the bodrum edition

The holiday hot list: Where to travel in May

03 May 2024 | |By Annie Lewis

Two bank holidays means there’s no excuse not to book a break in the sun

Three days into May and we’re already over this weather. And if, like us, you’re seriously lacking vitamin D, then it only makes sense to book a quick break in the sun to top up before summer well and truly arrives in London. From Dubrovnik’s Dalmatian coast to the Turkish Riviera and beyond, here’s where to travel in May. See you on the sunbeds. 

Dubrovnik, Croatia

dubrovnik

Average temperature in May: 23°C

For globetrotting travellers with a sense of adventure, Croatia offers a plethora of activities – and the capital city of Dubrovnik is no exception. Tour one of the scenic cycling routes along the never-ending Dalmatian coastline, try your hand at water sports or a boating excursion around the Elafiti Islands, shoot hoops at the City Wall Rooftop Court nestled within the old, terracotta roofs of the city, all before sampling delectable native cuisine and absorbing the history of the medieval city. Feeling a little overwhelmed? Enlist the help of native travel designer Darija Reic, founder of Aestive Luxury Travel (visit here), to curate a specific itinerary for you with plenty of local recommendations. 

Where to stay: Hotel Excelsior

Views of Dubrovnik’s Old Town – a UNESCO world heritage site itself – don’t come much better than from the chic balconies dotting the five-star Hotel Excelsior. Perched on the Dalmatian coastline with a private beach and cobbled sundeck (from which you can jump directly into the bay), impeccable service at the hotel starts as soon as you walk through the glass doors – the kind which has also catered for royal and celebrity guests such as Queen Elizabeth II and Elizabeth Taylor. Sleek and stylish interiors – think wood-panelled walls, king-size beds, and magenta and royal blue-hued furnishings – feature in all 158 bedrooms, as do sink-in bathtubs, rainfall showers and double vanities in the ensuite bathrooms. 

Pick from four eateries: Sensus Fine Dining, offering Croatian classics, Salin for a delicious buffet breakfast, Abakus Piano Bar and Terrace, one of the best sea-view bars in the city, and finally Prora. Set on the lower limestone terrace – adjacent to the seawater pool and prime sunbathing spots in the day – waves splash mere metres from diners while white-clothed and candlelit tables play host to plates of incredibly fresh seafood. Trust us when we say you’ll never want to leave… 

From £476 per night. 

Cornwall, UK

st ives cornwall

Average temperature in May: 17°C

The new month is promising something of a heatwave down on the south coast (don’t hold us to that), so if you'd prefer a sweet escape without the hassle of an airport, Cornwall here you come. May poses the perfect opportunity to discover all the county has to offer without the summer holiday crowds, so you can explore the likes of St Ives, Penzance, Fowey and Lands End with only a few fellow tourists in tow. Those looking for a dog-friendly break can happily exhaust their four-legged friends with a plethora of coastal walks along the cliffs, fields or sandy beaches. Head to Newquay to discover a bustling arts scene and an array of surfing schools, while the likes of Fowey and St Mawes are ready to cater for a well-heeled crowd with posh restaurants, quaint cocktail bars and five-star hotels. 

Where to stay: Boathouse Loft

Boathouse Loft

One of the most popular destinations in Cornwall is St Ives, and thanks to Aspects Holidays' plethora of coastal cottages you can experience the renowned fishing village in style. Book the Boathouse Loft, an airy two-bedroom apartment boasting unrivalled views of Harbour Beach, for a small family getaway this month. The open-plan living area is equipped with comfy sofas, a woodburner, and even a games console (which could come in handy during those pesky rain showers), while you can enjoy the sound of crashing waves in the background and start your day with a coffee on the decked balcony. And, relax… 

From £892 per week. 

Mykonos, Greece

mykonos
Image: Shutterstock

Average temperature in May: 22°C

One of the most famous islands in the Greek cyclades after Santorini, Mykonos is known as an A-list hotspot and Greece’s answer to Ibiza. There are beach clubs galore, and suitably stylish hotels to cater for the well-dressed crowd, but away from the pumping music, you’ll find stone-paved alleys, whitewashed houses, country chapels and those famous windmills. Spend your day visiting archaeological sites and exploring sandy beaches (some say they’re the best in the Aegean), before hitting the boutiques filled with designer clothes, jewellery and art. Evenings are best begun with a sundowner while watching one of the best DJs in the world hit the decks. Sounds like an average day to us… 

Where to stay: Santa Marina

Set on the slopes of Mykonos’ southern peninsula, the luxury Santa Marina hotel is something of a Greek legend. Featuring Mykonos’ only private beach and panoramic views of the twinkling blue sea, Europe’s beau monde have gathered here for over 40 years, drawn by the sunken infinity pool cabanas, the Buddha-Bar beach club and the Greek delights of Elais restaurant. It makes for a luxurious base for exploring the island’s picturesque town, golden sands and world-class beach clubs or for venturing further afield to the ancient island of Delos and the turquoise coves of uninhabited Rhenia. However, you’d be forgiven for opting to unwind at the hotel’s Ginkgo Spa with 111Skin and Espa treatments, or booking one of the parasols lining the beach, instead.

From £914 per night. 

