January is often he most gloomy time of the year for us in the Northern Hemisphere, whilst our Aussie friends are living it up in the sun, we are experiencing cold days and long nights.
Where to go in January? In my opinion, there is no better time to escape, so below I have found some of the best places to visit this winter.
Perfect for some winter sun, January is one of the best months to visit the beautiful island of St Lucia. The island offers far more than sandy beaches, it boasts stunning hotels, forested mountains, beautiful bays and of course the iconic Pitons. The island benefits from lower humidity and a cooling breeze during the months of January and February meaning you can explore the island and enjoy the sun, all without breaking into too much of a sweat.
Where to stay
Sugar Beach Viceroy Hotel
If you really want to splash out, the Viceroy Sugar Beach is one of the highest reviewed hotels on the island, and it comes with incredible views of the Pitons. This luxurious haven makes the most of the island’s natural beauty, allowing the travelling to enjoy a beautiful, white sandy beach, turquoise sea and all the greenery that makes this island one of the most attractive.
Guests are assigned a butler at check in so never have to be without. Tropical walkways snake through the resort of whitewashed villas, some with their own private pools. Dinner can be taken al fresco on the beach, snorkelling is possible straight from the shoreline, and it is family friendly too whilst maintaining all the romance of a tropical getaway.
Crystals St Lucia
You don’t have to pay thousands of pounds a night to enjoy incredible views of the Pitons. Crystals St Lucia is a more affordable accommodation option that makes the most of the island’s stunning views and verdant landscapes thanks to its treehouses, unique cottages and villas.
Antigua is close to St Lucia, meaning you will benefit from the same balmy temperatures and 7-8 hours of sunshine. However, if its just a beach you’re looking for, Antigua has one for ever day of the year! Each Caribbean island is different and Antigua is the ultimate spot to relax under the January sunshine.
Where to stay
A rustic adults only hotel that spreads along a long sandy beach, Galley Bay is authentically Caribbean. The hotel is 5* in service, setting and experience, the rooms may not have all the bells and whistles of some ultra luxurious resorts but they aren’t needed, everything about this place is perfect.
Coco Bay Resort
Perfect for a cocktail but also a great place to stay! Coco Bay is a romantic, all-inclusive adults only resort home to 65 individual cottages with private verandas and breathtaking sea views. the all-inclusive covers more than just food and drink, but stretches out to nature walks, yoga, fitness sessions and non-motorised water-sports.
As well as being a charming resort, basking in sunshine and lapped by the Caribbean Sea, guests can also participate in a plethora of wellness activities to help you relax and unwind.
Australia’s western coast is breathtaking and it is also Australia’s sunniest. With direct flights from London and a wealth of things to do, this corner of the world shouldn’t be overlooked. Western Australia is the largest state on the continent, covering a third of the entire country, there is so much to do you could fill multiple holidays. January is hot and sunny, making it a great time to take a dip in the Indian Ocean where you can explore beautiful coral reefs and panoramic beaches.
Where to stay
Berkeley River Lodge
How do I pick a hotel in such a large area? It was hard but I couldn’t not include the Berkeley River Lodge. Located in the Kimberly region of northern Western Australia, one of the last genuine wilderness areas on earth and where adventure meets luxury.
The lodge is only accessible by air but the journey is all part of the adventure, modern life is left behind as you immerse yourself in nature.
Empire Retreat and Spa
Nestled on one of the most beautiful coastlines in Australia, the Empire Retreat and Spa is an incredible location to switch off and unwind. With just 11 guest rooms, the retreat is unfussy but with a luxury finish, service is discrete and nature surrounds you (not to mention a delicious breakfast).
The Empire Retreat is located 3 hours south of Perth, close to the world-famous Margaret River wine region and the beautiful Yallingup coastline.
Despite its name, Iceland is not always covered by ice, however, if it’s a winter wonderland you’re looking for, you can enjoy it in abundance in January. January is one of Iceland’s darkest and coldest months, the sun is never out for long which means the roads are icy and dangerous, the landscape is mostly covered by a metre of snow.
However, this means there is a big lull in tourism, it is a rarity to see Iceland quiet these days, so January is the time to make the most of it, that’s if you happy for long nights and short days relaxing. As well as the lack of crowds, it’s also a great time to spot the Northern Lights and enjoy beautiful winter scenery.
Where to stay
The Retreat at Blue Lagoon
The Blue Lagoon is one of the most highly rated experiences in Iceland, but did you know you can actually stay there? AND you can take a dip into the water straight from your room too.
Guest rooms are modern, exclusive, and boast amazing views thanks to floor to ceiling windows.
Commonly listed as the best hotel in Iceland to see the Northern Lights, Hotel Ranga offers everything from adventure to relaxation, and all that sits in-between. The hotel focuses on classic Icelandic hospitality, gourmet dining and excellent personal service.
The hotel sits on the banks of the River Ranga, with honey coloured timber walls, comfy furnishings and offers easy access to some of the best sights and excursions on the island. The property is well known to be the best to see the Northern Lights and was the first hotel in the country to offer a Northern Lights wake up call so you can’t miss them!
Dubai is sunny all year round thanks to its position in the desert, but travelling in January is more comfortable to most than during spring, summer and autumn because the temperatures are more tolerable. Visiting in winter means travellers can experience the city properly, without having to constantly dash into shopping malls for the relief of air conditioning (trust me, I went in September!), it is also a great time to lay on the beach and enjoy the water parks without such a high risk of burning, but you still need to remember your SPF!
Where to stay
Jumeirah Zabeel Saray
Perfect to kick back and relax, but also within easy reaching distance to the city, the Jumeirah Zabeel Saray offers 5* luxury, service and surroundings to make the perfect beach holiday.
