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Easter eggs are already flooding the supermarket shelves, meaning your four-day holiday must be coming up soon, right? Well, not quite – Easter arrives slightly later than usual this year, but the good news is it's a holiday worth waiting for. In fact, if you're smart about it, you can use this to your advantage and enjoy an 18-day break between 14 April and May Day while using up just nine days of annual leave.
So, where should you go to take advantage of the extended holiday? Here are Portfolio's picks of the most luxurious Easter breaks on offer, for both families and couples alike.
The Westin Resort Costa Navarino, Greece
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Located on a stunning stretch of coastline in an undeveloped part of the Greek Peloponnese, the Westin Resort at Costa Navarino is a great destination for families looking to escape to sunnier climes for their Easter holidays.
New for 2017 is the Scott Dunn Explorers' Kids Club, open throughout the break to keep children from four months to 11-years-old captivated with a wide range of activities.
As well as loads of sports for the younger members of your party to try out, there is also an impressive array of facilities to take advantage of, including heated outdoor and indoor swimming pools, two championship golf courses, a cycling centre, indoor climbing wall, tennis centre and even a go-kart track.
How: Scott Dunn offers seven nights at the Westin Resort Costa Navarino from £1,300 per person, based on a family of four sharing a family suite on a half-board basis and including two Explorers Kids Club places, return flights and private airport transfers. Price based on April 15 departure.
Book at: scottdunn.com or call 0208 682 5040.
Ballynahinch Castle Hotel, Connemara, Ireland
For an Easter foodie break, Ballynahinch Castle Hotel, located among the famous salmon fishery of Connemara in Ireland, offers a variety of unique eating experiences.
The Owenmore restaurant is a bastion of elegant yet unpretentious dining in a stunning location. Drawing on fresh, local ingredients, head chef Pete Durkin and his team make full use of the wealth of fresh fish and game available to produce wonderfully balanced yet creative dishes.
For an added personal touch, if you catch a salmon while out on the river, the hotel will immediately transport your catch to a local smokehouse and smoke it for you to enjoy at home.
Alternatively, if you like to shoot, the hotel team will meet your party halfway through the day and set up a large lunch, complete with hot food and ale.
How: Rates over Easter start from €215 (£186) per room, per night on a bed and breakfast basis.
Book at: ballynahinch-castle.com or call +353 953 1006.
Hotel Camiral, Girona, Spain
Set in the grounds of the scenic 300-hectare PGA Catalunya Resort on the doorstep of Girona and Barcelona, the five-star Hotel Camiral provides the perfect combination of contemporary architecture, striking urban-chic interiors, comfort and luxury.
The hotel has partnered with Girona Food Tours to bring the taste of authentic Catalan life to guests visiting the gastronomically rich region of the Costa Brava, in the north-east of Spain. You can explore the local markets while indulging in everything from inventive contemporary tapas to more traditional local dishes such as esqueixada, a quintessential Catalan dish of salt cod, tomatoes, onions amd olive oil.
How: Rates over Easter start from €250 (£216) per night on a bed and breakfast basis.
Book at: hotelcamiral.com/en or +34 972 472 249.
Six Senses, Oman and Seychelles
Spend a week in the incredible lunar landscapes of Oman and then get your energy back on a castaway island in the Seychelles with this 16-night Six Senses escape.
First stop is the Six Senses Zighy Bay, guarded by the dramatic Hajar Mountains and fringed by private sandy beach on the northern Musandam Peninsula in the Sultanate of Oman. You will even be appointed your very own "sleep ambassador" to help you get the best night's rest possible.
Connecting via Dubai, you then fly to Mahe for an extended nine-night stay at the brand new private island-resort Six Senses Zil Pasyon. One of the Seychelles' most dramatically beautiful and unspoiled islands, the shoreline is fringed by spectacular granite boulders and picture-perfect beaches.
Six Senses' new Integrated Wellness programme includes a personalised plan with spa treatments and fitness activities "based on the preventative principles of the Eastern medicine approach and result-oriented Western influences", it says.
How: Prices start from £11,551 per person based on two adults sharing, travelling from 14 April to 1 May and including flights from London Heathrow with Emirates (London-Dubai-Mahe-London), all transfers, seven nights at Six Senses Zighy Bay and nine nights at Six Senses Zil Pasyon. It also includes Sleep with Six Senses and Integrated Wellness.
Book at: itcluxurytravel.co.uk or call ITC Classics on 01244 355 527.
