Travel Picks: Top 10 winter sun escapes

Fri Jan 11, 2013 10:09am EST
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LONDON (Reuters) - Feeling that northern hemisphere chill? Luckily, boutique hotel experts Mr & Mrs Smith have rounded up 10 of the best escapes for winter sun, from Caribbean coastal retreats to beach-blessed beauties in Miami and Mexico. Reuters has not endorsed this list:

1. Surfing: The Modern Honolulu, Honolulu, United States

Serious surfers, or those who like the vibe, should check into designer-den The Modern Honolulu boutique hotel in Hawaii, a hip white haunt near buzzy Waikiki Beach. Set by the marina, it flaunts four bars, a nightclub and the most in-demand restaurant in town (sushi-serving Morimoto Waikiki, headed up by Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto). Many of the 353 bedrooms sport sea views, as well as cute Hawaiian touches such as ukuleles and tropical-print sarongs. Enjoy a local Lomi Lomi massage at the spa, unwind in one of the two gorgeous pools (sunrise- or sunset-facing, your call) or take a surf class on the beach.

2. James Bond: Goldeneye Hotel & Resort, Jamaica, Caribbean

Once the home of James Bond author Ian Fleming, Goldeneye Hotel & Resort in Jamaica offers a combination of romance, hedonism and action worthy of the British spy himself. Fleming penned all 14 of his Bond novels in his house here, now dubbed the Fleming Villa and sleeping up to 10. Set amid banyans and beaches, there are also six one-bed and five two-bed cottages. Flex your muscles walking, mountain-biking or kayaking up to the Field Spa, or work out with guided runs or open-water swims. Afterwards, treetop restaurant Gazebo and shoreside Bizot Bar beckon, with Jamaican-inspired organic dishes and cheeky rum cocktails.

3. Sophistication: King & Grove Tides, Miami, Florida

Languishing on opulent Ocean Drive, 45-room Miami boutique hotel King & Grove Tides radiates old-world tropical glamour as soon as you set foot in the grand art deco entrance. Let your personal assistant guide you to your ocean-view suite or secure you a table at La Marea restaurant, where seafood risotto and luxe lobster celebrate coastal cuisine. If Marilyn Monroe and the Rat Pack were around today, you'd be sure to spy them lounging in the pool cabanas or slugging Miami Mojitos in the lobby bar. You'll also love the Coral Bar, a cream- and gold-hued wateringhole for stylish sips.

4. Jungle-meets-beach jaunts: Cuixmala, Jalisco, Mexico

Set on a sprawling plantation estate fringed by the jungle and beach, Cuixmala boutique hotel in Jalisco is just a few hours' drive from Puerto Vallarta on Mexico's Pacific-hugging west coast. It resembles a magnificent Moorish palace for good reason; once home to British billionaire James Goldsmith (and now run by his daughter), this plush pad has hosted Kissinger, Nixon and Reagan. With just 13 rooms, including nine casitas and four private villas, you'll have plenty of space to roam. Go sailing, saddle up for a horseback jungle trek, admire the wildlife or seek out the beach for snorkeling and sunbathing sessions.   Continued...