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Euro Zone: The Hottest Summer Breaks in France, Greece & Spain

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Greece Photo by Jonathan Gallegos on Unsplash

Euro Zone: The Hottest Summer Breaks in France, Greece & Spain

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Your ultimate guide on where to stay on your European escapade...

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The hottest summer breaks in Europe, from island hopping in Greece to château sitting in France and drawn-out Spanish siestas. Edited by Daisy Finer.

With travel expected to open up to all three of these European hot spots as early as next week, it’s not too late to book your summer break of dreams for 2020. Contact hotels for individual reopening plans and travel guidelines.

The Best Summer Breaks in France, Greece & Spain

 

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  • Greece Photo by Jonathan Gallegos on Unsplash

    Summer Breaks: GREECE

     

    The C&TH Guide To The Greek Islands

     

    Photo: Oia, Santorini by Jonathan Gallegos on Unsplash
  • Danai Beach Resort

    Danai Beach Resort, Halkidiki

    Greek culture is all about generosity and conviviality, and this little Aegean beauty embodies this from the moment you check in until the final ‘yassou’. It’s no surprise that the resort, on the northern peninsula of Halkidiki, is a family affair. Originally built as a modest family home, it’s slowly expanded year on year – a true labour of love – to become the 64 suite, six-villa paradise it is today. Sprawling views, a private beach, award-winning wine cellar, and a cobbled lane of boutique shops make Danai feel like its own little village, neatly perched on the Aegean sea. Cliffside fine dining at Squirrel (voted number one restaurant in Greece) maintains the warm and jovial hospitality felt throughout Danai, but for a big fat Greek knees-up, dine al fresco at Bachtses. The tables are there to be danced on as much as they are to be eaten off of – don’t worry, everyone does it. If you fancy a day trip, the resort’s very own 82ft yacht is the perfect way to explore the Sithonia peninsula in style – not that you’ll ever want to leave.

    BOOK IT: danairesort.com

  • Marpunta Resort

    Marpunta Resort, Santikos Collection, Alonissos

    Jagged cliff edges meet crystal-clear, deep blue waters and views out to Skopelos. Opt for rooms with a sea view from the cliffs, or the private villa. A glorious private beach lures guests away from the Aegean vistas, with white pebbles sloping into a turquoise sea and a large protruding rock piercing the cove (good to aim for when swimming or paddle boarding). Overlooking this heavenly seclusion is a vast pool flanked by a cocktail bar and restaurant Achinos. The menu here is an artful blend of Mediterranean tradition and modern culinary gusto, sophisticatedly presented but bursting with rustic flavour. Pair the fresh seafood with the Santikos family’s own wine, Moschato. Those seeking to take the edge off this Greek hedonism can choose from an abundance of yoga and fitness classes or hike the island’s fragrant hills and olive groves with a guide, weaving up through pine-clad forests to the Old Town. The hotel recently opened an outdoor cinema on the waterfront, beautifully projected against its old stone patio and helipad. It’s right out of a ’70s Bond film, with themed evenings, from classics to sci-fi.

    BOOK IT: olympicholidays.com

  • Elivi Hotel

    Elivi Hotel, Skiathos

    Skiathos is the largest island in the Sporades, its eponymous capital a maze of bright white streets sloping down to a busy port. Twelve miles away, a modernist update of the local cubic whitewashed architecture sits deep in a pine forest on the peninsula’s shoreline. Up on a hill overlooking the indigo blue sea, guests breakfast on a limestone terrace and the hotel rooms beneath step out into a shared lap pool. In a quiet bay nearby, guests doze on cream linen daybeds. A five-minute buggy ride away, a nook of villas and a pool with a lifeguard sit behind a beach where local families build sandcastles. There’s also a naturist enclave, enjoyed by evenly-tanned northern Europeans. Nearby, protected wetland Lake Strofylia is home to black swans that stray onto the beach during the day and emerge in fowl-themed art around the hotel. Olive and almond trees surround its three restaurants, candlelight flickering over garlicky baked fish, tuna sashimi or Japanese teriyaki beef. In the Elemis spa, treatments use organic ingredients – a lime salt and ginger scrub is followed by a pine, sea fennel and rosemary mask. An Elysian paradise: summer breaks don’t come better than this.

