If I didn’t have a house renovation happening (aka “the money pit”) and a baby about to emerge, then I would one hundred percent be going on holiday right this very minute. You know when you get to the end of your tether and the only thing you want to do is run away and hide on a beach for a week? That is happening, to me, right now. But the house thing: it’s a pain. Also, at thirty-eight weeks pregnant I don’t think I’m even allowed on a plane. Am I? Surely not – I’d need an extra seat!
Anyway, as I was saying: were I not pregnant, with a half-demolished house, living in a criminally overpriced short-term holiday let with a mountain of work to get done, I would definitely be escaping. Fantasy holidays coming right up – feel free to book them and then smugly report back to me with all of the juicy details. I promise I won’t hate you. Much.
1) Aenaon Villas, Santorini. Current weather conditions: approx 26C. The perfect compromise between hotel-staying and villa-renting. There are just a few villas (totally luxurious) set over various levels and terraces so that each one is very private. There’s a beautiful infinity pool, the views are stupendous and the breakfasts, brought to your outside (or inside) dining table, are what can only be described as epic. There’s no bar or restaurant here, but if you want a cocktail, a glass of wine or a tasty light lunch then all are provided on a kind of casual, “pretend you’re staying with relatives” basis. There are also self-catering facilities.
Take a look here for more details – the villa at the very top of the resort is incredible, with its own private plunge-pool. Santorini is so easy to get to – you can fly direct and then just grab a taxi at the airport. Mr AMR and I always said we’d go back for a long weekend, but I can’t see that happening for a while!
2) Poggio Piglia, Siena, Italy. Current weather? 25C, ish. For the quick weekend away somewhere sunny and easy, a jet across to Tuscany is ideal. You can find cheap flights to Pisa and it’s not too much of a drive from there to the beautiful Poggio Piglia hotel, an imposing stone fortress surrounded by beautiful vineyards. There’s a pool to lie beside, an excellent restaurant to eat in and the famous Montepulciano to visit when you’re sick of doing nothing. (Never.) I reviewed this hotel as a secret spy – you can read my review and find booking details here. Rooms start at about £150 per night.
3) Polzeath, Cornwall. Current weather? Who ever knows?! When you stay in good old GB, you have to take the rough with the smooth when it comes to climate. But if you’re right on the beach in somewhere as beautiful as Cornwall then it almost doesn’t matter whether you’re doing cliff-top walks in the drizzle or lying prone on the hot sand. A true British Holiday is one that requires all of your outerwear and footwear to be crammed into the boot so that any eventuality is covered and being able to cram your car full and just set off is one of the true joys of the “staycation”. Luxury house rental company PerfectStays have a new property on Polzeath beach; Rainer Rocks sleeps 8, is dog friendly and has a great outdoor terrace as well as being just minutes from the sea. Find out more, pore over the gallery photos and see availability here. If there were eight of you, this would be an incredibly good value (yet luxurious!) holiday.
4) I was undecided as to whether I should recommend this fourth place because I have a feeling that it would be far too hot for most people. And, unless you are an actual royal, it’s probably too expensive. But I think that it’s possibly one of the best places I’ve ever been and so as far as fantasy hols go, it’s in. The Al Maha Desert Resort with its individual tented villas (each has its own infinity pool) is set within the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve. You feel as though you’re as far from everything as you can possibly be. Food is exemplary, service is seamless and discreet – it’s the kind of place you’d go if you were a celebrity and had just undergone some weird, dramatic facial transformation. The only things that would see you would be the camels humpling past on the horizon. Villas here start at around five million pounds a night, but if you can afford it, or you’re planning a honeymoon and asking people to chip in, then try and do a couple of nights here. I stayed when I was doing a fashion shoot with a magazine about ten or more years ago and I still remember every little detail. Take a look at the website here.