Looking to escape the crowds? You’ll have no problem securing a sun lounger at these off-the-radar beach hotels, says Ruth Jackson.
Six Keys, Thessaly, Greece
The Six Keys hotel in Thessaly is located on Mount Pelion, “a hook-shaped peninsula with beech, oak, maple and chestnut trees, [that] separates the Aegean Sea from the Pagasitikos Gulf”, says The Times. There are six suites, with “a timeless country-chic feel”.
At the bottom of the garden is the hotel’s private Kalifteri beach, “a long sand-and-shingle stretch with sun loungers and umbrellas that dips into shallow, clear waters, ideal for those children and adults who aren’t strong swimmers”. Active sorts are well-catered for – the hotel also offers horse riding, hiking and mountain biking.
• Suites from €150 (Sixkeys.gr; 00 30 242 303 3720).
Prima Donna, Kalkan, Turkey
One in ten of the world’s Blue Flag beaches are in Turkey – that’s 383 fabulous stretches of sandy coastline. Of those, “the finest is Patara”, says The Times. It offers 12 miles of powder-fine sand, and “nesting turtles mean there’s zero property development along the shore”.
The Hotel Prima Donna is a “hip hideaway with boho Turkish décor, a poolside honesty bar and a complimentary shuttle to Patara beach”.
• Doubles from £250 (Hotelprimadonna.com; 00 90 532 543 6181).
Don Ferrante, Monopoli, Italy
Monopoli offers a taste of “what Capri and St Tropez were like in the 1950s”, says Condé Nast Traveller. “Fishermen still mend their nets and sell sardines from buckets by the harbour, while wizened old ladies on plastic chairs pinch out orecchiette with their thumbs.”
Don Ferrante, now a ten-bedroom townhouse, started life as a fortress “carved into the ancient defensive walls that surround the town”. Behind the front door lies a “maze of narrow stone steps and corridors all leading to the same Adriatic panorama”.
The sea is always visible and the bedrooms are “simple, sun-filled and very comfy”. The tiny pool is a minor drawback given that “some of the best beaches in Italy are just minutes away”.
• Doubles from €145 (Donferrante.it; 00 39 0 8074 2521).
Chateau de Valmer, St Tropez Peninsula, France
“Plage Gigaro is the sandy antidote to St Tropez,” says The Times. You won’t find any “sugar daddies or sprayed champagne” here. Instead, “icing-sugar shores meet azure seas on an almost entirely public beach”.
Château de Valmer is a “peerless” hotel with its own private stretch of the beach, as well as “its own vineyard, a new pastis bar and two luxurious treehouses”.
• Doubles from €230 (Chateauvalmer.com; 00 33 4 9455 1515).
Can Simoneta, Mallorca, Spain
“Can Simoneta feels fantastically tucked away”, on a cliff in north-east Mallorca, says Condé Nast Traveller. The double rooms are “simple but stylish”, or there’s the two-room Gran Suite Neptuno, “in a walled garden with a private pool”. But “the best place to stay is the Beach House with its sea views”.
A winding staircase takes you down to the water. “Hot tubs are dotted around the manicured lawns, and crocheted cotton hammocks swing from umbrella pines.” There is also a spa and a restaurant that serves locally sourced suckling lamb or Iberian pork.
• Doubles from €210 – adults-only (Cansimoneta.com; 00 34 971 816 110).