A new report by Kuoni has revealed the Dominican Republic as one of the fastest-growing long-haul holiday destinations for British travellers in 2015. With the introduction of BA’s twice-weekly direct flights to Punta Cana, a beach holiday to the Caribbean island is a must. Located in Punta Cana, Barcelo Bávaro Beach Resort is marking its 30th anniversary on the sands of Bávaro Beach – it was the very first resort in the region so a milestone birthday for this year. Spring will see the celebrations kick off with the island’s carnival season. The hotel is perfectly positioned on pristine white sands of one of the ten best beaches in the world – Bávaro, Punta Cana - and is protected by a coral reef that makes the Caribbean Sea perfectly calm. Guests can relax in the spa, take their pick of dining options and water sports, head to the golf course, or embark on excursions to unspoiled tropical islands to swim with starfish. From £92 per person, per night, based on two people sharing a Superior Room on an all-inclusive basis.
- Vazon South Beach in Guernsey is the cleanest beach in Britain, according to The Marine Conservation Society, making it a fantastic destination for a staycation. One of the largest beaches on the island, Vazon Bay is home to an award-winning Blue Flag beach and is popular with surfers and water sport enthusiasts - it's also one of the best family beaches in Guernsey. Visitors to the Channel Islands destination can stay at Vazon Bay Self Catering Apartments located just a few metres away. The modern apartments have a private pool and boast coastal paths straight from their location. Two bedroom self-catering apartments sleeping four people start from £750 a week.
With British Airways launching new direct flights to buzzing Bodrum in April, the Turkish beach resort will be even more accessible to tourists travelling from Gatwick. Sleek jetsetters in search of a cool setting should check in to the Kempinski Hotel Barbaros Bay, which houses a silent beach (no phones, kids or boats), a DJ-led chill-out sundeck and a beachside seafood restaurant. The hotel serves refreshing juices in tiny syringes and unusual spa treatments include WATSU therapy - a very unique aquatic massage treatment that takes place in a private flotation pool - are offered exclusively to guests. This year, the hotel is offering a shisha sommelier for the season, focusing on the unique local flavours of Turkey. From £157 per night.
This April, British Airways launches new direct flights to Crete, bringing the beautiful Greek island closer to luxury travellers as only budget airlines were previously flying to Heraklion airport. Greece is also experiencing a modern renaissance, with a cultural revival and widespread vibrancy taking over, with new pop-ups, start-ups and exciting new hotels. For Brits it’s never been more attractive. The euro is now worth just 74p compared with 84p last March, making Greece cheaper. Long-time favourite celebrity spot Elounda is a wonderful place to relax and offers glorious sunshine along with quaint, authentic Greek villages. Domes of Elounda boasts stylish suites and villas, and is perched hillside for breathtaking sea views. The glamorous destination combines smooth-edged architecture and Moorish additions. BA offers seven nights at the five-star spot from £819 per person, travelling in May and October 2015, including return flights from Gatwick and B&B accommodation.
Croatia holidays specialist Croatian Villa Holidays has added lighthouse accommodation to its collection in 2015, with stunning properties to rent including Beacon Retreat, a fabulous four-bedroom luxury lighthouse close to Zadar. Surrounded by a pine-scented wood, it has direct access to a private beach, a boat mooring, mountain bikes and chef services on request. Adjacent to the lighthouse, there is a separate building that incorporates a multi-gym, whirlpool and sauna. A week at Beacon Retreat in June starts at £2,205 (sleeps eight). Prices in August are inclusive of a day's use of a speed boat and scuba diving excursions.
Situated in the far south of Portugal, the Algarve is famed for its cliffs, caves and golden-sand beaches that stretch across 200km. The family-friendly destination has an average temperature of 29C and around 300 days of sunshine a year. In the central Algarve lies the island of Farol, reached by ferry. The island boasts bars, restaurants and a small kids' park, as well as a lighthouse for the brave to climb more than 100 steps up to an unforgettable view of the coast and the ocean. The Blue Flag beach is a beautiful sandy bay perfect for children as the currents are not strong as in other parts of the Algarve.
- The Greek island of Lefkas is home to the Porto Katsiki beach, which boasts dramatic cliffs, turquoise blue waters and a gorgeous stretch of golden sand. It’s the perfect beach for those looking for a combination of sun lounging, watersports (swimming, sailing, body boarding and surfing) and magnificent scenery. What's particularly interesting about the beach destination is that express island hopping will be rolled out this year. Greek airline Hellenic Seaplanes is launching a seaplane service to shuttle holidaymakers around islands by air, with plans to connect 100 islands by 2016. Lefkas, Egkremnoi, Kathisma and Porto Katsiki will all be linked by seaplane, meaning you will never be too far away from the sights and activities the Greek Islands have to offer. Love Holidays offers holidays to Lefkas from £267 per person.
