If Rio’s dramatic scenery is making you crave an exotic escape, consider Costa Rica. Here, you can combine a chilled-out beach break with rainforest hikes, animal-watching and river-tubing. Just because Costa Rica walks on the wild side, this doesn’t mean it scrimps on luxury. In fact, if it’s five-star surroundings you’re looking for, Riu Guanacaste should be next on your list.
Tucked just behind the sugary sands of Playa de Matapalo, this hotel lives by the ‘bigger is better’ motto. With over 700 rooms, five first-class restaurants and four well-stocked bars, it’ll leave you spoilt for choice. Take your pick from Italian, Japanese and Chinese cuisines, or head to the help-yourself restaurant for themed buffet evenings. Once you’ve filled up on protein and carbs, it’s time to try out the wide range of activities. You can play tennis, volleyball and ping pong, or head to the beach for windsurfing and kayaking.
If your kids daydream about becoming the next Tom Daley or Jessica Ennis-Hill, you’ll need a hotel with endless activities to keep them busy. On the Caribbean Coast of Mexico, Riu Yucatan is a great option for families. The RiuLand Kids’ Club puts on games, activities and discos every day for little ones. There are plenty of sports for big kids, too, with beach volleyball, bodyboarding and snorkelling all on offer. You could also take a course in scuba diving, if you pay a little extra. Water babies, meanwhile, can play in their very own splash pool, which comes complete with shark slides and a toadstool shower.
Even athletes need a rest sometimes, and the Renova Spa is the perfect place to relax your muscles. Soak in the whirlpool bath, book a hot stone massage, or rehydrate with an aloe vera body wrap. In the evenings, you can stretch your stomach muscles, too – fill up in the steakhouse, the Italian place or the Asian restaurant.
The shores of Rio are a whopping 12-hour flight away from the UK. If that’s just a little too far for you, why not try the Hotel Riu Nautilus? This stylish hotel is right by the sea on Spain’s Costa del Sol, meaning you’ll have less time in the air and more time on the beach. It’s an adults-only number, too, so you can make the most of an inflatable-free pool and child-free restaurants.
The Hotel Riu Nautilus is definitely geared more towards spectators than competitors. Relaxation is the order of the day here, thanks to a luxury spa, gourmet dining and plush bedrooms. But if you get the urge to explore, Aquapark Torremolinos is just down the road. The largest waterpark on the Costa del Sol, this place is packed with twisting slides and wild rides. Meanwhile, dressage fans should check out El Ranchito Equestrian Centre. Every Wednesday, horses and their riders wow crowds with equestrian ballet and Spanish dressage, and the whole evening is rounded off with a traditional dinner and a flamenco show.
Check out Usain Bolt’s stomping ground with a holiday to the laid-back land of Jamaica. Whilst you might not be able to run 100 metres in 9.58 seconds, you can definitely stroll along a stretch of white sand when you stay at Riu Montego Bay. With a beach on the doorstep, sweeping sea views and tropical gardens, this is the perfect place to experience Jamaica’s chilled-out vibe.
As you’d expect, the balmy temperatures of the Caribbean Sea make it great for watersports. Windsurfing, sailing and kayaking are all included at Riu Montego Bay, as well as scuba diving lessons. There’s a pair of large pools for Adam Peaty wannabes, while Andy Murray fans can perfect their backhand on the tennis courts. Keep practising, and you’ll be ready for Tokyo 2020 in no time.
A beachfront setting, a big swimming pool and plenty of food choices – the Riu Montego Bay proves its worth as a Jamaican retreat.
A beachfront setting, a big swimming pool and plenty of food choices – Hotel Riu Nautilus proves its worth as a Jamaican retreat.
Located on the gloriously unspoiled Matapalo Beach, Riu Guanacaste is a five-star beauty that feels like your own private paradise.
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