Here comes summer: Monocle's hotel recommendations for beach and city, plus our new 25/25 booklet, the ultimate villa hire company and new places to stay in South Africa and Mexico.
The arrival of the Boca Chica Hotel is proof-positive that Acapulco has shed its package-tourist past. Perched above Punta Caletilla near Acapulco’s historic Club de Yates, the Boca Chica has traded 1950s-era grit for 21st-century glamour. The spruced-up original facade leads to 36 newly designed rooms and suites inspired by the hotel’s location and lore. Twenty Roqueta rooms spy La Roqueta Island across Acapulco’s majestic Bay, while the trio of Caleta suites overlook tiny Caleta Bay.
Created by Mexico City architects Jose Rojas and Frida Escobedo, each room includes lava-rock floors and plaster walls, balconies with hammocks, vintage Mexican furniture and bath products by legendary organic LA beauty brand Dr Bronner.
There will be sushi served in a waterfront palapa courtesy of Keisuke Harada, a clutch of massage cabanas, a well-edited boutique and a pool terrace with sea-level marina. Most buzzy should be the bar and disco debuting later this summer, which is sure to attract a global, young crowd.
Hotelier Sol Kerzner is back on home turf with the recent launch of One & Only Cape Town, his first South African venture since The Palace of the Lost City Pilanesberg in 1992. It is one of the first urban locations for the One & Only hotel and spa group, with the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront providing a great setting for Dennis Fabian Berman and Ruben Reddy’s design.
The 131 rooms have interiors by Adam D Tihany and the landscaped grounds include Cape Town’s most comprehensive spa complex, located on an island with views of Table Mountain. Fine dining is provided by Nobu and Gordon Ramsay’s Maze, while Neo, a boutique exclusive to the resort, introduces luxury labels such as Balenciaga and Pierre Hardy to the South African market.
Whether you’re after a historic Tuscan palazzo, a riad in Marrakech or a seafront estate in Corsica, Hong Kong-headquartered Villissima should have something that suits. The company, which is over two years old, has gone for the top end of the market, pioneering the concept of the villa-hotel where the level of service would outstrip many five-star hotels.
“We do not offer many villas – a little over 150 – since we are growing organically and reject many villas that are proposed to us,” says CEO Arthur Williamson. “It all comes down to offering only world-class homes and a top level of service.” The website is simple to use and potential clients are given access to a detailed visual tour of the villas they’re interested in – “the next best thing to an on-site inspection,” says Williamson. The company also offers a 24-hour concierge service and a selection of city boltholes. Weekly rents are as impressive as the properties, starting at around €14,500. villissima.com
From 1 June, the first branch of Monocle on the Med will be open in Palma’s Santa Catalina area. Here are some other must-sees:
Portixol hotel and restaurant – is only six-minutes from the airport and a 10-minute cycle into town.
27 Calle Sirena, + 34 971 271 800
Ca’n Miquel – Central heladería with 100 types of homemade ice-cream.
6 Avenida de Jaume III, + 34 971 724 909
S’Eixerit – Open from 13.00 until late, we think this is Palma’s answer to Zürich’s Kronenhalle. It’s classically perfect.
73 Vicario Joaquín Fuster, + 34 971 273 781
Colmado Santo Domingo – Mallorcan gourmet food including salchicha and fig bread.
1 Calle Santo Domingo, + 34 971 714 887
Es Baluard – Modern art museum showcasing Picasso, Dalí and Miró among others.
10 Plaça Porta Santa Catalina, + 34 971 908 200
For those who haven’t organised their summer escapes just yet, here are some solid standbys.
Aire de Bardenas, Navarra
The Aire’s austere setting in a Basque wheat field was all the inspiration that architects López Rivera needed to create this hotel with its modular glass, wood and steel room system, all protected by a perimeter of recycled crates. Aire de Bardenas is a peaceful retreat that should become a benchmark for understated sustainability.
Blackpoint Inn, Maine
Want an Atlantic retreat free of designer concept hotel suites and few consumer diversions? The Black Point Inn attracts a crowd that’s been going for decades. The rooms are simple, the sea bracing and if you do need a new canvas tote then L.L. Bean isn’t far up the Interstate.
Il San Pietro di Positano, Italy
The Amalfi Coast is a sensory experience and the San Pietro in Positano gives guests just the right dose. A splash of bougainvillaea and a trace of jasmine greet arrivals, followed by unrivalled panoramas of sheer cliffs and the sweeping sea enjoyed from the privacy of one of the property’s 61 rooms. From there, it’s a quick descent via lift to the sundeck, with its sand-free beach.
Eddé Sands, Byblos, and Albergo, Beirut
Lebanon could be about to enjoy its place in the sun this summer (see page 21), as Lebanese and Arab holiday makers head to the country post-election. Join them during the day at the Eddé Sands beach resort in Byblos and, if you want to make the most of Beirut’s anything-goes lifestyle visit the quirky Albergo in upscale Ashrafieh, which has a hard-to-leave roof-top bar.
Le Yaca, St Tropez
We’ll give St Tropez the swerve in the high season but June, very early July and September all suit us fine and Le Yaca is the best value and also has the best position. A top-floor room with views across the rooftops and out to the sea would be our pick and if you can’t be bothered with the drive out to Club 55 then there’s nothing wrong with a pale rosé in a bucket and a lounger by the pool.
Hotel Esplanade, Stockholm
If you’re looking for a summer week in a city that allows for a morning run accompanied by a cooling dip in the Baltic, lunch hours surrounded by attractive Swedes and simple, well-appointed accommodation, then book into Stockholm’s Hotel Esplanade.
China and Taiwan agreed to boost their direct flight links from 108 chartered flights to 270 chartered and scheduled flights per week following talks in April. Destinations will also increase from six to 27.