SIX OF THE BEST HOT HOLIDAY DESTINATIONS
For hot holiday destinations, look no further. Planning a trip to sunnier climes when it’s cold, wet and windy outside is just the tonic we need sometimes. So let us inspire you with some of our research, tips and experiences. These are some of my favourite beach resorts.
One of my favourite places for a beach holiday is Naples in Florida. It’s a very up-market area with some fabulous shops but for me there is nothing nicer than an early morning stroll along the pier. The pier can be found on 12th Avenue South but there are lots of avenues up close to it where you can gain access and there’s also free parking available if you get there early enough. For anyone who enjoys birdwatching or spotting dolphins, this place is a must. I’ve spent many an hour watching the fishermen grappling with pelicans to keep their catch. It’s better than watching any show. I’ve even seen an eagle land there, which was an awesome sight. There are some great restaurants close by for when you’ve had enough sun. Tommy Bahama’s is always worth a visit. My favourite place to eat for lunch is Brambles tea room, quintessentially English with a few US staples thrown in. Try the poached salmon salad, the dressing is to die for. The piece de resistance for your trip is definitely the sunset if you can stay around the beach area long enough and I’d recommend the Sunset Beach Bar and grill at the Naples Beach hotel and Golf club on a Sunday evening both for the view, the atmosphere and music and just people watching.
Make sure you take more money than you would for other beach resorts in Florida, it’s certainly more expensive
Koh Samui, Thailand
Koh Samui is a wonderful place to stay if you don’t mind back packers. We arrived by boat and were the only people with suitcases. The taxi driver found us somewhere to stay but everywhere was very cheap and value for money. Koh Samui is only a small island so it doesn’t take long to drive around it. We hired a taxi and the driver was really helpful and informative. I stayed near Maenam beach which is a lot quieter than Chaweng. This is the place to go for an eclectic mix of hippies, buddhist monks and ladyboys. It’s also where you’ll see Tesco and temples hand in hand. The Big Buddha at Wat Phra Ya is the most famous attraction. For a great place to chill, I’d recommend the Relax Sunset bar and restaurant. Oh,
and a boat trip to one of the neighbouring islands such as Koh Phi Phi is a must. This place has a diversity like no other. Where else can you find monkeys trained to pick the coconuts off the trees at the coconut plantations.
One word of warning, not all the monks are to be trusted. We were ripped off by one who took us on a trip and charged us £60 for something we could have done ourselves for under £1 and he had the cheek to ask us for extra for beer money!
Jolly Harbour, Antigua
Antigua’s claim to fame is that it has a different beach for every day of the year so it is quite easy to find a nice secluded one with it’s beautiful white sand and aqua coloured waters. It’s a great place for water sports. We hired a car to tour round and were concerned when we were flagged down by two policemen. To our surprise, they only wanted a lift to the next town! The roads aren’t the best, the road signs are poor. Often you just stumble on where you are planning to get to by accident. I’ve realised that getting lost is now part of the holiday experience and not something to get stressed over. A visit to the English harbour is a must for the views.
We stayed at the Jolly Beach resort which offers all inclusive and is excellent value for money. Experienced a great lobster curry just up the beach from here.
When you get off the plane, be prepared for a long wait. They’re not the most efficient of staff in customs and woe betide you if you cross the white line – they won’t be amused. Also, be careful when you travel. We went in September which was hurricane season and it’s a bit scary when you keep getting all the warnings to screw down your crockery etc as one is on the way. As it turned out, the one we experienced changed into a tropical storm where the rain was still pretty heavy for two days but in that time I learnt a lot about American trivia from playing their version of monopoly and trivial pursuits.
Olu Deniz, Turkey
If it’s cheap all inclusive holidays Turkey that you like then this takes some beating. I was pleasantly surprised by my first visit to Turkey. There’s some beautiful scenery and lots of culture to take in. There’s a lovely secluded bay here that can be forgiven for having a pebble beach. Apparently, it’s regarded as one of the best places in the world to go paragliding because of the panoramic views but I don’t have first hand experience of that. Olu Deniz is famous for it’s Blue Lagoon National Park. You might want to indulge in a traditional Turkish bath while you’re here. I personally prefer them to saunas. There are some great restaurants along the promenade. Great place for shopping for leather if you can steer away from the cheap designer imitations. All in all this is a great value for money resort and if you go all inclusive will make even more savings.
Turkey is one of those places where you need a thick skin to deal with the pests – and I don’t mean the insects. The men can be very persistent, especially when dealing with women, both in trying to sell you goods and trying to get you into their restaurants. They’re friendly alright but can be overly so and ladies, they have a reputation for being love rats, so you have been warned. Also, watch when you travel. The season ends in October and they start closing up the shops and even stop stocking up their restaurants with food whilst tourists are still there, so if travelling in October, buy any souvenirs at the start of your holiday.
Port de San Miquel, Ibiza
For a long time I was put off going to Ibiza because I’m not a clubber and am not interested in that type of holiday. Eventually, having an open mind and a persuasive friend, I eventually succumbed to check out this value for money beautiful island and it is a lovely place, that’s if you shut your eyes when travelling through San Antonio. We stayed in San Miquel which is a lovely quiet resort in the North of the island. There are a few shops there, bars and restaurants with a sheltered beach, nestled in a cove surrounded by pine covered cliffs. It’s a great place for watersports and it’s quite easy to explore the rest of the island whether you hire a car or travel by bus. One eating place I’d like to give a mention to is La Luna nell’ Orto, we stumbled across it one day and it was absolutely charming. With it’s outside eating area, friendly staff and good food, it’s quirky style make for a memorable experience. While you’re exploring, I’d also recommend the hippy market on a Wednesday in Es Cana. It’s big and full of bargains.
To be honest, there weren’t many. There is a good time to be had in Ibiza even if you’re not going clubbing. The plane may be full of 18 -30 year olds but if you’re slightly more mature than that or a family, don’t be put off by that. There are some lovely quaint villages in Ibiza and it’s well worth a visit
For me this place is up where with the best of them. For me this place is as near perfect as you can get. You can even get Premier League football matches shown live in some of the bars which I wasn’t expecting. I enjoyed the trip to Chichen Itza but then I always like to combine a bit of culture with my beach holiday. There is also great shopping for the ladies. They cater very much for American tourists who don’t take any nonsense so inevitably service is of a high standard. We stayed in the Riu all inclusive and were upgraded to a suite for no reason other than maybe the manager took pity on our white skin! What a fantastic complex, all inclusive with some great restaurants on site and you even had optics in your room to pour your drinks from. Each evening when coming in from the beach we were greeted with a different towel designs from flowers, to swans , to frogs. I really enjoyed trying to guess what might be next.
One of my bugbears on a lot of hotels abroad is that many of them don’t provide tea and coffee making facilities in the rooms. I am a great traditionalist when it comes to tea drinking and being British really enjoy my English breakfast tea. So although the vodka and whisky may be in abundance, I have to take my own kettle and teabags to ensure I have my creature comforts