Enjoy a sneaky weekend away at these easy-to-reach hot spots
Sometimes all you need is a few days away to kick-start your spent batteries.
By choosing the right short-haul destination, you can pack in more in three days than you might do in a fortnight dogged by jetlag–and still come out feeling on top.
Our energising picks include Casa Cook Rhodes, all bohemian chic and beachside lounging and São Lourenço do Barrocal, Portugal a nature and wine lovers paradise.
Málaga’s RoomMate Valeria, meanwhile, is a buzzing, hedonist’s delight in a trendy part of town.
Yurbban Trafalgar Hotel in Barcelona is billed as the first ‘smart’ hotel in the city, making it a techie’s dream that’s guaranteed to inspire some bright ideas. And with its gourmet cuisine and state-of-the-art Givenchy spa, Hotel Sahraiin Morocco is a faultless exercise in pampering.
Treat yourself to a quickie break in one of these and you’ll come back raring to go.
São Lourenço do Barrocal
The lowdown An ancient farming village brought beautifully back to life
Best for Year round activity from wine-tasting to walking
Deep in wine and olive country, a half-abandoned farmhouse and its outbuildings have been rethought into an idyllic rural retreat.
Sitting outside the ancient town of Monsaraz, these earthy, pared-back cottages and barns have the feeling of a sleepy village, surrounded by vineyards, meadows and grazing cattle. Dine indoors or alfresco on Alentejo-inspired dishes such as wild boar with chestnut and quince.
After a long day of doing little, retire to the dreamlike bedrooms: whitewashed oases of terracotta tiles, organic fabrics and deep, comfortable beds.
CASA COOK RHODES
KOLYMBIA, RHODES, GREECE
The lowdown A breezy beachside hotel with a cool communal vibe.
Best for Child-free couples and singles looking to unwind.
Thomas Cook’s innovative new venture, the newly opened Casa Cook Rhodes is a beach lover’s dream. The 90-room hotel (all with swim-up pools) is an adults-only affair and is free-spirited in the best possible way.
It’s all about easy living here, with a carefree, bohemian vibe that means you’re positively encouraged to make new friends as you pad around barefoot on the bleached wood decks and cool stone floors or relax on the low-level seating.
Design-wise, think clean lines, natural colours and tempting textures. The locally sourced food features the perfect balance of healthy and indulgent dishes, served at long communal tables.
The focus is very much on chilling out, with a range of activities to help you do just that – balance your mind, body and spirit with the open-air yoga sessions, borrow an Electra beach bike or just kick back and listen to the DJ’s top tunes. If you want to take the vibe home with you, the hotel’s concept store has everything from boho beachware to high-end hammocks.
The lowdown a buzzy bolt hole with a tropical-meets-Mediterranean vibe.
Best for street-wise hedonists in search of some late-summer heat.
Located in the trendy Barrio de las Artes district (aka Málaga’s Soho), the Valeria is part of a trio of RoomMate hotels in the city. This one not only overlooks the harbour, but is also next door to one of Málaga’s fabulous parks – filled with tropical trees and plants – so the décor takes its cue from the verdant greens and ocean blues to create an explosion of fresh, vivacious colour.
Take in the views while you work on your tan up on the rooftop terrace, which also has a bar and a plunge pool for when it gets too hot, pump iron in the gym, or enjoy a siesta in the shaded courtyard (complete with tinkling fountain). Fashionistas should check out the shops, bars and restaurants in the neighbourhood, while art hounds will have much to enjoy, as the barrio not only has a contemporary gallery, but is home to some of the best graffiti and street art in Europe.
The Valeria serves breakfast till noon, so we got in the habit of staying up late, partying hard and enjoying a well-earned lie-in.
Book itDouble rooms from approx £150, including breakfast, Wi-Fi and free Mi-Fi (mobile internet) device.
YURBBAN TRAFALGAR HOTEL
The lowdown a start-up hotel that’s plugged into the modern world.
Best for Wireless-free adventurers keen to see a new side to the city.
Big jars of sweets left out open in the corridors; do-not-disturb signs with the disclaimer ‘unless you’re the man of my dreams’; and complimentary shower gel called Smells like Clean Spirit – this is Barcelona, Jim, but not as we know it.
The Yurbban Trafalgar calls itself the first ‘smart’ hotel in the city and has its focus firmly on the millennial generation – think Spotify playlists providing the soundtrack to your stay and collabs with artists and musicians in pop-ups in and around the building.
That’s not to say that the traditional delights of Barcelona aren’t close at hand – the Museu Picasso and Gaudí’s Sagrada Família are both worth a visit. However, the staff here in this cool, industrial-style setting are on a mission to make your stay as edgy as possible, so will guide you (by sat nav downloaded to your device, natch) to some of the trendiest restaurants and funkiest bars in this ever-fascinating city.
In the Yurbban itself, we enjoyed a healthy breakfast on the terrace, delicious drinks by the pool and took lots of pics of the epic skyline to post on Instagram and Facebook. Send-sational…
Book itDouble rooms from approx £102.
The lowdown A sublimely seductive hotel where present meets past.
Best for Lovers of standout design and fine living.
If you like your getaways seriously hot, with a luxe dollop of R&R, five-star Hotel Sahrai is the place for you.
Set majestically on a hill, it was created by celebrated architect-designer Christophe Pillet in a mix of modern and traditional styles – think soft, sandy tones, vast arches, gypsum patterns and hits of wrought iron.
The 50 rooms are beautifully designed with heaps of natural light, glass-walled bathrooms and sheer veils to zone off the spaces.
Food-wise, choose between gourmet Moroccan cuisine and fine French fare in the two restaurants. You’ll feel perfectly at home sipping a manhattan in the buzzy Rooftop bar, with its distinctly New York vibe, while Les Arcades is the more laid-back option.
The exclusive Givenchy spa, meanwhile, is a tranquil space with a comprehensive treatment menu featuring everything from slimming massages to toxin-zapping body scrubs. And if you’re still feeling flush after your visit, you can treat yourself to a designer kaftan in the in-house Givenchy boutique before slipping off to the vast medina for a spot of haggling…