PLanning a proposal? Celebrating an anniversary? Want to whisk a loved one off their feet? Jet off to one of these luxurious getaways...


Considered a once-in-a-lifetime destination, thanks to its white sandy beaches, crystal clear waters and glorious sunshine, the Maldives is becoming a more accessible and affordable holiday option.

In recent years a number of new resorts have opened, and the local Maldivian population rely on tourism for 80 per cent of their income. But the history of this archipelago, which dazzles like a necklace embellished with turquoise stones, goes back much further.

In the early seventies, a couple of hotels gambled on the Maldives being a success. Universal Resorts (who now own numerous properties in the archipelago) struck lucky with Kurumba, after taking a group of Italian tourists to the then uninhabited island.

It was enough to impress Universal, who opened a resort on October 3, 1972. They named it Kurumba, after the coconuts that grow in glorious abundance.

The first holidaymakers to check into this tropical island had a choice of 30 basic rooms made out of coral stone and plywood.

It’s a far cry from today’s five-star 180-room resort which features a Royal Residence, pool villas and beachside bungalows.To commemorate her ruby anniversary, the 5-star Kurumba has been given a general refurbishment. The resort offers eight styles of accommodation and nine dining experiences with all-inclusive options.

The tranquil Veli Spa has eight treatment rooms, and the opportunities for snorkelling are first class. Despite the growing number of visitors to the Maldives, it’s still possible to find a quiet patch of paradise.

Kurumba, Maldives

  • Best for: Honeymooners, couples When to go October to March.
  • Don’t miss: The sunset cruise to see the dolphins.
  • Need to know: It’s against the law to take any alcohol into the Maldives.
  • Don’t forget: A camera
  • Travel: For prices and package availability contact Kuoni, 01306 747008 or visit


Lapped by the Caribbean Sea, Cancun, Mexico offers the same calibre of soft white sand beaches and bath-warm blue sea as the Maldives or St Lucia.

You can now experience five-star excellence in Playa Mujeres, Cancun. With a personal concierge and 24-hour room service, this adult-only all-inclusive hotel ticks all the boxes for a romantic getaway.

Pulling up at the grand gold-gated entrance, just 25 minutes from the airport, you arrive at the sprawling marble lobby.

With no unsightly wristbands to differentiate between guests, it’s the waiters’ job in these secluded areas to remember you by face, making you feel extra special. With attention to detail like this, it’s no surprise the hotel is at least 85-95 per cent full all year round with honeymooners, couples getting married and lovers returning.

Relaxation certainly comes easily here. There are hammocks big enough for two in the pool and double beds that swing gently under palm trees.

There are seven pools, nine restaurants and a two-mile long beach to enjoy.

Another way to explore the resort is by the lazy river, which winds around the spa, past a juice bar and through secret paradises you might not have found on foot.

If you’re still recovering from the 10-hour flight from London Gatwick, why not order room service and climb into your private Jacuzzi, every room in the hotel has one.

Playa Mujeres, Cancun, Mexico

  • Best for: Honeymooners, couples
  • When to go: December to March
  • Don’t miss: A Columbus Lobster Dinner Cruise
  • Need to know: Is just a 10-minute taxi ride away from Cancun city
  • Don’t forget: Sun tan lotion
  • Travel: Sovereign Luxury Travel offer seven nights at the Excellence Playa Mujeres, Mexico from £1,539 pp on an all-inclusive basis, departing on March 19, 2013. Price includes return flights from London Gatwick and private transfers. (Includes a 20 per cent discount).

Call 0844 415 1936 or visit


Dubai offers a luxury destination all year round due to its consistently warm climate. There is something for everyone to enjoy from international shopping to beautiful beaches and world class golf. With direct flights from the UK it is an ideal getaway to relax and unwind with a loved one.

The UAE is home to Dubai, Emirates hub and one of the fastest-growing and most dynamic cities in the world. Here you can find the world’s tallest building, the world’s largest man-made islands, and some of the world’s best shopping – alongside traditional Arabian culture, and a history stretching back thousands of years.

The words first, tallest, deepest, most expensive, lavish, outlandish could have been created for this city. Where else would you find a seven-star hotel, visit a series of 200 man-made islands in the shape of the countries of the world, or climb the world’s tallest building?

