Hotel Tamariu, Costa Brava
If you want a beach right on the doorstep, this hotel, positioned on the small seafront promenade in the village of Tamariu, is ideal. There are scenic walks along the coastal path, and the larger, sandier beaches of Calella de Palafrugell or Llafranc are a short drive away. The style is a mixture of homely charm and simple, crisp style. The smart hotel restaurant looks directly out onto Tamariu’s seafront promenade so you can tuck into the buffet breakfast whilst enjoying the sea views.
The hotel is right on a lovely beach so you want a room at the front. Décor is white and bright with purple, silver and black fabrics for a bit of glamour. White and neutral shades contrast with metallic glitz to create the vibe of a rather cool club. Music thuds away in the background at all times but is not overpowering. The suites on the upper floors have baths by the window so you can gaze across the Med while getting in the mood for clubbing or dine at the beachfront Pez Playa restaurant.
Grand Palladium White Island Ibiza
The sleek new five-star Grand Palladium White Island offers a bit of Ibizan glitz and glamour in the comfort of a resort complex, with tons of facilities. Right on the beach and near nightlife, the White Island will keep all members of the family happy, from small kids to teenagers, to parents who might want to do a bit of clubbing as well as lie around the pool. It is all white and gold and shiny with a sensation of space and light. Natural tones are soothing after a night out.
Hotel Le Negresco, Nice
Michelin-starred dining, sea views and a wealth of antique furniture make this a popular choice among European royalty and holidaying celebrities, bang on the Med in Nice, close to Place Masséna. Everyone from Khrushchev to Richard Burton has enjoyed a drink in its Le Relais bar. The views from the sea-front rooms are the ones you should expect to see when St Peter ushers you through the Pearly Gates.
La Pérouse, Nice
Though minutes from the centre, La Pérouse seems slightly withdrawn, in a private stretch of Provence where comfort, politeness and flowers hold sway. Built up and around the rocky headland, the hotel winds hither and yon to fool the brightest GPS. At some stage, it will release you to the loveliest hotel terrace in Nice where pool, bar and restaurant are found in a setting not unlike a Provençal village square. The sea views are startlingly good.
Le Petit Nice, Marseille
On a little rocky promontory, it is almost a bridge-head into the Med – which starts where the hotel terrace stops. Beyond, the blue is endless (contrasting splendidly with the white of the hotel). Land-side, the hotel is surrounded by a quiet residential zone half-way between the beaches and the city centre, two miles away. This is the sea-side for sybarites, who will get the full benefit of a glass of champagne on the terrace.
Hotel du Cap Eden Roc, Cap d’Antibes
A throwback to the F. Scott Fitzgerald era, this grand 19th-century mansion on the Cote d’Azur is set among nine hectares of landscaped gardens with a guest list that reads like the credits of a Hollywood movie. Service is flawless with a no-holds-barred concierge. There is a heated infinity pool, five clay tennis courts, 33 cabanas and a boutique. The Sisley spa has four treatment rooms, as well a sauna, steam room, gym and beauty salon.
Mas du Langoustier, Ile de Porquerolles
It’s impossible to separate the Mas from its setting. Gardens and courtyard overcome with horticulture cede to garrigue and forest rich with the smoky aromas of pine, eucalyptus and herbs. There’s a pool and tennis court in there somewhere. And then you’re on the rocks, overlooking a creek and beach which, though not private, feels that way. The different blues of the sea are as clearly defined as colours on a flag and, over on the wooded headland, stand the remains of a fortress.
Le Dune, Piscinas, Sardinia
On the remotest stretch of Sardinia’s Costa Verde, in the midst of one of the highest dune systems in Italy, this hotel occupies the warehouse of an ex-mineworks. Belying such mundane origins, it’s a classic chic retreat: secluded, exclusive, and blessed with a prime location right on the beach. The unfussy rooms are quiet and well-equipped, public areas are airy, and the bar and restaurant are perfectly satisfactory – but it’s the location that you’ll remember.