From the heady opulence of Monte Carlo’s casinos to the A-list’s favourite Mediterranean haunts, we step behind the velvet rope at some of Europe’s hottest party destinations. Our guide to where to see and be seen this summer.
Image: Scorpios ‘courtesy of Design Hotels™’
Stay: At The Belvedere – a chic, bohemian hang out that is legendary amongst the nomadic globe-trotting elite. With a pool club that transforms from secluded Aegean oasis by day to hip after-dark venue by night, the jet-set has flocked here for decades to enjoy the island’s unique combination of laid-back, sun-drenched island life and elegant night-time scene. Alternatively, Bill & Coo provide some of the most private luxury suites on Mykonos.
Eat: and drink your trip away. Follow the bronzed bohemians with nut-brown tans to beachside local Kiki’s Tavern. It has no sign and is exclusive to those in the know. Here you can linger in the shade of olive trees over freshly grilled seafood and icy goblets of rosé. Come evening, head to Spilia – set in a cave next to Kalafatis beach they serve up authentic Mykonian dishes in a truly magical setting.
Party: Mykonos is a place where late lunches tipsily segue into cocktail hour and beyond. The vibe is distinctly Aethenian-beach-bum-meets-Euro-glam, and white parties are a Myknoian staple – Grecian tans lend themselves well to all-white attire. Once you’re feeling flirty, flushed and warm from the sun, head to Caprice Bar in Little Venice where the beautiful people have been dancing the night away for almost three decades. For all-day blissed-out beats, Scorpios is a beach-side, open-air amphitheatre and beach club where you can savour good food, good company and even better music.
Image: Scorpios ‘courtesy of Design Hotels™', Bill & Coo
Stay: Sun worshipers flock to Miami every year to enjoy the unparalleled night-time scene, Cuban influences, art-deco architecture and sweet Floridian sunshine. The Faena Hotel’s iconic pool draws the A-list in-crowd every season, whilst the Miami Beach EDITION’s palm-fringed lobby, chic pool area and underground basement club are a hedonist’s hospitality dream come true.
Eat: In need of revival after a heavy night? La Mar is Miami’s most lavish brunch spot for exotic Peruvian dining in a decadent space overlooking Biscayne Bay. Once night falls, Marion’s throws legendary dinner parties fuelled by New American cuisine and plenty of champagne. Dancing on tables is part of the package – be sure to wear your Louboutins.
Party: Once you’ve baked yourself to tanned perfection on South Beach and enjoyed a few pre-prandial libations around the hotel pool, make your way behind the velvet rope at one of Miami’s many hedonism-fuelled nightspots. Super-clubbers should head to LIV and Wall, whilst those looking for up-scale intimacy will enjoy the well-heeled crowd at the Onyx bar in Gianni Versace’s former home – a tiny, gilded watering-hole. For artsy sophistication with a naughty edge, Sweet Liberty’s late-night cocktail venue is heavy on liquor and low on inhibitions. Dress code: your best attire.
Image: Courtesy of Sweet Liberty, The Faena Hotel
Stay: Arguably Croatia’s most fashionable island destination, Hvar Town’s pleasure-seeking visitors have included Prince Harry, Keira Knighteley and Daniel Craig. Stay on your own private island at the Palmizana Hotel, a short boat-ride across the bay from Hvar Town. A boho-chic escape set amidst a lush botanical garden, it’s the perfect place to recharge after the night before.
Eat: Take the moonlit walk up to the ancient hilltop where Konoba Mengo serves up authentic Croat cuisine to hungry revel-makers, or sample the purpose-built restaurant and night bar at Passarola – a courtyard restaurant beside the old cathedral where the attentive staff understand their client’s combined need for food and fun.
Party: Prepare for the night ahead at one of the atmospheric bars lining Hvar Town’s ancient marble square before boarding the midnight taxi to Carpe Diem, a private party venue at the magical Stipanska Bay infamous for its port-side dance floor and exclusive after-party. Hvar’s international party pedigree makes it a hot-spot for likes of Jay-Z and Beyoncé who frequented the island’s Hula Hula Beach Club – après-beach cocktails with the A-list seal of approval.
Image: Marcus Lofvenberg
MONTE CARLO, MONACO
Stay: In a playground for the rich and famous, Monaco’s Hotel de Paris is the ultra-glam principality’s most iconic hotel. Whether or not you’re here for the Grand Prix, walk in the footsteps of Hollywood’s golden-age stars at this opulent residence on the French Riviera – Grace Kelly, Sir Roger Moore and Frank Sinatra were all patrons of the hotel. Its location on the famous Place du Casino makes it ideal for trying your luck at the roulette wheel whilst soaking up the old-world grandeur of Monte Carlo.
Eat: With Alain Ducasse at the helm, the dining experience at Le Louis XV is amongst the finest in the world. The elegant belle époque interior is matched only by a tasting menu inspired by classic French fare executed with Mediterranean panache. Alternatively, rendez-vous on the terrace at Café de Paris for lunch – the place to see and be seen.
Party: At the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix in May. The infamous superyacht parties are notoriously hard to get on to and all of the best require an insider invite. On board you can expect to rub shoulders with the world’s most feted celebrities over kilos of caviar and Perrier Jouet on tap before following the siren call of the town’s opulent casinos.