With travel finally back on the agenda, it's time - at last - to really start thinking about holidays. Get your suitcase down from the loft, dust off your sunglasses, and start stockpiling beachwear... it's time.
So... Don’t Worry, Beach Happy! Our experts will guide you through the latest advice, rules and guidelines. And you can rest assured that if plans do change, we promise to move heaven and earth to make sure you have the holiday you deserve.
Here are our hand-picked recommendations for blissful beach breaks this January and February. Each of these destinations is on the government’s UK Travel Corridor list, meaning that you won’t need to quarantine on your return. We’ve also picked out our favourite highlights for each place plus the entry requirements, to make sure you and your loved ones can travel safely.
Our Don't Worry, Beach Happy 2021 holiday destinations are:
- St Lucia
- St Kitts & Nevis
- Turks & Caicos
They're all great beach destinations, obviously, but after everything 2020's thrown at us, we figure you deserve the very best. We're talking luxury resorts where you don't have to lift a finger. Restaurants serving gourmet cuisine on golden sand. Spas that have pampering down to a fine art, and hotels with more watersports and adventures than you can shake a stick at.
So, have a look below to discover why we've picked these destinations for your 2021 bucket list, and start choosing which one's perfect for you.
Cobblers Cove, Barbados
We couldn't have a list of sunny holiday destinations without including Barbados, could we?
The island is known for a few things:
- Plentiful sunshine
- Excellent food
- World-class hotels
- Laid-back culture
So, there's really no better place to start this list. Cobblers Cove is a one-stop relaxation shop, really. It's got a view out over the sea, a lovely little pool, a tennis court and loads of watersports to try.
It feels sort of like a grand old country house, with the added benefit of being under the Caribbean sun and right next to the beach. The service here is some of the best on the whole island too. This is demonstrated by the freshly baked cookies and pastries that are delivered with the nightly turndown service. That's almost worth the trip alone, really, but it gets even better.
This is foodie heaven. Since this is the Caribbean, there's loads of eye-wateringly fresh seafood to be had around here, along with warmly spiced food that's just the ticket for getting cosy and relaxed.
At Cobblers Cove there's a resident fisherman - Barker - who delivers the catch of the day to chef Jason Joseph every morning. Every meal at Camelot restaurant is an event, and will make you forget all the stockpiled penne and undercooked banana breads of 2020 in a heartbeat. Seriously - start with Cinnamon French Toast and Candied Walnuts, then have a Curried Eggplant Roti for lunch, and round the day off with Blackened Lobster Tail.
All this, plus afternoons on the sundeck - where staff are on hand to supply iced drinks and refreshments - and walks up the sandy beach to explore nearby Speightstown.
The Residence Dhigurah, Maldives
Had enough of working from home, nights in on the sofa and Zoom calls from your home office? Take the family on an adventure here, and find everything from scuba diving and windsurfing to dolphin cruises and Clarins spa treatments on offer.
The Residence Maldives - Dhigurah is 200-something miles from the capital Malè, so this really is like escaping to paradise. For those of us looking to reconnect with friends, get away with family, or even just sink our toes into the sand, this is the place.
Islands like this one, in the south of the Maldives, are known for being lush and green. Dhigurah is no exception, and you could spend hours here wandering pathways lined with palm and coconut trees.
But it's hard to look away from the coastline, which is all white sand, technicolour corals and turquoise waters filled with (non-scary) black-tip sharks and other fascinating marine life.
Ok, so this is a great place to relax and laze on the beach, sure. But you can also jump on your complimentary bike and cycle around the whole island, spotting wildlife and Insta-ready scenery as you go.
The kids’ club provides youngsters with amazing island experiences, while grown-ups can recline and relax. You might want to do that at The Spa by Clarins with a massage or full-body wrap. Or, perhaps choose to spend a day (or more, you do you) in the 42m infinity pool that looks out over the endless Indian Ocean.
Hermitage Bay, Antigua
Take relaxation to another level at Hermitage Bay. It's all-inclusive for a start, so you don't need to be counting the pennies constantly. Mornings start with yoga, meditation and Pilates classes, if you so wish, on the Spa Deck. Visit the Garden Spa for lofty views of the bay but also to have 2020's stresses scrubbed, massaged and bathed out of your system.
