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The Travel File: Five Luxe European Summer Destinations

The Travel File: Five Luxe European Summer Destinations

From an A-list Tuscan hotspot to a laid-back escape in the South of France, where to go in Europe this summer.

Image: courtesy of AMANZOE

Reflections in the water of the pool at Hotel Annabelle in Pahpos, Cyprus, with sunloungers by the pool and white umbrellas, palm trees in the middle distance and views out to the sea horizon
Reflections in the water of the pool at Hotel Annabelle in Pahpos, Cyprus, with sunloungers by the pool and white umbrellas, palm trees in the middle distance and views out to the sea horizon

PAPHOS, CYRPUS

STAY: At the grande dame of Cypriot hotels. Established 30 years ago, Annabelle was the first luxury hotel on the island, and she has established herself as an iconic destination for discerning sun-seekers. Her siren call will lure you across the Mediterranean waves to a stunningly refurbished space combining artisanal charm with contemporary elegance. Take a dip in the brand-new rooftop pool before settling in at the Ouranos bar for sundowners with a view.

EAT: The hotel is home to a number of well-considered restaurants committed to using local produce and serving local cuisine. Amarosa is Annabelle’s grown-up gourmet hotspot, whilst beachfront Mediterraneo has a vibrant Taverna atmosphere and specialises in homemade Cypriot dishes.

DO: Cyprus is an ancient land, and Paphos is a UNESCO world heritage site littered with Roman ruins. Explore Nea Paphos, an ancient archaeological site a short work from the seafront, or hire a car and drive up the coast to the sandy beaches just north of Paphos, some of which are home to leatherback turtles.



Image: courtesy of Perowne International

The Acropolis-style AMANZOE hotel - facade of a hotel building in white stone with tall columns and an aqua-marine pool in front of it lined with lavendar bushes
The Acropolis-style AMANZOE hotel - facade of a hotel building in white stone with tall columns and an aqua-marine pool in front of it lined with lavendar bushes

THE PELOPONNESE, GREECE

STAY: Just a short helicopter ride from Athens lies AMANZOE, set amidst the Greek ruins and wild landscapes of the secluded Peloponnese, a dramatic peninsula in southern Greece. Designed atop a hill in the manner of a modern-day Acropolis, it has panoramic views of endless olive groves and the deep blue waves of the Aegean.

EAT: Regional Greek dishes, such as catch of the day baked in salt dough and locally reared lamb, pork and rabbit, at the hotel’s ocean-view restaurant. For an evening excursion, take the ten minute boat ride to the Old Port of Spetses and settle in on the veranda at Orloff, a classic Greek restaurant that honours the traditions of the region’s cuisine.

DO: The hotel runs a shuttle every ten minutes to the private Beach Club where you can take a dip in the sheltered bay before dining on Mezze at an informal eatery. Alternatively, climb aboard a speed boat and explore the secret coves of nearby islands Spetses and Hydra. These tiny islands are frequented by the bohemian jet-set, drawn to the traditional villages, art-crowd heritage and mythical ancient history.



Image: courtesy of AMANZOE

The lagoon-style pool at Villa Marie in Saint Tropez, surrounded by tall trees, a small palm, with a carved rock face wall and the villa up a hill in the distance
The lagoon-style pool at Villa Marie in Saint Tropez, surrounded by tall trees, a small palm, with a carved rock face wall and the villa up a hill in the distance

SAINT TROPEZ, COTE D’AZUR, FRANCE

STAY: From independent hoteliers Jocelyne and Jean-Louis Sibuet comes Villa Marie, a discreet and tasteful boutique hotel on the azure blue coast of the French Riviera. Surrounded by lush pine-scented gardens, discerning Europeans return here every year for the private-home feel and breath-taking views over the Bay of Pampelonne.

EAT: Breakfast in the shade of the palm-lined courtyard and ponder how you’ll spend your sun-soaked day – including a classic Riviera lunch on the terrace. Come sundown, dine al fresco at the hotel’s restaurant to the soundtrack of the cicadas singing. Don’t miss the bouillabaisse mid-week special. Should the impulse take you, head into Saint Tropez for a night of Provencal glamour at big-name restaurants like La Vague D’Or and the Auberge.

