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5 luxury winter sun escapes

Nothing lifts the spirits in winter like a sunshine-filled holiday; add an element of luxury and you’ll be on cloud nine. Here are five of the ultimate luxury winter sun escapes.

Vantage Over Byron, Australia

Watch the sunset in Byron Bay, with 360-degree views of volcanic hinterland, rainforest and ocean

Watch the sunset in Byron Bay, with 360-degree views of volcanic hinterland, rainforest and ocean

In the sun trap surf town of Byron Bay, the long, broad beach is lapped by royal blue, white-tipped waves and has a lighthouse on one end that marks Australia’s easternmost tip. The area's natural beauty and laid-back vibe are fiercely protected by strict rules against any high-rise buildings, so the fact that this villa’s rooftop infinity pool seems to tower over the treetops and neighbouring houses makes it a rare find. Wraparound wooden decking provides 360-degree views of rainforest and volcanic hinterland in one direction and the curved, golden bay – which is only a few minutes’ walk away – in the other. Watch the sunset with a cocktail while reclining on a poolside cabana before enjoying some of the best stargazing in the southern hemisphere.

Chobe Water Villas, Namibia

Each villa has a private sundeck built above the water on the banks of the Chobe River

Each villa has a private sundeck built above the water on the banks of the Chobe River

At Chobe Water Villas, the teal-coloured infinity pool blends so seamlessly into the scenery that it's hard to tell where it ends and Namibia’s Chobe River begins. The individual villas exude a luxury that seems surreal given the remoteness of the property; private sundecks above the water even have their own telescope so that you can watch the elephants, buffalo and other wildlife roam the plains. Beyond the villas, you can go on game drives into the Chobe National Park where you’ll likely spot hippos, crocodiles and exotic birdlife, too.

Las Ventanas Al Paraiso, Mexico

Facing the Sea of Cortez, this palatial hotel provides private hot tubs and infinity pools bordered by cacti

Facing the Sea of Cortez, this palatial hotel provides private hot tubs and infinity pools bordered by cacti

Las Ventanas Al Paraiso is a palatial hotel set in the Los Cabos region at the southern tip of Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula, right on a beach of powder-fine white sand. Each suite is decked out in Mexican artisanry like mosaiced headboards and carved cedar wood screens. Feast on a Mexican breakfast spread on your private garden terrace, visit the state-of-the-art spa and be spoiled by the flawless service, with staff bringing you iced water, fresh fruit and other treats at any hour of the day.

The Oberoi, Mauritius

Stay in a beachside pavilion with private garden and private swimming pool on a white sandy beach at the Oberoi Mauritius

Stay in a beachside pavilion with private garden and private swimming pool on a white sandy beach at the Oberoi Mauritius

Enveloped by bright blue sea and sky, the island of Mauritius enjoys blazing sunshine during a northern hemisphere winter. Enjoy a five-star experience under a traditional Mauritian thatched roof at the Oberoi, where beachside pavilions are draped in embroidered fabrics, artwork and native flora. Wake up to views of the Indian Ocean and blindingly white sandy beaches, before snorkelling the coral reefs and relaxing by your private pool, surrounded by landscaped tropical gardens.

Ani Villas Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka

This clifftop Sri Lankan retreat is a vision of calm

This clifftop Sri Lankan retreat is a vision of calm

Perched on a cliff above a beach on Sri Lanka’s south coast, Ani Villas boasts a pretty special location. But that’s not all, you’ll also get a tennis court bordered by pencil-thin palm trees, ocean-facing suites that open onto private pools, a spa with blissful massage treatments and a superb chef. Soak up some winter sun while snoozing by the infinity pool, broken up by yoga classes in the Villa Monara pavilion and bowls of fresh papaya and mango.