We round up Europe’s finest for some R&R

Food and Travel (UK) - - Contents -

CARESSE RE­SORT & SPA TURKEY

Whether you close your eyes and lis­ten to the Aegean waves lap­ping the sand, or keep them open and soak up views of the is­lands in the bay, you’re guar­an­teed a re­lax­ing time on this five-star ho­tel’s pri­vate beach. A cor­doned off swim­ming area, ter­ra­cotta-coloured sunbeds and straw para­sols all con­trib­ute to your com­fort, while La Plage Restau­rant is a stylish haven of wicker and wooden de­tails, where plates of mouth­wa­ter­ing meze are served through­out the day. Although it has only been open for two sum­mers, Caresse has quickly be­come one of the pre-em­i­nent ho­tels on the Bo­drum Penin­sula. Its 77 rooms com­bine mid-cen­tury fur­ni­ture with a marine pal­ette and most have bal­conies with sea views. Dou­bles from £345. caresse.com

ST NI­CO­LAS BAY RE­SORT CRETE

Famed for its crys­talline wa­ter, the Gulf of Mirabello is ideal for scuba div­ing; if you can tear your­self away from the beach, that is. Space is rather lim­ited on this pri­vate stretch, so there are never more than two rows of beds, mak­ing sun-wor­ship­ing as peace­ful as pos­si­ble. Whether you choose the pocket-sized sandy cove or one of the long ledges of the smooth rock, pretty land­scaped gar­dens with multi-tiered swim­ming pools pro­vide the back­drop. Tuck into sushi and so­phis­ti­cated cock­tails at The Blue Bay Restau­rant and don’t miss the thrice-weekly open-air cin­ema nights. Ac­com­mo­da­tion in­cludes vil­las, suites and stan­dard dou­bles, all gen­er­ous in size and lux­u­ri­ously fur­nished. Dou­bles from £362. stni­co­las­bay.gr

CAP D’ANTIBES BEACH HO­TEL FRANCE

Sand as fine as sugar, turquoise wa­ter and gen­tle breezes blow­ing off the Estérel moun­tains make Les Pêcheurs a fab­u­lous beach, but it’s even more im­pres­sive given how rare it is for a ho­tel to ac­tu­ally own a stretch of coast­line in France. Enjoy a glass of crisp Rosé de Provence at the Beach Bar while watch­ing the yachts slide past on the hori­zon, then head to Le Cap Restau­rant where you can feast on plates de­signed by Miche­lin-starred chef Ni­co­las Rod­nelli. Where pos­si­ble, all seafood is sourced from neigh­bour­ing bay Port du Crou­ton, so look out for an­chovies, cod and prawns. Once the play­ground of the Lost Generation, in­clud­ing Ernest Hem­ing­way and

F Scott Fitzger­ald, this six-kilo­me­tre long penin­sula half way be­tween Cannes and Nice has more than its fair share of luxe ho­tels, but Cap d’Antibes Beach Ho­tel is ar­guably the most ex­clu­sive of the lot. Fu­tur­is­tic build­ings house 35 bed­rooms with play­ful in­te­ri­ors, many of which were cre­ated by renowned de­signer Sy­bille de Marg­eri. Ex­pect nat­u­ral ma­te­ri­als, a cool pal­ette with whim­si­cal pops of colour and large pri­vate ter­races that cry out as the per­fect spot for sun­down­ers. Dou­bles from £340. ca-beach­ho­tel.com

MAN­DARIN ORI­EN­TAL, BO­DRUM TURKEY

Aptly named Par­adise Bay is a breath­tak­ing horse­shoe of inky wa­ter with two mag­nif­i­cent beaches, both owned by Man­darin Ori­en­tal. This was the group’s first beach re­sort and it has been com­pleted with their trade­mark aplomb. Tonnes of pow­dery sand im­ported from the Black Sea re­main cool enough to walk on even in the midst of sum­mer’s big burn and the wa­ter is ex­cep­tion­ally clear. At 2.5km long, Blue Beach is the larger of the two. It boasts pri­vate ca­banas, a swim­ming deck, and the Blue Beach Club and Bar, which serves rich ice cream made from scratch to the sound of gen­tle lounge mu­sic. The Sands beach is qui­eter and less struc­tured, with sim­ple sun beds and para­sols. The ho­tel cas­cades down a steep hill­side to­wards the sea, so Aegean views are guar­an­teed from al­most ev­ery room. Choose from 95 suites, or stay longer and go for your own villa or apart­ment. In­clud­ing ev­ery­thing from pine forests to for­mal gar­dens, the grounds are home to around 1 mil­lion plants and the botan­i­cal theme con­tin­ues in­side, with leafy shrubs in the im­pres­sive public spa­ces and open air spa treat­ment rooms. Dou­bles from £364. man­dari­nori­en­tal.com

HO­TEL CALA DI VOLPE SAR­DINIA

Ar­riv­ing at a pri­vate beach by boat sounds James Bond-level glam­orous, which in Cala di Volpe’s case is very ap­pro­pri­ate, be­cause scenes from The Spy Who Loved Me were filmed at the ho­tel. The clan­des­tine swathe of cham­pagne-coloured sand may only be a 15-minute stroll away, but with boats leav­ing ev­ery half an hour it seems churl­ish not to take one. Screened from view by lush scrub and fra­grant ole­an­der trees and with fewer than 40 beds scat­tered across, this beach is as pri­vate as it gets. The ho­tel is lo­cated on the ex­clu­sive Costa Smer­alda (Emer­ald Coast), famed for its sparkling, aqua­ma­rine wa­ter which makes for beau­ti­ful swim­ming. Ar­range a boat trip from the ho­tel to the La Mad­dalena archipelago, some of Sar­dinia’s most beau­ti­ful and least vis­ited is­lands. A true grand dame, Ho­tel Cala di Volpe has de­vel­oped its own un­qique brand of lux­ury which nods to Sar­dinia’s ru­ral past. Ceil­ings are roughly hewn rock, a ref­er­ence to the net­work of caves which lies be­neath the is­land, much of the fur­ni­ture is hand carved by lo­cal crafts­men and bath­rooms gleam with colourful Cerasarda tiles, a lo­cal trade­mark. Dou­bles from £260. cal­adi­volpe.com

ST NI­CO­LAS BAY RE­SORT CRETE

MAN­DARIN ORI­EN­TAL, BO­DRUM TURKEY

HO­TEL CALA DI VOLPE

SAR­DINIA

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