The hotel was inspired by an Ottoman Palace, offering an air of elegance and lavishness. It offers and award winning spa, a host of gourmet restaurants and a wide range of rooms, suites and residences. Guests also have access to other hotels in the Jumeirah portfolio, as well as free access to the Wild Wadi Waterpark which is great fun!
Al Maha, A Luxury Collection
Dubai is more than just skyscrapers, gourmet restaurants and shopping. Al Maha by Marriott is an exclusive, guest only oasis nestled amongst lush palm groves, emerald canopies and the iconic sand dunes of the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve.
Whilst it might look like there is nothing for miles around, guests can enjoy camel rides, archery, desert treks, desert safaris, horseback riding and even falconry. The hot afternoons are best spent in the swimming pool which looks out onto the majestic dunes and mountains.
Chiang Mai, Thailand
January are in Thailand brings some of the best weather and the best diving, the downside however is that it is peak season so hotels won’t be particularly cheap. However, if you are happy to experience the mountains rather than the beaches, the cooler temperatures that January brings in the northern region means the conditions are perfect for hiking in the mountains and trekking through the jungles, not to mention you can then enjoy a few days relaxing on a picture perfect beach at the end of it.
Where to stay
137 Pillars House
137 Pillars House Suites is one of the most popular addresses in Chiang Mai. Large terraces offer expansive daybeds and signature rattan rocking chairs, guest rooms feature high ceilings with super king size beds, en suite dressing rooms and views to the tropical gardens. Bathrooms offer separate indoor, outdoor garden showers alongside Victorian baths, creating a unique hospitality experience in the heart of the city.
137 Pillars was built in the 1800s as the headquarters of the Borneo Company Limited, the beautiful teak wood building has been carefully restored to maintain its character whilst offering a modern and welcoming place to stay for guests.
Four Seasons Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai is a beautiful city with incredible temples and markets, it is also home to some of the most beautiful countryside and wildlife areas in the country and this is where the Four Seasons comes in. The Four Seasons is nestled in breathtaking emerald green rice fields, offering a sanctuary of well-being and tranquility.
The Four Seasons Chiang Mai is a place to find yourself and inner peace. Guests are a stone’s throw from elephant sanctuaries and hill tribes, whilst only being 30 minutes from the city centre (and there is a shuttle service that will take you back and forth).
Cape Town and the Winelands
Whilst we may be shivering throughout January, South Africa is enjoying their summer holidays. A holiday here in January means you avoid the Christmas rush over December and can explore more at your own pace without too many crowds, whats even better is that there is barely a time difference, just two hours! So jetlag is no real issue here (as long as you manage a sleep on the plane that is).
Where to stay
This new boutique hotel is set at the foot of Table Mountain and offers just 8 beautifully designed guest rooms. High tea is served daily and is included alongside breakfast each morning, house beverages, WIFI, parking, a 24-hour butler service and dinner transfers within a 10km radius.
Its location means you are just 10 minutes from beautiful beaches, 5 minutes from the city centre and 15 minutes from the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront, the views over the city are exceptional too!
La Petite Ferme
La Petite Ferme is located in the beautiful Wineland town of Franschhoek, only an hour from Cape Town itself. La Petite Ferme offers award winning wine, food and accommodation, each guest room provides country-style luxury with spectacular views and the utmost comfort.
Guests can enjoy stunning walks through the Franschhoek Valley and through the Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve.
Who said all winter holidays have to be in the sun? some of us just want snow! Finland is a great place to visit if you want to see northern lights and January is one of the best months to see them. The aurora borealis can and do make an appearance all year round, but in winter the skies are darkest so you can see them when they are at their clearest and most colourful.
Where to stay
Arctic TreeHouse Hotel
Panoramic views of truly magnificent Arctic landscapes is what defines this breathtaking property. Located in the Arctic Circle the Arctic TreeHouse Hotel is 800km from the capital, Helsinki, and conveniently located close to Rovaniemi Airport, making short breaks possible.
A stay here is one that will be unforgetable, guests in winter step into an incredible snowfilled forest experience with panoramic windows to make the most of it. The property has been purposefully designed to minimise any sort of light pollution so views of the Northern Lights remain undisturbed.
After the rush of Christmas, I can’t imagine a better place to kick back and relax than a beautiful island in the Maldives. Surrounded by the Indian Ocean, January is one of the driest months so you know you are guaranteed sunshine. Lazy days mean relaxing, sleeping, sunbathing, and getting through all the books you meant to read the year before and never got around to…
Where to stay
Kanuhura Six Senses
Think laidback, bare-foot luxury and that’s exactly what Kanuhura provides. A total paradise, Kanuhura is small enough to feel like an intimate private island, but large enough that there are plenty of dining and accommodation options to stop you feeling like you have cabin fever.
Arrival onto the island is by seaplane from Male airport, the island even has its own private lounge in the seaplane terminal so you never run out of refreshments or air conditioning! Staff are extremely friendly and welcoming but also know exactly when to leave you alone. All inclusive is a must so you can enjoy cocktails on the beach without the concern of the cost, and there is plenty of food to choose from, from Asian fusion to Italian, and a buffet restaurant that serves different food each night.
If you’re looking for something small and romantic, and budget isn’t too much of a constraint, look no further than Kandolhu, the real desert island experience. This lush island is fringed by a wide sandy beach with a house reef full of colourful coral and beautiful sea life so guests can snorkel straight from the shore.
With just 30 villas, privacy is a well-deserved luxury here and the resort oozes exclusivity. The hardest choice here is which villa to stay in, do you want to wake up and walk out onto the beach? Or do you want to fall asleep to the sound of the ocean lapping up against your room?