy a longer trip and want to see more of the country, you can’t get much better than our exclusive TRIPS by Culture Trip for a curated experience to kick off 2022 in style. The Yucatán Peninsula itinerary will have you exploring Mayan temples and swimming in crystal-clear cenotes throughout nine leisurely days, while our Mexico City adventure will let you embrace your wild side on an intense city escape.
Whether you choose one of our Trips, or book a stay at our favourite hotels, you’re bound to have a fun winter break in Mexico.
Hotels we love at prices you love: Catalonia Costa Mujeres All Suites & Spa
Stay at Catalonia Costa Mujeres in the most exclusive part of Cancún and make the most of Isla Mujeres, marked by white sands, clear waters and coconut palms. Chic, pastel colours and geometric patterns run throughout the hotel, blending with the peaceful surroundings. As for available dining options, think six themed restaurants, five food courts, a buffet, snack bar and creperie. Just don’t eat them all at once before jumping into the pool.
“Welcome to Miami,” as Will Smith once sang in an ode to this as-cool-as-it-gets, neon-drenched city. Foodies already flock here, keen to try the best fusion cuisine in America, whereas partygoers know this is the place to be seen when the sun goes down.
There are a couple of major benefits to a winter trip to Miami. First, the weather is still pleasantly warm and sunny but without the exhausting humidity of summertime. The other advantage is the drop in prices, both in terms of flights and places to stay.
The architecture looks great in any light, so your eyes will be in for a treat throughout your visit. The origins of the art-deco movement are still evident and you’ll want to find yourself a spot that reflects that to call home for a few days.
Hotels we love at prices you love: Royal Palm South Beach Miami
For nightclubs and celebrity-chef restaurants along the sandy South Beach, the Royal Palm is just what you need. Retro carpets and furnishings in bright colours with art-deco touches, prime ocean views and two stylish pools framed by palm trees – one pool seemingly suspended above the other – are the main draws here. The tropical bar and the design Byblos restaurant serving Eastern Mediterranean dishes are also not to be missed.
While the rest of the world has suddenly become interested in sustainability and responsible travel, Costa Rica has been leading the way and already implemented several initiatives of note. Take Ocaso Festival, an underground music event now in its fifth year that’s aiming for carbon neutrality by January 2022, as well as encouraging guests to embrace the “leave no trace” initiative. Not many spots are thinking that far ahead, but this is typical of a genuine grassroots movement in the country.
Of course, it helps that Costa Rica is bursting with wildlife and rainforests, reminding us to do everything possible to clean up our act around the world. A great way to see it all in one go is on this nine-day jungle safari, where you can enjoy moonlit forest hikes and explore San José with a Local Insider.
If you’re looking for a winter destination that will satisfy your pent up wanderlust while also giving off the best possible vibes, check out our extra-special offer below.
Hotels we love at prices you love: Dreams Las Mareas Costa Rica
Nestled within a lush jungleon Playa El Jobo, Dreams Las Mareas comes with an infinity pool looking out over the ocean. Spot monkeys swinging high in trees as you soak up the sun by the water, indulge in soothing hydrotherapy at the spa or take a cocktail-making class to learn how to mix your own mimosa, as your kids wander around the rainforest at the Explorers Club. This has to be what dreams are made of.
America’s only tropical state, Hawaii is a fascinating place to visit – and managed travel is the order of the day, which, in the long run, this is great news for savvy travellers.
The need to space out arrivals to these beautiful islands, situated some 2,000 miles (3,218km) from the US mainland, means that you can now find some great bargains in winter. There’s still an endless supply of beaches perfect for island-hopping, and backdrops that look like they’ve come straight from a movie (usually because they have).
Hotels we love at prices you love: The Modern Honolulu
If you’re craving utter serenity, the kind that only comes from the sound of waves lapping on the shore, then the Modern Honolulu is the place to find it. The minimal design matches the tranquil beach vibes just outside, while the landscaped gardens call for endless yoga sessions by the calm pool water. You budding musicians will be happy to know that rooms come stocked with ukuleles.
Puerto Rico takes pride in having the longest holiday season in the world, with numerous festivals and traditions during the winter months. The US territory, 1,000mi (1,600km) south of Miami, has a wonderful mix of American, Latin and Caribbean influences. The food is sublime, reflecting the various cultures that have forged the territory over several centuries. The capital, San Juan, is celebrating its 500th anniversary well into 2022 and there’s plenty to explore.
For a unique experience and pleasurable winter-sun escape, Puerto Rico is hard to beat.
Hotels we love at prices you love: Fairmont El San Juan Hotel
Old-world glamour meets modern finesse at the historic Fairmont El San Juan Hotel, from the elegant Chico Cabaret speakeasy and its crystal chandeliers to the art-deco carpets. There’s also a fully-equipped gym and four outdoor pools hidden within this palm-tree-lined oasis, as well as a spa where you can enjoy regenerating body treatments and facials. Try the Replenishing Rubi Dragon Facial and treat your skin to a total rebirth.