The British Royal family knows a thing or two about carrying on no matter what the weather. Last year, the Queen won the nation’s admiration by standing steadfast, at the age of 86, for four freezing hours as she was escorted along the Thames on a barge as part of her Diamond Jubilee celebrations.
So with dreary forecasts ahead, will the Queen again need to endure wind and rain for a birthday parade this month? Thankfully, no. Although Elizabeth II was born on 21 April, celebrations are always held in late May or early June. The official reason? Because that’s when “good weather is more likely,” according to the website of the British monarchy.
In that spirit, why not stage your own Queen’s Birthday celebrations by escaping chilly Britain and doing it in royal style? Here are three destinations fit for a queen (and your inner prince or princess, too).
Affordable luxury in Malta
Why don’t we hear more about Malta? It’s bang in the middle of the Mediterranean and ringed by clear blue seas and lush beaches (and it’s certainly somewhere that “good weather is more likely”). What’s more, it enjoys the kind of easy-going outdoor life that puts everyday luxuries like exceptional eating, beautiful surroundings and pure relaxation within anyone’s reach.
Malta’s main island is unbeatable for the sporting high-life (think yachting, golf and horse-racing) and for the architectural splendour of its World Heritage listed capital, Valletta. But if your idea of luxury is more island-paradise, then you’ll love the tranquil, lost-in-time setting of Malta’s little island of Gozo (regular ferries connect the main island to Gozo, which boasts the Kempinski Hotel San Lawrenz with its indulgent spa, if you really want to push the boat out).
Your very own castle in Spain
Find your regal side with a stay in one of the many palaces and castles in Spain’s network of paradores. They’re just like luxury hotels, but they’re housed within historic buildings and typically have restaurants fit for a royal feast, too.
With a parador in more than 80 locations across Spain and its Canary Islands, you could even take something of a royal tour. My pick, however, is the Parador de Cardona – a ninth-century fortress near Barcelona. It comes complete with a gothic cloister, medieval dining hall and a tower that’s said to have imprisoned the Duke of Cardona’s daughter when she fell in love with the leader of the Moors. Oh, and suitably magnificent four-poster beds, too.
True nobility in Tenerife
The beautiful island of Tenerife, the largest of the seven Canary Islands, is a favourite retreat for holiday makers from across Europe and has also been the preferred destination for noble men and women since the conquest of the island in 1496.The legendary Hotel Botanico in La Paz is the resting place of choice for visiting dignitaries. One of its penthouses is even named after one of their most famous guests, the King of pop himself, Michael Jackson.
A couple of minutes from the hotel is El Aderno – specialist cake and chocolate makers who have been assigned to put together a selection of their choicest sweet treats for King Juan Carlos when he visits the island.
A couple of minutes in the other direction will bring you to the Botanical Gardens, which were created by Spain’s King Juan Carlos III in 1788 to ‘acclimatise’ exotic plants from the New World en route to Spain. The perfect spot for a royal stroll.
Have you experienced the royal treatment somewhere? We’d love to hear about it! Share your comments below