I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list. I am not a fan of large, group-owned, cookie-cutter hotels in general, but when they’re by the sea, I have a physical reaction to them. This blog post is another list of secret places: sweet little family-run hotels in hard-to-reach corners of the Mediterranean. Many on them are located on islands that you’ve perhaps never heard of before ( I hadn’t until I found some of them).
Starting in the South of Italy
I wrote about Cas’almare on the tiny island of Favignana when it had just opened in 2010. I wouldn’t mind hiding there for a few days right now. Pantelleria is another island where I’ve always dreamt to go – I just tried to book a long week-end there but you really need longer than that. Did you see the movie A Bigger Splash with Tilda Swinton and Ralph Fiennes? It was filmed right here . But if we didn’t rent a villa, I’d want to stay at this beauty called Sikelia. Ps: did you know that Pantelleria is the closest point of Italy to Africa (very near Tunisia actually).
In the Aeolians, north of Sicily, I long to return to Hotel Signum. We stayed there many moons ago with Ceki, using our first salaries to travel from Napoli to Salinas, Panarea and Stromboli by ferry. I remember vividly the delicious breakfasts at Signum, the scent of jasmine from our little terrace. It was pure bliss. I am told it hasn’t changed much, apart from the addition of a pool and a few bedrooms.
Moving to Greece
There is a little island called Kastellorizo in Greece which I had never heard of until recently. It is very close to the Turkish coast. The little hotel Mediterraneo is run by a fashionable French woman who lives there most of the year. The ambience seems just perfect.
For an off-the-grid inland experience on Tinos, Bergerie Krokos & Marguerite are dreamy, with probably not a sound other than the cicadas. Or how about renting the whole of Skinopi on Milos with a group of friends. One day I’ll do that. A promise is a promise.
Croatia or Turkey? Both.
I have only been to Croatia once, to the beautiful town of Rovinj, for the wedding of a dear friend. It was like stepping back in time, with service still influenced by years of communism. Things have changed and Croatia is now a hotspot in the Mediterranean sea. When I go again, I will book Little Green Bay on the island of Hvar. It looks just perfect.
You know my love of Turkey. I have written about Istanbul and Capaddocia before. We often stay near Cesme when we go in the summer months, but I crave to discover the Southern parts of the country, especially around Kekova and the sunken city. We would enjoy the simplicity and hospitality of Deniz Kizi.
I rarely (never) stay in a nice hotel on my own for pleasure (who does!?!) but I did just that (!) two summers ago. A one night stand with me myself and I. And I loved every moment of it. I booked myself at Los Enamorados, surrounded by lovers (no kids allowed) – as its name suggests. I know I’m supposed to talk about family travel on this blog but hell yeah it was so good.
Ok.. if I really must take the children (!!), I’ll go back to Etosoto in a heartbeat. It’s on Formentera, a ferry hop from Ibiza. Its ethos and design blend in just perfectly with the incredible waters in front of it.
Have you heard of the sweet fisherman village called Cadaques, 2h north of Barcelona? Dali – who lived nearby with his wife Gaïa – called it the most beautiful village in the world. Btw – if I had another daughter, I would call her Gaïa *_*. Last time I was in Cadaques – a long time ago – we went camping. It was pre-children, pre-Ceki (another life!). Today, I would stay at Villa Gala, right in the village.
France has it share of beautiful spots on the coast, whether it’s on the busy Cote d’Azur (Riviera) or towards Toulon, Marseille and Montpellier. I’ll do an entire post about France one day but meantime, I’ll just mention Plein Large. I met the owner Julie on a retreat earlier this year and loved hearing how she and her parents have been running this wonderful little hotel on the beach of Bandol for almost 50 years.
And one last for the list: Hotel Misincu in the North of Corsica, literally called Cap Corse. I mean, seriously? Oh la la. Take me there now.
It feels good to know there are still many family-owned hotels and it’s our duty, as travelers, to preserve them and give them our business. Just as we ought to support our local bookshops, no?
Photo credits from left to right starting with top left: Etosoto, Hotel Misincu, Hotel Plein Large, Villa Gala, Bergerie Krokos & Marguerite, Hotel Signum, Skinopi, Little Green Bay, Los Enarmorados Ibiza, Villa Gala, Mediterraneo Kastelorizo, Cas’almar