DO: The obliging staff at Villa Marie will indulge your 1950s South-of-France fantasies – so flop down on a sun lounger by the pool and don your biggest shades for a day of Aperols and snoozing in the sun. If you’re feeling adventurous, take a day trip to the cultural highlights of Antibes or venture into Nice’s famous antiques markets to hunt for old treasures and trinkets.



Image: courtesy of Perowne International

A beautifully laid breakfast tray at Hotel Il Pellicano, set on a yellow and white striped towl, with a black and white printed newspaper, croissants, coffee and orange juice, and views out to sea from the rocky promontory
A beautifully laid breakfast tray at Hotel Il Pellicano, set on a yellow and white striped towl, with a black and white printed newspaper, croissants, coffee and orange juice, and views out to sea from the rocky promontory

THE TUSCAN COAST, ITALY

STAY: At the legendary Hotel Il Pellicano, a stylish and timeless resort with a storied past hidden on a secluded blue cove. The A-list has flocked to Il Pellicano since it opened in the ‘60s, drawn by the promise of its secret location, romantic evenings on the rosemary-scented terrace and days filled with sun-worship by the sea-view saltwater pool. Come here to unplug, unwind, and sample La Dolce Vita.

EAT: At the hotel’s Michelin-starred restaurant, Pellicano, where chef Michelino Gioia masterfully harnesses the ingredients and flavours of the local area. Menu highlights include blue lobster papa al Pomodoro and ravioli stuffed with raw red shrimp. When you’ve had your fill, venture out to the idyllic hillside town of Porto Ercole. Perched on the rugged green Argentario promontory, you can feast on the day’s catch at traditional harbour-side trattorias and watch the yachts bob on the glittering blue waves of the bay.

DO: The hotel’s private limousine service can arrange driving tours through the rolling Tuscan countryside. Stop off at local vineyards for wine tasting at the Antinori family’s Le Mortelle and Tenuta di Monteverro, or wander around the medieval lanes of Pitigliano, a dream-like town on a cliff carved from Volcanic rock.



Image: courtesy of Il Pellicano

A birdseye view of the infinity pool at Hotel Monastero Santa Rosa on Italy's Amalfi Coast - it appears to jut out into thin air from the cliff, with a view of boats bobbing on the sea below
A birdseye view of the infinity pool at Hotel Monastero Santa Rosa on Italy's Amalfi Coast - it appears to jut out into thin air from the cliff, with a view of boats bobbing on the sea below

CONCA DEI MARINI, THE AMALFI COAST, ITALY

STAY: History meets luxury at Monastero Santa Rosa, a stunning hotel on the Amalfi Coast whose dramatic cliffside location defies gravity. A lovingly restored former monastery, the 20 sea-view suites have been individually designed with hand-selected antiques and private terraces. Wander through the tiered gardens of bougainvillea, jasmine, and rose to the infinity pool, where you can swim leisurely laps with views of the Gulf of Salerno.

EAT: : Sfogliatella Santarosa, a flaky, custard-filled pastry unique to the area that was created by the monastery’s Dominican nuns centuries ago. The hotel serves them freshly-baked at breakfast every morning. For a romantic dinner, take the steep steps down to the sleepy fishing village of Conca dei Marini, where restaurant La Tonnarella, once a favourite of Jackie Kennedy, serves up a simple but perfectly executed menu of local Amalfi dishes.

DO: T: Sfogliatella Santarosa, a flaky, custard-filled pastry unique to the area that was created by the monastery’s Dominican nuns centuries ago. The hotel serves them freshly-baked at breakfast every morning. For a romantic dinner, take the steep steps down to the sleepy fishing village of Conca dei Marini, where restaurant La Tonnarella, once a favourite of Jackie Kennedy, serves up a simple but perfectly executed menu of local Amalfi dishes.

Image: courtesy of Perowne International