    BOOK IT: elivihotels.com; quintessentiallytravel.com

     

  • Santa Marina Oasis pool lounge

    Santa Marina Resort & Villas, Mykonos

    Whether you’re looking for a chic grown-up getaway or a luxe escape with the kids in tow, the perfectly polished and white- kaftan-clad Mykonos jet set flock to Santa Marina for an annual sun-worshipping retreat. Located on a secluded peninsula 3km from bustling Mykonos town, it’s the only resort on the island with its own private beach. There’s also a glorious seawater infinity pool, a family-friendly pool (right by the bar so you can snack while the kids splash) and the island’s biggest, most luxurious spa. Nine suites among the 101 rooms have picturesque private pools, plus there are family-sized villas if you want a more intimate escape. Check out the old town of Hora, which is the perfect place for early evening meandering (so long as you don’t mind a lot of foot traffic in peak season). And if you have time take a day trip to Delos, it’s well worth a visit by boat, home to one of the major religious centres of the ancient world. Back at Santa Marina you’ll find the Colonial bar and restaurant serving fresh local flavours and the world’s first Buddha-Bar Beach, which is ideal for vermilion-sky, sea-view sundowners.

    BOOK IT: santa-marina.gr

  • Villa-Apasa

    Ultima Corfu

    Bridging the gap between a five-star luxury hotel and a private home, this seven-suite private villa sleeps 14 and offers complete privacy and luxury services, with an unbeatable setting overlooking the Adriatic sea. A glass lift connects the house to the waterfront terrace with breathtaking 180 degree views of the Greek and Albanian coast, where terraces for sunbathing and relaxing, complete with sun loungers and parasols, have been carved out of the rock. There’s also a panoramic two-level infinity pool, connected by a waterfall feature, a spa, a cinema, and even a private 78ft yacht. Ultima Collection’s signature services, such as concierge, a chauffeur, a private chef, housekeeping and more, all work to give guests the sense of a private home and maintain the atmosphere of total luxury.

    BOOK IT: ultimacorfu.com

  • Ikos Aria

    Ikos Aria, Kos

    This island has finally shrugged off its reputation as the place for partygoers and water park enthusiasts in favour of a more refined holiday. The brand spanking new Ikos Aria is helping put Kos back on the map for luxury jetsetters and those seeking special summer breaks with a sprawling beachfront property that beautifully combines contemporary style, traditional hospitality and spectacular views out to the glittering Aegean. And they’re redefining ‘all inclusive’ too, with restaurants curated by Michelin-starred chefs, over 300 wines to enjoy, and – most astonishingly – the option to dine out at the island’s best eateries at no extra cost (make sure to head to ALI for proper local cuisine). That’s the real game changer: being encouraged to get out and explore rather than hide anonymously away – much helped by the hotel’s fleet of Minis, perfect for a trip to nearby wineries or Kos Town for artisan shops and views of Bodrum so clear you can see the houses. Of course, that’s if you can drag yourself away from the miles of manicured beach, Anne Semonin spa, private pools and huge variety of activities on offer; with diving lessons, pedalos, water polo and windsurfing all available daily (again, all included). You find yourself wondering how they do it all for such a reasonable price, but then you’ll sip on your umpteenth cocktail, order a Greek salad to your sunbed, take a breath and remember to just lap it all up while you can.

