From the elegant calm French Riviera to crazy parties on Ibiza, we have selected the best places in the world to have a holiday at.
Croatia & Montenegro
1. Hotel Bellevue,
Situated near the old town of Dubrovnik on a cliff, the hotel provides every guest with amazing views on the sea and farther. There’s a tiny beach on Miramare Bay nearby that can be accessed by a lift that also gives you a possibility to look at the sea. There’s the Nevera Beach Restaurant nearby, where you can find seafood served in whitewashed man-made coves. You can als have a lantern if you want to take a drink down to the beach to watch the sea at night. The hotel is a chic place with everything you will need, including spa, hot tubs, etc.
Details: B&B doubles are from £220 (adriaticluxuryhotels.com)
2. Aman Sveti Stefan,
Among the star guests of this wonderful place there were Marilyn Monroe, Sophia Loren, Elizabeth Taylor, and Richard Burton. Now it’s conquered by the complex of the 5-star Aman hotel that is situated on the island of Sveti Stefan. You can also find the buildings of this chain in Thailand, Sri Lanka and India. Minimalist, Asia-influenced rooms with shutters and high-tech gadgets are dotted in a series of renovated old buildings accessed by tiny lanes that lead to little courtyards with elegant restaurants and bars. Cocktails and snacks are served at sun loungers by the exquisite sand and pebble beach.
Details: B&B doubles are from €770 (about £600, aman.com)
3. Hotel Lone,
A member of the hip Design Hotels group, this 236-room hotel has a striking, space-age look with a sleek white, curving exterior. On the edge of a cliff in Istria, Hotel Lone has a series of terraces with pools and a spa with saunas and hot tubs. It’s a 50-metre walk to a pebbly/rocky beach with plenty of shaded areas for those who want to keep out of the sun. Rooms are pared down yet comfortable with low-slung beds and modern art. Its sister hotel, the Monte Mulini, is close by, with more traditional furnishings (montemulinihotel.com).
Details: B&B doubles are from £131 (lonehotel.com)
4. Hotel Perrakis,
Windsurfing and scuba diving can be arranged off the quiet sandy beach at this pleasant three-star hotel. Perrakis has elegant rooms with modern art and balconies overlooking the sea. Rates are reasonable and Andros is a charming island to explore, the most northerly of those in the Cyclades, with a partly mountainous interior. Enjoy a sundowner on the decked terrace before trying the fresh seafood in the main restaurant.
Details: Seven nights’ B&B is from £499pp including flights from London or Manchester (islands-of-greece.co.uk)
5. F Zeen,
This small, chic, adults-only hotel is hidden away on a lush hillside, a minute’s walk down a lane to a narrow sandy beach on which F Zeen has a row of sun loungers. There are a couple of pools, a yoga terrace (where classes are held), an outdoor gym and a “wellness hub” offering sports massages and beauty treatments. The 28-room hotel was renovated last year, with five categories of room ranging from smart “classic retreats” to a large, fancy “terrace penthouse”. There’s also an outdoor cinema showing classic films, with home-made popcorn served.
Details: A B&B classic retreat room is from €160 a night or €1,050 for a week; a B&B penthouse is from €1,540 a week (020 7183 5383, uniquekefalonia.com)
6. Santa Marina Resort,
Rooms have recently been renovated at Santa Marina, which is a Luxury Collection Resort run by Starwood Hotels — so expect the very best five-star service (and high prices). Rooms and suites face a slender curve of fine white sand. Many have private plunge pools and all are decorated with a crisp, clean, whitewashed look. Gardens are well-maintained. There’s a spa with a Turkish bath, sauna and massages. The Buddha Bar serves Asian food and cocktails on a deck facing the Cycladic Sea.
Details: Doubles are from €503 (santa-marina.gr)
7. Princess Resort,
Overlooking the turquoise waters of the Aegean and with a secluded sandy beach beyond gardens with wide lawns and beds of bougainvillea, Skiathos Princess is great for those on a budget who are seeking a healthy break. As well as straightforward yoga classes, the hotel arranges “YOGAqua” which involves yoga and paddle-boarding (a fitness trend that began in Los Angeles). A gym and spa are also provided. Standard rooms are quite basic, but good value.
