When we're planning trips, i-escape is one of our favourite guides to help us find the most exciting, beautiful and unusual places to stay all around the world.
This week, we were lucky enough to catch up with co-founder Laila Ram who shared her hot tips for the best places to visit in 2016...
I’ve been to Sri Lanka countless times and will never tire of exploring new unspoilt corners of this beautiful country. Brand new in December 2015, my top tip for nature lovers, yogis and anyone looking for a bit of peace and pampering is Tri, on the banks of Koggala Lake. This luxe eco retreat has top-notch yoga facilities, a fantastic spa and a truly stunning setting where monitors wallow in the lake and kingfishers swoop low over the water. It’s tranquil and refreshingly remote yet the beach is only 15 minutes away.
Small yet perfectly formed, Malta is surrounded by sparkling azure seas, pretty coves, sea pools and some of the best dive sites in Europe. On land there are historic spots aplenty to explore, from fortified towns to citadels built by the Knights of St John and spectacular prehistoric sites.
Stay at Valletta Vintage – an amazing townhouse conversion filled with classic furniture and a regularly changing selection of art by local talents. Each of the 3 bedrooms has a private roof terrace with jaw-dropping views across the bay and Fort St Elmos.
The lure of catching a glimpse of the Northern Lights is strong for many and a new wave of flights from London has made the hop to Iceland even easier. What better spot to wait expectantly for a light show than a glass-walled bar overlooking a rugged landscape of moss-covered lava fields, geysers and steaming rivers? Scandi-chic Ion Hotel has just that, as well as a sauna and an outdoor hot pool for soaking muscles tired from glacier hiking, ice climbing and rafting.
The beautiful beaches and clear blue seas of Greece have everlasting appeal, but if you want to escape the busy islands my top tip is the Peloponnese. There’s something for everyone here, from breath-taking gorges filled with pretty spring flowers, pine-backed sands, frescoed chapels, Byzantine cities and the ancient site of Olympia (where the Olympic Games were founded).
Hidden within a beachside olive grove, these pretty stone cottages are just a hop, skip and jump from the clear waters. Meals are a real treat – grilled meats and fish with aromatic herbs served at pretty tables under the olive trees.
New direct BA flights from Gatwick to San Jose start in May this year, meaning this Central American paradise will be reachable in just over 11 hours. Despite being only two-thirds the size of Scotland, a phenomenal amount of diversity is packed into this small area: rainforests, live volcanoes and beautiful stretches of yellow sand.
Nestled amongst all this natural beauty are some wonderfully chic small hotels, including The Harmony Hotel on the Nicoya Peninsula which has a fab 1950s Hawaiian resort feel. I love the modern rooms with their private patios and outdoor showers, the organic food and sunrise yoga on the 6km surf beach.
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The nights are drawing in, the leaves are falling and Christmas songs are starting to play in the stores. For some the magical season has begun, but for others there's only one thing to do: fly away, somewhere hot and sunny, somewhere with beautiful beaches and smiling people, exotic scents and music in the air.