Heating up: Where to holiday in Europe in summer 2023

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If the early spring sunshine has got you thinking about your summer holiday then you’re not alone. So where to go? With short flight times, fantastic weather and a multitude of cultures and countries to explore, Europe is always a good idea. From lavish luxury hotels to serene spa escapes and trending destinations, here’s where to see and be seen in Europe this summer.

The hot hotel: The Maybourne Riviera, France

maybourne hotel france

The Maybourne Group, which owns Claridge’s, The Connaught and The Berkeley, unveiled its first property in mainland Europe towards the end of 2021. Don’t expect Claridge’s on the Cote d’Azur, however — this super-luxe hideaway is bright, white and modern, with an impressive contemporary art collection. The no-expense-spared hotel reportedly cost €300m to build, led by big names in the design industry including Pierre Yovanovitch and André Fu. Expect vast infinity pools and spacious rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking Roquebrune-Cap-Martin’s rippling coastline.

Multi-starred French chef Mauro Colagreco runs the glamorous rooftop restaurant, wrapped in panoramic views. There are also some recognisable touches from the Maybourne Group’s London hotels: Jean-Georges Vongerichten, who has an eponymous restaurant at The Connaught, is responsible for the pool bar, which serves his signature truffle pizza.

From £850 per night, visit maybourneriviera.com

The health retreat: Lanserhof Sylt, Germany

lanserhof sylt

The wellness tourism market was already buoyant pre-pandemic, but the demand for high-end retreats and health-orientated holidays is now greater than ever. Super-luxe getaways include the newly opened Lanserhof Sylt on the German island famed for its remote nature and long beaches. Lanserhof is famed for its no-nonsense, health-focused resorts in sublime surroundings across Austria and Germany, with two other outposts: Resort Lans and Resort Tegernsee. However, Sylt opened just last year, making it Lanserhof’s first resort by the sea, allowing guests to combine cutting-edge therapies and treatments with whale-watching and coastal walks while enjoying minimalistic interiors designed by internationally-renowned architect Christoph Ingenhoven. 

From £7,296 for a minimum seven-night stay, visit lanserhof.com

The spa hotel: One&Only Portonovi, Montenegro

one and only portonovi

If you are looking for the world’s billionaires and rich kids this summer, you will likely find them in Portonovi, a marina-meets-village on the Adriatic coast. This high-rolling shoreline is home to Europe’s first One&Only resort, which opened in 2021 — and two years into its opening, its appeal doesn’t seem to be waning. Hugging the UNESCO-protected Bay of Kotor, it features palatial rooms and suites, several swimming pools and four restaurants.

However, the highlight is the three-storey spa by Chenot, the exalted Swiss wellness operator, which features swathes of treatment rooms, a phalanx of medical staff and a cryotherapy chamber. Guests can check-in for everything, from a facial to a seven-day detox programme. For an ultra bespoke package, the Chenot team will ask you to complete a set of diagnostic tests upon arrival to curate a sophisticated package of bespoke treatments and culinary plans that aim to stimulate the body to eliminate toxins, increase vitality, activate energy channels and rebalance the body’s physiology.

From £314 per night, visit oneandonlyresorts.com

The arty hotel: Menorca Experimental

menorca experimental

Menorca has been trending for years, but only recently has the island rediscovered its artistic side. Long considered the least glamorous of the Balearic Islands, Menorca is building a reputation as a serene choice for creative types. Gallery moguls Hauser and Wirth opened an art outpost and restaurant on the tiny island of Isla del Rey in 2021, with gardens by Dutch garden designer Piet Oudolf. Menorca, which is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, is also widely recognised as one of the world’s most sustainable destinations, with swathes of unspoiled golden sand and clear, unpolluted waters.

Menorca Experimental, roughly an hour away from the Hauser and Wirth gallery, is a former ​19th-century farmhouse-turned-boutique hotel with chic interiors in a palette of peach and ivory. Home to just 43 rooms — nine have their own pools — the hotel is set among 30 hectares of pristine countryside. Sample authentic Spanish fare at the in-house restaurant with tables on the outdoor terrace or by the infinity pool, ideally set up so you can savour the Mediterranean menu while enjoying the Menorcan breeze. 

