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Replenish and recharge with these iconic winter getaways

When planning your next winter getaway, consider an iconic resort in a location where year-round warm weather provides a perfectly alluring mix. | By Paul Oswell | October 4, 2022

There’s nothing like jetting off to winter sunshine once the weather at home starts to get cold and gray. If you head for the right destination, you can soak up the sun by blue ocean waves, hike along sun-flecked nature trails and eat alfresco even in the depths of December. Here are some lavish escapes to some of the world’s most comfortable climates, with awe-inspiring resorts that will make you want to extend your stay.

  • Colorful California: Enjoy the fruits of your labor with oceanside dinners and beautiful beaches

  • Dashing Dubai: Head out onto the serene blue waters of the Arabian Peninsula or enjoy the endorphins after a morning desert safari

  • Mellow Maldives: Snorkel the shallows or just walk along snow-white sands for an energy boost in this amazing archipelago

Couple sitting at table
Embrace the California climate by dining outdoors year-round at Waldorf Monarch Beach – no jacket required.

Orange County, California

The Californian climate is famed for being welcoming all year round. As the wintery cold fronts begin to make inroads around the rest of the United States, in Orange County, you can still rent a convertible, put the top down and cruise those coastal roads in style.

This idyllic stretch of the Pacific Coast Highway is known as the Californian Riviera, and you’ll find scenic, yacht-filled harbors and thriving artistic communities that have remained practically unchanged for decades. Watch the sun set over historical Huntington City Beach or surround yourself with nature as you hike along the trails at Laguna Coast Wilderness Park.

The Golden State has a wealth of fresh produce and healthy ingredients that make their way into local kitchens, and you can dine alfresco no matter the time of year. Take in the clean ocean air from the patio at AVEO Table & Bar, one of the signature restaurants at Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach Resort & Club. The resort pays homage to every aspect of the sun-drenched California lifestyle. Set on a verdant hillside along the coast of Dana Point, with panoramic views of the sparkling Pacific Ocean, coastal chic doesn’t get more elegant.

Continue your rejuvenating getaway with serene views around the fire pit from your private patio or take the hotel’s tram through the seaside bluffs to the exclusive Monarch Bay Beach Club for a relaxing sunset dinner. Your personal concierge is on hand to elevate your experience — whether it’s by arranging a relaxing treatment at the spa, a round of golf at the oceanfront golf course or an outing to experience one of the many coastal activities on offer in the area.

Spa Entrance with Seating
Trade your cold, snowy background for warm shades of ivory at Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah.

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Dubai is one of the world’s most dynamic destinations, exuding opulence and glamour, with year-round hotspots attracting sunseekers from all over the world. Winter here, which lasts approximately from October to April, is the most pleasant time to visit, and lends itself to reinvigorating outdoor activities.

Most of the city is built along the coast, and there are plenty of options if you want to enjoy the strikingly blue waters. The ultimate leisure activity is probably sipping Champagne on a yacht, but the weather also provides a beautiful backdrop for private sailing or windsurfing sessions. Winter is the best season for heading out into the nearby desert, riding through the dunes on your way to a sumptuous evening banquet. If you’re more of an active morning person, kick-start those endorphins with a safari that includes quad biking or a camel ride.

Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah is surrounded by the ocean, situated on the Palm Jumeirah, which juts out into the gleaming Arabian Peninsula. Set away from the bustle of the city, it’s a tranquil escape with a private beach and a temperature-controlled lagoon pool. Upon arrival, allow your personal concierge to deliver the perfect pillow from the Pillow Menu or arrange a private lesson with a highly trained coach on the property’s tennis court.

Traveling with children? Young ones can explore origami, arts and crafts, mini-Olympics and more at the supervised Coco’s Kids Club. Stress will melt away in the white-walled sanctuary of the Waldorf Astoria Spa, where treatments like hydrotherapy and a pearl-purifying hammam await to re-energize you.

If great food is your go-to, then how about a dining experience designed by a world-renowned, three-star Michelin chef? The beef tenderloin with white Alba truffle at Social by Heinz Beck is sure to be a meal to remember.

Kayak in the Ocean
From kayaking to guided tours, your personal concierge at Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi can organize everything for the ultimate island excursion.

South Male Atoll, Maldives

Far out in the serenity of the Indian Ocean, the Maldives are a remote string of nearly 1,200 islands. Each island is the picture of tropical beauty, with white sand beaches fringed with green palms and surrounded by some of the clearest blue waters you’ll find anywhere in the world. Winter is essentially an alien concept here, and from November to April, the skies are cloudless with temperatures barely deviating from 86 degrees Farenheit (30 degrees Celsius).

Escapism is the name of the game here. Visitors are a world away from city strains, in a place where they can get off the grid and completely recharge. The shallow lagoons around the islands are ideal for snorkeling and kayaking, and besides walking along the soft sands, that’s about as energetic as most guests care to be.

Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi is a fantasy destination, with exquisite, secluded beaches, private pools and overwater luxury villas that create a heavenly sanctuary. This setting provides the perfect backdrop for memory-making — made even easier by your personal concierge, who can arrange a photo session with one of the resort’s on-property photographers.

There’s no shortage (11 to be exact) of culinary offerings to explore, including an option to dine among the treetops in one of seven private bamboo nests. Relaxation the order of the day? Choose from a wealth of treatments at the spa and wellness refuge — overseen by the Maldives’ first-ever Wellness Concierge service.

One thing is for certain: Choose one of these iconic properties for your next winter getaway and you’ll experience a carefree vacation that will stay with you for many winters to come.

Paul Oswell is a British award-winning journalist and published travel author based in New Orleans, Louisiana in the United States. His books include Bucket List North America and The Great American Road Trip, as well as New Orleans' Historic Hotels. He has also been an editor of and contributor to several guide books/editions published by Dorling Kindersley (owned by Penguin), including New Orleans, Florida, Orlando, Los Angeles, California and The United States. His work has appeared in Conde Nast Traveler, Travel & Leisure (both of which he has written multiple online travel guides for) and The Guardian, as well as dozens of international newspaper and magazine titles, and inflight magazines for major airlines.

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