Details: B&B doubles are from £114 (santikoshotels.com/hotel-skiathos-princess)
This family-friendly hotel is another good-value choice, facing the placid waters of the Ionian Sea on the mainly pebbly Agios Ioannis Peristeron beach (there’s a sandy part that’s maintained on a terrace with wooden decking). Many of the rooms have big private balconies and all are in muted tones with the odd splash of colour coming from a lime-green sofa or a ruby-red armchair. Mountain bikes and kayaks are available for hire, and there are freshwater pools and a hot tub.
Details: A week’s half board is from £721pp on June 13, with flights and transfers (0800 2949318, classic-collection.co.uk)
9. Miraggio Thermal Spa Resort,
Opening on a sandy beach on Halkidiki at the end of May, the Miraggio will house a big, swanky spa using thermal water. As well as five heated pools there will be six regular swimming pools, a hamman, thalassotherapy pool, hot tubs and saunas. Watersports will be on offer and the beach will be covered by wi-fi, so guests can order food and drink from the beachside restaurant/bar. Rooms will be smart and minimalist, with terraces or balconies. Introductory rates are available, with 30 per cent off — so get in there quick.
Details: B&B doubles are from £139 as part of a special opening rate, while junior suites with plunge pools are from £270 (00 30 237 402 02 88, miraggio.gr)
10. Ikos Olivia,
Set in 22 acres of landscaped gardens by a long, curving sandy beach, Ikos Olivia comes with fine-dining restaurants serving Greek, French and Mediterranean cuisine; rooms are sold on an all-inclusive basis so it’s easy to try all the restaurants. There are 295 rooms in all, decorated in pale blue, white and soft grey. The many activities include watersports, tennis and mountain biking; there’s also a spa and a kids’ club.
Details: A week’s all-inclusive is from £1,049pp including return flights from Heathrow (kuoni.co.uk)
11. GK Beach Hotel,
This hotel faces a wide sandy beach and is backed by the dramatic (sometimes snowcapped) White Mountains. It’s surrounded by tropical gardens and consists of 23 suites decorated in a simple style in pale blues and white. There is a gorgeous terrace pool and wide lawn leading to the beach. It’s a great hideaway for those hoping to catch up on some reading in a quiet location, although it’s just a ten-minute stroll to the little tavernas, restaurants and labyrinthine lanes of Kalyves.
Details: A week’s B&B in a junior suite is from £950pp with flights and transfers departing on June 7 (020 8003 6557, simpsontravel.com)
12. Ammos Hotel,
Owned by the Tsepetis family for more than 40 years, Ammos has 33 stylish rooms with a retro 1970s look with bold primary colours and geometric patterns mixed with plain white walls, plus plenty of designer chairs. It’s right on a sandy, sheltered bay with calm waters that are perfect for gentle bathing (great for families). Rooms are spacious and there’s a restaurant overlooking the sea serving Cretan specialities.
Details: Doubles are from £118 a night (i-escape.com); easyJet flies to Chania from Gatwick
13. Hotel Santavenere,
The private beach below this hotel overlooking Santavenere Bay is gorgeous, with turquoise waters lapping a thin stretch of sand dotted with boulders (creating plenty of secluded hideaways). The path leading up to the hotel is surrounded by pines and there’s a kidney-bean-shaped seawater pool in the gardens above. There’s also a tennis court, gym and a spa with a sauna, Turkish bath and a hydrotherapy pool. Rooms are elegantly decorated with antiques and a pared-down style.
Details: B&B doubles are from £270 (020 7520 3100, expertoitaly.com)
14. Iberotel Resort,
On the Ionian coast, Iberotel Resort has a long sandy beach with watersports and beach volleyball. It’s well suited to families — as well as four pools (one with slides), there’s a mini club for kids aged 3-12, an adventure playground, and activities for teenagers including cycling, horse riding, five-a-side football and tennis. The hotel has 333 rooms and is all-inclusive. The two restaurants specialise in Italian food, naturally — and all beers, Italian wines and some cocktails are included.
Details: An all-inclusive week in a “superior family room” is from £2,387 for a family of four with two adults and two children aged under 11 (01223 460100, essentialitaly.co.uk, iberotelapulia.com). Fly to Brindisi
15. Hotel La Peschiera,
This white-washed chic hotel with a dozen rooms has a fabulous seafood restaurant with tables on decking overlooking a private sandy beach. Neutral colours and a cool understated elegance prevail, with smart rooms set amid well-kept gardens; some rooms have four-poster beds. There’s a main pool as well as smaller thalassotherapy pools and a spa. It’s about an hour’s drive from Bari airport.
