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coastal cool

Sand between your toes and sea breeze through your hair – the beach is for kicking back. And with these short-haul seaside hotels, you can do it in style

words • morag bruce

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hether you’re happiest in it, on it, or next to it (with a mojito), the sea has the power to lift spirits. But just because we have sandy hair and flip-flops on it doesn’t mean we don’t want our beach-side hotel to have great interiors with unexpected twists. And we’ve found three short-haul hotels with both. Lone is a spaceship/ luxury hotel on the coast of Istria, Croatia’s lush northern Adriatic region. It’s the perfect foil for the historic splendour of nearby Rovinj. Talking of history, there is at least 5,000 years of it on show near the chic Amanruya in Turkey. The wild, western Algarve, meanwhile, is an in-the-know favourite thanks to hotels such as Martinhal. All secluded coves and rare flora and fauna, the region has a wonderful, headclearing breeze courtesy of the Atlantic.

Martinhal Sagres, Portugal The lowdown Modern, nature-inspired hotel in the unspoilt Algarve Best for Hip families looking to run wild on the beach Martinhal’s neighbour is a nature reserve, and the hotel blends in perfectly. Wrapped in timber, its buildings are quietly contemporary, with interiors by Michael Sodeau that use wood, stone, cork and other locally sourced materials. Stay in the main building, in a standalone beach room, or in a beach suite with connecting room. If that sounds ideal for families, it’s because the hotel is part of a modern, family-friendly resort. So there are good restaurants, a spa, tennis courts and swimming pools on your doorstep. In front of the hotel is Martinhal beach, which is perfect for a calm paddle, while budding surfers should head to Zavial or Ingrina for rolling waves. But this is not an ‘enforced fun’ kind of resort; you can easily tuck yourself away and do nothing. Each room has an ocean-view deck and is surrounded by wild flowers for a blissful sundowner experience. Book it Rooms from £227 (martinhal.com)  J u ly 2 0 1 2

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ABOVE Cottages have a private pool and garden. LEFT Sumptuous beds and crisp linen make bedtime a dream. BELOW Mediterranean chic in the bathroom.

Hotel Lone Rovinj, Croatia The lowdown Striking, exciting and ready for take off Best for Historyphiles who love 21st century architecture

The lowdown Chic Ottoman-esque hideaway with knockout views Best for Luxe downtime, with bouts of activity and trips in antiquity As the access road weaves its way through pine forest and thousand-yearold olive trees, and the traditional, local stone-built Amanruya appears, you think, ‘Yes, I’m definitely in the Mediterranean.’ More than just ‘rooms’, accommodation is in individual cottages, and their style is elegant Ottoman – all mirror-shine Turkish marble, sheer fabrics, subtle arches and furniture made in sultry acajou timber. Cottages have enormous four-poster beds, huge bath tubs and private pools. There are two spa suites, a 50m swimming pool, private beach club, tennis court and three-storey library. When all this relaxing in luxury becomes too much, take a day trip. Many of the ancient world’s greatest hits, including the vast ruins of Ephesus, the Baths of Faustina (the inspiration for the modern hammam) and the Temples of Apollo and Athena are within a couple of hours of Amanruya. Book it Cottages from £600 (amanresorts.com/amanruya) <#A#>

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Photogr aphy (Amanruya) amanresorts

Amanruya Bodrum Peninsula, Turkey

Rovinj is only 100km from Italy by way of Slovenia and, like many towns on the Croatian coast, has beautiful Venetian and Roman architecture. Which makes the arrival of this six-storey giant of modern design in a protected forest all the more exciting. Hotel Lone has the sort of gleaming-white curves that get people excited about New York’s Guggenheim, but here they create terraces and private plunge pools. The interior is futuristic and sexy, with the building wrapped around vast, light-filled atriums, one with a dramatic, atomic-structure mobile. Rooms work the same mood, with natural materials and playful mirror murals. The hotel is 150m from a pretty but rocky beach (sand is rare here), or there’s a huge outdoor seawater pool in the grounds surrounded by pine trees. Fly to Pula airport, which is only 40 minutes’ drive from the hotel. Book it Rooms from £123 (lonehotel.com)

TOP The vast windows of the hotel’s Restaurant On offer superb views. ABOVE Rooms are equipped with stylish furnishings. LEFT The sleek exterior contrasts strikingly with the surrounding forest.

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