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UNDERSTATED EXCELLENCE: THE 5 BEST BAYSIDE HOTELS

From Mexico to St Barts – the best places to wear our new Bay capsule

UNDERSTATED EXCELLENCE: THE 5 BEST BAYSIDE HOTELS

When we set out to design our latest capsule, we were influenced by the bayside glamour of the golden age of travel. The elegance of the playboys on the Riviera in the 1920s, the understatement of the Jet Set in Capri in the 60s, and the playfulness of the Hamptons in the 70s, all these things inspired Bay. Our refined capsule has a timeless blue, white and black palette, with luxurious fabrics including Sea Island jersey cotton, tailored seersucker, and double-faced towelling.

To mark the launch of the capsule, we have scoured the globe to bring you a list of our favourite bayside hotels. What better place, after all, to wear the collection?

Cuixmala, Mexico

30,000 acres of nature reserve, 5,000 acres of farmland, and three beaches for the sole use of hotel guests – Cuixmala is a bayside hotel like no other. It was, almost unbelievably, built as a holiday house for the late British billionaire Sir James Goldsmith, who set about buying up large tracts of the surrounding rainforest to conserve. His legacy is preserved by his daughter Alix, who now owns and runs the hotel, which is designed in a whimsical mix of Mexican, European and Moorish architecture. If you can drag yourself away from the comfort of your sun lounger – or indeed the 3 restaurants – you will find 270 species of birds, eland and wild zebra running around the forest.

© Cuixmala, Mexico
Lekkerwater Beach Lodge at De Hoop, South Africa

This 7-bedroom hotel was once used as the South African president’s retreat, a sort of coastal Chequers. Recently though, it has been taken over by the Natural Selection group, who reopened it last year as a boutique hotel. Each room has views of the 84,000 acre De Hoop Nature Reserve on one side and the endless expanse of the Southern Ocean on the other – it is an extraordinary, though understated place. Visit between July and November and you will find your view embellished with dolphins and whales frolicking in the surf.

© Lekkerwater Beach Lodge
Cheval Blanc St-Barth Isle de France, St Barts

About 10 minutes from the airport at St Barts you find the Cheval Blanc, which reclines on the beach like an off-duty film star. It is the island’s largest hotel and one of the most luxurious, with 260 staff – referred to as ‘ambassadeurs’ or ‘alchimistes’ – ministering to the wants of its well-heeled clientele. The Guerlain Spa and La Case restaurant (frites and sole meunière are a specialty) are both remarkable – but the real star is the beach, its white-gold sands stretch as far as the eye can see and the water is clear as crystal. If there is a better place to elegantly dispose of an afternoon and a bottle of rosé, we’d like to know about it.

© Cheval Blanc St-Barth
Mezzatorre Hotel and Thermal Spa, Italy

When we think of Italian islands, Capri inevitably springs to mind. But thanks to the re-opening of the Mezzatorre, its neighbour Ischia is having a moment in the sun. This is down to one person: Marie-Louise Scio, the owner of this hotel and the others in the Il Pellicano group. Ms Scio has a talent for drawing elegant people to her hotels. She transformed the Mezzatorre in 4 months, making the once dowdy resort sparkle. The 16th century watchtower at the centre of the hotel now contains a thermal spa, there is a large saltwater pool and a terrace which curls around the bay of the north west tip of the island. It is like something out of The Talented Mr. Ripley, which was, incidentally, filmed here - and we can’t get enough of it.

Mezzatorre Hotel © Ted Gushue
Dexamenes Seaside Hotel, Greece

You wouldn’t, on the face of it, think a row of 1920s concrete wine stores had much prospect as a luxury hotel. But thanks to the foresight of owner Nikos Karaflos, and the sensitive designs of Athenian architectural practice, K Studio, the industrial tanks have been transformed into a strikingly modern hotel. It is all poured concrete, powdered steel and neutral colours, which together are a striking foil to the silvery blue of the Ionian Sea on whose edge it sits. It isn’t just the architecture which draws in the guests, however – the beach, called Kourouta, is unspoilt, empty and incredibly charming.

© Dexamenes Seaside Hotel