Get away now, while duty calls

As the cold weather sets in you may be dreaming of sunshine.


Phuket, Thailand
Island life

Why go:
Phuket is Thailand's largest island and its curvy coastline of white sands, leaning palms and clear waters is traditionally the most popular. Beyond its pearly white chain of soft-sand beaches strung between the craggy rocks and jutting peninsulas are jungles such as Khoa Sok National Park with its elephants, lazy rivers and treehouse lodgings. Then there are the temples and vibrant towns with tuk tuks and colourful markets.

Stay:
The Sarojin, Kao Lak is a stunning beachfront boutique resort north of Phuket, looking out over the Andaman Sea. It is just steps away from a stretch of beach that has a clear lagoon on one side and the sea on the other, ideal for watersports.

Book:
Ten nights for the price of five in a standard room including breakfast costs from £1,457 per person. The price is based on two people sharing and includes flights and private airport transfers. Valid until October 31 2014. Tel: 0207 838 5892, www.wexas.com

Tenerife
Hills & Lunar Landscapes

Why go:
Tenerife, one of the largest of the seven Canary Islands, has year round sun and an impressive mountainous landscape. When naturalist Alexander von Humboldt climbed Mount Teide, the highest peak in Spain, he said: "I have never beheld a prospect more varied, more attractive, more harmonious in the distribution of the masses of verdure and rocks, than the western coast of Tenerife." Teide National Park has been named a Starlight Tourist Destination, which means low pollution and a pristine night-sky superb for star-gazing.

Stay:
Barceló Varadero next to the Playa de la Arena and the cliffs of Los Gigantes. you get panoramic views of La Gomera and Teide, three swimming pools, tennis courts, a spa and gym.

Book:
Rates from £34 per person per night. Fly with Ryanair, Monarch and easyJet from £85 return. Tel: 0800 4 227 23 56, www.barcelo.com

New Zealand
An epic road trip

Why go:
The second Hobbit movie premiered in LA a couple of weeks ago so all eyes are on New Zealand. Grabbing the opportunity, the tourist board has highlighted four new locations from the film and organised tours around them. New adventure activities are available, such as packrafting, Christchurch bike tour and zip lining.

Stay:
Bear in mind that this is a vast land and the best way to get around is by campervan. Before you baulk at the idea of making a campervan your home, remember this: two people can comfortably stand and sit in one and it comes with kitchenette with a sink, microwave and fold-out beds for two people.

Book:
10 days Britz campervan rental including flights with China Airlines from London Heathrow to Auckland costs from £999 per person. Book by March 31 for departure in May. Tel 0845 543 6615, www.travelbag.co.uk

Maldives
Dive into quiet relaxation

Why go:
For some, it's the diving opportunities in the coral atolls, for others it's the beaches and quiet relaxation. There are no hawkers and no agriculture to speak of on these islands in the Indian Ocean, and the only sounds are the waves of sea and the ruffling palms. Life is as simple as sun, sand and a dip or a snorkel in lagoons of warm water should the mood take you.

Stay:
Olhuveli Beach and Spa resort on the tip of South Malé Atoll has restaurants and bars, two infinity pools, a floodlit tennis court, volleyball and watersports and a beach bicycle service for drinks and snacks.

Book:
Rates are from £1,599 per person for departures in January and include flights from London with SriLankan Airlines, accommodation in a deluxe room on a half-board basis, speedboat transfers, taxes and surcharges. Tel: 020 7666 1212, www.westernoriental.com

Praslin, Seychelles
Picture perfect

Why go:
This tiny island (15 square miles/38sq km) is one of 115 that make up the Seychelles archipelago. It's beauty is legendary and was captured in the film, Pirates of the Caribbean. It is the only place on earth (other than the neighbouring island of Curieuse) where the Coco de Mer palms - whose feminine shaped nuts are blushworthy - grow naturally.

Stay:
Raffles Praslin, villas overlook the sea with a spa on the beach edge. Villas have a pool and there's a rooftop bar for a sunset cocktail before dining at La Curieuse Restaurant.

Book:
Six nights B&B from £2,149 per person based on two sharing a Bayview pool villa - a saving of over £500 per couple for stays between February 16 to March 20. Includes economy flights with Etihad Airways from London Heathrow, inter-island flights in Seychelles and private car transfers. Tel: 020 8840 0969, www. JustSeychelles.com

    Last updated: 6:27pm, January 17 2014