Hottest Destinations to Beat the Winter Blues: The 2016 Edition

January 4, 2016
Written by: Yasha Wallin

The lower the temperatures drop in winter months, the more we’re thinking about the beach and a couple (or six or seven) pina coladas. Even if it’s a weekend trip, a jaunt to a warmer locale will do wonders. Last year we counted Miami, Tulum, Baha Mar and Maui as the hottest destinations to beat the winter blues, this year we’ve got four new favorites. Check them out below and see you in the sun.

Hallandale, FL

Just a hop skip and a jump from South Beach, Hallandale is quickly becoming a go-to destination for foodies, nightlife aficionados, and beach lovers.

The Redbury South Beach is just a short ride away offering all the amenities: a rooftop pool, plush designer rooms, and plenty of amazing mixed cocktails courtesy of Chef Danny Elmaleh’s Cleo.

There’s something for every inclination at the new Hyde Beach Kitchen + Cocktails Hallandale. The fish shack and raw bar hits the spot for seafood lovers, there are eclectic dinner dishes like ahi tuna pistachio salmoriglio or the truffled honey fried chicken, and the bottomless rose brunch will make you forget all about winter.

On a good day, you can fit in a few happy hour mojitos, hammock time, a dip in the always temperate Florida ocean, and relaxing at the soon-to-be-opened Ciel spa. We highly recommend all of the above.


Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Brazil’s second largest city is always warm, and the people even warmer. It’s fantastic for every interest whether you’re a culture, beach, or night life-lover.

Splurge at the impossibly chic Copacabana Palace. You’ll feel like you stepped back in time to an era of the old, grand hotels. Plus, the proximity to the ocean—just outside your door—can’t be beaten.

You can’t leave Rio without eating an Acai bowl, which can be found at every corner juice bar. For dinner, check out CT Boucherie, a cozy family-style concept, heavy on the meat, but also surprisingly perfect for veggie lovers.

Start with plenty of beach time, then get some culture in by visiting the incredible Instituto Moreira Salles, or checking one of the iconic buildings by country’s revered architect Oscar Niemeyer. And of course, take a trip to Sugar Loaf, where views of the city in all of it’s glory are unparalleled.


Image via CNN Traveler

Essaouira, Morocco

Jimi Hendrix put this Moroccan coastal area on the map for its bohemian vibe, sprawling beaches and affordable lifestyle. Today, it’s becoming the go-to spot for East Coasters to go on a cheap winter getaway for surf, year-round sun, and exotic day life.

In Morocco, you get so much bang for your buck with incredible accommodation. One example of this is Dar Maya, a boutique hotel that feels like home, with a rooftop hot tub and traditional hammam to boot.

Not only can you taste all the flavors of Morocco at l’Atelier Madada but in this former almond warehouse you can also learn to cook dishes and pastries like a local at one of their many workshops.

This is a perfect place for winter surfing. After, check out the Medina, a Unesco World Heritage site and a labyrinth of shops. Then, do like the locals, and visit one of the many Hammams for a spa experience of a lifetime.


Havana, Cuba

Every off the beaten path traveler has Cuba on the mind now that it’s become easier for Americans to travel there. But in 2016, you’ll still feel like you’re discovering the undiscovered and with temperatures in the perfect 80’s most of the winter.

Remember when Jay Z and Beyonce visited Cuba? Of course you do, they created a media frenzy! They stayed in Havana’s most lux hotel, Hotel Saratoga, with a sprawling rooftop pool just steps away from many major sights.

At Restaurante Mangle Rojo you’ll find plenty of Cuban classics like hearty ham and cheese sandwiches, beef carpaccio, heavenly french fries. You’ll also eat some of the best pizza in the country here.

There’s so much to do in Havana from museums to the theater, but one of the best activities is just getting lost walking around the city streets. Declared a Unesco World Heritage site, the city is beautiful with its Spanish Colonial style architecture, 1950s cars, and much more.