As we enter the first stages of the government’s easing of lockdown, and with positive news surrounding the vaccine, it means luxurious international travel is finally back on the horizon. But where are the safest places to venture to this year?
From private islands in the Caribbean to a hotel built into the ancient Cappadocian caves, we round-up the safest destinations tipped for post-lockdown escapes and the best places to stay.
With Greece rapidly rolling out their vaccination programme and in talks with the UK to offer ‘vaccine passports’, whereby travellers will be able to travel without quarantine requirements, Greece is set to be one of the most popular countries for UK travellers to escape to this year.
This May, Rhodes will welcome the highly anticipated Lindos Grand Resort and Spa – an adults-only hideaway boasting 189 sleek, ultra-modern rooms with spectacular sea or garden views and the majority with private swim-up pools. Located in the tranquil cove of Vlycha Bay, Lindos Grand will be home to the Evridiki Spa offering all-natural treatments, as well as an array of fine dining options serving both traditional Greek and international cuisine, prioritising fresh and locally sourced ingredients. Rooms will operate through a sleek smartphone system and all guests will have access to the Lindos Hotels guest app, allowing them to book spa treatments, restaurant reservations and excursions at the click of a button. Room rates start from £200 per night, find out more at lindosgrand.com.
Over on Crete, CAYO Exclusive Resort and Spa will open its doors in April for its first full season. Situated a stone’s throw from sought-after Elounda Bay, in the quieter village of Plaka, CAYO offers unparalleled access to the island’s tapestry of beaches, historic treasures and hilltop villages. With four gastronomic restaurants, mind-body balancing spa and unrivalled vitas of Spinalonga, CAYO is Crete’s most stylish new hotel. Each luxury suite and villa houses its own private plunge pool and sun-soaked terrace, as well as a sleek, modern design, conceptualised by Gian Paulo Venier. Rooms at CAYO start from £300 per night, find out more at cayoresort.com.
Vaccination rates have accelerated in Turkey since mid-January, and the country is amongst the most popular destinations currently being booked for summer 2021, following the speculation that it will be of the key Mediterranean destinations UK travellers will be allowed to visit from the 17th of May.
Cappadocia is set in the heart of central Turkey and is one of the world’s most magical destinations known for its surreal landscape of fairy chimneys and honeycombed hills. Nestled on the hilltop village of Uçhisar, the five-star Argos in Cappadocia hotel is set within a 2,000-year-old network of ancient ruins, caves and underground tunnels. Framed by striking canyons and mountains, suites at Argos in Cappadocia are spread through seven revived mansions, boasting rustic chic interiors combining traditional Turkish crafts and modern furniture. The hotel is home to Cappadocia’s largest underground wine cellar as well as the organic SEKI Restaurant, a therapy room and an outdoor infinity pool.
For a bucket-list experience, guests can head on a sunrise hot air balloon journey over Anatolian valleys scattered with archetypal pigeon houses, the region’s most beautiful vineyards and the peak of Mount Erciyes, or explore this UNESCO World Heritage Site destination by cycling, hiking or horse-riding through undiscovered paths and gardens, inaccessible by vehicles. Rooms at Argos in Cappadocia start from £203 per night, find out more at argosincappadocia.com.
With Croatia eager to welcome back tourists in 2021 and expecting tourist numbers to rise from May onwards in the second quarter, as well as aiming to vaccinate 50 per cent of the adult population by summer, Croatia is likely to become a popular destination for UK travellers. Those looking to avoid tourist traps can head to the hidden gem of Šibenik – Croatia’s oldest city rich in history and natural beauty.
Located in a premium location on the glamorous yacht marina, D-Resort Šibenik is a five-star haven where the interior design seamlessly blends into the exterior Mediterranean landscape. As well as the state-of-the-art D-Spa and D-Gym, three á la carte restaurants and bars, an infinity pool overlooking the marina, Kids Club and even a rooftop running track amongst stylish rooms, suites and villas, the real highlight of D-Resort Šibenik are the guided and private motor yacht trips.