Details: A week’s B&B is from £2,190pp including return flights and car hire (expressionsholidays.co.uk)
16. Praia Art Resort,
Isola di Capo Rizzuto, Calabria
Romantic couples with a sense of adventure will enjoy Praia Art Resort, deep in southern Italy (on the sole of the “foot” of the country). It’s a laid-back place with 13 rooms with modern art, reclaimed-wood walls, terracotta-tile floors and mainly neutral colours brightened by pale pink and tangerine bedcovers. It’s right by a charming beach with a cluster of sun loungers and a couple of hammocks tied between posts by the water’s edge. There’s also a little pool, surrounded by pines, and a well-regarded restaurant serving dishes such as octopus ravioli.
Details: B&B doubles are from €350 (sawdays.co.uk, www.praiaartresort.com)
17. Perdepera Beach Resort,
Perdepera has a lovely sheltered sandy beach on the east coast of Sardinia. It’s in a beautiful setting with dramatic tree-covered mountains rising inland and paths for cycling between foothills thick with bougainvillea. Sailing and windsurfing are offered, with free instruction. Tennis lessons are also available. This is a good choice for families, with kids’ clubs for those aged 1-13, and for other teenagers. Rooms are plain but comfortable and come with terraces.
Details: A week’s full board is from £774pp, with flights, transfers and evening childcare included (markwarner.co.uk)
18. Paradise Resort,
Lu Impostu, Sardinia
Another great pick in Sardinia, the four-star Paradise Resort has its own sandy beach and is a short drive from several others, including those at the hideaway bays of Cala d’Ambra and Cala Brandinchi (nicknamed “Little Tahiti” on account of its particularly white sand and turquoise sea). Rooms are smart if not cutting-edge in design, though all have private balconies or terraces for sitting out to watch sunsets. There’s a pool and a kids’ pool, set in lush gardens.
Details: Half-board doubles are from £275 (expertoitaly.com)
For a chic hideaway in Sicily, with a petite man-made beach overlooking a rocky headland with a calm bay that’s great for swimming, try this little eight-room hotel. Cas’almare has an uncluttered style with simple yet smart rooms with small balconies. It’s on the island of Favignana, off the western coast of Sicily; the perfect place to catch up on your novel reading (or even start your own novel). The buildings were originally fishermen’s cottages. A pleasant restaurant on a terrace with aloe vera plants faces out to sea.
Details: B&B doubles are from £176 (i-escape.com)
20. Cap Rocat,
There’s a funny little private beach by a rock escarpment that leads down to crystal-clear water at Cap Rocat, a former military fortress that’s been converted into a 27-room hip hotel. Courtyards with pools are hidden behind castellated walls and tables covered in white clothes are positioned on terraces leading out from the main restaurant. An extensive selection of massages are offered at the gym, while yoga, Pilates and instruction from a personal trainer are also available. The sumptuous rooms have exposed stone walls.
Details: B&B doubles are from €450 (caprocat.com)
21. Cap Vermell Beach Hotel, Majorca
It’s a few steps down from this lovely small hotel with a dozen simple but arty rooms to the sweep of sand of Canyamel beach. Each room has a private balcony, most with clear views of Canyamel, while the hotel’s hot tub on a sun deck faces the vista, too. The location is superb and the restaurant, named Vintage 1934, is also much-loved, offering specials that include local catches, scallops and lobster in an elegant setting. Room rates are enticing.
Details: B&B doubles are from £62; sea-view rooms are from £98 B&B (capvermellbeachhotel.com)
22. Barceló Formentor,
Agatha Christie, Audrey Hepburn, John Wayne, Charlie Chaplin and Winston Churchill all stayed at this five-star hotel in a 3,000-acre estate on the northeast coast of Majorca on the Cap de Formentor Peninsula (there’s a picture of Churchill in the reception). The beach is just down a hill, partially shaded by trees and with a little jetty for boat trips. The sea water is shallow and calm for swimming, or else relax by the long rectangular pool. Rooms have a bright, airy look with blond wood floors and traditional whitewashed walls.
