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Inspiration

Five fabulous beaches

Seaside adventure, not a soul for miles or family-friendly flopfest? Whatever you desire, Karen Edwards has the perfect beach for you


01/03/2021

(Getty Images)

1

Ras Al Khaimah, UAE

Best for: laid-back luxury
Nearest airport: Ras Al Khaimah International Airport

With the saffron-coloured hills of the Arabian desert as your backdrop and an array of five-star hotels to choose from, Ras Al Khaimah represents the very meaning of desert luxury. Its signature golden sands are the coastal highlight of the Emirates.

Sun loungers await pre-prepared by the water, so all hotel guests need to do is sit back with a cocktail and soak up the rays. And, if it gets too hot, simply take a dip in the nearest infinity pool.

For those looking to escape the resort atmosphere, there is the less frequented, and equally glorious, Jazirat Al Hamra public beach just 20 minutes away. Pack a picnic and a beach towel, courtesy of your hotel, and prepare to lie undisturbed for as long as you desire. Some hotels offer a shuttle service. At just an hour’s drive from international hub, Dubai, day passes are available to visitors.

Take off to the UAE


(Alamy)

2

Nonsuch Bay, Antigua

Best for: water sports and sailing
Nearest airport: VC Bird International

If you dream of spending your beach days on the water, Nonsuch Bay on Antigua’s east coast is the place to be – with windsurfing, paddle-boarding, kitesurfing and sailing on offer throughout the year. All gear can be hired at the sailing school found on the gold-sand beach – and lessons at all levels are available for those who want to try their hand at water sports for the first time. Start with learning how to handle a Hobie Cat – a small sailing catamaran – where you can secure the basics of tacking your sails, leaning your weight and gliding through the wind. Beginners needn’t worry, the team here are highly experienced – they often represent Antigua and Barbuda in the regional regattas. Sunday night is party night. Book a ticket to the weekly barbecue at Shirley Heights and enjoy a well-earned Caribbean feast, alongside a deliciously cold rum punch, coupled with a coastal view.

Take off to Antigua

3

Thelu Veliga, Maldives

Best for: wellness and relaxation
Nearest airport: Malé

Soft white sands lace every inch of the three-acres at Thelu Veliga island. In fact, you can discard your shoes on arrival for your entire stay.

Positioned among the palm trees you’ll find the Drift resort. Opt for an over-water villa for complete bliss – aside from the lapping waves, silence will surround you. Once settled, your wellness and pampering experience can commence. Start with the four-hands massage and follow up with a skin detoxing coconut body scrub after your first full day in the sun. Complement all treatments with endless dozing under the beach umbrellas; the giant beanbags under the cooling fans of the cocktail bar are perfect for reading. Scuba diving is available and wildlife enthusiasts can go in search of manta rays and whale sharks with the island’s specialist dive instructors. Don’t miss the seafood buffet coupled with spicy Sri Lankan curries, all prepared by the talented in-house chefs. Day trippers are welcome.

Take off to the Maldives


(Alamy)

4

Tahiti Beach, Bahamas

Best for: the secret beach
Nearest airport: Nassau

Away from the resort crowds and cruise ship passengers at Elbow Cay lies small but perfect Tahiti beach. The sand is so soft it flows through your toes, and the water is so clear, you will see all kinds of curious and colourful reef fish as you venture out for a swim.

Tahiti Beach is the quintessential Caribbean paradise you’ve seen in the brochures. Most people come across it by accident while exploring the Abaco Islands by boat – and, for those staying locally, it’s just a ten-minute drive south from Elbow Cay. When you see the road sign, park up and make your way by foot through the coconut palms.

Essentials for a day trip include a packed cooler box – there are no shops nearby – and a snorkel. Stay until sunset and you’re bound to enjoy some alone time by the sea. When you do find it, be sure to keep Tahiti Beach a secret.

Take off to the Bahamas

(Alamy)

5

Girandella, Croatia

Best for: Mediterranean culture and nightlife
Nearest airport: Pula

This fabulous pebble cove with crystal clear water can be found in one of Croatia’s most stunning regions; the heart-shaped peninsula of Istria.

In true Med style, Girandella is ideal for sunbathers hankering for a cooling dip – the water can still feel fresh, even in summer – or action-hungry jet- and water-skiers, while children can splash about safely in the shallows.

July and August are busy, so visit during the shoulder months of May, June or September to be one of the few eager souls on the beach.

Back on the road, inviting white-stone wall hotels sit alongside a string of bars, cafés and restaurants. Local favourite Capitano serves up light seafood lunches, while the Black & Blue steakhouse offers a divine Mediterranean-influenced evening menu. The tagliata prussiana rib eye on rocket with Grana Padano coupled with the Merlot Laguna Festigia is top of the list.

Take off to Croatia


Coastline comforts

These luxury properties are perfectly positioned for maximum beach time, meaning surfing, sun-lounging and sipping cocktails on the sand are all right on the doorstep

Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah, Ras Al Khaimah

Rising from the shore like the most majestic of sandcastles, the Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah offers dramatic views of the Western Hajar mountains on one side and the Persian Gulf on the other. Within, a lavish interior of golden domes, ochre marble and ornate arches makes every guest feel like royalty. Beyond the 346 sumptuous guest suites, activities abound, with tennis, horse-riding and golf available on demand, while two vast swimming pools (one with a swim-up bar) and a 350m private beach stand ready to relax and rejuvenate. A toddler room, cinema and outdoor playground – all at The Pearl Kids’ Club – are gold dust for younger visitors. Foodies will love the nine on-site dining options, which include high tea and shisha at Camelia, Arabic cuisine at Le Diwan and an oyster bar at the Lexington Grill. Kids under six eat free for every adult meal ordered, so there’s no excuse not to sample every delicacy.

Visit Ras Al Khaimah

Nonsuch Bay Resort, Antigua

Rest water-sports-worn limbs in this oasis of Caribbean calm nestled within 40 acres of stunning coastline. Offering spacious plunge pool suites and cosy beachfront cottages ensconced in lush, tropical foliage and with views of the bay’s striking cerulean waters, Nonsuch Bay Resort is a paradise for both energetic and laissez-faire travellers – from couples to families. Kids can learn to sail, wind- or kite surf at the resort’s impressive water sports school, while everyone should make use of the hotel’s complimentary kayaks to explore the two-square-mile bay replete with a collection of coral reefs (which are also ideal for snorkelling). If you’re craving some ‘me time’, escape to one of the three infinity-edge swimming pools, recline beneath the shade of fluttering palm trees on the hotel’s secluded beach or pamper yourself with an in-room spa treatment (try the heated Bamboo Massage for a truly transformative experience).

Visit Nonsuch Bay Resort