by STELLA magazine writers, The Telegraph, August 4, 2017
Here comes the sun… Lazy days and turquoise skies, sumptuous food and sundowners aplenty. Well? What are you waiting for?
The Elysium, Cyprus
Best for…serious sun worshippers
The low-down: On the shores of the Med, with its own private beach and more pools than you can shake a towel at, this recently refurbished five-star hotel is built for one thing: total relaxation. The Espa spa is a must: go for the 90-minute total body care massage or rehydrator facial. In fact, your only stress will be fitting in any more food after the groaning buffet breakfasts. But there are five restaurants, all superb. Marvel at the stunning sunsets while sharing a fish mezze at the seafront Mediteranneo and try the hand-made pastas at the Tuscan-themed Bacco.
Out and about: If you can drag yourself away from the pool, the nearby Tombs of the Kings, a Unesco World Heritage Site, with well-preserved underground tombs and chambers dating back to the third century BC, is well worth a visit.
Stella loves: The billowy four-poster beach beds, swathed in white calico.
Words by Marianne Jones
Rates from £145 per person, b&b; elysium-hotel.com
Check availability. The Elysium in Cyprus is built for one thing: total relaxation.
Pikes Hotel, Ibiza
Best for...discerning fun vibe types
The low-down: Dripping in character (think pink tennis courts, a naughty step by the bar and a fake croc's head floating in the pool), Pikes has an infectiously feel-good vibe – super chilled by day and brilliantly bonkers by night. The 500-year-old finca, set in the picturesque hills of San Antonio, has attracted its fair share of VIP guests over the years too. George Michael filmed Club Tropicana around the pool and Freddie Mercury was a regular. Freddie’s favourite suite has since been transformed into the hotel’s nightclub and the bathroom is now a karaoke room, complete with a ball pond in the bath tub. What more could you ask for after a few too many pina coladas? A boudoir full of feather boas, showstopping wigs and glitzy gowns, did you say? No problem – you can fulfil your every fancy dress fantasy in the hotel’s walk-in costume closet. The nights at Pikes have an intimate house party feel but when the sun comes up, the music’s turned down and peace descends. By day, indulge in the hotel’s creative cuisine at Pikes restaurant (their sharing menu comes highly recommended) and relax on oversized sunbeds by the elaborately tiled pool – exquisite cocktails essential.
Out and about: Take the 20-minute cab ride to Ibiza’s port for fantastic shopping then make your way through the cobbled streets of the old town for a dose of pure charm. If you prefer staying put and feeling pampered, download the Ibiza Darling app and call a glam squad of make-up, hair and nail artists to you.
Stella loves: Eating breakfast beneath a cluster of glitter balls.
Words by Naomi Greenaway
Rates from £180 a night, b&b; pikesibiza.com
Check availability. The nights at Pikes have an intimate house party feel but when the sun comes up, the music’s turned down and peace descends.
Amàre Marbella Beach Hotel, Spain
Best for…relaxing break away from the kids
The low-down: Sitting right on the seafront and only a five-minute walk from Old Town Marbella, the Amàre Marbella Beach hotel is an adults-only urban beach retreat. The hotel’s modern, sleek (recently refurbished) interiors offer cool respite from the Spanish heat and, despite the hotel's 236 bedrooms, it never feels crowded. Book a massage on the beach, in the hotel's spa or simply lounge by the pool. By night, don't miss the hotel's rooftop bar for epic sunsets overlooking the African coast, cocktail in hand.
Out and about: Check out the nearby shops on Calle Ribera, boasting all the big luxury brands, and be sure to dine at Dani Garcia, a two-Michelin star restaurant that elevates traditional Andalucían fare.
Stella loves: Sunrise yoga classes on the beach.
Words by Carla Bradley
Rates start from £267 a night b&b; amarehotels.com/amare-marbella
Check availability. Amàre Marbella Beach Hotel is a sleek, modern beach retreat on Spain's sunny south coast.
Ikos Olivia, Greece
Best for...all inclusive fans
The low-down:There's no need for cash or cards at this five-star all-inclusive resort on Halkidiki – just pack plenty of sunscreen (with eight pools and half a kilometer of private beach, there's no shortage of sunbathing opportunities) and arrive thirsty. Cocktail hour starts at your discretion. Children will love the kids' club almost as much as they adore the never-ending supply of ice-cream. From tots to teens there are exceptionally well run crèches and clubs – so child-free chilling awaits you.
Out and about: If you’ve exhausted all the resort has to offer (please tell us how you managed it!) guests can venture to a local taverna which does a set menu for Ikos residents (included in your board package). There are a tonne of complimentary activities such as pilates, pedalos, windsurfing and mountain biking and for a price why not join the Sailing Academy or go wild on a water or jet ski.
Stella loves: Super spacious two-bed luxury bungalow with two separate bedrooms, ideal for a bigger family. Oh, and it’s on the beachfront too.
Words by Emily Cronin
Rates from £180 a night based on two people sharing a double, full board; ikosresorts.com
Check availability. With eight pools and a long stretch of private beach, there’s no shortage of sunbathing opportunities at Ikos Olivia.