Chic destinations making waves in the Mediterranean
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Menorca is calling
Thanks to the arrival of the powers of the art world Iwan and Manuela Wirth, Menorca is everyone’s favorite Balearic this summer. The Hauser & Wirth gallery restaurant area (actually on the small islet of Isla del Rey, in the port of Mahon) brings them like honey bees from European points and beyond. Just across the water is the island’s liveliest new hotel. Cristine Bedfor, owned and managed by the very elegant Cristina Lozano, opened in May with 21 rooms, each uniquely and lovingly designed by Lorenzo Castillo (follow him on Instagram for periodic doses of pure chromatic and aesthetic joy).
It’s a typical continental mix of ikats and Iberian antiques, a Magistretti Carimate chair here and a bit of kilim or majolica there. Plus freestanding bathtubs, jewel balconies and perfect views over Calle de la Infanta and the rusting rooftops of the town of Mahon. Local pioneer from farm to fork His Forquilles partnered with Lozano at the hotel; the menu covers both all the delicious bases of jamon-y-queso and raises a few standards (including tacos with Menorcan rockfish and lime mayonnaise). cristinebedforhotel.com, double from 175 €
Train, rest and play in Mykonos
After two seasons in which its tourism industry (like that of so many other countries) suffered huge losses – and, more recently, with parts of the mainland and Euboea devastated by forest fires – it’s time to bring love to the many Greeks. -loved reached. So in Mykonos: while there is no end to the festivities one can have on the most festive island of the Cyclades, well-being, like everywhere else, has grown in popularity.
Helios Retreats kicked off their semi-tailored programs six years ago – think good, sweaty fitness, expert instruction, chewy digs, and beautifully plated food with sugar / fat / glycemic indices all carefully calibrated – right here. Accommodation is in one of the most elegant villas around Mykonos Town, and the menus, thanks to a long collaboration with bowl, the island’s favorite whole, raw food restaurant (run by two Australians, no), is suitably good for well-being and good taste. The days are busy, but the work is complemented by a lot of play, from quad adventures to group dinners. There is room for the last three weeks of September.
And if Mykonos just wouldn’t be Mykonos for you without a deep dive into glam, Richard Caring has you covered: his band Caprice just debuted. Noema, a restaurant, a bar and a concept store around an airy courtyard in the center of the old town. There’s a smart menu that deviates from Pescatarians, programming that ranges from Aegean aperitif time to live music and late-night DJ sessions, and retail therapy tailored to the venue: fashion, jewelry and housewares, but also a smart collection of design books. helios-retreats.com, from £ 2,190 per person. noemamykonos.com
Il San Pietro, the family-run hotel located just south of Positano, is at the top of many people’s lists of eternal places: a timeless setting, a service for which the descriptor “unassailable” seems invented, food that makes you dream all the time. winter (my life was effectively split into a “before” and “after” scenario by the sublime experience of grilled mozzarella with lemon leaves at his beach restaurant, Carlino). Owner Vito Cinque had a brilliant idea of Covid at the end of 2020, which he brought to life this year: to take over a sumptuous villa in the village of Positano close enough for selective but eminently private access.
Former episcopal palace, then private residence whose owner hosted John Steinbeck and Alberto Moravia, the 17th century, 7,400 m² Santa Croce Palace has decor that leans on the older world than the hotel, with ornate coffered and painted ceilings and multicolored tile fantasies in the bathrooms. There’s an indoor pool and outdoor hot tub, garden, compact spa with sauna and steam room, full chef’s kitchen (with pizza oven), and five bedrooms, including two huge suites. Ilsanpietro.com, from 15,700 € per night
The beautiful south
And further south, above the volcanic sand beaches of Basilicata, a secret of Italian hospitality is given that promises to be fabulous new life. Il Santavenere has long been a quiet favorite of Europeans who appreciate the patina of an old world Italian hotel experience and truly fantastic seas (and proximity to pretty towns: it’s a scenic 10 minute drive to Maratea, one of the most beautiful in Basilicata).
Last year, the Santavenere was acquired by Arsenale, the real estate fund co-owned by Nicola Bulgari; Aldo Melpignano, whose family helped put Puglia on the luxury map with Borgo Egnazia and Masseria San Domenico, manages it and has begun an ongoing reimagining of the hotel for at least two years that will see upgrades and improvements – in decor, cuisine, services and experiences – implemented over the winters. Maratea is an interesting offer – much closer to Calabria than Amalfi, and not particularly close to an airport. But the south continues to intrigue, and after the pandemic, the zeitgeist is focusing on this kind of discovery. A space and a place to watch. santavenere.it, starting at € 369