    BOOK IT: sovereign.com

  • France Lavender Photo by Léonard Cotte on Unsplash

    Summer Breaks: FRANCE

     

    The Ultimate Paris Guide

     

    Photo: Drôme, France by Léonard Cotte on Unsplash

  • Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc

    Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc

    Hidden away on the southern-most tip of the Cap d’Antibes, the Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc has been the stuff of legend for 150 years, and remains the most glamorous place to stay on the French Riviera. Illustrious past patrons have included the likes of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Pablo Picasso, Cary Grant and Elizabeth Taylor, while its iconic rock-face pool is immortalised in the sun-soaked photographs of Slim Aarons. Upon its re-opening, guests are free to pursue the usual array of activities, including water-sports, tennis and outdoor spa treatments, or simply choose to enjoy a chilled glass of champagne by the pool or at the Eden Rock Grill. The hotel’s private seaside cabanas – part of the mythical Riviera experience since the 1930s – can also be booked for visitors to experience private, peaceful al fresco lunches while taking in the stunning, uninterrupted views over the Mediterranean.

    BOOK IT: Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc re-opens for the summer season on 1st July 2020 and rates will start from €650 per night (currently approx. £587) per night in an entry-level Tradition Room, B&B. oetkercollection.com

  • Crillon Le Brave hotel avril 2018 ┬®Yann Deret-6923

    Hôtel Crillon Le Brave, Provence

    Perched on a ridge above a valley of vineyards, this boutique hotel looks towards Mont Ventoux – the toughest leg of the Tour de France. Its intimidating climb and terrifying descent is the subject of much debate among Lycra-clad bikers while they load up on pain au chocolat. The limestone buildings that once housed a 17th-century school, town hall and artist’s studio are now en suite rooms with roll-top baths, Bamford shampoo and cream linen sofas arranged on flagstone floors. The hotel’s spa is housed in a centuries-old, stone ex-stable. Quiet streets easily conjure the farmers who once led their horses into the vaulted stables where guests now gather for evening drinks. Restaurant La Madeleine takes flavours from Provence and the chef’s native Brittany; the waiter’s peregrination around the vast cheese selection becomes a soliloquy worthy of Racine. By day, guests read Le Monde Weekend by the pool, the mountain soaring above with a snow-topped peak even in summer. Now part of a small, family-run hotel collection called Maisons Pariente – worth keeping an eye on.

    BOOK IT: crillonlebrave.com

  • La BASTIDE de GORDES

    Airelles Gordes, La Bastide, Vaucluse

    Perched atop 12th-century fortifications on the edge of the hilltop village of Gordes is La Bastide de Gordes, a spa hotel with sweeping views of the Luberon valley and mountains. Arranged over ten floors, it is home to 40 rooms and suites, a Sisley spa, four swimming pools and five restaurants, including Clover Gordes, from acclaimed chef Jean-François Piège. The 1,600sq/m spa, with church abbey-inspired architecture and vaulted corridors, immediately imparts a sense of calm. The staggered hillside setting means that for once the spa isn’t banished to the basement; instead, the treatment rooms benefit from natural light with sun-dappled private terraces for open air massages beneath ancient olive trees. The spa also houses a sauna, sensory showers, a compact gym and an indoor pool, which is open at one end to the Luberon valley. The highlight of this hotel has to be the outdoor pool edged with loungers, a perfect spot for taking in the unparalleled views. Classified as one of the prettiest villages in France, Gordes itself is a charming village with cobbled streets lined with shops selling the region’s famed lavender honey.

    BOOK ITairelles.com

  • spain Photo by Drew Graham on Unsplash

    Summer Breaks: SPAIN

     

    The Weekender: Madrid

     

    Photo: Marbella by Drew Graham on Unsplash

  • Little House Barcelona

    Little Beach House Barcelona

    Last year, the Soho House group revamped a 1950s building in Garraf, an old fishing village an hour’s drive from the centre of Barcelona. The result is Little Beach House Barcelona: a charming beachfront hotel, complete with 17 bedrooms, a restaurant, bar and rooftop terrace. In keeping with the traditional casetes (beachside huts) lining Garraf beach, the hotel’s façade has green and white stucco walls – and a retro feel runs throughout. Bedrooms feature red and white triangle-patterned tiled flooring and tapestry wall hangings by artist Maryanne Moodie, some facing the sea, others with outdoor bathtubs and views of the Garraf hills. The restaurant also features 50s-inspired interiors – think vintage sofas, green terrazzo tiled flooring and a fluted timber bar – alongside a fresh Mediterranean menu, featuring seafood, paella, pizzas and tapas.

