The place to be in the summer months? Croatia’s Dalmatian coast lures jet-setting hedonists for dynamite cuisine, dreamy seascapes, and plenty of sunshine. For the last few years, Croatia has emerged as the “new Riviera.” Among the string of paradise islands in the Adriatic Sea, Hvar lures celebrities like Jay-Z and Beyoncé for fun in the sun (the island gets 300 days of sunshine a year). Sleek yachts are moored next to fishing boats in the harbour, and the seaside cafes attract a glam crowd for local wine and nibbles as the sun sets. Here, the Sunčani Hvar Hotels group is on a mission to reposition its hotel and restaurant offerings, injecting capital on property makeovers and marketing the island internationally. A stay on the island isn’t complete without a day spent lavishing in luxury at Bonj Les Bains beach club overlooking the sparkling sea.
Originally built in 1927, the country’s most exclusive beach club is built into a hillside fragrant with pine trees. From the terrace restaurant, watch the yachts ply the sparkling sea while you tuck into fresh-caught fish. The menu focuses on local produce sourced from farmers in the island’s fertile interior (not just vegetables, but also herbs and olive oil). On the upper level, there are cabanas for open-air spa treatments, and next to the restaurant, the private over-water pontoons are equipped with chaises and daybeds draped with white curtains billowing in the breeze. Attendants service the exclusive pontoons with towels, fresh fruit, local wine and other menu items. After bronzing in the sun, cool off with a dip in the sea (there are steps leading directly from the club into the water). Bonj les Bains is a little slice of heaven on the Adriatic; it’s easy to see why it’s a top choice among celebrities (Kevin Spacey privatized the whole club.) For more information, visit www.suncanihvar.com