Jumby Bay, A Rosewood Resort, Antigua
Jumby Bay's authentic Caribbean lifestyle will set you up for an effortlessly luxurious Easter break. Located on a private island a few minutes from Antigua, and only accessible by boat, this Rosewood resort guarantees an Easter holiday far away from the madding crowds.
The Estate House is the signature bar and restaurant, newly reopened after a £4m restoration. It features a "contemporary interpretation of the Colonial spirit", the resort says, with a wide range of classic fare sprinkled with modern flavours that draw on the culinary traditions of the West Indies.
How: Seven nights at Jumby Bay start from £7,799 per person based on two adults sharing a Rondavel room on an all-inclusive basis, including return economy class flights with Virgin Atlantic from London Gatwick and transfers. This price is based on a departure date of 15 April.
Book at: itcluxurytravel.co.uk or call ITC Classics on 01244 355 527.
Villa Primula, Phuket, Thailand
All of Thailand will be playing during Songkran - the Thai New Year Festival. From 13-15 April, the streets of Phuket transform into one massive water fight. Paradise for children - and children-at-heart.
Villa Primula itself sleeps 12 people in six bedrooms and is located on the west coast of Phuket. Presented as a series of pagodas surrounding a garden filled with palms, Villa Primula comes complete with an outdoor dining area, sun beds, an outdoor jacuzzi and swimming pool and ocean-facing spa room, as well as daily housekeeping services, a gardener, private chef and access to a fully-equipped gym and two tennis courts.
How: Prices range from £1,595 to £3,435 per night, depending on the season.
Book at: lecollectionist.com
Paradis Plage Resort, Agadir, Morocco
Active families after a week of beachside bliss need look no further than this three-mile stretch of coast an hour north of Agadir in Morocco. The stylish Paradis Plage Resort offers a home-away-from-home experience, with an outdoor cinema, afternoon family surf classes for those over eight and free kids club, featuring face-painting, beach games and child-friendly yoga. There is also a beachfront yoga shala, spa treatment room and a babysitting service for those keen for a bit of alone time.
How: Seven nights - 14-21 April - from £815 per person based on a family of four sharing a two-bed prestige suite on a bed and breakfast basis, including return flights and private airport transfers.
Book at: thehealthyholidaycompany.co.uk
Owl and the Pussycat Hotel & Restaurant, Galle, Sri Lanka
Set on the south coast of Sri Lanka in the village of Thalpe, near Galle, Owl and the Pussycat has only 17 suites to guarantee a private experience.
It's terrace restaurant, the Runcible Spoon, looks straight out across the ocean, while beautiful craftsmanship from local artisans throughout the resort contributes to the elegant aesthetic and the wonderfully laidback atmosphere.
Guests can visit a nearby market with the chef then taste and make traditional cuisine for lunch with a cookery class. Or they can enjoy a guided cycle through the jungle and paddy fields – where leopards have been seen – or go for secluded beach picnics, whale-watching, turtle-spotting or surfing.
How: From £265 per room per night inclusive of breakfast. The hotel has an offer available from 8-23 April, which includes Easter treats for kids.
Book at: otphotel.com or +94 777 240 077.
Grand Hotel Tremezzo, Italy
Italy's Grand Hotel Tremezzo is regarded as one of the country's leading five-star hotels. This family-run "grand dame" exudes warmth and hospitality, with jewel-coloured "help yourself" jars of sweets, three pools and acres of parkland offering couples and families alike the opportunity to enjoy an authentic taste of la dolce vita.
Making the most of its surroundings, Grand Hotel Tremezzo will this year introduce a host of programmes by land, lake and sky, from exploratory hydroplane flights across the lake to gourmet food trails and "behind-the-scenes" visits to local theatres.
How: From £336, the "Grand Opening Package" includes an overnight stay in a park view prestige room, buffet breakfast at La Terrazza Restaurant, free room upgrade (subject to availability) and early check-in/late check-out.
Book at: grandhoteltremezzo.com or +39 034 442 491.
Memmo Principe Real, Lisbon, Portugal
As the sunniest city in Europe, Lisbon is the ideal getaway as we head into spring. Wander down quaint cobbled streets, popping into art galleries and museums before heading to the Unesco World Heritage Sites of Jeronimos Monastery and the Tower of Belem.
The 41-room Memmo Principe Real is the first five-star boutique hotel set in what is becoming one of the hippest neighbourhoods in Lisbon and it offers panoramic views over cathedral towers and terracotta roofs to the Tagus River below.
