ÖÖD Hötels, Laheranna, Estonia
For those who can’t decide between a beach break or an adventure in colder climes, this design-led retreat close to Ihasalu bay, a long golden stretch of Baltic beach on the north coast of Estonia, does both. It’s a collection of mirrored cabins hidden deep in a pine forest, and each of the four hideouts has its own sauna, a chic black kitchenette and a decked area with a barbecue. This is ÖÖD Hötels’ eighth collection of mirrored cabins in Estonia and is easily reached from Tallinn, a 45-minute drive away.
From £150 sleeping two, room only, oodhotels.com
M.Ou.Co, Porto, Portugal
Singing a new tune by combining a 62-bedroom hotel with a concert hall and cultural space, M.Ou.Co. is set to be a lively new addition to Porto’s Bonfim neighbourhood. As well as an outdoor pool and alfresco dining, this converted warehouse has a music library of more than 600 vinyl records, and guitars, keyboards and turntables to borrow; music lessons are available too. Rooms are named after songs, come with sound systems and amps with headphones, and even the spa offers physio specifically for musicians. The beach at Matosinhos is a 15-minute taxi ride away, the historic centre and Douro barely a whistle away.
Doubles from €79 B&B, moucohotel.pt
Casa Cook Samos, Greece
The laid-back island of Samos, birthplace of Pythagoras and, in legend, of the goddess Hera, is the heavenly location for the fourth hotel from Casa Cook, a brand initially created (then sold) by Thomas Cook. Its low-cost, high-style pads in Greece and Egypt are perfect for the Insta generation, this one with pinky-brown cubic architecture based on traditional local kamares (houses). It’s relaxed here, with a yoga shala, a wellness centre, six swimming pools and terraces dotted with earthy-toned daybeds – all set among wild olive trees, agave, pines and palms, echoing the verdant landscapes of this hilly Aegean island.
Opens May 2022, doubles from €148 a night, casacook.com
Aristide hotel, Syros, Greece
Tumbling down the cliffside like an elegant Jacob’s ladder, this neoclassical mansion hotel has sun terraces – with tropical plants and plunge pools – cascading to the emerald water below. The nine-room “eco art hotel” with rooftop restaurant and art gallery is in Hermoupolis, a town of marble pavements and palatial buildings on the relaxed Cycladic island of Syros, which has a thriving art scene, dreamy beaches and fabulous walking trails. There’s solar power, no single-use plastic, and discounts are given to those who don’t fly (ferry two hours from Athens, 30 minutes from Mykonos).
Doubles from €240 B&B, hotelaristide.com
Hôtel de Cambis, Avignon, France
With an extremely well-stocked wine bar and an “artistic concept based on wine and the French art of living”, the freshly uncorked Hôtel de Cambis is one for oenophiles. Tucked among the medieval fortifications in the centre of the Provençal city of Avignon, it may have
the exterior of a grande dame, but inside, the rooms – categorised as millésime, premier cru or grand cru, depending on how posh you go – have cutting-edge decor in swirling tones of burgundy, apricot, coral and pink, with retro furniture and globe lights.
Doubles from €130 B&B, hoteldecambis.com
MOB House, Paris, France
This is one of those hotels that reckons it has come up with a new formula, this time “3-in-1” rooms, incorporating bed, office and meeting room. But even those not “workationing” will find this a fun stay, especially when the organic brasserie, gym, large garden and 20-metre outdoor pool are taken into account. Trendsetting rooms (100 of them), painted in sandy and mossy colours, with terracotta tiles, oak parquet, pale concrete and pinky clay, are typical of the team behind the hotel, which includes designer Philippe Starck and Cyril Aouizerate, co‑founder of the Mama Shelter hotels. The first MOB Hotel, launched in 2017 with live music and workshops, is nearby; so too are the flea markets of Saint-Ouen.
Doubles from €200 B&B, mobhouse.com
Hotel Hotel, Lisbon
While Portugal’s capital isn’t short of great design hotels, this new venture close to the Botanical Garden of Lisbon is worth considering for its fabulous dark-tiled outdoor pool, backed by a living green wall and tasteful graffiti. Rooms in coral pink, mint green or grey shades have wrought-iron balconies, cacti and quirky art by a range of local artists and illustrators, and there’s a dark and sultry bar with neon art, terrazzo tiles and hanging tropical foliage.
Doubles from €185 B&B, hotelhotel.pt
The Barö, southern Finland
Black timber cabins with picture windows are raised on stilts in a pine forest overlooking the sea at this pared-back retreat in the Inkoo region, an hour from Helsinki. From its rocky crag in the Barösund archipelago, reached by a bridge from the mainland, guests can explore several large islands and hundreds of small ones, offering beaches, galleries and smart cafes, or just hang out in the black wooden sauna on the beach, go mushroom picking or borrow kayaks.
Doubles from €238 B&B, one under-four can share the room for free, extra beds €50 after that, thebaro.fi
The Standard, Ibiza
The Standard in London’s fast-developing King’s Cross area quickly became known as one of the city’s coolest hotels, and the latest, in Ibiza, is sure to be no slouch either. Drawing on the island’s bohemian sensibilities, flower power and 60s chic, its decor is a mature take on the hippy vibe, albeit in a stark, white building. A rooftop bar/restaurant with a 15-metre pool, open until the early hours and to which hotel guests get private access during the day, is sure to become, like its London, LA and New York counterparts, a destination in its own right. And it’s in the heart of Ibiza Old Town, with its lux-boho shopping and slightly more grownup nightlife.
Doubles from €255 a night B&B, standardhotels.com
Tuba, near Marseille, France
This punchy little number is as colourful and fun as you’d expect from a louche beach hotel just outside Marseille. Here in the fishing village of Les Goudes, where the Marseillais go for seafood and snorkelling at the weekends, and near the turquoise water and white rocks of the Calanques, five simple light-filled rooms with seagrass floors look out to sea. Yellow-striped sunbeds are laid out on rocky terraces at the sea’s edge for guests, and there’s a smart little restaurant and cocktail bar, plus scuba diving packages.
Doubles from €220, tuba-club.com