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Sunshine in February

Posted in DESTINATIONS By Maggie O' Sullivan

Beach, Jumby Bay, AntiguaDesperate for a blast of sun? That’s what planes are for. You don’t have to endure a 13-hour flight either: the following destinations are all eight hours or less away and while their daily temperatures – with the exception of Antigua – tend to be warm rather than hot, there is plenty of bright sunshine on offer. Think sunglasses and a light jacket rather than an umbrella and winter coat.

Antigua

February is still high season in the Caribbean which means it’s expensive, but with an average daily temperature of 26C, it’s one of the best times to visit. At around eight hours, the island of Antigua has the shortest flight time from the UK and tail-winds mean it’s even quicker coming back. I’ve stayed all over the island and one of my favourite resorts is still Rosewood’s ultra-glamorous Jumby Bay. But if you’re looking for somewhere a little less costly, Cocobay Resort, on the sunset side of the island, is charming, with gingerbread cottages, two beaches and two pools. The food can’t compare with that served at Jumby Bay, but the rum punches come pretty close.Main pool, Anantara, DubaiDubai

I know Dubai isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but it does have a lot going for it at this time of year: average daily temperatures of 20C-24C, extremely comfortable hotels, superb restaurants and fantastic shopping. So if all you want to do if fly, flop and shop for a week, this glossy emirate is perfect. Last time I visited I stayed at the Anantara on the Palm. With its tranquil lagoons and steep gabled roofs, the resort is very Thai in appearance, and if you stand on the white-sand beach with your back to the sea, you really could be in Koh Samui. Then you turn around, take in the colossal Arabian-style Atlantis resort on the opposite shore, and you’re back in Dubai. On the other hand, it’s a 13-hour flight to Koh Samui and only seven to the United Arab Emirates.Pool, The Imperial Hotel, DelhiDelhi

Although February is one the best months to visit Rajasthan, it does take more than 11 hours to get there. The flight to Delhi is much more do-able at around eight hours and if you give it a couple of weeks, temperatures will have warmed up nicely to between 22C and 28C. You can easily combine sightseeing with sunbathing as most of the city-centre hotels have pools – some of them, such as this one at the Colonial-style Imperial, are almost destinations in themselves. The rest of the Imperial is pretty spectacular, too, and there’s a great spa where therapies include Njavara Kizhi, an Ayurvedic treatment involving poultices made from rice mixed with herbs and dipped in milk used to induce perspiration. Amanjena, MarrakechMarrakech

Marrakech is only a four-hour flight from the UK, but you should still see bright sunshine in February, with temperatures rising to 20C if you’re lucky. For out-and-out luxury stay at the divine Amanjena, an oasis of style just outside the medina. Devine comes at a price, of course, and for a less expensive option, try AnaYela, a Design Hotel in a 300-year-old city palace, again just outside the medina.Courtyard pool, Hotel San Roque, TenerifeTenerife

The Canary Islands offer plenty of bright sunshine in February though temperatures are not particularly high, so if you can hang on until next month, so much the better. The phalanx of five stars on the south coast all offer fantastic facilities for families, but if you’re after something a bit more atmospheric, head northwest to the pretty village of Garachico. Here you’ll find Hotel San Roque, a former 18th-century manor house which has been beautifully restored by the Carayon family to offer 20 individually designed guestrooms (suite La Torre, with its own rooftop terrace, is the one to go for), a courtyard swimming pool, solarium and restaurant. The hotel also has a rather fine art collection, including works of local artists.

BY MAGGIE O'SULLIVAN

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