Palm pilot: Mozambique
Palm pilot: Mozambique

Beach holidays 2015: from Morocco's Atlantic coast to the Aegean Sea

New flights and resorts are highlighting less obvious choices, says Chris Leadbeater

Chris Leadbeater
Monday 29 December 2014 13:07

Barbados and Antigua will always be reliable suggestions for a Caribbean escape – but 2015 will also be a year for encounters with Tobago ( Virgin Atlantic (0344 209 7777; restores its connection from Gatwick (via St Lucia) to this small but beautiful isle in March – initially once a week, then twice a week from October.

It replaces the current Monarch service, which is ending in the spring. The Tobagan north coast ranks as one of the most glorious stretches of shoreline in the region. It can be admired from Castara Retreats (07841 645 238; on Castara Bay, which is opening four self-catering lodges for 2015. Prices start at £525 for a week.

The Indian Ocean, meanwhile, is well equipped with luxury beach resorts – not least in Mauritius and the Maldives. But soft sand and warm tides can also be found in Mozambique ( – where andBeyond Benguerra Island (00 27 11 809 4300; will reopen in April after a detailed refurbishment. Tucked away in the Bazaruto Archipelago, just off the mainland, this five-star hideaway goes for discretion, fitted with just 13 casitas and suites. Mahlatini (028 9073 6050; can arrange a seven-night stay from £2,730 per person, full board, including flights from Johannesburg to Vilanculos, and boat transfers to the island.

Visitors to Morocco ( in 2015 will have the chance to leave their well-thumbed Marrakech guides at home and look instead to Essaouira. This unshowy city on the country's Atlantic coast has long dealt in sun and seafront, but – thanks to an absence of direct flights – has always been tricky to reach from Britain. That will change in May when easyJet (0330 365 5000; launches a twice-weekly service from Luton. Lawrence of Morocco (01672 500 555; offers breaks at Villa Maroc, an elegant four-star riad hotel in the old town. A three-night stay in May costs from £439 per person, including flights, breakfast and transfers.

Elsewhere, south-western Turkey ( is an increasingly excellent alternative to the Greek Islands, thanks to the rise of Bodrum. This pleasingly unspoiled town will have extra ties to the UK as of April – when British Airways (0844 493 0758; begins flying twice a week from Gatwick. This service should deliver even more guests to the growing number of sophisticated hotels that now shimmer on the northern edge of the Bodrum Peninsula – altering the idea of Turkey as a basic fly-and-flop destination.

A new Mandarin Oriental retreat (00 90 252 311 1888; flung open its doors in July. It comes armed with 10 bars, restaurants and cafés (serving contemporary Japanese cuisine as well as traditional Turkish fare) and a three-level spa. Of course, these finer things do not come cheaply. Double suites start at €445, room only.

Castara Retreat

If it must be Greece (, veer away from the islands and keep to the mainland – where the Halkidiki peninsula basks in a splendid Aegean setting. It will also host an interesting travel experiment in 2015. The all-inclusive package has long been a curse for restaurateurs in coastal hotspots, bottling up diners at resort buffets. But two new hotels in the area – Ikos Oceania (which opens in March) and Ikos Olivia (due in May) (00 30 23 7309 5300; – will offer a version of all-inclusive that thinks of the local economy.

The "Infinite Lifestyle" deal lets guests eat at selected restaurants outside the resort as part of the tariff, while also serving fine fare within the complex (Ikos Olivia can boast Fusco, where dishes have been created by Michelin-starred Italian chef Andrea Fusco). An all-inclusive week's holiday in May at Ikos Olivia costs from £649 per person, with flights and transfers, via Sovereign (0843 770 4526;

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