Looking for somewhere warm on the Med that's open year-round? Theoule-sur-Mer in France is a great spot to avoid the crowds and enjoy short-haul sunshine. Located in Southern France, next to Cannes and St Tropez, Theoule boasts a lovely beach, petanque lanes and excellent restaurants. Tiara Miramar Beach Hotel & Spa is a chic hotel nestled on a private creek and secluded beach, with just 60 rooms, suites and one private villa. It faces the Mediterranean Sea and oozes bohemian-style décor, a tranquil spa and abundant dining options. From €160 per night based on two sharing on a B&B basis.
- Home to one of Britain’s best beaches (TripAdvisor), Swansea is a lovely location for a summer break, with some of the UK's best surfing and tonnes of activities to keep the family entertained. Visitors can surf, kayak, canoe, coast steer and gorge walk on Rhossili and the surrounding areas, while those after a peaceful break can enjoy hidden beach Pwll Du Bay beach, located at the bottom of a valley with limited access - it’s like having your own private beach. Lovers of the outdoors can experience glamping in the heart of the Gower, or rent a Scampervan for a really unique stay.
Beach holiday specialist On the Beach recently named Agadir Europe's best value luxury holiday destination for 2015. The Moroccan city's golden sand beach, 300 days of sunshine and laidback atmosphere makes it a great place to escape for a relaxing beach getaway, and with affordable luxury hotels and cheap flights to Agadir, it is ideal for families on a budget. On the Beach offers one-week half-board holidays at the five-star Kenzi Europa Hotel plus return flights from £370 per person.
With 60 tiny emerald islands and cays, the British Virgin Islands offer a fairy-tale beach holiday in the Caribbean. The atmosphere is refreshingly laid back and just 15 of the islands are inhabited so there are no large chain hotels, no buildings taller than a palm tree and no casinos; just long stretches of white sand beaches, independent hotels, private villas and acres of lush vegetation. Virgin Gorda is the third largest island at just 16km and is known for the curving stretch of uninhabited beach, the lush mountain forest and Gorda Peak, which sits 366m above sea-level. There are 20 private villas perfect for families and large groups, plus a number of the high-end hotels including Rosewood Little Dix Bay, Bitter End Yacht Club and Biras Creek. The new VI Air-link flight route between Antigua and the BVI's Beef Island means accessibility for UK travellers is even easier. The flights are connected with the arrivals/departures of British Airways and Virgin Atlantic flights from London Gatwick. Stay at Rosewood Little Dix Bay with Kenwood Travel for seven nights from £1,718 per person, including return flights from Gatwick and island transfers.
For a mixture of beach and wilderness if you're not just looking for a fly and flop beach break, look no further than Colombia. Visitors can experience getting active, relaxing on the beach and exploring the wilderness in the South American country. Visit rural villages and soak up the Caribbean vibes on the coast. The Tayrona National Park is perfect for hiking and experiencing nature, while Cartagena has a colonial walled city and fortress. Colombia offers the great outdoors with a Caribbean twist. An eight-day Caribbean Colombia Express trip with G Adventures is priced from £949 per person, excluding flights.
This year, BA is introducing extra flights to Dalaman, Turkey, which will make discovering tranquil and undeveloped areas of the Turkish coast much easier. Picturesque Turunc retains a quaint village feel and is characterised by its sweeping bay and laidback atmosphere. The crescent-shaped beach and turquoise waters of the South Aegean have also been awarded a Blue Flag for high standards of cleanliness and facilities. In May, the brand new Turunc Premium Hotel opens in the secluded resort as a perfect spot for relaxing family holidays based around the beach. The hotel will be warm and contemporary in style with fine furnishings. Dining at the hotel restaurant offers local and international cuisine, plus there is a bar, outdoor swimming pool, well-equipped spa and a kids' club. Anatolian Sky Holidays offers a seven-night stay at the Turunc Premium Hotel from £4,728 for a family of two adults and teenage children (14 and 16) on an all-inclusive basis with return flights from Gatwick and transfers.
Experience a real undiscovered part of Asia, far from the crowds, on a beach holiday in the Philippines, one of the hottest destinations for 2015. With more than 7,000 islands, there is no shortage of beaches in this idyllic part of the world. The Philippines boasts powdery white sand, diverse marine life and turquoise waters for an unforgettable escape. New for 2015 is Intrepid Travel's eight-day Philippines Island Getaway, which focuses on the stunning beaches of El Nido, Palawan. The trip gives travellers the chance to explore the idyllic islands, white-sand beaches, crystal clear water and verdant landscapes of the emerging Asian destination. It takes in the bustling city of Puerto Princesa, snorkelling and island-hopping around the islands off El Nido and lunch with members of the Batak tribe of Palawan, one of about 70 indigenous peoples of the Philippines. From £801 per person, including seven nights’ accommodation, transport, selected meals, entry fees and a local guide.
