06 February 2019
February can be an awkward month for some people - the festive season is an increasingly distant memory, yet the glorious summer feels an age away. So, what can you do to break up the early year blues? Book a last-minute break, of course. Whether you’re looking for a family getaway, an all-inclusive cruise or a romantic escape with your significant other, we’ve got you covered with some fabulous destinations.
This futuristic city may have a reputation for being an exotic playground for the super-rich, but with a wealth of memorable attractions and beautiful beaches, there is more than plenty for families in Dubai.
With thrilling theme parks like Legoland Dubai, Bollywood Parks Dubai and IMG Worlds of Adventure - the world’s largest indoor theme park, as well as Jumeirah Beach Park and Kite Beach, you have all the ingredients for the perfect family day out. There’s even the chance to brave the slopes at Ski Dubai or cram in a spot of indoor skydiving at iFLY Dubai.
When choosing where to stay, there are few hotels more opulent and contemporary than Atlantis, The Palm. Located on the city’s globally recognised Palm Island, this dazzling hotel wows with two underwater three-storey suites featuring floor-to-ceiling windows looking straight down into the water towards the mythical lost city of Atlantis.
Elsewhere in this lavish hotel are luxurious and beautifully appointed two-bedroom family suites able to accommodate families up to 6 with spectacular views of the Dubai skyline or the Arabian Sea and experience Atlantis The Palm, Dubai without compromising on comfort.
Another hotel sure to satisfy families is the five-star Hilton Dubai Jumeirah Beach with its private beach, two pools, family rooms, kids’ club, playground, games room for teens and on-site activities such as snorkelling, swimming and salsa dancing lessons.
The hotel also boasts 12 award-winning restaurants, a health club and a spa, offering everything from body wraps and massages to manicures and pedicures. Children under six years eat for free at one of the onsite all-day dining restaurants and there’s a 50% discount for six- to 12-year-olds.
“You cannot believe that you are in the desert when you are surrounded by huge buildings, but you must experience a desert safari in a four-wheel drive jeep and watch the sun go down as you drive through the dunes to arrive at a traditional Bedouin style camp where a delicious dinner awaits.”
Sandi, Travel Counsellor
Families can enjoy Dubai-level luxury in Europe too. On the island of Tenerife, the Ritz-Carlton, Abama – which appeared on Condé Nast Traveller’s prestigious Gold List in 2017 and 2018 – is great for families. The two-bedroom suites at this five-star hotel come with video games consoles, and the Ritz Kids Club will keep four- to 12 year-olds occupied and entertained, as will the kid’s pool area with water toys.
It’s true that some parts of the Ritz-Carlton, Abama are kept aside for adults, including one pool and the Tagor Villas, but kids and families won’t miss them with six other pools and a golden sand beach to go at, not to mention the Aqualand Costa Adeje water park is only a 15-minute drive away.
Hard Rock Hotel Tenerife is also a good choice for families. Music inspires every inch of this exclusive five-star beachfront resort from the names of its two towers (Nirvana and Oasis) to its Rock Royalty VIP upgrade package, which unlocks exclusive amenities, including private concierge services and VIP check-in, plus privileged access to a stunning lounge boasting panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean.
Kids will be able to rock out in one of three swimming pools including a children’s pool and at the various kids' clubs, which cater for youngsters aged upwards of six months, including a teen’s club where guests can play personal Xboxes.
Over on Gran Canaria, Seaside Palm Beach is just one of the many child-friendly accommodations springing up around the island. As the first Design Hotel in the Canary Islands, it offers lots of facilities for kids of all ages: Live entertainment, a mini club, playground and children's pool as well as a special kids menu. The splashtastic Aqualand Maspalomas water park is only a 10-minute drive away, too.
Our final recommendation for family breaks in February is for Reunion A Salamander Golf & Spa Resort in Orlando.
This 2,200-acre family-friendly luxury resort is perfect for large families, with its own flume slide, water park and 10 pools including a splash bucket and lazy river. The kids crew club caters for four- to 10-year-olds with pool games and scavenger hunts, while the Hideaway Spot looks after tweens and teens with Wii games. You’re also close enough to enjoy the firework displays from Disney World, just six miles away. Finally, Camp Reunion - aimed at kids aged four to 12 – lines up a fun schedule of outdoor games, crafts and water park time. Your little ones can even camp indoors by hiring an in-room tepee.
“If you like theme parks and Disney and want to be a big kid for a few weeks then go to Orlando in Florida - this is a place for all ages and families.”
Richard, Travel Counsellor
For couples, Singapore promises to deliver a memorable break and few hotels are better set up for that than Oasia Hotel Downtown. You’ll struggle to miss this 27-storey hotel, not due to its height, but because the entire towering exterior is spattered with greenery and foliage, creating a tropical skyscraper in Singapore’s Central Business District.
