Five retreats for adults to do before the school holiday chaos


Stella likes: Breakfast served outdoors in the garden with a magnificent view. Bonus: the buffet includes no less than eight varieties of freshly baked cakes. Plus, there’s a small kids’ club that caters to preschoolers (which is rare for a 14-room hotel).

Outside : A free shuttle will take you to the pretty seaside town of Castiglione della Pescaia with its perched medieval fortress. The seafront promenade is lined with beach restaurants: The Canucce is the classiest. Stop at the artisan ice cream bar Orso Bianco (15 Via V. Veneto) for a lemon, pineapple and basil sorbet on the way back. Culture lovers, go to Grosseto, with its archaeological museum ( and the historic Cathedral of San Lorenzo, while nature lovers have 9,000 hectares of the Maremma Natural Park to explore.

Double rooms from £375 per night,

Lyrics: Sarah Royce-Greensill

cotton house

Mustique, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

Best for: those who like to follow in the royal footsteps.

This private Caribbean island, once owned by Lord Glenconner and frequented by Princess Margaret (to whom he donated land there), feels like a members club, and a low-key extraordinary. It’s popular with royals, A-listers and the 1%, some of whom own the villas there, but there’s no paparazzi target in sight. Cotton House is the only hotel on the island, a 17-room boutique that attracts a regular clientele, thanks to its impeccably friendly staff, cozy atmosphere, and excellent restaurant, Veranda. Though upscale, it’s also relaxed — the wraparound veranda has plump sofas and swing chairs for reading in the shade, looking out over the ocean. Guests can hire ‘mules’ (fancy electric golf carts) to spin around the island, at Basil’s Bar to see the band live, or at Geliceaux Beach, a secluded bay of turquoise water and white sand , where Princess Margaret often picnics. Although for hotel guests, Endeavor Bay is on your doorstep (a 90 second walk from our room), a calm, crystal clear bay – there are lounge chairs on the sand, waiters to deliver punches rum (beware, they are famously potent), and paddle boards as well as other water sports.

Stella likes: Wake up to the sound of birds and have tea by your private pool (if you’re staying in a duplex suite) before breakfast.

Outside : Grab a map from reception, hire a mule and drive around the island on the first day to get your bearings. The center of the island is the village, home to Basil’s Bar, as well as a small bakery and the Purple and Pink House shops where you can buy beautiful caftans. Don’t leave the island without booking a picnic – the hotel staff will prepare it for you, then reserve a picnic table at one of the private beaches. Forget the sandy ham sandwiches, expect ceviche, fresh salads and grilled pineapple.

Duplex suites from £1,050 a night,

Lyrics: Laura Powell

Can Auli

Majorca, Spain

Best for: those who know that Mallorca is the new “adult” Ibiza.

This wonderfully private boutique hotel is tucked away down a quiet, narrow lane in Pollensa, behind the brick facade of a 17th-century mansion. Opened in 2021, it’s a chic, grown-up retreat away from the noisy, busy streets and town square. From the lobby to the pool terrace, restaurant and guest rooms, Can Aulí has ​​been created with impeccable design sensibility, blending traditional island craftsmanship and materials with a contemporary minimalist aesthetic. After a day trip to Palma or a trip to the beach, this is a hotel that soothes you again and again when you return.

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