Seven Sun Destinations for Your Next Winter Escape


These sun–soaked destinations have plenty to offer beyond the resorts, from diverse landscapes to cultural attractions, top–notch food scenes and more.

MARCO art gallery in Monterrey, Mexico
La Huasteca ecological park in Monterrery, Mexico
MARCO; La Huasteca ecological park (Photo: Brenda Alvarado)

Monterrey, Mexico

Nestled at the foothills of the Sierra Madre Oriental mountain range, Monterrey is an under–the–radar Mexican destination that’s gaining buzz for its noteworthy museums and impressive hiking trails in nature reserves.

Do: The city’s art scene has flourished with galleries, like the MARCO and the sleek Museum of Mexican History, which chronicles the country’s past with important artwork and artifacts.

Stay: The sleek Habita MTY hotel offers panoramic views of the cityscape and has a trendy rooftop pool – perfect for sunset lounging after a day of museum–hopping or hiking and rock climbing in nearby La Huasteca ecological park.

December 13, 2023
The sunlit lounge at Le Martin Boutique Hotel lobby
Sunlight streams over a table laid out with breakfast at Le Martin Boutique Hotel
Le Martin Boutique Hotel

Saint Martin

Following the widespread damage caused by Hurricane Irma in 2017 — much of the island’s infrastructure was completely destroyed — Saint Martin started to renovate and rebuild, including a bevy of all–new beachfront restaurants and boutique hotels that have popped up, making this island one worth discovering (or rediscovering).

Do: This Caribbean gem, split between French and Dutch territories, is all white–sand beaches and crystal clear waters. Its top–rated restaurants and late–night parties at spots like Lotus and Nowhere Special make it popular with the beach club set (it’s been called the Saint–Tropez of the Caribbean).

Stay: Le Martin Boutique Hotel is a stylish property with just six beautifully curated guest rooms. It’s just a short drive from Orient Bay Beach and its lively Coco Beach restaurant.

The sun setting over the pool at the Ritz-Carton, Aruba
Aerial view of the Natural Pools in Aruba
The Ritz–Carlton, Aruba; Natural pool (Photos: Aruba Tourism)


Aruba’s pristine beaches, friendly locals and seemingly omnipresent sunshine, make it a winter escape to remember. The island also has a thriving culinary and nightlife scene.

Do: Rent a car to seek out Aruba’s best natural pools, called “conchis,” nestled amid rocks on the shoreline. For a change of scenery, take a tour of the Royal Aruba Aloe Factory Museum to learn about the island’s 130+ year history of aloe cultivation (and pick up some quality after–sun).

Stay: The Ritz–Carlton, Aruba sources ingredients from local farmers and seafood purveyors for their five on–site restaurants, with menu offerings ranging from steak to sushi.

A picnic laid out on one of the beaches at Palm Island Resort & Spa in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Sailing at the edge of the Palm Island Resort & Spa in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Palm Island Resort & Spa (Photos: Palm Island Resort & Spa)

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

This chain of small islands is an unspoiled Caribbean paradise thanks to its lush rainforests, volcanic terrain, and slower pace of life. It’s an ideal spot for nature lovers and those seeking a laid–back, crowd–free escape.

Do: Experience the island nation’s sustainable agriculture by visiting local farms and producers, like Grenadine Wild Sea Salt, which offers tours and tastings of their solar–evaporated sea salt in a garden setting featuring a restored historic mill. Spend the day on the water off the south coast of Saint Vincent with a see–through kayak tour that includes a picnic lunch and rum punch.

Stay: Palm Island Resort & Spa in the Grenadines is an award–winning island hotel that calls itself “castaway chic” and is surrounded by five beaches, perfect for water activities ranging from kayaking, paddleboarding or sailing to snorkelling (sea turtle sightings are practically guaranteed).

A little girl running through a galaxy themed room at the Kennedy Space Center in Orlando
Orlando cityscape in the summer
Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex (Photo: Merritt Island); Orlando (Photo: Talia)

Orlando, Florida

Beyond its renowned theme parks, Orlando has a flourishing arts and culture scene, with new exhibit venues, award–winning eateries and immersive experiences.

Do: Book tickets to a concert or theatre show at Fringe ArtSpace in downtown Orlando, or head to the Deep Space Launch Complex at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex to experience a simulated journey through space on a NASA spacecraft. Gourmands should reserve well ahead to snag a table at Michelin–starred Kadence (set–menu Japanese) or Knife & Spoon steakhouse. 

Stay: Tucked away behind a 500–acre nature preserve, the new Conrad Orlando is a peaceful haven of sparkling pools and its own tropical beach and crystalline lagoon (both with their own private cabanas). There’s also an on–site spa, fitness centre, golf course and five restaurants. Theme parks are easily accessible: Walt Disney World® Resort is less than five kilometres away, and there’s hotel shuttle service to get you there and back.

The lush exterior of Sanctuary Camelback Mountain in Scottsdale, Arizona
Fruity cocktails by the pool at Hotel Valley Ho in Scottsdale, Arizona
Sanctuary Camelback Mountain (Photo: Sanctuary Camelback Mountain); Hotel Valley Ho (Photo: Hotel Valley Ho)

Scottsdale, Arizona

It’s not a beach destination, but this vibrant city and its stunning desert landscape make for an ideal escape from sub–zero climates.

Do: Architecture buffs appreciate the mid–century modern landmarks, such as the restored 1950s Hotel Valley Ho, and Taliesin West, a UNESCO World Heritage Site designed by legendary architect Frank Lloyd Wright (previously his winter home and studio). Wellness–seekers head here for the impressive offerings at spas like The Phoenician and Sanctuary Spa, along with picturesque hikes on Camelback Mountain trails. The new Arizona Boardwalk is ideal for family travel, with an aquarium and butterfly sanctuary.

Stay: The upscale Sanctuary Camelback Mountain has all the desert vibes you could hope for, with photo–worthy views from every corner. The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess has a kids’ club to keep little ones entertained, while golfers love the expansive on–site pro course, home of the PGA Tour WM Phoenix Open.

A woman pulling a cacao pod off of a tree on a coffee farm in Kona, Hawaii
The exterior of the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai in Kona, Hawaii during dusk
Cacao pod (Photo: Hawai’i Tourism Authority/Heather Goodman); Four Seasons Resort Hualalai (Photo: Four Seasons Resort Hualalai)

Kona, Hawaii 

On Hawaii’s Big Island, renowned for its coffee farms and historical sites, Kona offers a blend of natural beauty and outdoor adventure.  

Do: Explore ancient fishponds, petroglyphs and sacred sites at Kaloko–Honokōhau National Historical Park, where you will also spot diverse bird species. Kealakekua Bay is a haven for divers thanks to its underwater marine sanctuary filled with colourful fish. Don’t leave Kona without touring one of the area’s hundreds of coffee farms, where you can witness the journey from bean to cup (and buy a bag to bring home). 

Stay: The top–rated Four Seasons Resort Hualalai is set against the striking contrast of black lava and turquoise waters. Take a traditional outrigger canoe excursion or book a private snorkel safari, helicopter ride, waterfall hike or barefoot oceanside dinner – there’s no shortage of ways to spend your days here (when you’re not lounging poolside).