This refreshing sensation continues inside the hotel too, where couples can easily refresh, refuel and recharge beside one of two rooftop pools, surrounded by 21 different species of creepers and vines, or down in the lounge area on the 12th-level sky terrace, which also hosts rejuvenating yoga sessions on a lush green lawn. Dig into modern bistro cuisine or a cheeky cupcake at The Marmalade Pantry or sample some of the 100 different gins at the 75-seater Cin Cin Bar.
Couples heading to Singapore this February could also consider Village Hotel Albert Court. It sits just minutes away from the bright lights of the Little India quarter and the culture-rich Straits Chinese enclave of Bugis, making it a fantastic hub for exploring the city’s many districts. When chilling out back at base, you can expect comfortable and elegantly decorated suites with spacious living rooms and fashionable furnishings.
Hidden away on a private headland between Cairns and Port Douglas, the 145-acre Thala Beach Nature Reserve offers couples four kinds of eco accommodation.
There are the jungle walk bungalows and the eucalypt bungalows that border Thala’s pathways above the headland through the lush Eucalypt forest. Coral Sea bungalows are positioned on the highest ridge of Thala’s private headland with views of the water all the way to the horizon, framed by the native Australian forest canopy. Finally, there’s the Sandpiper Suite, which represents the ultimate in setting, romance and privacy, perched on the southernmost point of Thala’s private headland.
Blessed with a night sky free from light pollution, this is a great place for a spot of stargazing. Couples can also enjoy roughly two kilometres of pristine sand lined with coconut palms and sheoak trees on the private access Oak Beach.
Over in New Zealand, the upscale Cordis Auckland serves up every modern amenity across more than 400 contemporary rooms and suites with restful beds, stylish interiors and the latest high-tech connectivity. There’s also a heated rooftop pool, spa with six treatment rooms, his and her saunas, steam rooms, an outdoor jacuzzi and a discreet chauffeur-driven sedan service.
Venturing out of the hotel, you’ll soon find high-end fashion houses, busy retail areas and local tourist attractions like the Sky Tower – New Zealand’s tallest building, standing at 328 metres – thrillseekers can even leap off it (safely tied to a bungee of course) as part of the Sky Walk.
Named the Caribbean’s leading resort by the World Travel Awards every year since 2015, Sandals Barbados goes all-out in creating a tropical all-inclusive paradise with couples in mind. So that means a private soaking tub on your balcony, direct access into a lagoon-style pool and breathtaking suites with fine linens and beautiful furnishings.
Couples here can look forward to ‘bottomless’ premium spirits and wine at seven bars and unlimited watersports, as well as making a splash in the main pool at the Oceanfront Village. When night falls, cuddle up by a romantic fire pit after enjoying all-inclusive gourmet dining at one of the 11 exquisite restaurants.
In the Bahamas, The Ocean Club, a Four Seasons Resort is a getaway paradise fit for the stars; quite literally, this 35-acre resort served as a filming location for the 2006 James Bond movie Casino Royale. With four members of staff for every guest and a personalised round-the-clock butler, you can count on exceptional service here.
It's a spectacular secluded Caribbean hideaway with gorgeous terraced gardens and elegant colonial architecture set along eight kilometres of natural white-sand on Cabbage Beach – the sixth best beach in the world according to CNN in 2017.
“The Caribbean would certainly provide the requisite luxury, romance, sun-drenched ambience and infinite memories for any couple.”
Ian, Travel Counsellor
Maybe a cruise around the Med is what you’re after for your last-minute February break. MSC Cruises is operating a seven-night itinerary on its flagship MSC Meraviglia, embarking out of Barcelona with port calls at Marseille, Genoa, Civitavecchia (the gateway to Rome), Palermo and Maltese capital Valletta before winding up back in Barcelona. This is the final month that Meraviglia will be the MSC flagship ahead of the launch of its largest ever ship – MSC Bellissima – in early March.
Many of the world’s best cruise operators now embark out from Southampton so you don’t even need to leave the UK to begin your cruise adventure. Fred. Olsen’s Black Watch is heading to the Canaries, dropping in at A Coruña, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, Santa Cruz de la Palma, La Palma, Funchal and Lisbon during its 14-night voyage.
Looking further afield, Caribbean and Azores cruises depart Southampton for Bermuda, Nassau and Saint Lucia as part of a 28-night itinerary.
Do any of these last-minute February breaks take your fancy? Get in touch with your Travel Counsellor today and unlock a world of exclusive benefits including full financial protection and a 24-hour duty office ready to assist you before, during and after your stay.