It’s fair to say that we’ve had a lot to feel blue about recently, and with the dreaded ‘C-word’ (yes, coronavirus) still dominating daily conversation, it’s difficult not to dwell on the downside of lockdown life. Without the added pressures of a pandemic, January has traditionally been a rather miserable month for the Northern Hemisphere – it’s no wonder that ‘Blue Monday’ – supposedly the most depressing day of the year, falls within this long stretch of limited daylight (and don’t even get us started on the weather).
It’s almost impossible to picture the Caribbean without imagining its impossibly blue waters, blissfully blending with pink-sand beaches, vibrant coral reefs, and colouful fishing villages. Settling into the relaxed rhythm of island life and taking pleasure in the simplicity of a beach BBQ or rum cocktail is sure to wash away any winter woes, with plenty of sunshine to top up Vitamin D deprived travellers.
Casa Colonial Beach & Spa, Dominican Republic…Take in the turquoise waters from this beachfront beauty’s private beach, before soothing away your sorrows at the Spa Bagua with an indigenous honey and royal jelly treatment.
S Hotel Jamaica, Montego Bay…Soak up some of the best views in Jamaica from the top-floor lounges and sun decks at this cocktail sipping, ocean dipping retreat, all just a short stroll from the beautiful blue bay.
Sailrock Resort, Turks & Caicos Islands…Balmy, blue views are the order of the day at this ocean-facing South Caicos hideaway, best enjoyed from the Great House Restaurant which offers sunset views of both the Atlantic Ocean and Caicos Bank from its wraparound terrace.
Virtually synonymous with the colours of its national flag, Greece is home to whitewashed walls, cerulean blue cupolas, and postcard-worthy waters. Although there is no word for ‘blue’ in ancient Greek, today’s travellers will find this country’s defining colour in almost every shade from the sky to the sea.
Lindos Blu, Rhodes…The clue is in the name at this adults-only oasis, just a short walk from the island’s prettiest coastal village. Each one of the rooms, suites, villas and maisonettes has the most astounding views of the sea.
San Antonio, Santorini…Built into the rocks, 100 metres above the sea, the luxurious cave rooms are hewn out of the volcanic rock and come with unobstructed views of the caldera. Take in the sunset from The Cliffside Restaurant, one of the best spots on the island to watch the sun go down.
Mykonos Ammos Hotel, Mykonos…Step out of your room at this pretty sugar-cube property and walk barefoot right on to the beach. With crystal clear waters and two outdoor pools, this is the place to stay for an exclusive ‘sea and sand’ lifestyle.
With a wave-catching coastline of laid-back surfing, swimming, and snorkelling spots, Australia attracts more than its fair share of sun-seekers. From the Instagram favourite rock pools of the Bondi Baths to the sheltered stretches of sand surrounding Cabarita Beach, you’re never far from a bleached-blonde shore and wildly beautiful blue view.
Smiths Beach Resort, Yallingup…Set within a National Park, this environmentally-friendly and picturesque resort is a restful sanctuary providing the ultimate Australian beachside experience, with the unusual rock formation of Canal Rocks just a short walk away.
Ovolo The Valley Brisbane, Queensland…Cool off from the Brisbane heat in this urban retreat’s sleek rooftop pool, a spot to savour barista-crafted coffee as much as the sunsets.
Halcyon House, New South Wales…Blue and white may reflect classic seaside style, but here it receives a contemporary update courtesy of designer, Anna Spiro. An eclectic mix of patterns, prints and fabrics are a feast for the eyes, while the award-winning Paper Daisy restaurant is well worth the hype.
Boasting some of the brightest blue waters in the world, Thailand‘s surrounding islands lap up their reputation for coconut sipping, hammock swinging, and palm swaying in rustic beach bungalows or hopping from one traditional long-tail boat to the next. Idyllic jungles with waterfalls, rock pools and frangipane-scented valleys are begging to be explored.
Cape Fahn, Koh Samui…Set on a private island just off the northern tip of Koh Samui, this collection of luxury villas reflects its surrounding natural beauty in a sea-inspired colour palette with views across the Gulf of Thailand.
The Racha, Phuket…Each villa within this eco-luxury beach resort fringed by the powdery sands of Batok Bay celebrates the tropical setting, and many have their own ozonated infinity-edge or plunge pool.
VALA Hua Hin, Petchburi…This beachfront hideaway is the perfect blend of escaping-into-nature and contemporary comforts, and with uninterrupted views over the Gulf of Thailand, it’s the perfect vantage point for unforgettable sunsets and panoramic ocean views.
From colourfully-tiled city breaks to sun-strewn beaches and vineyard-dotted slopes, Portugal has all the makings of a Mediterranean break to remember. Follow the trail of azulejo blue tiles around Porto, including the Capela das Almas – the city’s most photographed building – or head down south for the rugged beauty of the Algarve.
Hotel Infante Sagres, Porto…Just a few steps from the UNESCO World Heritage area, this historic grand dame mixes classic and contemporary details to play tricks with time. Find the most fashionable table in town at the Vogue Café, a trendy spot for all-day dining.
Pousada Palácio de Estoi, Faro…This 18th century dusky pink Rococo palace makes the perfect base from which to tour the eastern Algarve – be sure to explore natural parks, or canoe out to the region’s distinctive sandbank islands.
