The heat is rising in the Middle East, and with a scorching August on the horizon there’s no better time to plan your escape from a 40-degree city. Here are our top five picks for chilled last-minute breaks that will prove a welcome relief from the relentless hot weather – no air con required.
You’d be forgiven for thinking you’re in the Mediterranean, but despite the candy-coloured buildings and surreal '60s-style architecture, Portmeirion is nestled in the cooler climes of North Wales. Accommodation is limited due to the size of the village, but the Hotel Portmeirion offers luxury rooms overlooking the sweeping sandy beaches of the Dwyryd Estuary. Expect a relaxed stay with delicious meals, local shopping, and probably a shower of rain or two. Perfect.
Prices start at Dhs935. Visit portmeirion.wales/stay/accommodation/portmeirion-hotel
Reaching a temperate 30 degrees at the height of August, Lisbon is a sunny choice for those wanting T-shirt weather without the humidity. Stay at the Memmo Principe Real and explore the city’s magnificent gardens, ancient buildings and brilliant food scene. Don’t forget to visit the Museu Coleção Berardo for a contemporary art fix and stop off at the famous Pastis de Belem for a custard tart on your way back to the hotel.
Prices start at Dhs901. Visit memmohotels.com/principereal/memmo-principe-real
Taking the whole family away? These one-to-three bedroom villas come with a private pool and butler service, not to mention an itinerary of family-friendly activities. From rock climbing to painting and sandcastle making, the littles will be kept entertained while you relax in the spa. If you book now they’re offering a 25 per cent saving on accommodation for a four-night stay, or 30 per cent off if you’re staying five nights or more. And before you ask, August is usually no more than 30 degrees which is practically cold, right?
Prices start from Dhs1,156 per night for a Pool Villa. Call +66 76 336 100 or visit phuket.anantara.com
The Balmoral looks like something off the set of Harry Potter with its the imposing Victorian grandeur, and indeed, the wizard himself does have connections with the hotel as JK Rowling penned some of book seven in one of its luxury suites. Hogwarts aside, you’ll find a beautiful spa where you can relax and the central location provides the perfect base for exploring Edinburgh’s charming cobbled streets.
Prices start from Dhs2,193. Visit roccofortehotels.com/hotels-and-resorts/the-balmoral-hotel
Set into the dramatic Norwegian landscape, rooms at The Juvet bring you up close and personal with nature thanks to floor-to-ceiling glass walls exposing the beauty of the area. Experience scenery overload at the nearby breathtaking Fjords, and return for a home-cooked meal and a soak in the fresh mountain-water outdoor hot tub while you recount your day’s adventures. August is the hottest month of the year but it won’t top much more than 22 degrees – bliss!
Photos: Supplied, juvet.com, memmohotels.com and Instagram @thebalmoral @visit_portmeirion