The typically Cretan whitewashed walls bring out the vivid blues of the sea, sky and pool. There is no gray in sight here, except in the designer pieces unearthed by the owner. This family-friendly boutique hotel located a few miles from Chania and its Venetian harbor offers a cheerful mix of peaceful rooms, a lively games room, and an excellent restaurant overlooking the private beachone of Crete’s gems. Inside the hotel, everything is focused on this expanse of sandwhich is exactly what ammos means in Greek.
Irakli Avgoula street, La Canée. Tél. +30 28210 33003.
Île des Monts-Déserts
West Street Hotel
Off the northeast coast of the United States, Bar Harbor is the gateway to Mount Desert Island, and a place to drop anchor before heading off to explore the rocky coastline and forest trails to the south. It offers the first dazzling view of this patch of Maine with its cloud-flecked sky. The vista stays with you at this large nautical-themed hotel, which seems to slide into the waters of Frenchman Bay, right up to the bedroom balconies. At twilight, head to the rooftop pool and dangle your feet in the water with its reflections of the sky. Everything seems to stand still: the boats’ rigging has stopped tapping and the grayish-purple clouds float motionless, as if waiting to be engulfed by the night.
WEST STREET HOTEL
50, West Street, Bar Harbor. Tél. +1 207 288 0825.
Île de Pâques
Explora® Rapa Nui
A five-hour flight from both Papeete and Santiago de Chile, Rapa Nui, aka Easter Island, is ringed with some of the world’s clearest and deepest waters. The 30 rooms of this hotel, built on non-arable land free from archeological vestiges, blend into the landscape of this huge volcanic cone. The silent vistas of the Pacific invite you to explore the island on foot or by bike, and contemplate sculptures erected as far back as AD 1000: the mysterious and world-famous moai statues. Local guides share their extensive knowledge of their culture and island, with a choice of three levels of difficulty for day or half-day trips (including picnics). Everything is geared to learning more about this national park, a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1995.
EXPLORA® RAPA NUI
Hanga Roa. Tél. +56 2 2395 2800.
Aman Sveti Stefan
The fortified village of Sveti Stefan on the Montenegrin coast has been standing on the rocks overlooking the sea, on a peninsula connected to the mainland by an isthmus, since the 15th century. If the stones could speak, they would have a story or two to tell: about the fishermen with their weatherbeaten faces, and the famous guests, who came here when the site was turned into a large hotel complex in the 1960s. The latter include Sophia Loren, Klaus Kinski, Kirk Douglas and André Malraux. Renovated by the Aman group in 2009, the hotel, with its shady narrow streets and minimalist, comfortable rooms, still offers discreet, attentive service. And hidden from view, a small square and a pool, as well as a beach of pink sand.
AMAN SVETI STEFAN
Tél. +382 33 420 000.
Bornholm has been floating between Denmark and Sweden throughout history. Consequently, the Scandinavian minimalism here seems perfectly in its element. A soothing hand seems to have passed over every material, spreading the white over the walls, smoothing the duvets and the Baltic Sea, and polishing the rock and the wood of the chairs. And because sometimes you need to shake things up the better to enjoy the peace, the Nordlandet is also home to the island’s own branch of Pony, Copenhagen’s gourmet bistro. Uncompromisingly fresh fare, organic wines and a truly relaxed atmosphere, for a shipshape dinner on the (upper) deck.
68, Strandvejen, Allinge.
Tél. +45 5648 0344.
Pearl Havaiki Lodge
This lost paradise between sea and sky, one of the most unspoiled atolls in the Tuamotu Archipelago, far out in the southern Pacific, was listed as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. I’ve known this guesthouse for years. Originally, it was just a pearl farm with four bungalows. I’ve seen it grow in the hands of Clothilde and Joachim. This Franco-Polynesian couple have turned it into a cheerful, magical place, with delicious cuisine and local staff. Not to be missed are the picnic on the green lagoon and the motu (islet) full of birds. The shop sells locally cultured pearls and original jewelry. The atoll is also a world-famous diving spot.
PEARL HAVAIKI LODGE
Tél. +689 40 93 40 15.
Île de Ré
Saint-Martin is an island on an island; and yet the color of the light stone ramparts (a listed monument) around the old Vauban citadel merges with Ile de Ré’s signature hues: sand and white walls, golden ocher tiles, the turquoise Atlantic and multicolored hollyhocks. Down a little street, the Villa Clarisse, sister establishment to the harborside Hôtel de Toiras, features the same color scheme. It’s the size of a large family house (4 rooms, 5 suites), with a patio, heated pool and landscaped garden with box hedges, palm trees and a lawn offering a palette of greens.
5, rue du Général-Lapasset, Saint-Martin-de-Ré.
Tél. +33 (0)5 46 68 43 00.
Îles du Pot à l’Eau-de-Vie
Phare du Pot
You set off from Rivière-du-Loup (Wolf River) and come ashore at Pot à l’Eau-de-Vie (Brandy Pot); in Quebec, a journey is also one of words. This one takes you to a rocky outcrop on the Saint Lawrence estuary, where the river meets the ocean. This preserved spot has become a seabird sanctuary, and the red and white lighthouse, which shone out for 102 years, has been retired from service. Except that under its turret it now houses three delightful rooms with painted wood floors, rocking chairs and views of fir trees through the windows. A delicious communal meal is prepared for guests, with local fare such as sturgeon confit and iced maple parfait. What with the light froth on the waves and the pristine stars, nothing will disturb the peace at night.
PHARE DU POT
200, rue Hayward, Rivière-du-Loup.
Tél. +418 867 1660.
The Westin Turtle Bay Resort & Spa
The view over the vast and beautiful Turtle Bay, a protected marine reserve and diving spot, is the first thing to dazzle visitors on their arrival at the hotel. Yet far from focusing entirely on the beach and its turquoise ocean rim, this complex offers other, more discreet charms, such as its two pools, spacious rooms with rain showers, terraces furnished with large, inviting sofas and a secluded spa. Inside and out, everything has been geared to soothe.