Escaping for some winter sun can entail more than just lounging around on the beach. Charlotte Flach highlights a range of active options, from surfing to mountain cycling
While fly and flop remains a popular winter sun option, not everyone gets excited at the prospect of kicking back and reading a novel on the beach for a week. A range of resorts and operators offer active packages in hotter climes – meaning there is a sunny alternative to suit more sporty clients.
Club Med is one such operator, offering a number of long-haul active breaks in popular winter sun destinations, including the Maldives and Dominican Republic.
Claire Brunel, trade marketing project manager at Club Med, says: “A lot of our land and watersports are included in our resorts. Our most popular activities are watersports such as sailing, waterskiing and wakeboarding.”
Here, we round up a range of active winter sun options to suit clients’ interests.
For those who don’t fancy being a beach bum but still want to spend time in the sun, the five- star Paradis Plage Surf Yoga and Spa Resort in Agadir is a great option.
Morocco’s first-ever eco-resort has professional surf and yoga instructors on hand to push clients to the next level of skill.
“The coast of Agadir is renowned for its sandy beaches, year-round good weather and fantastic surf spots, in particular between September and April when the swells are at their peak,” says Costas Anastasi, product manager at Cyplon.
“The Paradis Plage is close to the surfer’s village of Taghazout – one of the most famous surfing spots in all of Morocco – where experienced and intermediate surfers alike can look forward to catching the waves along a coastline featuring well-known surf spots such as Anchor Point, Banana Point, Devil’s Rock and Dracula’s,” he adds.
BOOK IT: A seven-night stay at the Paradis Plage Surf Yoga and Spa Resort with Cyplon starts from £525pp. Based on two sharing a Junior Suite, B&B, with flights and private transfers, departing 5 December 2019.
The Maldives might appeal to clients who want to lounge on pristine beaches, but it also provides the perfect backdrop for an active holiday in paradise.
The Oblu by Helengeli resort has an exotic house reef just metres from the shoreline, with an abundance of marine life passing through on a daily basis including tropical fish, reef sharks and turtles. The divers’ paradise offers both half- and full-day dives, in addition to a night-time option.
Dominic Carrick, head of sales south at If Only, offers his insight into why the resort is a great spot for divers of all abilities. “The house reef has around 20 dive spots nearby, and you can enjoy some light snorkelling if you’re inexperienced, or visit the Padi Certified Dive School on the island if you want to explore further. Whatever your ability, there’s something to suit.”
BOOK IT: If Only offers a seven-night stay for £2,609pp based on two sharing including flights. All guests stay on the all-inclusive resort plan, including villa accommodation, speedboat transfers, all food and beverages, a number of excursions and unlimited snorkelling. Valid for 17 November 2019 departures.
Thrillseeking newlyweds should consider a stay at Cap Maison Resort in Saint Lucia, which introduced its “Adventuremoon” excursions at the end of last year, featuring a menu of hand-picked romantic activities for newlyweds including zip lining above the rainforest canopy and riding along a deserted beach on horseback.
One of these excursions visits the nearby Pitons, two volcanic “plugs” jutting out of the sea, which are a World Heritage Site. An early morning hike up Gros Piton, the larger of the two, culminates in a romantic view over the island, its rugged coastline and the town of Soufriere.
Liz Fay at the St Lucia Tourism Authority also recommends hiking up Signal Peak on Pigeon Island.
“This walk is nowhere near as tricky as Gros Piton. The views are stunning, as you get to see both seas and across the bay, and even Martinique on a clear day. No guide is needed and you just pay the small entrance fee to the park which goes towards the National Trust.”
BOOK IT: Kuoni offers seven nights’ B&B at Cap Maison in a Garden View Room including flights and transfers in-resort from £4,109 per couple based on two sharing. Price is based on selected departures in November 2019.
Majorca could have been custom-built for cycling, according to Gary Boyer, head of purchasing and product at Classic Collection. “The island’s central plain, Es Pla, provides easy riding between pretty country towns and stunning countryside. Those looking for a bigger challenge can pit themselves against the roads of the Tramuntana mountains.”
Clients can saddle up for a breathtaking cycling tour along the coast of Majorca to the 17th- century town of Pollenca and up to the highest points at Cap de Formentor with Zafiro Palace Hotel Alcudia. It has its own dedicated cycling station, bicycle storage, expert advice on the best cycling routes, bike tools and offers one maillot (cycling jersey) per cyclist. Bike hire is at an additional cost.
Open from February through to November, the hotel also has its own multisport court, fitness centre, volleyball pitches, aqua gym and golf putting green.
BOOK IT: Classic Collection Holidays offers seven nights at Zafiro Palace Alcudia from £726pp, based on two sharing a Junior Suite on a B&B basis, including flights and private transfers. Departs 9 November 2019.
Fitness enthusiasts can sign up for the new Fit package at the Fairmont Maldives Sirru Fen Fushi.
Complimentary workout wear is delivered to guests’ villas upon arrival, and the resort gym offers personal training and private workout classes. Guests can also take private tennis lessons with professionals on hand o ering training tips to help them perfect their serve.
The resort is a great destination for active families, says Amanda Springer, product manager at Abercrombie & Kent, adding that there are plenty of activities aside from the fitness programme.
“Families can embark on a sunset dolphin cruise, take part in a turtle conservation programme, dive in one of the largest developed coral lagoons in the Maldives and visit Utheemu Island, the historical and cultural capital of the Maldives.”
BOOK IT: Abercrombie & Kent offers seven nights at the Fairmont Maldives in a Beach Sunrise Villa on a half-board basis, including seaplane transfers and flights from £5,735pp, based on two sharing. Departure in November 2019.