European beach hotels

Need green seas, blue skies and white sands, but loathe long-haul flights? Unfurl your beach towel and dust off your Ray-Bans for this collection of Euro-flash beach belles: it'll have you horizontal before you can say 'bucket and spade'. The only difficult bit? Deciding whether you prefer your sea and sunshine in the French Riviera, postcard-perfect Portugal, exotic Istanbul, sangría-sipping Spain or one of our other European beach hotel hotspots…

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Junior Pool Suite 101 at Anemi Hotel, Folegandros, Greece

Junior Pool Suite 101 at Anemi Hotel, Folegandros, Greece

It would be easy to miss Anemi if you didn’t know it existed; a scattering of whitewashed cuboid buildings with rounded corners and rectangle windows are built into the dipped recesses of the unspoilt Greek terrain. Like fireflies at night, spotlights illuminate the understated exterior after darkness descends. If it’s seclusion you’re after, the Junior Pool Suite has it in abundance. White walls, slate floors, views over the Aegean Sea and minimalist furniture all help make this suite archetypally Greek. On the flagstone terrace outside, a mosaic of cobbled stones and clusters of flowers ensconce a small private pool.

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Marbella Club

Marbella Club

Marbella has been the famously chic playground of old-school, look-at-me Mediterranean glamour for decades, and Marbella Club is one of the biggest reasons behind its rep. Opened by playboy Prince Alfonso von Hohenlohe in 1951, the shore-side resort (which includes a spa, beach club, golf course, botanical gardens and champagne room, naturally) still attracts the glitz-garbed international jet set and those who like to watch them at play. Although these days, a lot of the younger guests slope off to barefoot-luxe coast club Nikki Beach down the road when they’re tired of lounging on the pool terrace…

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Roccia Suite at Bellevue Syrene, Amalfi Coast, Italy

Roccia Suite at Bellevue Syrene, Amalfi Coast, Italy

Perched on the sublime clifftops of Sorrento, and built on the ruins of a Roman villa, Bellevue Syrene is a baroque, candy-coloured confection of a hotel, with knockout views of Vesuvius and the sun-sparkled Bay of Naples. The sexiest spot in the hotel has to be the Roccia Suite, an undergound seduction chamber with rough rocky walls, atmospheric arches, beautiful parquet and a billowy-draped four-poster set beside a private hydrotherapy pool. Prepare to have you socks knocked off…

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Perivolas Suite at Perivolas, Santorini, Greece

Perivolas Suite at Perivolas, Santorini, Greece

Set in 300-year-old caves, Perivolas was once the homes, wineries and stables of local fishermen and farmers. These days, the smoothly curved whitewashed walls hold a welcoming romantic retreat. With magnificent views of the Aegean, and a smooth all-white interior that evokes notions of sleeping inside a cloud, the Perivolas Suite invites you into bed at every turn – quite literally, as there’s both a king-size in the bedroom and a double in the domed lounge. Spend your days relaxing in the steam bath, hydrotherapy massage pool and private-cave swimming pool, and end with cocktails on the grand terrace, watching the sun set over the caldera.

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