10 best Mediterranean boltholes
Elizabeth Rhodes, boutique expert from Mr and Mrs Smith hotels, shares her favourite gems by the Med
Published 16/06/2013 | 05:00
A honeymooner's paradise, Sun Rocks is exclusively for couples, so get set for a romantic stay with astonishing panoramas of Santorini's volcanic caldera and luxuries galore, all set into the cliffside 300 metres above the sea.
After the views, the staff here are the stars: attentive but relaxed, knowledgeable but reserved. Reserve your table at the restaurant when you book your room – it's just four tables (two inside, two out) and you won't want to miss the elegant Mediterranean fine dining.
Details: 17 rooms. Doubles from €199, including Champagne breakfast.
Areias do Seixo
Torres Vedras, Portugal
Architects have been known to go weak at the knees on arrival at the futuristic glass and concrete structure of Areias do Seixo, an hour north of Lisbon. Perched on seven sloping acres leading down to the sea, the eco-friendly hotel has 10 sea-facing rooms, each of which is unique, thanks to inspired interior designer Rosario Gabriel.
There's more to delight than design: there are no TVs or mini-bars at this beachy home from home – it's just not that kind of hotel.
Here, the emphasis is on experiences, whether that be a mussel-harvesting trip for lunch or the nightly guitar-serenaded wine around the bonfire.
Details: 10 rooms, plus four villas. Doubles from €360, including buffet breakfast.
Amalfi Coast, Italy
This boho beachside bolthole on the Amalfi Coast is, as its name suggests, a private home that has been restored by its architect owner and is now lovingly run by his three children.
One hundred steps from the sea, it's a rocky retreat that serves up a true feast for the senses when it opens each summer: you'll be met by a flood of vivid colours, carefully curated bedrooms and glorious sunlight streaming through floor-to-ceiling windows.
Details: Six rooms, including two suites. Doubles from €230, including continental breakfast.
The tiny, unspoilt Cycladic island of Folegandros in the jewel-toned Aegean Sea is perfect if you're looking for an alternative to bustling Santorini.
Perched on the isle's east coast, the buildings of Anemi look, from a distance, like giant sugar cubes on the edge of a cliff. Inside, the visuals are equally sweet – from the expansive Aegean vistas right down to the stylish furniture, Anemi is endlessly easy on the eye.
Details: 40 rooms, including 12 suites. Doubles from €220, including breakfast.
Font Santa Hotel
A soulful spa stay, Font Santa Hotel is close to Mallorca's best-looking beach. Outside, you can admire the salt flats from hammocks in the gardens or day beds by the pool, and inside you'll find clutter-free design in calming neutral tones.
This is an adults-only retreat, so make the most of the grown-up restaurants and the mineral-rich waters of the hotel's historic thermal baths.
Details: 25 rooms, including five suites. Doubles from €170, including continental breakfast.
Within easy viewing distance of the mountains and strolling distance of the sea, La Signoria is an authentically Corsican stay that's kept its delightful 18th-century features and original works of art.
A free five-minute shuttle ride takes you to the beach club or the small town of Calvi, a lofty 13th-century Genoese citadel.
Dress up a little for fine dining at the hotel's elegant La Palmeraie restaurant, and save some space in your suitcase for a few products from the decadent spa.
Details: 29 rooms, including 14 suites Doubles from €200, not including breakfast.
Capo la Gala
High on the hilltops above the Bay of Naples is Capo La Gala, a stone sanctuary perfect for sea-gazing and sunbathing. Rooms are dotted around terraces among lemon trees and soaring pines, and all are decorated with rich colours and madcap art. All have a sea view, too.
Each summer, you can hop aboard the hotel's yacht for trips to the nearby islands of Capri and Ischia, and you're only 10km away from the antique ruins of Pompeii.
The heart of the hotel is the tree-shaded pool and the rocky path down to the sea.
Details: 22 rooms, including one suite. Doubles from €200, including buffet breakfast.
Hotel Puente Romano
Stretching along the coast on Marbella's luxurious Golden Mile, Hotel Puente Romano has 292 rooms, but its clusters of whitewashed buildings – none of which has more than three storeys – are dotted among the acres of subtropical gardens, so you feel more like you're in a beach-side hamlet than a mega resort.
Choose from six restaurants for fresh seafood, Asian-fusion cuisine or café-style classics to fuel up for golf, tennis or just sunbathing on the golden sands, a short stroll from your door.
Details: 292 rooms. Doubles from €250, including breakfast.
For blue skies and yacht-dotted seas, the French Riviera is the perfect port of call for people-watching among the glitterati.
Tiara Yaktsa in Cannes has an earthy Moroccan theme. It's scattered with carved wood and terracotta tiles, corridors are scented with rosewater, dark-wood bedposts are adorned with tresses of diaphanous silk, and tissue-wrapped fruit jellies grace pillows at turn-down.
This hotel's lush green gardens and ocean views set an unbeatable stage for seaside seduction.
Details: 21 rooms, including eight suites. Doubles from €230, not including breakfast.
Bodrum Peninsula, Turkey
Like a harbourside village, Macakizi creeps gently down the cliff-face to the Bodrum shore, where the magnificent wooden decks stretch out into the Aegean. In summer, those decks are a magnet for wealthy Istanbullus, global celebrities and middle-European aristocrats.
Macakizi's powder-white rooms are a pleasing contrast to their backdrop of shimmering blue waters, while its restaurant is a culinary heavyweight.
Details: 74, including 21 suites. Doubles from €416, including breakfast.
For more information or to book any of these hotels, visit mrandmrssmith.com. In honour of World Oceans Day, Mr & Mrs Smith will donate 1pc of all coastal stays booked in June to the BLUE Marine Foundation, which works to protect the planet's oceans