2015 is the 'Year of Mexico' in the UK, making it the perfect time to visit the vibrant country. With miles of white sand beaches and azure blue seas, the Yucatan Peninsula in particular offers a unique blend of beach, Mexican history and culture. Check in to the Grand Velas Riviera Maya for a blissful beach holiday with plenty of Mayan adventure. Historical sites Tulum and Coba are within a short drive of the hotel and the island of Cozumel and the eco-archaeological park Xcaret are also close by. The hotel offers a uniquely Mexican take on luxury. Surrounded by lush Yucatan jungle and fringed by the Caribbean sea, the resort offers a range of activities on the private beach, from snorkelling to kayaking, and dining at five AAA Diamond restaurant Cocina de Autor. Kenwood Travel offers seven nights all-inclusive in a Zen grand suite, including flights with BA from Gatwick and transfers from £1,999 per person, based on two sharing.
Nestled in Bang Tao Bay, Angsana Laguna Phuket is a luxurious resort for the growing beach club crowd thanks to its famous day-into-night beach club, XANA. The beach club celebrates its third birthday in 2015 and will welcome an impressive line-up of DJs to the resort including creator of Hed Kandi, Mark Doyle, and Grammy award-winning celebrity DJ, Paul Harris. XANA will be holding a party every Saturday until the end of April this year and host events including ‘Wet Pool Party' and 'Sexy Pink' night. At the close of the party, Angsana Laguna Phuket offers stylish rooms, luxurious lofts and suites and Private Pool Residences to suit individuals, couples and groups. Overnight stays start from £124 based on two people sharing on a B&B basis.
From May, BA will start flying directly to Kuala Lumpur, making the 300-acre private island of Pangkor Laut more accessible than ever before. The island is an easy three-hour drive from the airport (followed by a 15-minute boat journey from the mainland) and only accessible to the guests of the hotel and the eight private rental houses. The resort offers total luxury and seclusion. If you can tear yourself away from the beach and the Spa Village, the hotel offers a wide range of water sports, sailing, jungle trekking, and there are two swimming pools, a gym and tennis court. Original Travel offers 14 nights at Pangkor Laut Island Resort from £3,880 total for two people sharing a Garden Villa on a B&B basis, including flights to Kuala Lumpur and transfers.
Combine your beach holiday with an African safari in Kenya, where you can stay at a stylish lodge and spend a few days relaxing at a beach resort. Gane and Marshall's new Kenya In Style holiday includes three nights at the Saruni Mara camp and four nights at the newly-opened Saruni Ocean, a remote beach retreat on the southern Kenyan coast. Intimate and exclusive, Saruni Mara is one of only a few boutique lodges in the Mara region. It offers just five elegant cottages, one family villa and one private, honeymoon villa. The remote camp is tucked away in a secluded valley in the Mara North Conservancy, a private game-viewing area bordering the Maasai Mara National Reserve. Situated on a deserted beachfront, Saruni Ocean has just 18 thatched suites that overlook the Indian Ocean. Guests can relax at the Sarunity Thermae and Spa and on the 6km of pristine beachfront. £2,945 per person including seven nights' accommodation on a full board basis, domestic flights and spa treatments.
A new BA flight from London Heathrow to Olbia on the east coast of Sardinia means that the fabulous white sandy beaches around San Teodoro (30 minutes from Olbia) are even more accessible than ever. Situated in the heart of the Tavolara marine park, the seafront Paradise Resort hotel overlooks stunning Lu Impostu beach and there is an overwhelming selection of white sandy beaches close by, including Cala d’Ambra and Cala Brandinchi, as well as the 3km stretch of sand at La Cinta. Choose from hotel or villa-style accommodation, with shared use of a pool with sea views and a private beach. The nearest town is the very family-friendly San Teodoro which has a good choice of restaurants and during the summer months, a night market. A seven-night holiday at the Paradise Resort on a half-board basis, including flights and car hire, starts from £920 per person with ExperttoItaly.
It may be small but each of Mauritius' coasts has its own personality. The west offers the calmest waters, the south hides rocky coves and the east coast winds are ideal for windsurfing. It's a great destination for beach hopping, whether you’re looking for snorkelling in Blue Bay Marine Park or relaxing with a sundown cocktail at Flic-en-Flac’s lively beachfront bars. In Flic-en-Flac, the Sands Resort & Spa has had a re-design and opened as a deluxe all-suite resort for 2015, with new elegant suites - all facing the ocean. Guests can relax on the pristine stretches of beach overlooking the shimmering turquoise waters of Tamarin Bay and the majestic Le Morne mountain. Complete with an infinity pool and spa, the spa offers the ideal hideaway for those seeking serenity and comfort. Virgin Holidays offers seven nights in a Superior Suite on a half-board basis for £1039 per person, including flights from London and return transfers.