From £183 per night, visit menorcaexperimental.com

The Balearic bolthole: Petunia Ibiza

petunia ibiza

From one Balearic island to another, Petunia Ibiza has reopened following an extensive renovation. The Bougainvillea Suites now have separate living areas and al fresco terraces with fragrant garden views. There is also a new Japanese restaurant on the rooftop, noted for its captivating views of the mythical island of Es Vedrà. Down below is a slick gym and a series of treatment rooms for bespoke facials and massages, as well as daily yoga classes. Far from the madding crowd, the hotel is a half-hour drive from Ibiza Town. Irina Shayk holidayed here last year with Burberry CEO Ricardo Tisci, who is a regular at the restaurant.

From £290 per night, visit petuniaibiza.com

The private property: Villa Jane, Théoule-sur-Mer, France

villa jane one fine stay

This secluded, seven-bedroom villa is perched on a hillside overlooking the Bay of Cannes. Guests can rack up lengths in the 12.5m saltwater pool and sunbathe on the expansive terrace, which is also primed for entertaining. Expect magnificent views and minimalist interiors, flooded with natural light. The villa is next to the charming coastal town of Théoule Sur Mer, where you will find unpretentious local restaurants, golden beaches and possibly an A-list actor or two. The property is hosted on One Fine Stay, a trusted rental platform that opens doors to some of the finest homes in the world.

From £1,891 per night, visit onefinestay.com

The train: Orient-Express

orient express

Belmond’s Venice Simplon-Orient-Express will be charting its classic course through Europe this summer, inviting culture vultures on board a journey from Istanbul to Paris. This classic train route travels through the continent’s most enchanting sights, from the fairytale wonder of Peles Castle to the waters of the Danube, and it also includes decadent overnight stays in Bucharest and Budapest. In between stops, dine sensationally in the beautifully restored restaurant carriages on our luxury train, where you can listen to the sound of a pianist playing and the scenery unfold.

From £19,000 per cabin for a six-night trip, visit belmond.com

The cruise: Regent Seven Seas Cruises

regent seven seas

Set sail on a romantic voyage to discover the wonders of Northern Europe by boat. Glide from Scandinavia’s largest city, Stockholm — after taking in its fantastic museums and colourful architecture — before exploring the breathtaking fjords of Norway. Alternatively, if you’d rather catch a glimpse of the wildlife, Regent Seven Seas Cruises can sail further north so you can catch a glimpse of puffins at the historic Icelandic town of Ísafjörður or take in the remote beauty of Nuuk in Greenland. Every room is a suite and its inclusive offering covers absolutely everything, from your first glass of champagne to dinner at Compass Rose, the ship’s signature French fine dining restaurant.

From £4,990 for a 10-night voyage departing from Southampton, visit rssc.com

The adventure break: 62°Nord, Norway

62 nord

62°Nord is a charming and unique collection of hotels in Norway, which are exactly 62 degrees north of the equator, hence the name. These rural retreats offer a gateway to some of the world’s most beautiful walking, hiking and biking destinations, with a focus on highly personalised adventures. Fresh from a refurb, Hotel Union Øye sits in the small, remote village of Øye by the Norangsfjord. The hotel, which has courted mountaineers and royals alike, has three new suites, a spa, orangery and a barn for an immersive, fairytale Finnish escape. 

From £232 per night, visit 62.no/en

The family choice: Forte Village, Sardinia

forte village sardinia

The cavernous Forte Village in southern Sardinia is widely regarded as one of the best family resorts in Europe, if not the world. It is made up of four and five-star hotels, in addition to 13 luxury villas. Hotel Costello is the most luxurious and has previously hosted the Beckhams. Children’s activities at Forte Village are seemingly endless: cookery classes, water polo, go-karting and arts and crafts, as well as multiple pools, a water park, a vegetable garden and a nursery.

Having opened just last year, the Real Madrid Football Academy sees notable players coaching the stars of tomorrow, while there is also a Dance Academy for budding Darcy Bussells. These join established tennis, basketball, fencing and rowing sports academies. For adults, the newly renovated Acquaforte Thalasso & Spa is serene in excelsis, with myriad treatment options and a circuit of six saltwater pools.

From £694 per night, visit fortevillageresort.com

Read more: Easter holidays: The best luxury getaways for 2023

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