Details: B&B doubles are from £255 (barceloformentor.com)
23. Hard Rock Hotel,
With internationally renowned DJs performing at the hotel, this one is great for party animals. It’s got a bit of a love-it-or-hate-it reputation — the “world’s largest outdoor LED curved screen . . . broadcasting footage 24/7” may not be for everyone — but the Hard Rock is on a pleasant strip of white sand on Playa d’en Bossa, the island’s longest beach. “Spontaneous dance performances” are arranged and drinks delivered to sun loungers. Rooms have a futuristic, minimalist style. You could also try Hard Rock’s sister hotels in Ibiza — the Grand Palladium Palace Ibiza, the Grand Palladium White Island and Ushuaia Ibiza Beach Hotel — for a less hectic time (palladiumhotelgroup.com).
Details: B&B doubles are from £178 (hrhibiza.com)
24. Hotel le Pinarello,
On a horseshoe-shaped bay, the Pinarello is in a wonderfully peaceful spot yet it’s within walking distance of bars and shops. The white sand beach is only a few steps from the 34-room hotel, which overlooks a sheltered bay. Beach towels and parasols are provided for all guests. Massages and beauty treatments are offered in a spa with a steam room and swimming pool. The restaurant serves Mediterranean seafood, while cocktails can be ordered on the terrace.
Details: A week’s B&B is from £954pp, excluding flights and hire car (01202 703500, justcorsica.co.uk)
25. Cap d’Antibes Beach Hotel
This classic five-star hotel on the edge of Cap d’Antibes has chic designer rooms with modern art and a great little beach with sun loungers, and a beach bar next to a restaurant serving burgers, steaks and grilled fish. There’s another restaurant, Les Pêcheurs, overseen by Nicolas Navarro, with three-course gourmet meals from €125. The public areas are stylish, and there’s a glossy red bar with egg-shaped chairs.
Details: B&B doubles are from about £290 (mrandmrssmith.com, ca-beachhotel.com)
26. La Belle Aurore,
On the waterfront in St Tropez, La Belle Aurore is a remarkably good-value hotel only a short walk from the main sandy beach. It makes a brilliant base with its infinity pool, smart restaurant specialising in food from Provence (prepared by head chef Jérôme Zueras), and tasteful rooms in neutral colours; each room comes with a private balcony or terrace. The hotel can arrange horse riding, golf and tennis.
Details: Doubles are from €170 (£132, chateauxhotels.co.uk, belleaurore.com)
27 Hotel Aéva,
This chic little three-star hotel is suited to couples after a reasonably priced escape by a sandy beach with plenty of nightlife near by. Aéva has a private beach plus a restaurant and a lounge bar where DJs play at weekends. There are 20 simple but smart rooms in the hotel and 21 studios or suites in its sister apparté-hôtel round the corner.
Details: Doubles are from €115 (£89, hotel-aeva.fr)
28. Jumeirah Bodrum Palace,
This extraordinary, OTT hotel is all bling and glitz: crystal chandeliers, marble fountains, mirrored walls and modern art. There’s a Lebanese restaurant, a sushi bar, a poolside bar and shisha lounge. Oh yes, there’s also a rather fabulous secluded sandy beach tucked away beneath a series of terraces with pools. Windsurfing, waterskiing, sailing and fishing trips can be arranged. Watch out though as room rates are eye-wateringly high.
Details: “Premium suite” doubles are from €525 (£406, jumeirah.com). The nearest airport is Bodrum
29. Hillside Beach Club,
It’s all about the (pebbly) beaches at Hillside Beach Club. Main Beach has bars, cafés, watersports and a 315m “water lane” for swimming safely across a bay. Then there is Silent Beach, which is purely for adults and has a mobile phone ban. Finally, Serenity Beach is a 650m walk away — or can be reached by a boat — and is also for adults only with a simple café-restaurant serving light lunches. Rooms are in a modern and minimalist style. There’s also a spa and a kids’ club.
Details: A week’s full board is from £1,214pp in July and August, with Gatwick-Dalaman flights included (britishairways.com)
30. Sianji Well-Being Resort,
As well as having 100 acres of gardens, Sianji comes with a private sandy beach with beach volleyball and watersports. This hotel suits health freaks, with yoga classes, personal fitness instruction in a state-of-the-art gym, tennis and t’ai chi. There are also sports massage treatments, and “raw food detox” and “juice fasting” courses; dietitians are on hand for dietary advice. Rooms are comfortable and decorated in neutral colours, many with balconies overlooking the sea.
Details: Seven nights’ full board is from £1,725pp with flights and transfers (0203 397 8891 healthandfitnesstravel.com)
Prices are the best rates from June to August