by: José Berrocoso
T he Mediterranean Sea was an important route for merchants and travellers during ancient times as it allowed for trade and cultural exchange between emergent peoples of the region. It borders over 20 countries, home to around 480 million people living across three continents: Africa, Asia and Europe. It is still one of the world´s busiest shipping routes with about one-third of the world´s total merchant shipping crossing the sea each year.
Endless golden beaches, lush vegetation, fantastically flavoursome food, wild mountains plummeting into the azure sea and ancient ruins appear all around the coast line; and whether you are looking for an action packed water sports holiday or blissfully romantic getaway in sensational scenery, a Mediterranean holiday can provide it all.
There are a staggering number of cultures, landscapes and monuments of ancient civilizations found around the Mediterranean Sea, from the boutique hotels of the Spanish Balearic Islands to the run strewn coasts of the Turkish Mediterranean, from the peace of the coastlines of Croatia to the vibrancy and excitement of Tunisia and the beautiful island of Malta in the heart of the Mediterranean Sea. Check out five wonderful destinations to fall in love with the Magic Sea, again!
STRUNG ALONG THE STUNNING COAST OF CROATIA
Where: Villa Dubrovnik, Croatia
Croatia is home to more than 1,200 islands across 2,000 kilometres and is open to all. Rest and relaxation is the order of the day at the Villa Dubrovnik Hotel, set amongst orange and lemon trees with a view of the island of Lokrum.
The hotel is housed in a traditional white building with a modernist design and is built into the cliffs. The interior spaces are light and airy while the ambience manages to be both sophisticated and relaxed.
Villa Dubrovnik is a twenty minute walk from the sun-soaked walls of the fortified Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, but why walk when you can sail over the glistening turquoise waters in a Venetian taxi boat? Walk along the well-preserved original city walls and explore the historic buildings peppered through the town.
OVERLOOKING THE COUNTRYSIDE
Where: Gatzara Suites, Ibiza, Spain
All-night raver, boho-cool hippy, blissed-out beach lover… Ibiza is all this and more to the many fans who have a soft spot for this unique oasis in the Baleariac Islands.
Gatzara Suites is the place to stay on the island, located at Santa Gertrudis, a perfect spot in the middle of Ibiza. Mixing elegance, design, tradition and avant-garde, this boutique hotel is inspired by the bohemian style of the white island.
The light filled interior expertly utilises natural materials and modern design to offer a special base for your Ibiza adventure. One of the hotel´s highlights is undoubtedly its dazzling roof terrace, complete with a sparkling statement pool and cocktail bar. Whether you want to soak up the sun for a few hours, take a refreshing dip in the pool or take in the panoramic views over the stunning countryside, you´re sure to feel on top of the world.
THE LAND OF ETERNAL BLUE
Where: Il Riccio Beach House, Bodrum, Turkey
An exclusive yet vibrant retreat equally suited to socialising and relaxation, Il Riccio’s intimacy allows one to set the tone. The essence of Capri’s iconic Michelin-starred Il Riccio restaurant has successfully travelled to Bodrum and Il Riccio Beach House, accurately mirrors its surroundings in a celebration of the Mediterranean.
Nestled in the picturesque Aegean bay, every aspect of the hotel is inspired by the sea. Light, white spaces offer a blank canvas for a memorable stay, whether guests choose to indulge in revelry or relaxation. With just ten luxurious rooms and suites, the mood here is more home than hotel.
Washed in shades of aqua, this exclusive house is a reflection of its environment, the ‘Land of Eternal Blue’. Seek respite from the Mediterranean heat in cool living spaces, each one lined with hand-painted majolica tiles and offering unrivalled sea views from a terrace or balcony. Canopied beds and tech-led convenience ensure the utmost comfort and give the freedom to set a personalised schedule for a carefree stay.
IN THE HEART OF THE MEDITERRANEAN
Where: Casa Ellul, Malta
Valletta is highly sought after by many tourists visiting the Maltese Islands but availability of high quality accommodation is very scarce. Casa Ellul will offer everything a discerning traveller needs for a comfortable stay in this wonderful city. Casa Ellul is a magnificent celebration of a marriage between the past and the future when it comes to style, architecture, design and decor.
Originally a Victorian-period Palazzo, this small luxury hotel expresses a classical yet stylish design, inspired from a combination of past Baroque influence and present chic elegance. This upscale sophistication is reflected throughout with restored patterned tiles, walls soaked in art and plush, prestigious antiques, traditional Maltese wooden balconies and contemporary private terraces with breath taking views.
The hotel´s rooftop is decorated with fabrics by Gaston y Daniela, combining elegant luxury with style and timeless design. These upper terraces make this hotel in Valletta a unique and very elegant coastal experience. A classic yet contemporary guesthose and a new addition for your must-visit list!
A CELEBRATION OF RICH CULTURES
Where: La Badira, Tunisia
Sunbathing, al fresco dining and amazing nightlife are a way of life in Hammamet, the Tunisian St-Tropez. Located on the fertile Cap Bon Peninsula, about forty miles south of Tunis, the bayfront resort is surrounded by verdant hills and citrus groves.
La Badira (‘as bright as the full moon’, in Arabic), is contemporary in concept, but evokes traditional Islamic architectural elements – arched terraces, domed ceilings, columned walkways and reflective pools, complemented by well-tended grounds planted with olive trees and date palms. The clean, simple lines of the hotel were inspired by the era of the 1930s when Hammamet was gaining a reputation among cosmopolitan travelers who were drawn by the natural beauty and culture of the area.
Playing on the principles of light and shadow that captivated artists of that era, interiors are minimally designed and feature touches such as hand-painted ceramic wall panels featuring Arabic script and a variety of accent pieces in characteristic geometric patterns.
Head to The Spa by Clarins at La Badira and prepare to be immersed in your very own world of snug oriental sensuality: subdued lighting; dark Kadhel marble walls (also used by the Romans in the construction of their thermal baths) in hues of grey and pink; abstract mosaic floors; and spacious hammams that envelop you in a thick, warming cloud of steam.