10 Best: Mediterranean escapes
Published 23/07/2011 | 05:00
Boutique gurus Mr & Mrs Smith select their favourite hideaways for a late summer break
Tiara Yaktsa, Cannes, France
Blue skies and yacht-dotted seas form Tiara Yaktsa's iconic riviera backdrop.
Inside its rosewater-perfumed halls, there's an earthy Moroccan theme, captured in forged metal, carved wood and terracotta tiles. There's a gorgeous garden, an elegant restaurant and staff who'll welcome you like family.
The sleek infinity pool has dazzling views of the Mediterranean, and bright white Balinese day beds are siesta-ready. The restaurant, L'Or Bleu, artfully muddles Mediterranean and exotic influences, much like the rest of the hotel.
Have a massage in the gardens or the treatment room, or head into the inimitable magic of Cannes and explore the big names along La Croisette, stopping off at a bar for a citron pressé.
Details: Twenty-one rooms. Doubles from €248. Breakfast is €29.
Casa La Concha, Marbella, Spain
Casa La Concha sits on a lush hilltop above Marbella, overlooking the Med and Malaga's Golden Mile in the distance.
The boho main house is surrounded by cottage-style suites scattered through the sweet-smelling, flower-filled gardens.
Each suite is decorated differently, with original artwork, exotic furniture and its own patio.
The peaceful outdoor pool is the perfect spot to cool off from the glare of the Spanish sun. Great restaurants and bars are just a short cab ride away, as are the narrow cobbled streets, pretty buildings and churches of Marbella's Old Town.
Marie-Helene, the charming French owner, is always on hand to play concierge and offer advice on where to go.
Details: Five rooms. Doubles from €130, including breakfast.
Toile Blanche Cote d'Azur, France
This family-run chambre d'hÃ´te on the CÃ´te d'Azur is a tranquil boutique hotel a short drive from the beautiful village of Saint-Paul-de-Vence and the glitz of the Riviera.
Toile Blanche is famed for its cuisine, served in summer on the terrace overlooking the lavender-filled garden and pool. Inside, polished concrete walls are mixed with bold colours and striking artwork.
What makes this place so very special is the languid pace of French family life, which could persuade even the most ardent urbanite to adopt a healthy dose of sun-kissed peaceful slothfulness.
Details: Six rooms. Doubles from €165. Breakfast is €15.
Maison La Minervetta, Sorrento, Italy
Maison La Minervetta clings to the cliffs of Sorrento on the Amalfi coast with spectacular views of the Bay of Naples from the pool and terrace.
All rooms are sea-facing with floor-to-ceiling windows to let in that swoon-inducing panorama.
Inside the hotel, it's cosy, comfortable and welcoming -- stylish, but never styled. Three sun terraces are perfect platforms for admiring the panoramic view, with Vesuvius in the background. Make a reservation for the private beach at La Tonnarella, just 200 metres from the hotel, or catch the hydrofoil over to Capri to sate upmarket shopping appetites.
Details: Twelve rooms. Rates from €180, including breakfast.
Mykonos Grace, Mykonos, Greece
The white-hot Mykonos Grace is an elegant and intimate boutique spa hotel on the most cosmopolitan of the Greek Islands. White is the watchword here, from the king-size sun loungers on the rooftop pool terrace to the flowing cotton uniforms of the super-friendly staff.
The rooms have enormous puffy day beds, spacious bathrooms and most have sea-facing balconies looking out over the glittering Aegean. There's a spa, lounge, DVD library and a terrace complete with telescope for nightly star-gazing.
The State of Grace bar and restaurant at the hotel serves light Mediterranean cuisine in an elegant, unpretentious atmosphere. Below the hotel, Stefanos beach is dotted with loungers and home to a pretty taverna
Details: Thirty-two rooms. Doubles from €225, including Champagne breakfast.
L'Avenida, Mallorca, Spain
Tucked away on a quiet road in the mountain-valley town of Sóller, this boutique hotel is a breath of fresh air. The décor is arty and the lighting funky, giving this 1900s mansion a shot of Ibizan house-party cool. It's the perfect setting for lazing by the pool, sunsets and exploring the jasmine-scented groves of the Tramuntana.
Tapas and fine wines are served up in L'Avenida with a modern Med menu with seafood flourishes, including lobster and squid.
Owners Tania and Paul can arrange fantastic activities, including hikes, wine tasting and helicopter tours.
Details: Nine rooms. Doubles from €240, including breakfast.
Atzaró, Ibiza, Spain
This converted century-old farmhouse is a típica Ibiza finca -- all-white walls, windows and throw cushions.
Atzaró is one of Spain's new agrotourism hotels, taking a holistic approach to holidaying. Each room has a private terrace and a great view, and the majority have fireplaces.
The pool, surrounded by plush loungers, massage tables and reclining day beds, is the perfect place to unwind with unobtrusive Balearic beats playing in the background.
In the evening, the restaurant serves up modern Catalan cuisine with elegance, and every summer night sees live DJs turn-tabling in the cocktail lounge.
Details: Twenty-four rooms. Doubles from €295, including breakfast.
Villa Rosmarino, Camogli, Italy
This impeccably restored 19th-century villa on the Portofino peninsula is a chic mix of original features and modern touches: the dusty terracotta exterior and green-shuttered windows have been preserved, but the interiors are alive with contemporary sculpture and photography.
A communal kitchen is filled with hero pieces: a low, leather BB Italia sofa and a pair of powder-blue Marco Zanuso 'Lady' chairs, as well as a vintage Castiglioni lamp and Murano glassware set on an antique kilim. Each room has its own character, and some have spectacular sea views.
The two discerning Milanesi hosts are charming and always ready to share insider information on Camogli's secret spots.
Details: Six rooms. Doubles from €220, including breakfast.
Emelisse, Kefalonia, Greece
This intimate hideaway nestling along the rugged shoreline of the Ionian Sea is a blissful retreat. Set amid native cypress and cedar trees, the property is close to the pebbled beach of Embelisse Bay.
Suites are decorated in soothing tones with king-size four-poster beds, chunky teak furniture and stunning sea views. Day beds flank the stone-lined infinity pool, with additional sunbathing spots dotted across the terraced grounds.
Adventurous swimmers can plunge into the sea from the volcanic-rock shore.
Two open-air restaurants provide dining by day and films by night. Pedal into the harbour of Fiskardo for lunch, or cycle down to the tiny beach with a picnic.
Details: Sixty-three rooms. Doubles from €160, including breakfast.
La Coluccia, Sardinia, Italy
Set among landscaped grounds on the shores of Sardinia, La Coluccia occupies a gorgeous whitewashed building a few metres from its own private beach. Soak up the sun poolside, bliss out in the spa or head out to the billionaire's playground of Costa Esmeralda. Rooms are compact but sleek in design, tricked out in minimal blacks, whites and greys, with glorious sea views from many of the balconies.
The restaurant serves delicious local food, with some fantastic Sardinian wines to wash it down.
There's an array of beaches nearby, and the islands can be explored by speed boat, all arranged by the hotel.
Details: Forty-five rooms. Doubles from €260, including breakfast and dinner.
For bookings, contact 1800 812 925 or see mrandmrssmith.com.