5 October holiday hotspots a short hop from the UK
As the UK cools down, plenty of hotspots just a short hop away from the UK are enjoying the final throes of summer. Make the most of the last rays of sunshine by booking yourself a mini-break to soak up the stunning sunsets in Turkey, the natural beauty in Italy and the alfresco dining in Cyprus.
ALL GREEK TO ME – DAIOS COVE, CRETE
When Daios Cove was built on Crete’s north eastern coast, the vision was to marry luxury and wellness with striking architecture, a superior spa, healthy food and attentive staff . They wished to create the kind of space you never want to leave but, when the inevitable happens, you’ll depart refreshed and rejuvenated. The drive from Heraklion Airport takes around an hour, constantly framed by blue sky and crystal waters. Hidden from the highway, the hotel clings to the hillside that surrounds an idyllic cove, providing you with stunning views no matter where you’re standing. Centred on a child-friendly private beach below, it’s a great choice for families (and for all the doubters, there are always enough sun loungers). Or, if you prefer some tranquillity, you can pay the saltwater infinity pool – a little bit higher up and surrounded by a sun terrace – a visit.
In keeping with the relaxed atmosphere, you don’t need to worry about the slopes either, as two funicular railways and a team of golf buggy drivers shuttle you around the hillside, or back to your room. It’s entirely up to you where you want to go. Every room and public space looks out over the cove, and the sea beyond. The bedrooms themselves range from luxurious, to very luxurious, to “why would I ever leave here?” Over half have their own pool, while an array of villas, suites and wellness rooms offer Saunas, gyms and private outside showers.
Taking over a whole floor is the spa, with a gorgeous indoor pool, well-equipped gym and corridors of treatment rooms. It feels incredibly chic and smart. There’s a beauty salon for your manicures and pedicures, while a few hours in the wellness area will give your mind the welcome wind down you’ve been craving. There are four restaurants on site, each with their own twist, such as a buffet, Greek taverna or beach bar with a live DJ playing ambient house as you sip on cocktails. And with this being a Greek island, fresh fish and grilled meats are a speciality.
You know it’s a happy place when everyone is smiling. More than anything, this is what makes Daios Cove special. Surrounded by lovely locals who clearly have pride in their workplace is what makes this place perfect.
Nightly rates in a Deluxe Sea View Room, on a half-board basis, start from €240 (£213*). For further details and to book, visit daioscovecrete.com, or call 020 3807 1418
TURKEY BEFORE CHRISTMAS HILLSIDE BEACH CLUB – KALEMYA BAY, TURKEY
For a beautiful, soul-scraping sunset, the pine forests near Kalemya Bay take some beating. What’s more, Turkey remains consistently hot and sunny throughout October, with an average temperature in the mid-20s, making it perfect for anyone who still wants to soak up vitamin D just as the clocks are about to go back. Hillside Beach Club, delightfully secluded within the bay, is pure escapism, allowing you to do as much, or as little, as you like. There’s aquatic fun to be had with scuba diving, wakeboarding, windsurfing, water skiing, sailing and kayaking, all ideal for anyone who likes to get the blood pumping. Then, to kick back, the Sanda spa is strongly recommended for anyone who’s been in a meeting too many this year, boasting complimentary pilates, zumba and yoga classes. hillsidebeachclub.com
A HISTORY LESSON- SERCHIO VALLEY, ITALY
For many seasoned travellers, Tuscany is among the most beautiful places on earth, and a must for anyone with even a passing interest in art, history and the sort of views that will forever remain etched in the memory. With temperatures skirting around 22°c, it remains a perfect sunny escape for this time of year, even if it’s not scorchio. The stunning Serchio Valley is just an hour from Pisa (a trip to a certain lop-sided tower is a must) and Florence (Michelangelo’s David can be found at the Accademia Gallery), and the sweeping Tuscan countryside makes for the sort of life-affirming vistas that can lift spirits as the nights get longer. The majestic Renaissance Tuscany Il Ciocco Resort & Spa is nestled between the Apuan Alps and the Apennine Mountains, and features spine-tingling views overlooking the valley. renaissancetuscany.com
NO SPAIN, NO GAIN – ESTEPONA, SPAIN
There is something naturally energising about southern Spain, where much of the onus is on wellness and well-being. There’s a frisson in the air, with the region positively teeming with tennis courts, golf courses and spas, while the fresh seafood at restaurants such as Da Bruno, Playa Bella and La Casa del Rey makes for a lip-smacking experience. We’ve played several of the golf courses, and you feel like you’re winning at life as you tee off in a pair of shorts under the October sun (bearing in mind, some British courses will soon be getting out the winter mats). The sea also remains warm enough to swim in for anyone in need of an energising early morning dip; the perfect way to get the heart racing. If you are looking to seriously up your fitness game, Healthouse Las Dunas, located in between Estepona and Marbella, is strongly recommended. The health and beach spa offers a range of programmes – such as anti-stress, anti-smoking or detox – each designed to put that bounce back in your step. The place also underwent a state-of-the-art summer makeover, which includes a glass-walled, ocean-facing gym and yoga studio. On a clear day, you can see as far as northern Africa. healthouse-naturhouse.com
CLEAN PLATES ALL AROUND – PAPHOS, CYPRUS
British cuisine is in fine fettle. However, for sheer culinary escapism and the chance to eat outdoors under the October sun, picturesque Cyprus takes some beating. You’re eating delicious food that’s culturally different to British staples, meaning both you, and your taste buds, are getting away from it all. Despite myriad influences (Byzantine, French, Italian, Catalan, Ottoman and Middle Eastern), there is something delightfully simple about Cypriot cuisine: halloumi, meats, pulses, sheftalia and souvlakia and more combine for a diverse yet straightforward combination. The five-star Elysium resort in Paphos has forged a fine reputation for its food, with five different restaurants on offer. Mediterraneo fuses Cypriot and Mediterranean, with diners enjoying an ocean view as they tuck in. Paphos is also perfect for couples: you’re near the birthplace of Aphrodite, the goddess of love, so there’s no better place to relight any missing sexual fire… We’ve possibly revealed a little too much. elysium-hotel.com