If you like to go barefoot on the beach (and everywhere else), you'll adore these heavenly hotels
Barefoot getaways are no longer the preserve of the dreadlocked backpacker – a new breed of boho-chic hotels has redefined the concept of luxury travel.
In place of champagne and caviar, you’ll find hammocks and Havaianas, with a style aesthetic of natural materials and indoor-outdoor spaces instead of Italian marble or Deco bling. Switch off your email and leave your glad rags at home, this is back-to-basics holidaying, where the focus is on chilling out rather than tuning in.
Areias do Seixo near Portugal’s Santa Cruz, is an architectural delight, with a seriously laid-back attitude; Mykonos’s San Giorgio is a haven for hedonists looking to escape; while in Mexico, follow a dirt track to Hotel Escondido, see above, for authentic style on a deserted beach. Alfresco dining, poolside lazing and beach bumming are de rigueur at these fab retreats. Reserve your smartphone for papping the oh-so Instagramable interiors…
1. Hotel Escondido, Oaxaca, Mexico.
THE LOWDOWN A rustic paradise smack bang on the beach.
BEST FOR Surfers and sunbathers looking to escape the daily grind.
Mission doesn’t quite cut it to describe the journey to Hotel Escondido on Mexico’s Pacific coast, but it’s well worth the effort. You’ll find pristine sand, perfect swell and sheer seclusion at this beachfront paradise. Individual bungalows offer a modern take on traditional Oaxacan beach huts, with private plunge pools, stunning ocean views and simple interiors that ooze charm. It’s a 20-minute drive away from Puerto Escondido, a mecca for serious surfers, while back at the hotel you can expend your energy hanging 10, kayaking or motorcycling along the dunes. But if never leaving the comfort of your sun lounger is more your sort of thing, this relaxed hideaway offers evening BBQs, bonfires and a luxurious spa to keep you happily occupied. And there’s no danger of overactive kids ruining your siesta – guests have to be aged 16+.
BOOK IT Double rooms from approx £194 (designhotels.com).
2. Areias do Seixo, Santa Cruz, Portugal.
THE LOWDOWN A modern design hotel with a seriously laid-back attitude.
BEST FOR Aesthetes who like to mingle around a bonfire.
It’s rare to find an eco hotel with so much design cred. At Areias do Seixo, a sculptural glass and concrete exterior gives way to beautifully thought-out interiors, filled with natural materials and textures to stimulate the senses. There are four themes to the rooms – Gold, Land, Tree and Love – and many feature fireplaces, terraces, sea views and expansive outdoor bathrooms. The hotel is a mere 35-minute drive from Lisbon, but it feels a world apart from the urban jungle. You might just want to wander the unspoilt beach, less than five minutes’ walk away, or choose one of the dozens of organised outdoor activities, from yoga classes to mussel harvesting. Adding to the feel-good vibe are nightly drinks (the free wine should put you in a chatty mood) and bi-weekly bonfire parties with Portuguese fado music. Our pre-travel tip? Pack your tambourine and brush up on your Kumbaya.
BOOK IT Double rooms from £250 (mrandmrssmith.com).
3. San Giorgio, Paraga, Mykonos.
THE LOWDOWN A pared-back retreat to delight bohemians.
BEST FOR Party seekers looking for a haven away from the scene.
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Staying at a gorgeous sanctuary removed from fast-paced modern life doesn’t mean you have to leave your party hat at home. Enter San Giorgio on Mykonos, a stunning hotel designed for anyone who loves both minimalist luxury and a convivial atmosphere. Created by the team behind the island’s famous Paradise Club, its 32 rooms are sophisticated in their simplicity, with whitewashed walls, organic materials and natural flourishes. Hand-picked treasures bring personality to every space. The pool, restaurant and bar areas are designed with mingling in mind; dinner is served at family-style tables around the pool and the hotel bar is a destination for trendsetters. As a guest, you receive priority entry at hip beach club Scorpios, plus the hotel also furnishes you with an extensive guide to the local highlights of the island. Someone pass us the ouzo…
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BOOK IT Double rooms from approx £200 (sangiorgio-mykonos.com).