What's so special
A 15-minute drive out of Palma de Mallorca brings you to this magnificent Spanish castle that has been transformed into one of the best luxury hotels on the island.
How they rate it
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This hotel is "so romantic it'll make you gasp", says Laura Goulden in The Sunday Times Travel Magazine. "Arrive at night along the torch-lit approach to this former fortress, and through turreted walls, you'll find an expanse of pink, moonlit sandstone punctuated by palms and cypress trees."
Inside, the fortress has been beautifully renovated: "they haven't spoiled it by making things too pretty. Bare sandy walls are softened by the odd white awning or a spray of creeper; white bullets serve as door handles; and you'll walk along trenches to get to the beach." As for the bedrooms, they have "only what's necessary to be very comfortable: marble bathrooms, curtained beds and terraces."
For dinner you can either head down to the Sea Club on the beach for grilled fish and meats or try the fine dining on offer at the Fortress Restaurant in the main hotel.
A double room costs from £238 with breakfast. Visit www.caprocat.com or call 00 34 971 747878.
Cases de Son Barbassa
What's so special
Escape from the crowds with a stay at this chic rural hotel. Set within a nature reserve next to the sea, you'll need a car to get around, but it's worth it for the peace and beauty of the estate.
How they rate it
The location is "pretty idyllic", says Annie Bennett in The Daily Telegraph, with "gorgeous beaches" and the medieval village of Capdepera close by. The hotel is "seriously smart and ultra-relaxed at the same time. The decadent day beds around the pool make it very hard to leave."
Inside, the ten bedrooms and two suites "are stylishly decorated in natural tones and materials". Two rooms can be linked to create a family room, although no two rooms are quite the same. Features include "open-stone walls, beams and spacious terraces". The hotel is "excellent value for money" and with "plenty of comfortable places to relax inside as well as out". Visit in spring or autumn when evenings are cooler.
There is an "excellent" restaurant serving local food alongside a good range of Mallorcan wines. Dishes include turbot fillet in champagne or lamb fillet with honey and rosemary.
Doubles start from just £71 including breakfast. Find out more at www.sonbarbassa.com or call 00 34 662 482 357.
The best of the Greek islands
If you're thinking of a stay in Greece, why not head to some of the lesser known islands? Hydra in the Saronic Gulf (pictured) is where the "wealthy Athenians head", says Rachel Dixon in The Guardian. "Cars, motorbikes and high-rise buildings are banned on the island. The architecture is unique with many art galleries and museums situated in 18th-century mansions."
Hydra port is the only town on the island, but there are plenty of rocky/pebbly beaches and no shortage of restaurants. Stay at the Orloff, "a small boutique hotel converted from a historic house near the harbour". Doubles cost from £115 (Orloff.gr). Ferries leave from Piraeus near Athens.
Kastellorizo in the Dodecanese is "Greece's smallest permanently inhabited island". It offers "pretty Anatolian-style houses, hilltop castles and very clear seas". Take a boat trip to see the Blue Grotto, "a dazzling sea cave underlit by refracted sunlight". Or hike up to the monastery and castle for views across to Turkey.
Stay at The Mediterraneo Kastelorizo, a waterside restaurant with rooms that have ladders into the sea for guests to swim across the bay. Doubles from €60 (Mediterraneo-megisti.com). Flights, hydrofoils and ferries leave from Rhodes.
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