The resort's location on a cliff overlooking the coast, plus the existence of just 30 suites, makes the experience here feel like you've got yourself a cushy private island. A private island with really amazing staff, who at once feel like close friends but are also never intrusive.
For those who need to do more than simply relax in order to feel relaxed, there's no shortage of activity at Hermitage Bay either. Sportsmen and women can spend afternoons at golf, tennis, fishing, sailing or any number of watersports. If you're a culture buff, go on a guided tour of historic English Harbour, Nelson's Dockyard and St John's. Foodie? Go to the weekly cooking demonstration to learn how to whip up Caribbean classics. Or, take a tour of a local farm to see where your dinner is grown.
Speaking of dinner, food is a highlight at Hermitage Bay. The hotel has one of Antigua's best restaurants, and you know the food is fresh because the menu changes daily. It's always got a mix of local delicacies, European classics and American favourites though, so you're sure to find just the thing after a day of sunbathing/swimming/golfing/exploring/relaxing.
Silversands is something really special. Come for the award-winning cuisine, record-breaking swimming pool, and excellent location on Grand Anse beach. Stay for the rum and cigar lounge.
Grand Anse is what people are picturing when they think of the perfect beach. You can tell it's good because if you wander up the almost two-mile length you'll spot kids playing football, fishermen heading out to sea, locals on their daily constitutionals and plenty of activity. All that's great, but it's also nice to head back to the stretch of sand right outside Silversands, which is always peaceful and serene.
If you've an eye for style, you'll get enough kicks simply wandering around the hotel. It's all photogenic, with accents of marble and dark wood cooling against the Caribbean heat.
If you are after a few snaps for your social, you'll get bang for your buck at the swimming pool. At an incredible 100 metres, this is apparently the longest pool in the Caribbean.
In the evenings, you can relax at the beachside lounge. Here, drinks flow and a DJ plays the ultimate holiday soundtrack. The rooms are just as stylish as the hotel's pool and lobby area.
Elsewhere, the spa (unsurprisingly picture-perfect) offers a pool, sauna, treatment rooms, steam room and a few other special features. There's an ice cave for guests who just need to chill, and an 'experiential shower' with controls for lights, music and jets.
When you need to refuel after all that unwinding, try the pizza tuk tuk, or the Grenadian Grill. In the mornings, the extensive breakfast spread will take hours to conquer. Then, evenings are all about the exciting Caribbean-Asian fusion at Asiatique.
Rendezvous, St Lucia
Wedding, honeymoon, or just romance in general cancelled due to the pandemic? Head to paradise with your other half to reconnect and fit in some quality time in the sun.
Rendezvous was literally designed for couples. The theme of the resort is 'stolen time' - and you can choose to do as much (or as little) as you want here. This is a place for recapturing the magic, watching stress melt away, and generally putting your feet up.
The resort sits on a two-mile stretch of Malabar Beach, surrounded by tropical gardens. It doesn't get more romantic than this. Rendezvous is an all-inclusive Caribbean holiday destination, so you don't need to keep worrying about tallying up the cost of your refreshments and most entertainment as you go.
"Something for everyone" is a bit of a cliché. but at Rendezvous, there really does seem to be a never-ending list of ways to spend your time.
In the water, there's scuba diving at the PADI scuba centre. Scuba experts can take part in daily dives, and there are also extra courses for beginners. There are two lovely pools here - a quiet one by the spa and a more sociable one by the beach. There's also an entire river, made up of little pools and meandering sections perfect for a lazy afternoon. Want more action? Watersports include Hobie cats, wakeboarding, windsurfing and waterskiing.
On land, you and your partner can battle in tennis, take aim in archery, or take to the greens for golf. Hike St Lucia's famous Pitons or the En Bas Saut trail in the Edmund Rainforest. Take a rum tour, go chocolate making, or simply grab a cocktail and gaze at each other on the beach. This is your holiday, and it's all about you. And... relax.
