GO RETRO

Vin­tage va­ca­tions

Cosmopolitan (UK) - - Contents -

Think Malta, think grey­ing ex­pats and pack­age tours? Fash­ion di­rec­tor AMY BANNERMAN says you need a se­ri­ous re­think THEN

Bar­gain-base­ment tours led by shouty guides hold­ing up huge um­brel­las and clip­boards.

NOW

Mak­ing it­self known as a chic mini-break des­ti­na­tion, thanks to the cap­i­tal Val­letta’s old town, which is so beau­ti­ful you feel as if you’ve been dropped into a Dolce & Gab­bana ad­vert (sadly the pants mod­els were MIA). It’s also a bril­liant lo­ca­tion for divers, thanks to the abun­dance of wrecks, reefs and caves around the is­land. We even man­aged to find to­tally re­mote coves, in case you’re in need of some real P&Q. OK, do I need a ma­hogany tan and fe­dora to get through air­port se­cu­rity? Nope, we just had a light Nivea grad­ual tan and some scuffed Stan Smiths, to be hon­est. Peo­ple are very ca­sual here, but take some­thing vaguely Dolce-es­que (see left) for a night out. Evenings in Val­letta can be glam­orous, es­pe­cially if you find your­self down at Caffe Cor­dina for an apéri­tif pre-din­ner, or at Mon­al­iza for a di­ges­tif (and danc­ing) af­ter­wards. But how likely am I to bump into a Saga tour? We cov­ered a lot of ground – on Sun­day try Il-Monti, the city’s largest open-air mar­ket (Malta does ex­cel­lent em­broi­dered white cot­ton tops), St John’s CoCathe­dral (baroque, gold ev­ery­where, un­be­liev­able) and didn’t get even the mer­est whiff of PG Tips pyra­mids in a tup­per­ware box. And at Blue La­goon (looks like it sounds), there were mul­ti­ple Mal­tese David Gandys pos­tur­ing in wooden boats.

OK… but where do the in-crowd go?

The In­ter­Con­ti­nen­tal has just opened Sky­beach – a su­per-slick club on the roof of the ho­tel – which is the place to be. Tinie Tem­pah was spot­ted there re­cently, as well as Val­letta’s beau­ti­ful peo­ple. Also Yard 32 and Da Pippo are where the great and the good can be found.

And you promise there’s a cool place to stay that doesn’t look like the in­side of an ’80s re­sort?

The pres­i­den­tial suite at the In­ter­Con­ti­nen­tal Malta had us feel­ing like JLo in the P-Diddy era: dark walls, a hot tub that fits two and a pri­vate bal­cony which over­looks the city. Sexy.

Home for years to the Brits ev­ery­one wishes would just stay there. Now? The place to rent a villa with mates, says as­so­ciate edi­tor AMY GRIER THEN

Sixth-for­m­ers do­ing bad things in Ma­galuf bars and beach­side ‘full English’ restau­rants.

NOW

Em­brac­ing its more au­then­tic Span­ish spell­ing, ‘Mal­lorca’, with a fo­cus on white beaches, vil­las hid­den in vineyards and old towns bustling with lo­cal life, food and SO MANY GREAT ES­PADRILLES. Oh, and the all-im­por­tant lo­ca­tion of Love Is­land…

My par­ents went in the ’80s. This makes it un­cool, non?

OK, so Maj has been the go-to holiday des­ti­na­tion for Brits (and French and Ger­mans) want­ing a quick, cheap no-frills break for quite some time. But it’s un­der­gone a bit of a rein­ven­tion of late, with lit­er­ary types flock­ing to Deià’s cob­bled streets, and sun-wor­ship­pers mak­ing Cap de For­men­tor as Insta-fa­mous as the #mal­dives.

But all the ho­tels ei­ther cost megabucks or look like out­takes from Banged Up Abroad.

The only way to holiday in Mal­lorca is to villa (new verb, just made it up). Away from the hype of cap­i­tal city Palma and the hordes of Ma­galuf, lies Camp d’Avall, a pala­tial newly re­fur­bished farm­house just 10 min­utes away from the old town of Pol­lença. Sur­rounded by noth­ing but moun­tains and vineyards (vineyards = lo­cal wine which also = many, many drunken pho­tos of you and your mates on in­flat­a­bles), you and up to nine friends can re­cline by the pool, eat din­ner un­der the stars, bar­be­cue in the back gar­den or bed down with a film in the ‘snug’ should the weather fail. It is heaven on ter­ra­cotta tiling.

And if you need to ven­ture out? For­age for food etc?

Just a 10-minute drive down the road (we strongly ad­vise hir­ing a car if go­ing down the villa route – there’s no other way to get to the beach!) is Pol­lença, a cob­bled old town that’s a mecca for lo­cal ar­ti­sanal crafts and gas­tronomes alike. Ev­ery Sun­day, a huge food mar­ket takes over the cen­tre, where you can barter for jamón ibérico and golf-ball­sized olives. Or, go back in the evening to stock up on lo­cally made es­padrilles (I’m ob­sessed, I know), woven wicker bags and the chicest kaf­tans. Save some eu­ros for din­ner at La Sas­tre­ria – Mal­lor­can tapas on rick­ety wooden ta­bles that re­ally do slope down­hill (it’s not all in your head, as the lo­cal wine will have you be­lieve).

Where do all the beau­ti­ful peo­ple hang out?

