Nothing feels quite so ‘holiday’ as a beach club. There’s something so decadent – and, let’s face it, so easy – about losing the whole day to the same enticing place, where a yoga session turns into brunch turns into an afternoon on a sun lounger – and a steady flow of cocktails. Before you know it, that don’t-miss sunset has arrived and the mood changes as DJs get started and you’re dancing on the sand.
In honour of such blissful days, we’ve rounded up our very favourite beach clubs and bars. From rustic shacks on stilts in Jamaica to cultured coveside corners in Ibiza, these are the coolest spots to see you from day to night.
Cape Town, South Africa
A Cape Town stalwart, Grand Africa Café and Beach has long been a favourite among both locals and tourists. The city might not be short on beaches, but this is one of the few where you can drink alcohol. Formerly a crayfish warehouse, it is primarily a restaurant on the sand, complete with tables and Parisian-style seating, but there are several different spaces to cater for whatever you’re in the mood for.
Guests sprawl out on sun loungers or in cabanas at the beach bar, while others sip chilled beers on swing chairs overlooking the beach at Corona Bar. For a truly intimate experience, book the private dining deck: a table for 12 perched on the water’s edge, offering the very best views in the house.
Stay the night One&Only Cape Town also has a waterside address and is only a few blocks away. For a city hotel, it’s really something: a scaled-up oasis spread across two islands adjoined by its own network of waterways. If your day by the beach has taken its toll, take a cabana by the freeform infinity pool and gaze out over the skyline between restorative dips.
The legendary Scorpios on the southern tip of Mykonos has influenced hundreds of copycats since its 2015 opening, but none will ever replicate the original. Designed to look like an ancient Greek agora – a meeting place for the athletic, artistic, spiritual, and political – it’s certainly one of the most aesthetically gifted beach clubs in the world. Its views of the Aegean sea are uninterrupted and its sun-drenched terraces spill out onto the coast with a scattering of driftwood day-beds.
Scorpios has found a way of seamlessly taking lazy, relaxed afternoons into bohemian, fun-filled nights. By day, indulge in a sound bath, yoga session or just enjoy the fresh food served at the restaurant. Sunset brings a soundtrack led by renowned DJs and experimental musicians. Just round the corner is Soho Roc House, a new members club and hotel from Soho House, for more stylish design, great food and music.
Stay the night If you haven’t bagged a bedroom at Soho Roc House, let the Myconian Ambassador spoil you. There are expansive Aegean views, crisp white bedrooms – many with a pool or hot tub – and a main pool that surveys the sea on three sides.
FLOYD’S PELICAN BAR
Salt Spring Junction, Jamaica
Less a beach bar or club, more a rustic oasis in the sea, Pelican Bar in Jamaica has rightly earned its place as one of the world’s coolest places to drink in the sunshine. In 2001, a local fisherman called Floyd decided that the shoreline was too far a trip to find a beer at the end of a hot day fishing, so he came up with a solution: building a bar on stilts in the middle of the ocean.
Made out of driftwood and palm fronds, and covered with a thatched roof, it sits a mile off the island’s south coast. Only accessible by boat (watch out for dolphin sightings en route), it was named after the pelicans who perch next to it on the neighbouring sandbar. Today, it attracts more than just the fisherman crowd; you’ll find an eclectic mix of sun-worshippers basking on the rustic desk, Red Stripe in hand listening to the soft lilt of reggae. There’s also fresh fish and lobster available should you feel hungry. Bars genuinely don’t get better than this.
Stay the night Pelican Bar is worth the day trip. People have been known to cross half the island – and we’ve been known to do the same from Round Hill Hotel up in Montego Bay: the refined, striped-awning yin to Floyd’s rough-and-ready yang.
Yazz Collective, tucked into a remote cove on south-western Turkey’s Turquoise Coast, is only accessible by boat which adds to its exclusivity. A hotel, restaurant, bar and gallery, Yazz has a strong cultural backbone with artworks and installations on loan from the architect’s Istanbul gallery. There’s also an art club for you to channel your inner Picasso in case the beautiful surrounds inspire a creative burst.
At the weekends, expect sunset parties and DJ sets where guests can kick back while looking out over the sea, mountains and cliffs. The restaurant is positioned on the water’s edge, and features a daily menu using local and natural ingredients.
