Even though the bank break could mark the end of the Great British Summer, there’s still no need to give in to that back-to-school feeling.
In the rest of Europe, the sun is still shining and a number of hotels welcome guests to their elegant suites, gourmet restaurants and incredible swimming pools.
Read on to discover our selection of the best, from a castle in the rolling Umbrian hills to a perfect Provençal retreat – don’t forget to pack your sunscreen.
Kalesma, Mykonos, Greece
With temperatures regularly reaching 25 degrees in Mykonos in September, guests at Kalesma can still enjoy the private pools that come with each of its clean rooms and two villas. The hotel’s name means “inviting” in Greek, and the interiors with sandblasted stone floors, marble basins, and concrete tubs are exactly that. The food is excellent and is reminiscent of Cycladic flavors – from smoked eggplant sauce accompanied by freshly baked pita to whole lobster with manouri cheese and garlic butter – plus, the resort’s location on the backbone of a hill means you can enjoy both sunrise and sunset during your stay.
Price: from around £ 1014 per night; kalesmamykonos.com
Hotel Castello di Reschio, Umbria, Italy
A true labor of love, the Hotel Castello di Reschio is the work of Count Benedikt Bolza and his family, who spent about 20 years transforming a dilapidated medieval castle into one of the most fascinating hotels in Italy. Located on a 3750-acre estate in Umbria, the property’s interiors are a bold mix of bespoke furniture and beautiful artwork and antiques, such as vintage oil mills from the local market. The grounds are a bucolic paradise of olive groves, vineyards, beehives: don’t miss the opportunity to join a foraging mission in the generous wood or take a ride from the magnificent equestrian center.
Price: from around £ 667 per night; reschio.com
Capelongue, Provence, France
You probably know the Beaumier group for their chic seaside hotel Les Roches Rouge; now, the recently refurbished Capelongue, a super pretty castle in the heart of Provence, looks set to become another Instagram favorite. In the rooms you will find photogenic plaster walls, ceramic tiles, rattan lampshades and art objects, while outside you can stroll through the fragrant gardens filled with lavender, roses and figs or play bowls. Sophisticated dishes at the Michelin-starred restaurant La Bastide make use of delicious local produce from the surrounding area, such as Luberon beef tartare with coriander and Camargue oyster, while more casual dishes are served from the wood-fired grill at La Bergerie.
Price: from around £ 254 per night; beaumier.com
One & Only Portonovi, Montenegro
Do you want to skip the city when the temperatures start to drop? Then head to One & Only Portonovi in Montenegro for a restorative retreat. Located at the entrance to Boka Bay, a fjord-like idyll on the country’s Adriatic coast, it’s the first European resort of the beloved luxury hotel group, with spacious suites, multiple pools and a pristine white-sand beach. In the spa, they have partnered with wellness brand Chenot to offer cutting-edge treatments, and guests can sample different cuisines at one of four restaurants, including Italian at Sabia and Asian fusion at Tapasake. There’s really no need to leave the hotel grounds, but more adventurous travelers can cruise the spectacular coastline by speedboat or learn to dive into the clear, calm waters.
Price: from around £ 428 per night; oneandonlyresorts.com
Predi Son Jaumell Rural, Majorca, Spain
If you’re heading to Predi Son Jaumell Rural, a finca-style property on Mallorca’s northeastern coast, there’s no need to put on heels or a tie – the vibe is decidedly understated, allowing for maximum relaxation. Scattered around the estate, the 24 spacious suites are individually decorated, but all have smoky blue shutters, whirlpool tubs, and crisp white linens on the cloud-shaped beds. Come siesta time, the best place to stay is down by the heated pool on one of the 1850’s padded double sofa beds, hammocks or beds, salvaged from a local monastery and reupholstered as loungers. If you feel like a change of scene, borrow a bicycle and cycle along the country lanes to the small beach of Cala Agulla, with golden sand and blue water.
Price: from around £ 262 per night; hotelsonjaumell.com
Amanruya, Bodrum, Turkey
Designed to resemble an Ottoman village, Amanruya sits on a quiet pine-scented hill on the northern side of the Bodrum Peninsula. Only thirty-six stone villas are lined up along honey-colored “streets” lined with silver olive trees, so that, in true Aman style, you feel like you have the place to yourself. Each has its own garden with a black granite infinity pool and an amazing hammam-style bathroom with white marble floors and a free-standing tub. Golf buggies are available to escort guests to the hotel’s beach club, another quiet spot where you can commandeer a paddleboard or kayak to explore the private bay.
