Four stunning summer escapes by the sea
Roula Khalaf, Editor of the FT, selects her favourite stories in this weekly newsletter.
Fashion fades; style is eternal. The famous words are Yves Saint Laurent’s, spoken in the context of clothes, but the apothegm is as apposite in the world of hotels, which also has its flash-in-the-pan trends of design, service and amenities. Style endures, though: witness millennial enthusiasm for unadulterated classics like Vienna’s Hotel Sacher, or how the powers that be at Rosewood knew better than to even think about touching Bemelmans Bar during the recent renovation of The Carlyle in New York. Maroma, on Mexico’s Riviera Maya, was for many of its near-30 years of existence the ne plus ultra of old-school Quintana Roo style. But it’s now owned by LVMH – a conglomerate not known for letting its brands gather moss –which acquired Belmond in 2019. So this summer Maroma is putting the finishing touches on a soup-to-nuts renovation. You might not guess it at first sight, given all the curvilinear stucco architecture has (wisely) been left unaltered.
Inside the 72 rooms and suites, however, British designer Tara Bernerd has reimagined everything, from the textiles and glass chandeliers to the Saltillo floor tiles – most of which, naturally, is made in Mexico. LVMH’s own Guerlain has set up in the spa, the first of its kind in Latin America. Most interesting, and anticipated, is Fotografia Maroma, the on-site exhibition curated in collaboration with Mexico City dealer Patricia Conde, which will show works by nationally renowned artists; the inaugural one, from 3 August, will travel onwards to Art Basel Miami and Photo London. belmond.com, reopens 1 August; from $1,095
Keeping it Crete and tidy
On the northern coast of Crete, near the city of Heraklion, a new adults-only resort strips back the Mediterranean model to focus on food, wellbeing, and the intersections between the two. The name – Pnoé Breathing Life – doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, but what it proposes is simpler: 60 suites, all with private pools; some with saunas and hammams; ample access to a semi-private, and serviced, beach (on what can sometimes be an overpoweringly crowded island); and some cutting-edge wellness – including hyperbaric oxygen and Zerobody dry-float chambers – mixed in with conventional massages, facials and bodywork. The architecture is low, lean and sexy: glass walls, no walls, infinity pools, pale terrazzo floors, sleek wood joinery. The food doesn’t push any agenda: there are juices, crudo and raw menus for anyone who wants a cleanse, and speciality meat cuts from a local butcher and house cocktails for everyone else. pnoe-breathinglife.com, from €550
How to Roqqa the Monte Argentario peninsula
On the Tuscan peninsula, there’s a very contemporary new take on resort life. The 55-suite La Roqqa, which will open in July, sees Stockholm-based developer Conni Jonsson enlisting celebrated Milanese architects Ludovica and Roberto Palomba Serafini to reinvent the old Hotel Don Pedro here. Overlooking the quaint village and bobbing fishing boats of Porto Ercole, La Roqqa is now all angles and light.
Modernity reigns in the interiors, where iconic ’60s- and ’70s-inspired Italian designs fill spare spaces with terrazzo floors and terracotta-painted walls. You can walk down into town and hire a boat to explore the peninsula’s many gorgeous inlets and secret beaches, or just admire the wide seascape from your position on the Forte promontory. laroqqa.com, from €1,540
Rosewood makes Kona cool again
On the Big Island of Hawaii, an old-school classic has been getting some attention, courtesy of Rosewood. Kona Village was genuinely American-iconic, a stalwart of the ’70s and ’80s childhoods of many West Coast holidaymakers until it was largely destroyed in 2011 by the same tsunami that devastated Japan. Rosewood has upped the game here considerably, rebuilding and styling the rooms and suites, and adding to the count so there are now 150 keys. All have outdoor lānais (verandas), many outdoor showers as well; they range from garden-view thatched huts that sleep two to 6,000sq-ft-plus four-bedroom villas. rosewoodhotels.com, from $2,500