How: Rooms cost from £174 per night in low season, including breakfast.
Book at: memmohotels.com
Blue Sky Luxury, Barbados
Blue Sky Luxury offers a selection of 120 of the most iconic and interesting holiday houses in Barbados, one of which, the Gardenia St James, can house up to 12 guests.
Set on the island's west coast overlooking the ocean, the villa is surrounded by three acres of beautifully landscaped gardens and is just ten minutes' drive from the historic towns of Holetown and Speightstown.
Blue Sky Luxury's concierge team can organise the ultimate Easter treat for you, with themed parties incorporating everything from Easter egg hunts, to stiltwalkers, calypso dancers, magicians and more.
How: Summer rates from $20,300 (£16,186) weekly.
Book at: blueskyluxury.com/Barbados or call +1246 622 4466.
Silversea cruise from Dubai to Athens
Rather than settling for one destination, why not spend Easter on the high seas as you journey to some of the world's most exotic destinations. Leaving Dubai, you pass through the Valley of the Kings, explore the highlights of Port Said in a horse-drawn carriage and sail through the legendary Suez Canal.
How: Silversea's Silver Whisper departs Dubai on a 15-day journey to Piraeus, Athens, on 9 April, calling at Muscat, Salalah, Safaga, Aqaba, Sharm el Sheikh, Suez Canal, Port Said and Alexandria before arriving at Piraeus. Fares start from £5,650 based on double occupancy of the vista suite, including butler service in every suite, 24-hour dining, beverages in-suite and throughout the ship, onboard entertainment and lectures, complimentary transportation into town in most ports and more.
Book at: silversea.com or call 0844 251 0837.
La Huerta El Noque, Ronda, Andalucia, Spain
Andalucia is delightful in spring – the temperature is gently warm and the crowds and heat of summer are yet to arrive. Locals celebrate Semana Santa - Holy Week with colourful and often noisy processions.
La Huerta El Noque is a converted farmhouse set in 14 acres of grounds, right outside the beautiful mountaintop city of Ronda. It has seven bedrooms with indoor, outdoor and poolside dining. There's also an extensive library of books and children's toys together with 14 acres of gardens to explore and wonderful views of the Sierra de Grazalema national park.
How: Bookings can be made through Red Savannah at £3,935 per week for up to 12 guests and flights are from £233 per person with easyJet.
Book at: redsavannah.com
Soul & Surf Sri Lanka
Soul & Surf Sri Lanka has moved into its purpose-built 12-bedroom residence on the south coast between Galle and Weligama. Hidden in the jungle, the retreat is merely minutes by tuk tuk to the beach and surf.
Retreats run year round and there is still availability for those wishing to head out for a week of surf and yoga over the key Easter dates, departing on 8, 15 or 22 April.
Group surf lessons are also on offer for children aged between six and 16, with a parent or guardian in the water supervising their child at all times.
How: A seven-night retreat departing on 8, 15 or 22 April costs from £850 per person based on two sharing a room on an all-inclusive basis, with a full surf and yoga programme included. A seven-night retreat based on two adults and one child aged between 2-16 sharing a room is priced at £2,075, with the child participating in surf and yoga activities, or £1,875 if the child doesn't take part in the activities.
Price excludes flights, which start from £592pp with Jet Airways from London Heathrow.
Book at: soulandsurf.com
Thompson Playa Del Carmen, Mexico
With two properties – the main hotel and the Beach House – plus delicious cuisine and new packages designed to introduce vistors to Mexico, Thompson Playa del Carmen is the perfect location this Easter.
Guests can top up their tan on the beautiful rooftop playground, keep refuelled at the casual restaurant Cinco, which offers Mexican-inspired breakfast and lunch by the pool, or dine at Catch restaurant, the first Mexican outpost of New York City's culinary and nightlife hotspot.
Located only a few minutes' walk away from the main property, the Beach House offers a more boutique experience. The relaxing property is hidden from the hustle and bustle of Quinta Avenida, offering guests a calm atmosphere but with the same stunning ocean views.
Thompson Playa del Carmen has introduced two new packages this Easter: experience traditional Mayan healing culture with a two-day wellness package or try the Mayan cooking class package – perfect for foodie enthusiasts.
How: Prices at Thompson Playa Del Carmen Quinta Avenida start at £159 per room per night or £364 per room per night for Thompson Playa Del Carmen Beach House.
Book at: thompsonhotels.com
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