All white

Why and where to have a warm white Christmas

“I’m dreaming of a white Christmas, just like the ones I used to know. Where the treetops glisten, and children listen to hear sleigh bells in the snow.” So sang Bing Crosby in the film White Christmas.

But with all due respect to Bing,  the idea of a cold Christmas leaves me, well… cold. Like Crosby I'm dreaming of a white Christmas alright, but the scenario couldn’t be more different. Forget snow: its bone white, flour fine sand I want this year. Sure you may think that you’d love a traditional Christmas but I'm willing to bet that when you’re lying horizontal on a beautiful beach basking in the sun’s rays following a refreshing dip in azure coloured waters, the Queen’s speech, Eastenders omnibus and over-cooked brussel sprouts will begin to lose their festive appeal.

Here are five destinations where you can experience a wonderfully warm, white Christmas...

Cayman Islands
The British Overseas Territory that is the Cayman Islands often gets overlooked sandwiched the way it is between Jamaica and Cuba, like a middle child overshadowed by its louder siblings. A shame really as Cayman is a place of sugar white beaches, crystal clear waters and balmy temperatures. Stunning Seven Mile Beach is the main draw but it would be a shame not to check out Smith Cove’s secluded rocky coves or to swing in a hammock at Rum Point where you can watch wavelets tiptoe up the beach while enjoying a cool Caybrew. Like most things that are worthwhile, reaching the Cayman Islands can be hard work (the only ‘direct’ flight is via Nassau with BA) but the pay- off is pure heaven.

Dubai
For guaranteed sun and sand only a seven hour flight ride away, make for Dubai. The majority of hotels inJumeirah boast their own private beach but if you’re staying in the city, you can still pay to access a beach club for the day. The price usually includes access to the beach and pool, plus a lavish lunch. Alternatively for a couple of quid you can dip at both Jumeirah and Al Mamazar Beach Parks. Facilities at the former include showers, sun-beds, changing rooms, children’s playground areas and four outlets selling heart attack inducing junk food. There’s also 13 grill stands for those seeking that quintessential ‘barbie on the beach’ experience. If you want a slice of pearl white sand to yourself, head for Al Mamzar – the park that most of Dubai forgets as it is on the outskirts of town. This hidden gem is much quieter than its Jumeirah sibling, making it a decent spot to lay your towel for those tired of fellow tourists. The sea is manned by lifeguards and the park also provides changing rooms, chalets to rent and a barbecue area.

South Africa
Cape Town is a dream destination for beach bums being blessed with beautiful beaches. Indulge in a long, leisurely coffee at one of the many cafes at Camps Bay where you can ogle the effortlessly gorgeous, long limbed locals basking in the sunshine. (You won’t see many soaking up the surf as the waters are cold enough to keep even the keenest of swimmers out of the ocean). Another option is to cruise along to Clifton, a stretch of stunning white sand that is divided into four exclusive beaches. But choose your beach carefully; one and two are for the bodies beautiful, while three has a reputation for being a gay haunt and four is for families.

Sri Lanka
The media may focus on the fracas and fighting, but there is so much more to Sri Lanka than civil war and the legacy of the tsunami and anyone making the journey can expect pristine beaches and a welcome as warm as the weather. The entry point to Sri Lanka is its capital – Colombo – but the best beaches lie south. Surfing types should head to Hikkaduwa; Sri Lanka’s top surfing spot. Alternatively push on to Sri Lanka’s most popular beach, Unawatuna. If you’re feeling active take to the water for a spot of snorkelling or scuba diving, otherwise just chill out or stroll along the beachfront that’s free of aggressive hawkers but is home to a hotch potch of stalls selling fishermen’s trousers, bright bikinis and branded Banana Republic and Gap garments at prices so cheap you’ll be buying them in bulk.

Thailand
When it comes to bounty advert beaches, you can’t beat those at Phuket – Thailand’s largest island and favourite beach resort. Your archetypal tropical paradise, ‘the pearl of the Andaman’ attracts some 5.3 million farang (foreigners) annually who flock here to recharge their batteries on Phuket’s Persil white sands. Bored of lying on a beach? Sign up for an elephant excursion, explore the underwater kingdom (Phuket offers some supreme dive sites), take a trip to Phangna Bay which served as a setting for The Man with the Golden Gun starring Roger Moore as the legendary 007 or simply stroll around Phuket town soaking up the history and heritage.