After a winter that feels like it’s lasted a good few years, and with longer-haul destinations finally opening up, days spent in bright boltholes are back on the cards. From rose-hued Indian adventures to blue-on-blue Caribbean sea and skies, and multi-coloured Moroccan retreats, Ianthe Butt explores five of the best spring destinations for a vibrant getaway (we can but dream, after all).
The destination: Grand Cayman, The Caribbean
The mood: Sun-drenched shores
Ringed by the aquamarine Caribbean Sea, bathed in golden rays year-round, and fringed by ribboning beaches with swaying parakeet-green palms… as tropical palettes go, Grand Cayman is hard to beat. Beneath the waves, the big blue teems with marine life; an underwater disco of neon corals, shimmering silver horse-eyed jacks, rainbow parrotfish, laid-back turtles and chameleon-like reef squid. Hot-fin it to snorkel at Eden Rock and the Stingray City sandbar, or try scuba diving at Devil’s Grotto.
The colour-pop stay: Peppered with parasols, striped beach towels and retro furniture in golden, ochre and lemon yellow, and set against the gorgeous backdrop of GC’s famed Seven Mile Beach, newbie boutique hotel Palm Heights cannot fail to induce a sunshine state of mind. Head to Coconut Club, the hotel’s beach bar serving rum punch cocktails and Cayman favourite, conch fritters, for a truly Caribbean way to chill.
Learn more at Visit Cayman Islands
The destination: Mérida, Mexico
The mood: Pick‘N’Mix pantone
Despite its nickname La Cuidad Blanco – or ‘the white city’ – the residential streets in creative hub Mérida are liquorice allsorts-bright. Think magenta mansions, grand domes licked in fern-green paint, faded powder puff pink homes with icing-white piping, and violet houses with peeling panelled shutters. As well as chromotherapy strolls, there’s masses of culture to discover as you hop from tucked-away antiques shops to Mayan temples and contemporary art galleries.
The colour-pop stay: Two French-style mansions that have been given a serious glow up by architect Salvador Reyes Rios, Rosas y Xocolate’s bold blush pink walls, flamingo cushions, patterned tiles and bright artwork add up to an atmosphere of unbridled joy. Take a dip in the sparkling courtyard pool, sample balmy sundowners at the lively terrace, then retire to the bedrooms’ al-fresco jacuzzi tubs.
Book rooms through Design Hotels
The destination: Jaipur, India
The mood: No rose-tinted glasses needed
Nicknamed the Pink City (for good reason), Rajasthan’s rose-hued capital seriously delivers when it comes to colourful scenery. The Old City’s streets are lined with historic palaces and forts, all coming in terracotta shades. Don’t miss Hawa Mahal, a five-storey pink and red sandstone riot of Rajput and Mughal architecture, with a showstopping pyramid shape inspired by Hindu god Krishna’s crown, and hundreds of intricate latticed windows.
The colour-pop stay: From its daffodil-yellow and orange facade to it’s pastel-painted walls and crimson-fringed four poster beds, Hotel Narain Niwas Palace is a visual feast. Watch peacocks strutting in the grounds, then head to theatrical Bar Palladio for maximal azure and white surroundings accompanied by killer martinis.
Abercrombie & Kent arrange tailor made trips to Jaipur
The destination: Essaouira, Morocco
The mood: Bright and (sea) breezy
While perhaps not as famous as Marrakech’s souks, the medina in Essaouira – a laid-back coastal city and surf haven on Morocco’s western coast – is just as eye-catching. Wonder at a kaleidoscope of fluttering jewel-coloured carpets, rows of every-colour-under-the-sun babouche slippers, fragrant pyramids of turmeric and baskets of dried roses, before haggling to take your favourites home. Afterwards, stroll by the medina’s blue and white architecture before swooning at the cobalt fishing boats moored at the shoreline.
The colour-pop stay: For a technicoloured rush, make for former merchant’s house turned boutique bolthole Salut Maroc in the old Medina. Berber inspired-prints, psychedelic fabrics and an array of vibrant zellige tiles (think forest greens inspired by Fez’s roofing, and sunburst stripes paying homage to the red city of Al Hamra) wrap bedrooms in dazzling wall-to-wall colour.
Wix Squared arrange tailor made trips to Morocco.
The destination: Lake Bumbunga, South Australia
The mood: Call of the wild
For a shock of candyfloss pink, take a South Australian road trip from Adelaide to Lake Bumbunga, a salt lake which looks like it was dreamt up by Salvador Dalí. Its surreal bubblegum-pink waters take on various blue and white tones over the course of the year depending on saline levels, but they become particularly photogenic during Oz’s autumn months (March-May).
The colour-pop stay: About an hour and a half’s drive outside Adelaide, Mount Lofty House is the ideal spot for immersing yourself in greenery. This heritage hotel in the leafy Adelaide Hills is through-and-through verdant, from its lush interiors to its manicured gardens. Don’t miss dinner at the acclaimed Hardy’s Verandah Restaurant, where the rolling rural views create a calm and comforting, wrapped-in-the-canopy mood.
For more inspo, visit Tourism Australia