Amidst all this modernity, as you head from a swim in the sea or a business meeting to designer boutiques, a round of golf or a top teppanyaki restaurant, the age-old souks still attract those who like to haggle. And yet only a few kilometres into the magnificent desert there are still camels roaming free.

Le Méridien Mina Seyahi Beach Resort and Marina, Dubai

  • Best for: Luxury hotels and internationally renowned cuisine
  • When to go: All year round
  • Don’t miss: A desert safari; experience traditional Arabic fare, camel riding, falconry and belly dancing.
  • Need to know: Visas are not required if you hold a British passport.
  • Don’t forget: Dubai is famous for its modern buildings but don’t forget to explore the old district with the souks of Deira and wooden dhows.
  • Travel: The Le Méridien Mina Seyahi Beach Resort and Marina.Emirates flights depart daily and are priced from £428. Emirates Tours offer luxury packages starting at £745 per person for three nights. Emirates – Emirates Tours – 020 7590 1461.


Phuket is Thailand’s most famous island and perfect for a romantic getaway with a loved one. The island has something for everyone from vibrant nightlife, pristine beaches and relaxing Thai spas.

Phuket has a fascinating mix of palm-lined beaches, daytime activities and a vibrant nightlife. From a speedboat trip to the surrounding islands or a cruise around Phang Nga Bay to its trademark nightlife in Patong Beach, Phuket offers plenty for every visitor.

Few islands can boast of such an abundance of sandy beaches and clear waters as Phuket. The winding roads along the west coast of this 540-square km island offer stunning views and easy access to some of the world’s finest coastlines.

It is very popular with families and an all-round favourite due to its spectacular beaches, great restaurants and lively nightlife.

Vijitt Resort, Phuket, Thailand

  • Best for: Stunning beaches and tropical coastline with crystal clear waters that are ideal for snorkelling and diving.
  • When to go: December to March when there is less humidity and cool breezes.
  • Dont miss: The local Thai cuisine. Perhaps take part in a cookery class to bring a slice of Thailand home with you.
  • Need to know: Vaccines may be required before travel, speak to your doctor for travel advice.
  • Don’t forget: To make the holiday extra romantic, book a private villa and luxuriate with the spa treatments for which Thailand is so famous.
  • Travel: Emirates flights depart daily from UK via Dubai and are priced from £690* Emirates Tours offer luxury packages starting at £1,209 per person for seven nights *Book by 31/03/12. The Vijitt Resort Phuket. Emirates – Emirates Tours – 020 7590 1461


In an unrivalled position, Hotel San Regis is a mid-19th century mansion house that sits between the Champs-Élysées and Avenue Montaigne. Steps from the designer boutiques and Michelin-starred restaurants of Paris’ 8th arrondissement, this exclusive hotel provides exemplary service and a gourmet restaurant.

The personification of classic Parisian style and elegance, Hotel San Regis is beautifully furnished with exquisite antiques and sumptuous silk and damask fabrics. Many rooms have been recently decorated but for magnificent Eiffel Tower views from your own balcony, stay in a deluxe junior suite. In the evening, enjoy dinner in Hotel San Regis’ intimate dining room, reminiscent of a private library. The restaurant serves traditional French cuisine Inspired by the Provence region. Upscale shopping nearby includes; Chanel, Christian Dior, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Salvatore Ferragamo, Loewe and Céline.

Hôtel San Régis, Paris, France

  • Best for: Honeymooners, couples
  • When to go: All year round
  • Don’t miss: Dine at a red velvet banquette with views of clipped parterre gardens at the Palais-Royal or in the exclusive restaurants of Alain Ducasse or Michel Rostang. Hear an evening concert of chamber music fill the delicate stained-glass chapel at Sainte-Chapelle, or opera from an opulent golden box at Palais Garnier.
  • Need to know: So much is within walking distance from the hotel including the Champs Elysees, the Grand Palais and the Petit Palais as well as the ‘haute couture’ boutiques along Avenue Montaigne.
  • Don’t forget: Euros
  • Travel: Honeymoon & Romance package valid for 2-night minimum stay, available until Dec 27, 2013 – euro 480 per room, per night. Honeymoon offer by SLH includes San Régis breakfast, in-room VIP welcome amenities with a bottle of champagne, delicacies and flowers, complimentary Wi-Fi connection, all taxes and service charges. Contact Small Luxury Hotels –