From bed to beach

The top 25 ho­tels be­side the Mediter­ranean

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - DESTINATION EUROPE - TOM CHESSHYRE and BEN CLATWORTHY

1. DOMES NORUZ, CRETE: With a stun­ning golden beach, Domes Noruz is a new adults-only ho­tel with a spa and chic gue­strooms in a range of cat­e­gories, in­clud­ing Ur­ban Re­treat (four-poster beds and pri­vate plunge pools) and Sublime Loft, on two lev­els with an out­door hot tub on a ter­race. It’s close to the pic­turesque and lively town of Cha­nia on Crete’s north­west coast. The spa uses Elemis prod­ucts and has a re­lax­ation room and a juice bar. A per­sonal trainer is on hand for those who want a work­out. Fly to Cha­nia; domes­noruz.com.

2. SKIATHOS PRINCESS, SKIATHOS: The sea laps gen­tly on to the long sandy beach at this tran­quil ho­tel, where a Yo­gafest is held each north­ern sum­mer for a week (this year from July 25 to Au­gust 1). Skiathos Princess is a great place to chill out, with sim­ple but el­e­gantly dec­o­rated gue­strooms and bal­conies look­ing out to sea or the well­main­tained gar­dens. Sun­loungers are pro­vided on the beach and around a lit­tle pool by the restau­rant. Cool off in the Med af­ter a hike along the net­work of trails that weave through this Aegean is­land. Fly to Skiathos; skiathos­princess.com.

3. LICHNOS BEACH HO­TEL, PARGA: On the west coast of main­land Greece, this five-star prop­erty has a long, golden shore with sun­loungers and a great beach bar and bistro with olive trees and sun­shades. The wa­ter of the Io­nian Sea is crys­tal clear and the ho­tel is set in pretty land­scaped gar­dens with a pool on a ter­race. Div­ing and other wa­ter sports are avail­able and there are good hikes nearby. The ho­tel can ar­range boat trips to the is­lands of Paxi and An­tipaxi. Fly to Preveza; lich­nos­beach.gr.

4. PARGA BEACH RE­SORT: Not far from Lichnos, this ho­tel is on the wide sandy beach of Val­tos where the wa­ter is es­pe­cially calm and great for long swims. There are 80 bungalows spread out in the lush gar­den, with swim­ming pools dot­ted about. It’s de­light­fully peace­ful and there are views from the beach of a cas­tle built dur­ing Vene­tian times as well as of the town of Parga, about a 20- minute walk away, with its labyrinthine al­leys, cafes and bars. Fly to Preveza; mas­tho­tels.gr/par­gabeach­ho­tel/en.

5. DANAI BEACH RE­SORT, HALKIDIKI: Pok­ing out be­neath the red and or­ange-hued bluffs of the Sitho­nia penin­sula — the mid­dle of three penin­su­las that make up Halkidiki — the white sands of Danai Beach Re­sort feel tucked away and se­cret. This five-star ho­tel is a mem­ber of Lead­ing Ho­tels of the World, with a rep­u­ta­tion for good ser­vice and ex­cel­lent food. Its main fine-din­ing restau­rant, cu­ri­ously called The Squir­rel, was re­cently named one of the three best in Greece. Gue­strooms are colour­ful and op­u­lent, some with plunge pools. The pri­vate beach is more than 300m long. Fly to Thes­sa­loniki; danaire­sort.com; lhw.com.

6. AMANZOE, PORTO HELI, PELOPONNESE: On the east coast of the Peloponnese, over­look­ing the Aegean and the is­land of Spet­ses, Amanzoe has 38 suites, in­clud­ing eight new ca­banas. These su­per-cool, min­i­mal­ist pads are on a sandy beach and each comes with a pri­vate gar­den, swim­ming pool and great sun­set views. Most of the re­sort is on a hill­top, so the ca­banas (a 10-minute drive away) are par­tic­u­larly peace­ful. The beach club has two pools, a restau­rant and a lit­tle spa. Fly to Athens; amanzoe.com.

7. IKOS OLIVIA, HALKIDIKI: The white-sand beach backs on to 9ha of well-tended grounds dot­ted with an­cient olive trees at this slick, con­tem­po­rary ho­tel, which opened in 2015. It has four swim­ming pools, and a spa that uses Anne Se­monin prod­ucts and has its own pool, sauna and ham­mam. Ac­com­mo­da­tion is in a se­ries of white­washed bungalows. Af­ter a swim in the Gulf of Toro­neos, re­lax on a sun­lounger be­fore din­ing at a Greek, Ital­ian, French or Asian restau­rant. Fly to Thes­sa­loniki; ikos­re­sorts.com.

8. F ZEEN RE­TREAT, KEFALONIA: This su­per-stylish new ho­tel has 28 chic gue­strooms and faces the long sandy beach in the vil­lage of Lour­das in the south of Kefalonia. F Zeen is adults-only and comes with a spa, yoga classes and an over­rid­ing pol­icy pro­mot­ing “bal­ance and health” based on one of the say­ings of Hip­pocrates: “Every­thing in ex­cess is op­posed to na­ture.” Ex­pect infinity pools, pared-down gue­strooms, ter­race daybeds, a welle­quipped gym and wa­ter sports such as kayak­ing. Set in 8ha of cy­press, eu­ca­lyp­tus and pine for­est by the slopes of Mount Aenos. Fly to Kefalonia; fzeen­re­treat.com.

9. DOMES OF ELOUNDA, CRETE: Re­lax on a sun­lounger on the quiet beach, next to grounds thick with an­cient olive trees and well-main­tained lawns that are perfect for pic­nics in the shade. The shel­tered beach at Elounda ben­e­fits from gen­tle, shal­low wa­ter. The ho­tel, pop­u­lar with A-lis­ters such as Brad Pitt, Jen­nifer Anis­ton and Ri­hanna, has su­per-slick gue­strooms with plunge pools, day

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