In the Love Is­land villa, less than an hour down the road, now you ask. But, in gen­eral, Playa de Muro beach, a 6km stretch of golden sand, is also worth brav­ing a 40-minute drive on the treach­er­ously nar­row roads for. To avoid the crowds, go at around 4pm, soak up the last few rays, have a pad­dle in the surf, then grab an ocean-front ta­ble at Pon­derosa. Or­der a black paella and crisp bot­tle of rosé and peo­ple-watch un­til sun­set.

Be­yond the mega clubs and sun­set strip, deputy edi­tor SHOSHANA GOLD­BERG found Ibiza is also the new lux­ury haven of Europe THEN

Teenagers writhing around in Fairy Liq­uid, oth­er­wise known as ‘foam par­ties’, while Carl Cox bangs out some TUNEZ… and you bang some guy from Telford.

NOW

Nobu Ho­tels opened their first Ibiza out­post last year, and Six Senses has their first property planned for 2020. That’s proof enough the White Isle is quickly be­com­ing the Balearic’s an­swer to Monaco – only with smaller yachts and less white tuxe­dos.

Don't need to be cer­fi­fied 'raver'to even board a plane to ibiza?

Yes, the clubs are still there, but so, too, are a raft of bou­tique ho­tels and re­treats packed with the sort of clien­tele who look like they just stepped out of a J Crew cat­a­logue.

OK… but what is there to do if you don’t do Day-Glo? We spent morn­ings at Cala d’Hort, a pic­ture­book beach spot on the op­po­site side of the is­land to San An­to­nio. First, stop at its per­fectly In­sta­grammable jetty El Car­men, then take lunch at their beach­side restau­rant – which just hap­pens to serve up the best paella on the is­land. Fact. From there, head to Ibiza old town for the quaint vil­lagey vibes, street mu­sic and bou­tiques of Dalt Vila. We stayed for din­ner with the lo­cals at Co­mi­das Bar San Juan – cheap as chips and ut­terly de­li­cious – be­fore head­ing over the road to Teatro Pereyra for live mu­sic (usu­ally jazz, soul or Latin but al­ways good) and drinks with true Ibi­cen­cos of ev­ery age at the bar.

And if we’re go­ing to pick one spot to ’Gram?

The beau­ti­ful peo­ple (check out their fancy wheels in the car park as you walk in) book ta­bles at La Torre, set high up on a cliff, just in time to watch the sun set. The deep orange and scar­let skyscapes from this spot on the west of the is­land are the most mes­meris­ing – and they serve great tapas, a per­fect burger and glasses of Rioja as big as the moon (well, you get the idea).

And if we don’t want to stay in a ‘party’ ho­tel?

For peace and quiet, book into Can Lluc, a chic fam­i­lyrun ho­tel sur­rounded by vineyards and pine forests. Open all year round (lots of places in Ibiza close in the win­ter months), this is where foot­ballers and Span­ish politi­cians come to when they want to chill out with no se­cu­rity guards in tow. After break­fast on the ter­race, set up camp in the shade of a four-poster beach bed be­side the nat­u­rally chlo­ri­nated pool. Treat your­self to a glass of Cava and keep the bot­tle on chill – for your pre­tend PremierLeague boyfriend, of course.

Edi­tor-in-chief FARRAH STORR hadn’t hit this Greek is­land in a decade. Would she still find the boho fash­ion crowd or the cast of TOWIE? THEN

Mykonos was once ‘the place’ to be seen. Su­per­mod­els danced on ta­ble tops and half of Hol­ly­wood was holed up in the tav­er­nas. But by 2005, flashy beach clubs reigned, the mega yachts had landed and hedge-fund high-rollers sprayed cham­pagne around like orange squash.

NOW

Come in high sum­mer and head to any beach club that sounds like a re­tired Turkish wrestler (Nam­mos, Scor­pios…) and you will al­most cer­tainly find bankers in red pants pay­ing thou­sands for a lunch of cru­dités and rosé. But come in June or Septem­ber and ex­plore the back streets of Mykonos Town and you will find that the rus­tic charm of the is­land is alive and well.

Be hon­est, how likely am I to bump into some­one from TOWIE?

Not very, if you know where to go. Kiki’s is a tiny tavern on Agios Sostis Beach where there are no reser­va­tions and the food is as ef­fort­less as the chic clien­tele. Or try Katrine’s – a leg­endary tav­erna run by the sep­ta­gene­r­ian chef who keeps the food clas­sic (lob­ster lin­guine, chicken and veg – which is un­like any chicken and veg you’ve eaten) and the at­mos­phere sparkly.

I’m hun­gry now – where else should we dine?

The in-crowd tend to stick to the restau­rants in the labyrinthine back streets of Mykonos Town. Go­ing out-out? Eat at Spilia, in­side a cave – it serves the best lob­ster salad in town.

And to catch our beauty sleep? If camp­ing out in a place that looks like the en­tire White Com­pany cat­a­logue was shot there is your thing, you’re in luck. Ken­sho is the bou­tique ho­tel of pretty much ev­ery­one’s dreams. Staff flut­ter around in bil­lowy white linen dis­pens­ing Aperol spritzes and flirty smiles, while rooms have hot tubs and sun-baked ter­races. Ev­ery­thing has been thought through – from the morn­ing fit­ness classes (yoga or HIIT de­pend­ing on your con­sti­tu­tion) to the ham­man and the can­dles that scent the en­tire ho­tel (which, thank­fully, you can buy). To be hon­est, you could just shack up here for an en­tire week. After all, most peo­ple head to Ken­sho’s bar for a pre-pran­dial snifter be­fore head­ing out any­way. ◆

Plenty of hot buoys to look at…

Farm­house up front, vine­yard pool party out back

Swim in the sea or the hot tub – both’ll work

MALTA

Tak­ing mood light­ing to a whole new level

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