The wintertime blues are on the way. When the time comes, here are some beach resorts to put on your short list.
1. Outrigger Konotta Maldives Resort
If you’re serious about your R&R, make your way to Outrigger Konotta Maldives Resort, a luxe hideaway that opened in August. You’ll be picked up in a private yacht and shuttled to Gaafu Dhaalu Atoll, where you’re likely to spot dolphins, mantas and sea turtles from your hotel room. With only 29 beach pool villas, 21 overwater pool villas and a palatial three-bedroom overwater presidential villa, you’ll feel like you own the place. For your water fix, go scuba diving (Best Dives Maldives treats guests like VIPs), parasailing or water-sledding on a SEABOB, a cross between a jet ski and a boogie board. If that’s not enough, you can snorkel to your heart’s content alongside the parrotfish and coral. In the evening, take a sunset cruise on a traditional dhoni boat and then nosh on local seafood at Blue Salt restaurant. Or opt for Nala Rah, the resort’s teppan-raw bar, where the chefs prepare sushi and sashimi rolls using the freshest ingredients from the sea. In the morning, soothe your muscles with a green tea scrub and Balinese massage at Navasana Spa. Save time for the hydroponic pool to continue your sloth-like state.
2. Hilton Moorea Lagoon Resort and Spa, French Polynesia
This stunning 5-star resort between two bays on Moorea, the heart-shaped “island of love,” is just a 25-minute ferry ride from Tahiti. Settle into your overwater bungalow (you can spot fish at all hours, thanks to the glass-bottom panel) and then it’s off to Motu Tapu, a private island where you can sit at a picnic table set in the water and dine on grilled lobster, shrimp, shark steak and tuna sashimi while the fish tickle your toes. Afterward, the coral reef, is just a few flipper kicks away. The hotel will arrange for you to swim with sharks and sting rays, if you so desire. In the evening, visit Toatea Creperie Bar, a popular joint that pumps out more than 100 crepes a night. There are traditional crepes plus a load of non-traditional ones filled with the catch of the day. Chef Gerard, who hails from Brittany, the birthplace of the crepe, has been whipping up these pancake-like dishes for nearly a decade. Keep your eyes down: The lights under the restaurant attract a constant flow of blacktip reef sharks. As the sun sets, the view of Moorea's peaks is stunning, and it's a dreamy spot for stargazing.
3. The Reefs Resort & Club, Bermuda
This family-owned resort is consistently named one of the best in the world. The classic cliffside retreat overlooks a cove and has sweeping ocean views. Plus, it’s on Bermuda’s South Shore, where the sand really is pink. For some island favorites, visit Art Mels Spicy Dicy restaurant, which may have the best fried fish sandwich on earth – fresh snapper flash-fried in soybean oil and served on raisin bread. Arrive hungry, because it’s stacked about 5 inches high. Pop over to Admiralty House Park, a prime picnic spot with panoramic views and craggy cliffs where you’ll likely be treated to a cliff-jumping show, an island tradition. When you’ve had enough sun, dip into Aqua Terra, a sea- and farm-to-table dining experience with its famed fish chowder and grilled rockfish.
4. The Mulia, Bali
There’s really no need to venture away from this swanky hotel. The beachside suites offer private butler service, plenty of space and an extensive room-service list; the turquoise waters off Nusa Dua Beach are gentle and perfect for swimming; there are three impressive pools on the property; and you can retire to a poolside cabana when you’re out of energy. If water sports are your thing, skim the water on a paddle board or kayak, then top it off with an aqua aerobics class. Come evening, dine at Table8, a signature Asian restaurant serving authentic Cantonese and Szechuan delicacies. Be sure to order the flower tea, and have your camera at hand. A kung fu tea master with a year of martial arts training will serve your tea ninja style, with one hand spinning the kettle while the other holds the 3-foot-long spout.
5. Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows, Hawaii
This upscale community of condo villa rentals on the coast of Kohala has a variety of activities to keep you busy. Stroll past ancient Hawaiian fish ponds and historic petroglyph fields on your way to Mauna Lani Spa. Lunch at the CanoeHouse, where Chef Allen Hess has developed a plantation-style menu focusing on fresh sustainable ingredients – 80 percent of the produce is locally grown. Play a round of golf or sail in the Pacific on a catamaran. Your comfy condo has a full kitchen, a washer/dryer and plenty of space, so it’s easy to feel at home. There’s even a butler service that delivers groceries right to your door.