    BOOK IT: littlebeachhousebarcelona.com

  • Atzaro LLevant 17

    Atzaró, Ibiza

    Summer breaks don’t come any fresher: Ibiza, jasmine and lemons, bright skies and a breeze, random roaming chickens, a veg patch with twists of artichoke, indoor fires, white beams, white walls. This is a family-run finca with its roots in nature. The food is wholesome excellence and based on a farm-to-fork philosophy. Expect treats such as Iberian ham and homemade croquettes, roasted pumpkin salad, suckling pig and excellent burgers and chips, done as they should be. There’s a chic, Asian-style spa with outdoor double daybeds, yoga classes, a gym, hammam and cool outdoor modern sauna pod. Treatments draw on Ayurvedic, Balinese and Thai traditions – therapists work intuitively. Bedrooms are simple comfort and there’s a groovy beach club, a sister restaurant 20 minutes away and even a dance floor (many weddings happen here). For extra privacy stay in the adjacent villa with its own pool, perfect for larger groups. The little on-site boutique shop supplies nearly every wish, so you don’t need to leave the premises. All you have to do enjoy yourself. Which isn’t hard. This is an intimate under-the-radar find with all the bells and whistles usually found only at much bigger, splashier resorts.

    BOOK IT: From £149. atzaro.com

  • Son Brull

    Son Brull, Mallorca

    The scent of oranges is all it takes to win you over. Situated in the northern part of Mallorca near Pollença, Son Brull is a former monastery dating back to the 12th century. The hotel is the perfect rural sanctuary: cobbled stone courtyards, massive grand doors and an ancient, majestic olive oil press in Restaurant 365. A newly-built spa comes complete with wood and stone and pays homage to the original architecture. Dark colours and contemporary furniture ground guests in timelessness and peaceful silence. Orange groves on the property inspire the spa’s particular focus on getting back to nature and reconnecting with the earth. Three treatment rooms, set in the palatial garden that’s surrounded with the scent of local flowers and herbs, overlook the beautiful countryside and hills of northern Mallorca. Give yourself over to one of their seasonal therapies, such as The Spring Ritual, which utilises prickly pear and the essence of its flower to rejuvenate through a scrub, body mask, facial treatment and stretching massage.

    BOOK IT: sovereign.com

  • Hacienda de san Rafael

    Hacienda De San Rafael, Andalusia

    Mustard yellow earth, shuttered windows, a bougainvillea-filled courtyard, private verandas, hushed gardens. Beg and borrow to get here, San Rafael will steal your heart. This is one of Spain’s secret gems for summer breaks. The non-hotel hotel and the stuff summer breaks are made of. Discreet, handsome, run and loved by the family who live here. You can walk around barefoot, listen to the birds waking up, snooze on a sunbed next to one of three glimmering swimming pools, pluck an orange from a tree or read a book next to the fireplace in the sitting room. There are just 14 rooms, all of them super-pretty, and beds come with electric blankets for colder nights. A villa for families is in the making and is sure to be a hit for those seeking even more privacy. If you can stir yourself, visit Seville, Jerez and Cadiz; go horseriding, enjoy cooking lessons, explore the region. But it really is tough leaving the place. There’s a mass of lovely nooks to loll in and the staff will do anything to please. Lunch will warrant a long afternoon siesta: huge house salads, Manchego, fried squid, spot-on guacamole, Spanish omelettes. They make excellent puddings and even children will love the vegetables. Put it on your list.

    BOOK IT: haciendadesanrafael.com

 

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