EUROPE'S EXCEPTIONAL RESORTS
We’ve put together a list of the European resorts we think get it all right. Located on stunning beach side destinations, in historic towns and islands circled by turquoise water, these resorts know exactly how to give you the holiday you need.
Portugal, Malta, Italy, Greece
Sublime Comporta - Portugal
Scattered around sandy low-slung dunes and shaded by pine and cork trees, Sublime Comporta, located just an hour south of Lisbon is one of those rare treats – full of sensual experience, swathed in low-key luxury and steps from one of Portugal’s most beautiful and wild beaches. In short, it’s an ideal place to soak up sun and sea, whilst its proximity to Lisbon means it’s easy to contrast your relaxed break here with some cultural fun in the capital city.
Sublime’s relaxed ambience means it’s easy to slip into holiday mode – and the natural décor of its accommodation is soothing and tactile yet hugely stylish. Think cork walls, lots of wood, smooth concrete floors and woven baskets. Outside on your terrace it’s peaceful enough to hear birdsong and your private pool is the ideal place for cooling off. Head to the wellness area for a treatment with sea salt and olive stones or stroll to the wild, often empty beach (although Sublime’s beach club provides you with everything you need). This hotel attracts a chic, in-crowd from Lisbon and Madrid, but it’s also very much a tranquil place to connect with nature and spend quality time with family and friends.
“We love the two- to five- bed Cabana Villas that have bedrooms and spacious ensuites with their own entrance, sleek decking around a private pool and luxe extras like fireplaces, underfloor heating and free-standing tubs”
Comporta is a foodie’s paradise. The hotel is big on local ingredients – try a taste of the Alentejo at its three restaurants including octopus, blue lobster, clams and vegetables from the organic garden. We’d also recommend nearby restaurant Sal on the beach where we can make reservations for you.
Porto Zante - Zakynthos
Billed as ‘Europe’s most private beach resort’, and winner of Conde Nast Traveller’s World’s Best Family Hotel, Porto Zante, located on Zakynthos, is the one to plump for if you’re looking for a seriously high-quality holiday experience. It’s a resort made up of villas, and it prides itself on the bespoke services offered to each, as well as the location. Each villa owns a prime slice of beach frontage, as well as lush gardens, a private pool and Ionian Sea views, where privacy is maintained at all times. Inside, expect a smart yet classic design with original Greek artwork, marble bathrooms, Bang & Olufsen entertainment systems and whirlpool bathtubs.
With delicious in-villa dining and personal chef services it’s hard to leave the peaceful enclave of your villa but we do recommend enjoying the resort and Zakynthos. Close by, you can join yoga and play tennis or take the kids to the waterpark, mini-golf or spend time on the beach, snorkelling or kayaking. For switch-off time, drop the kids at the kids’ club and head to the Waterfront Spa. Further afield, Zakynthos offers stunning day trips which create incredible family memories – why not take the yacht to searingly white Navagio beach, lapped by the kind of clear blue water you’ve been longing for? For mini archaeologists, explore the crumbling remains of Ancient Olympia, built in 8th century B.C and home to the first Olympic games.
"The combination of uber private, smartly furnished villas and excellent service means that you can sit back and enjoy your holiday in the pristine environment of Porto Zante"
As lovely as your villa is, make sure you head to the Maya restaurant for dinner. Overlooking the azure Ionian Sea from a raised platform, the restaurant serves sensational sushi and sashimi plus steaks and lobster from the charcoal grill, accompanied by fine wine and freshly made cocktails.
Iniala Harbour House - Malta
Overlooking the iconic Grand Harbour, Iniala Harbour House is a fabulous way to experience historic Malta and to delve deeper into World Heritage Site Valletta with its honey-coloured streets dotted with churches, palaces and mansions. Iniala have developed four Maltese townhouses, beautifully renovating them and taking great care to respect original baroque features whilst simultaneously breathing new life into interiors with innovative design concepts.
The result is impactful. Suites and rooms showcase Maltese stone, original balconies and vaulted ceilings paired with custom-made wallpaper and eclectic furnishings such as sculptural light fittings, art deco furniture and designer chairs. The rooftop restaurant is the perfect spot for dinner, with sweeping views over the twinkling harbour and quaint cobbled streets. The hotel can also arrange exclusive access to some of Malta’s finest sights including closed-door visits to galleries for a one-on-one with a Caravaggio, a private-hire Riva boat trip to nearby island Gozo for sunset or a day trip to Sicily by speedboat.
"If you and your family appreciate considered interiors, original artwork and designer furniture, you’ll feel very at home in Iniala’s Maltese houses, each exquisitely decorated to create the perfect melange of heritage and luxe comfort"
For the ultimate in big group gatherings or family get togethers, take over one whole townhouse, where you’ll have the full run. Talk to us about creating an incredible holiday for your group in historic Valetta with yachting day trips, rooftop drinks or clifftop painting workshops.
Borgo Egnazia - Italy
Reflecting a microcosm of Puglian life, Borgo Egnazia, located in the Itria Valley and bordered by the Adriatic, has been created as a replica Italian village built in honey-coloured stone that gleams golden in the evening sun. It’s a place of lofty beauty – stroll along cobbled streets that open out onto the airy piazza and clock tower and you’ll find it hard to believe it was only constructed in 2009. Details are paramount here, from vast flickering lanterns to rope-strung room keys, sprigs of dried herbs and rustic ceramic on the walls; everything has a tactile, timeworn feel.
Aside from enjoying the spaciousness of your stylish casetta, you and your family will find plenty to occupy yourselves from the beach club to the pools, the Vair Spa and adjoining golf course and cultural activities like pasta making, oil tasting in ancient olive groves and hiking to villages. In the evenings, Borgo Egnazia comes alive as families throng to dinner – Due Camini (adults-only) is sublime with its tempting Puglian specialities such as grilled octopus, homemade gnocchi and herby meats and the A Pizzeri restaurant lets kids create their own toppings. Afterwards enjoy the light and sound show in the piazza – a tasteful and magical way to round off the evening, and kids love to stay up late for extra gelato.
“Lose yourself in the magic of Borgo Egnazia from its authentic Puglian welcome to the bougainvillea-adorned casettas housing rustic-luxe furnishings and cool, airy interiors. A truly special place for a memorable holiday.”
You can’t fault the perfection of Borgo Egnazia but don’t forget to get a feel for the rest of Puglia too – explore hilltop Baroque towns like Ostuni, get up close to the original trulli towns of Alberobello, or drop into quaint fishing villages for fresh seafood lunches.
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