Give me sunshine!
As the clocks go back this weekend and we all resign ourselves to the imminent arrival of winter, what better mental escape than to plan your real-life escape to the sunshine. We’ve picked five true winter sun destinations. Each is attractive not only for their year-round sunshine but also their world-class amenities and lifestyle. Each has a fine selection of luxury homes too…
A long-established winter sun destination, the Sunshine State even has a name for the droves of north Americans and Canadians who head there to escape the cold winter months – snowbirds. Across the State, 15 degrees C is typical during December and January, but it gets even warmer in the tropical south where places like Miami enjoy winter temperatures of 20ºC.
Central Florida, with its theme parks and world-class leisure amenities, has a large choice of luxury real estate, most being lakeside or next to a pristine fairway. South of Orlando in the Kissimmee and Davenport areas are the golf resorts of Reunion, Championsgate and Providence, popular for their communities of Mediterranean-style villas within easy reach of Disney. Arguably, metropolitan Orlando’s most desirable neighbourhoods lie to the south-west of the city amongst the Butler Chain of Lakes. Especially exclusive communities lie in and around Windermere and include Isleworth, Bay Hill and Lake Butler.
For golfers who also like the beach, Naples towards the southern tip of Florida’s west coast is always a winner. Behind its long beachfront and charming town-centre, complete with boutique shops and five-star hotels, are dozens of country-club communities set amongst Naples’s 90-odd golf courses! No wonder it attracts celebrities who enjoy a round or two.
A go-to option for sun-seeking Europeans, Tenerife is the largest and most developed of Spain’s Canary Islands. Being geographically located in Africa means that typical winter temperatures range from 21ºC to 24ºC, with the south of the island getting more sunshine and being warmer. One of the island’s draws is the sea temperature – warm enough for swimming all year round. Little wonder the island is also known as ‘The Island of Eternal Spring’!
Despite being home to some of the liveliest night spots in the Canarian archipelago, Tenerife is also where you’ll find some of Spain’s most exclusive second-home communities. For the height of Canarian luxury, head to the Costa Adeje-Los Gigantes area in the island’s south-west corner, a spot that is attracting increasing numbers of celebrities. Especially desirable spots to own a villa, where stunning sea views are a given, include the resort of La Caleta, the Abama Resort, with its world-class golf and 5-star Ritz-Carlton resort amenities, or beside the fairway at Golf Costa Adeje.
Christmas in the Caribbean is the done thing in many showbiz circles and it’s easy to see why. The paradisiacal beaches, tropical scenery, endless rum punches and ridiculously laid-back vibe make it the ultimate switch-off destination, and with winter temperatures comfortably in the mid-20ºCs, its popularity is hardly surprising.
Choosing which island can be tricky – most have an offering of luxury property, some more than others. If you want maximum warmth though, stick to the southern islands, where winter temperatures linger in the high 20ºCs. Of these, Barbados is a favourite, with its glitzy west coast hot spots of Sandy Lane and Paynes Bay. The Royal Westmoreland is a landmark resort there, complete with 18-hole golf course, members-only Mullins Beach beach club and full range of five-start leisure amenities serving its 250 luxury residences.
Nearby St Lucia, with its tropical interior and iconic Piton peaks, is no less appealing, with a selection of estates tucked into its lush mountainsides and along it beachfront. There, the 100-acre Sugar Beach in Soufrière ranks among the finest resorts in the Caribbean. For waterfront luxury living, The Landings in Rodney Bay is a high class condo development, while the Cap Estate has properties for a wider range of budgets.
You don’t have to jump on long-haul flight for some sunshine in January. Cyprus is about as far east in the Med as you can go without being in the Middle East, making it a handy four-and-a-half hour flight away from London.
Coastal temperatures hover around a luxuriant 15-17ºC in December and January – it’s cooler inland, so stick close to the sea.
Many of Cyprus’s most desirable homes are located within a handful of world-class golf resorts in the Paphos area. These include Aphrodite Hills, Minthis Hills and Elea Estate. Away from the fairways, fashionable Limassol town is a hot spot for contemporary luxury properties as well as waterfront properties, including villas with private berths, within its its recent marina development. Over in the east, Ayia Napa’s new marina development, still under construction, is promoting some equally stunning sea-facing properties.
Too hot to be enjoyable in the summer months, the mercury in Dubai hovers in the mid 20sºC throughout the winter months, making it an ideal time to spend time is this luxury one-of-a-kind destination.
Suitable for those like to splash the cash and indulge in world-class shopping, cuisine and some of the the best man-made leisure and entertainment the world has to offer. The skyline is peppered with high-rise apartment developments, pointing at the extensive supply of properties there. But the real jewels of Dubai’s real estate market are the exclusive developments of luxury villas. The revered Palm Jumeirah, the world’s largest man-made island, comprised of a two-kilometre long trunk, a crown made up of 17 fronds and a surrounding crescent, is home to 4,000 residences but the jewel in its crown are its Signature Villas located along the fronds.
Equally dazzling are the villas at Emirates Hills, regarded as Dubai’s answer to America’s famous Beverley Hills. An ultra-exclusive neighbourhood of huge custom-designed villas, many properties enjoy views over Dubai’s famous 18-hole Montgomerie Championship Golf Course and lakes.
Another option expected to become one of Dubai’s most desirable residential areas is Dubai Creek Harbour, scheduled to be finished in 2021. A master-planned town with waterways between the buildings, it will include a new Creek Marina and yacht club, the iconic cable-tied Dubai Creek Tower – expected to be higher than Burj Khalifa, and a huge commercial area called Dubai Square, offering world class retail and leisure amenities.