A country celebrated for its colourful culture, Mexico is made for reveling in a relaxed pace of life. On the East Coast, majestic Mayan ruins stand tall over a flour-sand cove and crystal clear waters in Tulum, best viewed from a day bed or palapa with a fresh sugar cane mojito in hand. Head West to Costalegre, the “Coast of Joy” and centre of Mexico’s thriving tequila industry, for a vast stretch of undeveloped coastline that’s just waiting to be explored.
El Pez, Tulum…Set on a peaceful headland just outside Tulum, from a distance the thatched-roof beach houses lining the shore look like a traditional Mayan village. Laze away the morning in a hammock on the balcony then pick out a lounger beside the pool.
Mi Amor, Tulum…Perched on a cliff above the Caribbean Sea, this romantic retreat places the surrounding lush jungle and ancient ruins within easy reach. You can also swim, snorkel or dive into nearby cenotes, believed to be underworld portals by the ancient Mayans.
Villas del Mar, San José del Cabo…Sapphire skies melt into horizon creating extraordinary views across the turquoise Sea of Cortez. Venture into those seas onboard the Villas del Mar catamaran or sail the ocean fringing Los Cabos for some of the finest sport fishing in the world.
Ethereal blue lagoons, glowing glaciers, warm flowing waterfalls, and a fjordscape to fall for, Iceland‘s wildly beautiful landscape has to be seen to be believed. Soak away life’s daily stresses in the mineral rich waters of the Blue Lagoon, milky blue in colour thanks to its high silica content, or venture into Northern Lights territory for the night sky’s twinkling shades of blue.
Hotel Rangá, Hella…This luxury log cabin hotel in Southern Iceland is perfectly positioned for the Golden Circle and glacier expeditions – a map at reception points you towards the nearby incredible waterfalls, black-sand beaches, glaciers and thermal springs.
Tower Suites, Reykjavik…Situated within one of the country’s tallest buildings, each private suite is overflowing with designer style inspired by the Icelandic landscape, think beds and freestanding bathtubs which face floor-to-ceiling windows.
For this archipelago nation made up of more water than land, the Maldives is home to some of the purest blue waters in the world – thanks to the tropical temperatures of the Indian Ocean, and the reflection of blue and green light which is absorbed by phytoplankton on its coral reefs. Swing from a hammock in an exclusive over-water villa, go island-hopping in seaplanes and catamarans, or snorkelling with parrotfish.
Baros Maldives, Malé…A castaway atoll in the middle of the Indian Ocean, this small private island overlooks a glistening blue lagoon. To experience the essence of the Maldives, opt for one of the water villas which have a private wooden deck for sunbathing and steps for dipping into the lagoon.
Milaidhoo Island Maldives, Baa Atoll…Floating within a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, this boutique island resort is a haven for water lovers – individual infinity pools that blend seamlessly into a mirror flat sea, a gourmet restaurant set in three Dhoni sailing boats, and beautiful villas and endless wooden walkways stretching over the water.
Huvafen Fushi Maldives, North Malé Atoll…Home to the first and only under-the-sea spa, this ‘Dream Island’ blurs the boundaries between sea and sky, land and lagoon. Whether it’s an Ocean Bungalow or Two-Bedroom Pavilion, you’ll have your own freshwater pool and a staircase into the sea.
Boasting some of the bluest waters in the Mediterranean, Spain‘s Balearic Islands are bursting with barefoot, bohemian soul where you’ll find a less-is-more approach to luxury. With its well-known party set and charming Old Town, Ibiza paints a pretty picture of whitewashed finca, blooming bougainvillaea, and blue-painted fishermen’s huts, while its chilled-out little sister Formentera, is more like a desert island dream of wild, rocky coastline and off-grid beaches.
Nobu Hotel Ibiza Bay, Ibiza…With a pretty palette of coastal blues and whites to match its beachfront setting, this sashimi-serving icon makes the most of its prime position on the quieter side of the White Isle. Its cleverly designed floor-to-ceiling windows and glass-fronted balconies mean Mediterranean views from the comfort of your king-sized bed.
Gecko Hotel & Beach Club, Formentera…At this light-filled retreat on one of the island’s best stretches of sand, it’s all about hot beach days and warm Balearic nights. Meanwhile suites come with special extras: private plunge pools surrounded by hammocks and terraces with sink-into sofas.
Torralbenc, Menorca…This traditional Menorcan finca is surrounded by rolling farmland and vineyards, yet close to the island’s sandy beaches with magnificent views of the Mediterranean Sea. The pretty whitewashed farm buildings have been decorated in soft and soothing creams and whites, making each room a haven of relaxation.
Set to a soundtrack of gently lapping waves and swaying palms, Mauritius is blessed with year-round sunshine and balmy temperatures. Join turtles and tropical fish while snorkelling on one of the world’s longest unbroken coral reefs, or simply enjoy the white sandy beaches from a swinging hammock.
Heritage Le Telfair Golf & Wellness Resort, Bel Ombre…Set on the wild south coast of Mauritius in a protected nature reserve, a collection of luxury villas are scattered throughout tropical gardens, creating the feel of a private village.
Paradise Cove Boutique Hotel, Anse La Raie…From secluded stargazing spots to waterside love nests, this adults-only retreat is as romantic as it is remote. Make the most of the lagoon setting with a beachfront massage, or glide across the sea on a paddleboard.