Stay the night …right where you are! There are 17 suites set throughout the peaceful gardens – you’ll notice their drooping thatch roofs looking like unruly fringes. Artistic additions inside include hanging hammered-copper lamps, round wicker mirrors and carved wooden ornaments.
Cala Moli, Ibiza
Ibiza has no shortages of photogenic beach clubs, but what sets El Silencio (the Balearic outpost of David Lynch’s offbeat Parisian institution) apart is its creative streak. Its inventive, cultural programme has attracted collaborations from talented artists, chefs, fashion designers, even Pharrell Williams, creating a space that has soul as well as good looks (you’ll struggle to find a more idyllic or quietly stylish spot).
Of course, it wouldn’t be an Ibiza beach club without a party component and El Silencio enlists famed DJs – Carl Craig, no less, was on duty recently – to play around the pool after the sun sets (and this secluded bay gives good sunset). That said, if you are looking for somewhere mellow to nurse a hangover its wellness offering promises to restore and pamper, and the pool is a peach.
Stay the night Book Villa Amira for you and 11 of your nearest and dearest and the all-back-to-mine after a night dancing on the sands will feel suitably soothing. Its only a couple of bays down the coast from El Silencio, sports its own saltwater pool, a sea-spying terrace, and tactile Moroccan accented interiors throughout.
When Portia Hart founded her eco-chic beach club Blue Apple in 2016, she had a simple goal: to create a lively space to enjoy a decent bottle of rosé, listen to good music and eat well. Six years on, Hart has realised her goals and then some. Blue Apple, housed on a private beach called Playa Mamon just 30 minutes boat ride from the coast of Cartagena, is as popular with Colombian locals as it is with tourists.
The space mixes an escapist appeal with a lively party scene – this is a club truly obsessed with music and hedonism, so come prepared to dance. Hart is also committed to making a positive impact on the community, and her social enterprise, Green Apple Foundation, creates sustainable, positive employment opportunities for locals.
Stay the night Historic Old Town hideaway Hotel Casa San Agustín packs a one-two punch of old-world grandeur and breezy urban cool. Its crowd-pulling, pool-lined courtyard keeps things lively until nightfall.
St Tropez, France
For sophistication and understated glamour, St Tropez hotspot Gigi Ramatuelle ranks high. Hidden under a pine forest, Ramatuelle is designed for well-heeled guests to stay all day. Detail matters here, from the ceramic, hand-painted tables and luxuriously cushioned pool loungers to the embroidered table cloths and romantic lighting.
There’s even a high-end children’s play area, supervised by activity leaders, where you can leave the younger members of your party while the adults enjoy a chilled glass of rosé or three. The restaurant focuses on Italian cuisine, enabling guests to enjoy in a little dolce vita with their French Riviera elegance.
Stay the night At nearby Muse St Tropez. When you name your hotel after the goddesses of inspiration you need to have something special up your sleeve. Here it’s the gardens, designed by award-winning landscape architect Sophie Agata Ambroise, which reflect the painterly palette of the French south and fill the grounds with the scents of the Mediterranean.
Seminyak‘s Potato Head is more than a beach club – it bills itself as a ‘creative village’ that includes an impeccably designed hotel, music, art and cultural programmes, multiple restaurants and a co-working space. Since its opening in 2010, its beloved beach club has almost doubled in size with a more extensive offering than ever before. Start your day with a sunrise meditation session on the roof, followed by a languid day swimming, eating and sipping on a smoothie or a cocktail.
The food is largely plant-based to ease any guilt you might have as the small plates keep coming. Choose between the infinity pool flanked by palm trees, or the sandy beach below – there are no dud spots here. As the evening arrives, a host of international DJs get the party started in earnest.
Stay the night You wont have to go far to find the imposing red-brick Potato Head Suites which rises majestically from the shoreside jungles just round the corner from its namesake club. Mid-century furniture fans will delight at the rooms, styled as they are with Louis Poulsen pendant lamps, Le Corbusier and Arne Jacobsen chairs, and more.
From day drinking to late-night libations: discover the world’s best date-night bars
El Silencio photo credit: Daniel Balda