If you want a good travel deal to beat the post-Christmas blues, head for the Indian Ocean, where it's dry season now, and the diving is sublime. Oliver Bennett reports
In winter, you won’t find great deals in the standard winter sun destinations, but there is a distinct possibility of getting skiing at prices below the hotspots of winter holiday and half-term, and a great chance of discounted wintry trips to sparking if cold European cities (pre-carnival Venice is a photographer’s dream, for example).
Then there’s the high50 favourite: the possibility of grabbing shoulder season rays in a plush tropical destination such as the Maldives.
In this archipelago in the Indian Ocean, you’ll find oodles of islands, lashings of sun and, in January, will be in the dry season, enjoying temperatures of about 30 degrees (as well as few downpours).
Go now, and you’ll have your fill of Vitamin D and more of the beach to yourself – though, to be fair, finding spare beach in the Maldives isn’t difficult. And the diving is good at this time: a real pull factor here.
One of the best Maldives’ resorts is the Naladhu boutique hotel in the South Male Atoll, which has 19 beach houses situated between a lagoon and the sea. You’’ll eat delights such as red snapper with macadamia-nut crust and Tiger prawns with goat’s cheese ravioli and asparagus, and sit and watch the equatorial sun sink into the horizon by the light of candles and fire torches.
Every room has a private pool, a semi-outdoor bath for those moments that were precluded by the UK’s weather, and days can be spent lazily snorkelling or swimming.