Bodrum, Turkey

bodrum turkey
Image: Shutterstock

Average temperature in May: 27°C

The Turkish Riviera only became a ‘thing’ in the world of travel a few years ago – and with azure waters and sandy shores that can easily compete with the French, Italian and Greek destinations, it’s surprising well-heeled travellers are only just cottoning on to Bodrum. This slice of Turkey's southwest coast is not only privy to balmy spring temperatures – making it the perfect getaway for May – but is also steeped in history. The city features twin bays with views of Bodrum Castle: a medieval fortress built from stones of the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World completed in the 4th century B.C. We’d also recommend seeing the pretty peninsula by boat, with a must-see stop-off at Orak, an uninhabited island dotted with quaint bars and sandy beaches. 

Where to stay: The Bodrum Edition

the bodrum edition

Having reopened for its seventh season at the end of April, The Bodrum Edition is ready to welcome travellers to the Turkish Riviera for a luxury escape. Located a stone's throw from Yalikavak Marina, the boutique hotel offers 108 guest rooms, suites and villas, all featuring custom-designed furnishings and indulgent marble bathrooms. For the full experience, book its exclusive three-storey private villas complete with four bedrooms, a private swimming pool, garden and, most importantly, uninterrupted views of the Aegean Sea. 

New for 2024, the Michelin-starred Kitchen by Turkish chef Osman Sezener will welcome other Edition chefs from around the world to create unique menus, while the new al-fresco Brava restaurant will open in June with globally-celebrated Michelin-starred chef Stefano Ciotti at the helm. At the beach club, guests can relax in style on the white-sand shores before dancing the night away at the weekly beach parties with the hottest DJs and performers. Or, for something more low-key, head to the state-of-the-art spa, which includes a salon, Turkish Hammam, and fitness centre.

From £578 per night. 

Grenada, Caribbean

grenada caribbean
St George's Town, Grenada. Image: Shutterstock

Average temperature in May: 31°C

Otherwise known as the Spice Isle, Grenada’s hills are famously home to countless nutmeg plantations while its picturesque capital, St George’s, has become famous for the pastel-coloured houses fringing the waterfront. Grand Anse Beach is one of the island’s most famous tourist hotspots, and just a 30-minute drive away lies Grand Etang National Park, where you can chase waterfalls and admire Grand Etang Lake: an extinct volcano crater now filled with water. Don’t miss the Mona monkeys swinging from the branches, too. The small but mighty island is having a real moment in the world of luxury travel, thanks to the recent opening of Silversands Beach House and the upcoming and long-awaited arrival of Six Senses La Sagesse. 

Calabash

Calabash – the only Relais and Châteaux hotel on the island – is home to just 30 exclusive suites, having emerged from a chic renovation just last year. Featuring modern luxuries, Elemis amenities and private balconies showcasing unparalleled panoramas of the Caribbean Sea, the family-run property is owned by the Garbutt family, who purchased it in the late 1980s, and is now being taken over by the three daughters, Adele, Beth and Bobbie. The trio continue to champion sustainable and community initiatives, such as the Zero Miles spa treatments in partnership with a female founded-brand that creates products using ingredients found in Grenada. 

Foodies can enjoy three restaurants, including the fine dining, vine-covered Rhodes restaurant specialising in local flair, and the newly-launched Izakaya, serving Latin-Japanese sharing plates at the poolside bar, alongside the more-relaxed Beach Club which offers a weekly Caribbean grill night brimming with local flavours. If there’s one thing we can guarantee, it’s that you won’t want to come home… 

From £669 per night. 

Sardinia, Italy

sardinia
Image: Shutterstock

Average temperature in May: 22°C

The Italian isle counts Lindsay Lohan, Elton John and Bradley Cooper among its loyal fanbase, oozing rustic glamour and striking landscapes which make for the perfect backdrop for any luxurious spring break. Sardinia has nearly 2,000km of coastline, sandy beaches and a mountainous interior crossed with hiking trails to explore – and if you’re interested in the latter, the Pevero Health Trail offers both intense and relaxing paths that are ideal for runners or mountain bikers, as well as families. Tennis fans will not be disappointed with the world-class Mouratoglou Tennis Center Sardinia, opened in partnership with French tennis coach Patrick Mouratoglou who trained Serena Williams, Coco Gauff and Stefanos Tsitsipas. 

Where to stay: Hotel Cala di Volpe

Nestled on the idyllic Costa Smeralda (the Emerald Coast) in north-eastern Sardinia, Hotel Cala di Volpe has also just kicked off its summer season. An icon of the island – it was the very first hotel built in the destination – Hotel Cala di Volpe has been a favourite of international jetsetters for the past 60 years, also serving as a key location in 1977’s Bond movie, The Spy Who Loved Me, starring Roger Moore and Barbara Bach.

For a luxurious home away from home, book the Harrods Suite – regarded as one of the most luxurious suites in the world – developed in collaboration with the Harrods Interior Design team to create a penthouse boasting three separate suites, multiple living spaces, a secure vaulted wine cellar hosting a super selection of wines and spirits, a cigar humidor and an impressive marble cocktail bar. On the private roof terrace, a raised infinity pool with an integrated bar makes for the perfect private spot for sundowners. 

Elsewhere, visit the award-winning Shiseido Spa and feast at nine exceptional restaurants – ranging from the Japanese Nobu-style cuisine of Matsuhisa to fine-dining experiences at Le Grand – and visit Pevero Golf Club, just a short drive from the five-star hotel. Found between the Pevero and Cala di Volpe bays, the 18-hole course is surrounded by a wind-swept landscape of eroded rock formations and natural lakes, with a new academy by Open Champion Golfer and Ryder Cup star, Francesco Molinari, now open for 2024. 

From £383 per night. 

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