Sun, sand and buckets and spades are what childhood memories are made of but just because you’ve grown up, it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a trip to the beach. You might not be so keen on investigating the contents of rock pools anymore but nothing beats a sunny day on the sand, your favourite novel in one hand and an icecream in the other. What’s more, now you’re a fully paid up member of grown-up society, you get to choose where to go, whether that’s a sunny corner of Marbella or a budget-busting beach break in Phuket. Whatever the state of your bank balance, Mr and Mrs Smith founder James Lohan has rounded up some of the coolest seaside hotels on the planet which come with a side order of grown-up seaside fun as standard.
Homeric Poems – Santorini
As a chronicler of epic journeys, Homer seems an apt namesake for this spectacular spot in pretty Santorini. Perched on the Firostefani cliffs with panoramic views of the glistening Aegean and the island’s caldera, the hotel feels as if it could be the launching point for an adventure-filled odyssey of your own. However, breathtaking sunsets and an iced glass of ouzo at the pool bar may convince you to put heroic adventures to one side and instead sink into the open-air Jacuzzi while taking in the view. The stylish interiors of the white-washed buildings are coolly minimalist but don’t scrimp on luxury. Embrace the laid-back atmosphere by taking breakfast on your private terrace – or if you’re lucky enough to hole up in one of the suites, lounging by your very own private pool.
A stay at Homeric Poems starts at £237 per night. See the website for more information.
Finca Cortesin – Marbella
Finca Cortesin is effortlessly glamorous, with quirkily cool interiors and an admirable address on Marbella’s golden mile. The hotel is vast, with 67 suites and three pools, but everything is presented and delivered with such style and attention to detail that you never feel as though you’re floundering in a Costa Del Sol resort. Designed to resemble a traditional Spanish village, the architecture reflects the Moorish and Castilian history of the area, and the whole estate is set on one of Spain’s best golf courses. But even if you’re not into golf (and I’m not), you won’t be short of diversions. The hotel’s Beach Club is just a stroll away and comes complete with an infinity pool, Balinese sun loungers, a seafood and tapas restaurant and a cocktail bar that specialises in some rather potent concoctions. It’s a perfect palm-strewn paradise.
A stay at Finca Cortesin starts at £422 per night, including an à la carte breakfast. See the website for more information.
The Bull Hotel – Dorset
If you prefer your coastline rugged and poetically windswept, The Bull Hotel in Dorset is a typically British bolthole just a pebble’s throw from the Jurassic Coast – a Unesco World Heritage site that spans a 95-mile swathe of spectacularly photogenic coastline. Situated in the food-fabulous market town of Bridport, this 1850s coaching inn offers Regency-style elegance combined with modern candy-coloured prints and fabrics. In short, it’s a masterclass in envy-inducing vintage chic, with stripped-wood flooring and carefully chosen antiques. Despite its metropolitan location, The Bull is perfectly placed for a day at the beach: just a 20-minute drive away you’ll find Lyme Regis’ golden sands and rolling waters. Follow a country footpath or take in the ocean breeze – or perhaps hone your Lawrence of Arabia impression, in honour of Dorset’s native son – by walking along the 300-mile stretch of coast.
A stay at The Bull Hotel starts at £85 per night, including breakfast. See the website for more information.
Aleenta Phuket Phang Nga – Thailand
At this luxury retreat you’ll find yourself a few flip-flopped steps away from Thailand’s tropical Phang Nga coast. The pristine beach has crystal-clear waters and soft sands dotted with palm trees; and all of the rooms have retractable glass walls that you can slide aside and let in the ocean breeze sweep through. The Aleenta also has a staunch eco outlook and is heavily involved in turtle conservation: there’s even a sanctuary nearby – and in the right season guests can watch hatchlings make their first trip to the sea. This is the ultimate destination for doing a whole lot of nothing, perfect for peace and privacy, and even if the hotel is full; its secluded rooms make you feel like it’s your own special place.
A stay at the Aleenta Phuket Phang Nga starts at £131 per night, including breakfast and a daily yoga session. See the website for more information.
The Betsy South Beach – Miami
The art deco Betsy South Beach is not your usual Miami haunt. Situated at the northern end of Ocean Boulevard, it feels more South Carolina than South Beach, with a fresh and contemporary colonial look and a friendly all-American atmosphere. Modern art, a generous welcome, and a superb steakhouse (an outpost of NYC’s BLT Steak) make this a fabulous spot for sun seekers. Just over the road you’ll find the hotel’s own private strip of white sandy shoreline, complete with parasols, loungers and a well-stocked bar.
A stay at the Betsy South Beach starts at £173 per night, including breakfast. See the website for more information.