For many residents of the northern hemisphere, winter brings dark, cold and often wet weather. While there are ways to deal with the seasonal blues – staying active and eating healthily helps no end, as does throwing an all-out party – an alternative route is to up sticks and seek balmier climes. From wine tasting in South Africa to beach parties in Miami, there are numerous styles of sunny holiday to enjoy at this time of year. Here, we outline some of the best destinations – with top tips from our luxury travel partner Abercrombie & Kent – and, importantly, what to pack.
Whether high in the sky overlooking a city or adjacent to a tropical ocean, there are so many ways to do ‘pool’ nowadays. So, what do you need to elevate your lounging? Those books that have sat by your bedside for months (if not years). Noise-cancelling headphones and a series of podcasts. Perhaps a cocktail if you’re in the mood. A solid SPF, by contrast, is non-negotiable – nothing ruins an OOO glow like the tinge of lobster.
When relaxing poolside, embody off-duty sophistication courtesy of Vilebrequin. Founded in Saint-Tropez in the 1970s – its society heyday – the brand delivers warm-weather staples infused with the era’s saturated colours and carefree charm. But don’t let that fool you. When it comes to craft, Vilebrequin is exacting. Its signature Moorea swim shorts demand 32 steps, many of which are executed by hand. A matching set (pictured) is cut from naturally breathable linen, and takes the effort out of pulling together a look thanks to its co-ord print. Ideal when out-of-office.
Where to Go
Abercrombie & Kent recommends — Unwind in two of the finest island-resorts in The Maldives – Milaidhoo and The Nautilus – enjoying gourmet restaurants, unspoiled tropical beaches and more. 10-night tailor-made trip from £9,447 per person.
Budding sommeliers and curious beginners alike can find equal enjoyment on a wine-tasting tour – and some of the best grape destinations are in peak season from November to March. South Africa has been hailed among the world’s most exciting wine producers, and according to The Wine Society, it’s the region that gets the most recommendations. Look out for Cap Classique, a world-class sparkling wine made just the same way as Champagne; in the meantime, train your palate to the region’s flavours with The Sadie Family wines that hail from Swartland in the Western Cape.
What to Wear
When it comes to dressing for the vineyards, it’s wise to consider what you would wear to a sophisticated bar or restaurant. A matching linen jacket and trousers, like these (pictured) from Lardini or Zegna, are effortlessly smart and easy to style: we’d recommend a tee or a knitted polo shirt as alternatives to more restrictive tailoring. As for the finishing touches? A contrasting belt will give your outfit some textural interest, while a soft suede loafer – like Santoni’s Detroit – has a comfort sole like a sneaker. That’s all there is to it.
Where to Go
Abercrombie & Kent recommends — Tour world-class South Africa vineyards; sample Sauvignon Blanc in Constantia before heading to the Paarl mountains for Chardonnay. 12-night tailor-made trip from £9,800 per person.
Picture it: millions of wildebeest thundering across Kenya’s Masai Mara; a flock of flamingos crossing the sky like a vast cloud; and a languid leopard feeding her cubs. These are just some of the wonders you may encounter on safari. A typical day starts at dawn – the busiest time in the bush as the temperature is cool. Then lunch, served either out in the wild or back at the comfort of your lodge. Beat the heat of mid-afternoon with some downtime – pampering or community visits. By early evening the action begins anew.
Search the words ‘safari’ and ‘style’ and you’ll likely arrive at Yves Saint Laurent. The designer debuted a safari jacket in 1968 (intended for Paris rather than the plains) and wore the look suavely himself. Beretta delivers a similar aesthetic – ticking the box for a lightweight layer to keep you warm in the mornings and evenings. A sun hat is obligatory as are linen shirts, cargo shorts and drawstring trousers, best advised in neutral earthy tones. Luggage should weigh no more than 15kg, the allowance on small bush planes.
Where to Go
Abercrombie & Kent recommends — A bespoke Kenya tour guarantees an exciting safari experience, whisking you off to the Masai Mara plains on foot or by helicopter. 11-night tailor-made trip from £6,995 per person.
There’s never been a better time to visit Miami. The economy is booming – mainly thanks to tech – fuelling thriving restaurants, a world-class art scene, and the city’s notorious nightlife. The hotspots to know? LIV at Fontainebleau, a 22,000 square-foot venue in Mid-Beach, and E11EVEN, the highest-grossing nightclub per square foot on the planet. While these two dominate, the party has now also moved to the Wynwood arts district and Downtown, where you’ll find intimate bars and restaurant-clubs to enjoy until morning.
What to Wear
Fashion’s most famous tie with Miami? That would be Gianni Versace, who lived in his South Beach mansion for most of the 1990s. Daring, bold and unashamedly loud, the brand’s latest collection is perfect for the city: think an ornate pair of swim shorts or a vibrant logo tee. Elsewhere, a printed shirt like those by Marni and Casablanca strike just the right note, and will always work well with some statement sunglasses courtesy of Jacques Marie Mage or TOM FORD – which hold their own among the crowds and booming bass.
Where to Go
Abercrombie & Kent recommends — From Los Angeles to Las Vegas, New York City and Miami, city-hop through some of the best sightseeing opportunities in the world. 14-night tailor-made trip from £23,295 per person.