Guests can take a trip to National Park Kornati with 140 uninhabited islands, numerous coves and underwater cliffs perfect for diving, before stopping to explore the quiet charm of Prvić Island. There’s also the option for a day trip to the breath-taking 4.4km St Anthony Channel with the famed Fortress of St Nicolas before a stopover in Zlarin – a small island known for its unrivalled hours of sunshine and unspoilt beauty with olive trees, pebbled beaches and unique red corals. Rooms at D-Resort Sibenik start from £104 per night, find out more at dresortsibenik.com.
Italy is pipped to be open for tourism by the summer season, as domestic demand rises and vaccinated Brits drive bookings from abroad. Most importantly, Italy also offers British travellers free Covid testing on arrival.
Hidden amongst the rolling hills of Tuscany, COMO Castello Del Nero takes the form of a lovingly restored, twelfth-century castle set within a historic, 740-acre estate. Guests can hike or cycle forests and olive groves, walk by glistening lakes and towering vistas of vineyards – this entire 740-acres is free to roam. Foodie travellers can embark on Tuscan truffle hunting, learn to cook Italian specialities in bespoke cooking classes and feast on traditional dishes in Michelin-starred, La Torre.
After a day exploring the estate, escape to the COMO Shambhala Retreat, the newly refurbished holistic hideout. New for 2021, two couples’ treatment rooms will offer signature COMO Shambhala treatments overlooking the Tuscan hills, alongside new Yoga and Pilates studios. Thermal pools and meditation sessions complement the holistic spa menu, brimming with Asian-inspired Shambhala and Guinot treatments. Rooms at COMO Castello Del Nero start from £545, find out more at comohotels.com.
With Spain working on a vaccine passport, and the UK’s vaccination rollout being on schedule, it seems like Brits will be at the highest end of Ibiza’s desirability scale this summer. And vice versa, since The Sunday Times reported that the Balearics will be among the six most likely destinations for post lockdown travel.
As the island’s most stylish and chilled-out escape, there is no better place to spend post-lockdown Ibizan days and nights than Amàre Beach Hotel Ibiza, which will open on the 30th of April for its first full season. This grown-up paradise is beautifully located in front of the Bou Cove and houses the Belvue Rooftop Bar and infinity swimming pool, from which guests can enjoy views of the famous Ibizan sunset. And while the sea breeze and sun caresses, DJ mixes and at the push of a button, ice-cold cocktails and mouth-watering tapas are served on demand.
The pop-up rooftop restaurant, Hayaca Terrace, takes guests on a gourmet journey to South America; curated by Michelin-star chef Mauricio Giovanini, Hayaca will serve the most iconic local dishes, such as Peruvian Ceviche and Colombian style chipá. Rooms at Amàre Beach Hotel Ibiza start from £90 in a double room, find out more at amarehotels.com.
When exploring the island, travellers should head to Aiyanna Ibiza, a beach restaurant perfectly positioned on the Calo Nova bay with panoramic sea views. Feast on fresh-from-the-ocean seafood and creative cocktails, as the sun sets over the Mediterranean, find out more at aiyannaibiza.com.
None of the Caribbean nations are on the UK government’s ‘red list’ and the vast majority are open to British tourists. With low infection rates and exclusive private island resorts, Turks and Caicos are a safe bet for UK travellers.
Privacy is priority at the award-winning Turks and Caicos resort, COMO Parrot Cay. Whether a couple, family or group of friends reconnecting after months apart, guests can choose from spacious ocean facing rooms, lavish beach villas and prime private residences. Each villa and residence houses a private decking area, alfresco lounge and plunge pool, bordered by verdant jungle and on its own swathe of sugar-white sand – this is the pinnacle of Caribbean luxury. Guests now also benefit from on-site Covid-19 testing to ensure a safe and seamless experience.
Get your island bearings on a cruiser bike and explore shady pathways through swatches of tropical forest, coconut and banana palms, before taking your adventure to the waves and exploring the winding mangroves on a stand-up paddleboard, joining a seasoned guide through narrow channels on the lookout for eagle rays, green turtles and schools of fish. Back on dry land, head to the island’s world-class wellbeing sanctuary, COMO Shambhala Retreat. Perfect Pranayama in an open-air pavilion with sweeping ocean views, discover the benefits of guided meditation or indulge in an Asian-inspired treatment, from Ayurveda to aromatherapy. Rooms start from £690 per night, find out more at comohotels.com.