Price: from around £ 810 per night; aman.com
The Hoxton Poblenou, Barcelona, Spain
Long tapas lunches and lively flamenco shows are just two of the pleasant activities that can be practiced all year round in the city of Barcelona. More often than not, this Spanish gem enjoys a ray of sunshine, which you can make the most of in the Hoxton Poblenou’s rooftop pool. The hotel is located in a quaint neighborhood dotted with craft breweries, concept stores and markets, a 15-minute walk from the Sagrada Familia. After a day by the ocean, retire to one of the 240 light and airy rooms (including a new “Homey” category, complete with lounge and kitchenette), before feasting on sea bass ceviche and quesadillas in the lively taqueria, Tope.
Price: from around £ 166 per night; thehoxton.com
Passalacqua, Lake Como, Italy
One of the hottest openings of the summer, Passalacqua is the creation of Antonella and Valentina De Santis, owners of the Grand Hotel Tremezzo, who transformed an 18th century palace on Lake Como into a spectacular five-star sanctuary. As a private home, it hosted the likes of Napoleon, Winston Churchill and the composer Bellini, who composed two of his most famous works here, Norm And The Sonnambula. Now you have the option to book one of the 24 suites distributed between the main villa, the ancient stables and the house on the water, with fairytale gardens and a lake view pool with fabulous umbrellas and accessories designed by the lively designer La DoubleJ of JJ Martin.
Price: from around £ 1267 per night; passalacqua.it
São Lourenço do Barrocal, Portugal
About a two-hour drive from Lisbon, São Lourenço do Barrocal is a recently restored 19th-century farmhouse surrounded by olive groves, centuries-old oaks and gentle vineyards. Stay in one of the converted barns or stables, now painted in a soothing palette of sage green, dark blue, tan, and white, with rustic touches including wicker baskets, wooden beams, and terra-cotta floors. There’s a Susanne Kaufmann spa offering a wide range of treatments and gourmets will love the delicious farm-to-table cuisine; those who visit in late summer can watch the estate’s harvest, including a tasting of the new varieties that have been planted, such as Arinto and Verdelho.
Price: from around £ 321 per night; barrocal.pt
Mezzatorre Resort & Spa, Ischia, Italy
September is an excellent time to visit the rugged island of Ischia – it feels more like spring than autumn and you’ll avoid the summer swarms. Built around a 400-year-old watchtower, the Mezzatorre Resort & Spa is undoubtedly the chicest spot on its shores with Pierre Frey deceives the eye Manuel Canovas wallpaper, curtains and headboards, gilded mirrors and brass chandeliers. Enjoy panoramic views of the Tyrrhenian Sea from one of the loungers around the pool with a plate of lobster spaghetti for lunch, then descend to the spa’s bougainvillea-shaped spa. Here, the hotel’s private spring supplies the hydrotherapy pools with powerful jets and waterfalls to relieve any residual tension.
Price: from around £ 549 per night; mezzatorre.com
Hotel de la Ville, Rome, Italy
Perched on top of the Spanish Steps in Rome, the Hotel de la Ville is certainly in a privileged position, in fact the view from the rooftop Cielo Bar embraces so many places in the Eternal City that it is almost necessary to visit it. This historic 18th century palace and the latest member of the prestigious Rocco Forte Hotel collection, has been renovated in gold by the offbeat Italian architect Tommaso Ziffer and designer Olga Polizzi. Inspired by the Grand Tour – basically a gap year around Europe taken by British aristocrats of the 17th and 18th centuries, most notably Lord Byron – the hotel is filled with regency-style sofas, bright jeweled wallpaper and a central courtyard complete with topiary and obelisks. The hotel is in a perfect location for exploring the city, a short walk across the Spanish Steps takes you to the home of the romantic poet John Keats and the place of death (another alumni Grand-tour) or Villa Borghese is only five minutes away walk up the hill.
Price: from £ 342 per night in low season; roccofortehotels.com