Four Seasons Resort Nevis, St Kitts & Nevis
Picture the perfect beach resort. Shut your eyes, and imagine it. Are you seeing undisturbed white sand? How about impossibly clear sea lapping the shore, and a bit of cloudless blue sky for good measure? That beach you're imagining probably looks a lot like Pinney's Beach, home to Four Seasons Resort Nevis.
So yes, you could spend your entire holiday reclining on the sand with a good book and a cocktail. But there's actually a lot more on offer at this resort for your 2021 holiday. Take tennis, for example - Four Seasons Resort Nevis doesn't merely offer one court for a friendly game. Instead, take your pick from four clay, three hard and two Astro-Turf courts. Lessons, clinics and player match-ups are available.
Then there's the 18-hole, par 71 Robert Trent Jones II golf course. It's undoubtedly one of the world's best looking greens, and also has the extra bonus of often being visited by native green vervet monkeys! Play a round here, or try something new with Foot Golf.
A top family holiday destination, the resort has a wide range of accomodation options to suit any party. There's also the Kids For All Seasons club, where young visitors can find their inner Picasso at painting class, head out around the island on a scavenger hunt, or learn more about nature with the Sea Turtle Conservation Programme.
And while they're doing that, why don't you visit one of the three swimming pools for a bit of R & R? You can even rent a private furnished cabana to relax in style. You deserve it, we said so.
One&Only Royal Mirage, Dubai
Had enough of boredom? Escape to Dubai for a holiday packed with adventure. This is a location where families, couples, friends and solo travellers alike will find no end of activities. And all will be well catered for at the iconic One&Only Royal Mirage.
The resort is so expansive and amenity-packed that you really don't need to step outside the grounds. For the ultimate easy holiday to make up for a year of wall-to-wall panic, choose the half-board dine around plan. Foodies will be spoilt for choice with Royal Mirage's 16 restaurants and bars.
Take a load off at the One&Only Spa and hammam - go on, after what you've been through this year? You deserve at least one expert massage! Then there are four separate temperature-controlled pools dotted around the place, as well as over a kilometre of private beach equipped with loungers and umbrellas for those days when nothing but sunbathing will do.
Of course, some travellers are always seeking an adventure. If that sounds like you, you might be interested in embarking on a desert safari in Dubai. Hop into the resort's special 4x4 and head out into the desert. Go dune bashing and camel riding, try your hand at archery, and even have a go at traditional falconry.
If it's city thrills you're after, this is the place to be. Some of the world's best shopping can be found in Dubai, while thrill-seekers can zipline among the skyscrapers in this famous landscape. No trip to Dubai would be complete without heading to the top of Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building, for a city view that has to be seen to be believed.
COMO Parrot Cay, Turks & Caicos
Turks & Caicos is a bit of a hidden gem. The Caribbean nation is actually really easy to reach from the UK, with direct flights from London Gatwick with British Airways. Once you get there, check-in to COMO Parrot Cay for a private island holiday that will make all your friends stuck at home green with envy.
Beach? Check. Service? Top notch. Food? Mouth-watering. Drinks? Keep 'em coming. This place is the quintessential island paradise.
Turks & Caicos is an archipelago made up of eight major islands and over 40 smaller cays, like this one. Wellness is the word here, with the COMO Shambhala retreat a real centre piece. Facilities - including an outdoor Jacuzzi garden, a Pilates studio and Japanese baths - are open to anyone aged 16 and up. So, get your relaxation on.
Parrot Cay is exactly what you picture when you think 'tropical island'. There's no traffic, no pollution, and just miles of white sand as far as the eye can see. This seclusion and tranquillity (not to mention the spa, dining and luxury accommodation) make it a great choice for Caribbean honeymoons in 2021.
However, this is also one of the best destinations for family holidays. Play by COMO guarantees the whole family a chilled-out break, whether it's thanks to babysitting service and special children's menus or exciting activities and the beautiful kids' club. Travelling with budding adventurers? Send them out on the Plantation Walk. Got little ones who prefer to stay indoors? The Play Space has more games and toys than they'll be able to handle.
So... don't worry - beach happy! Got an idea for your perfect 2021 holiday? Browse our top beach destinations here, or drop us a comment below for tailored holiday planning.