By India Dowley
It’s hard not to like a beach club. What more could you want on a relaxing summer holiday than a sun-drenched coastline, postcard views, iced drinks and fresh seafood – all delivered straight to your linen-draped day bed?
From the thrumming energy of Mykonos to the timeless glamour of St Tropez, these are the European beach clubs where we’ll be soaking up rays and sipping on rosé, soft sea breeze in our hair, sandy shores at our feet.
Following its success in St Barths, where it’s achieved almost cult-like status, Shellona brought Caribbean flair to the Mediterranean in 2017. Situated on famed Pampelonne Beach, bronzed patrons gather beneath a pretty pergola to share colourful plates of burrata, taramasalata, grilled octopus and prawn saganaki. This year, the restaurant has collaborated with Dior, who’ve bedecked deckchairs, sun loungers and parasols with their recognisable Toile de Jouy motif for their inaugural pop-up store. With Shellona’s heady tropical punch on tap and live beats until past sunset, it doesn’t get much better than this.
Based on the ancient Greek meeting space, agora, Scorpios is a gathering place that embraces its loyal community's artistic, spiritual and social life. A bohemian enclave that has become one of Mykonos’ prime party spots, kick back on expansive loungers while tucking into dishes such as grilled octopus with citrus aioli. As the sun dips into the Aegean Sea, order a signature Scorpios mule and join a cosmopolitan Euro crowd who know how to party.
Ibiza is not short of beach clubs, and Cotton Beach Club is one of our favourites. Taking up residence on picture-perfect Cala Tarida, the all-white chic furnishings channel the essence of the White Isle and attract a glamorous crowd who come here to see and be seen. Spend a day making your way through a menu of king-crab sushi rolls and Peruvian ceviche, accompanied by lychee and rose martinis or the signature Cotton sangria.
El Octógano, Sotogrande, Spain
Sotogrande attracts a well-heeled Spanish crowd thanks to its world-famous polo club, immaculate golf course and bustling marina. Renowned El Octógano beach club is where they congregate for sangria-fuelled days that extend beyond fiery sunsets into Gin Mare-laced nights. Snack on local specialities such as Iberian pork secreto, salmorejo and tocino, and keep your fingers crossed for an invitation to a villa party at one of the sprawling mansions nearby.
Accessible only by boat, this waterside idyll was once home to an old fisherman’s cabin where locals sunbathed and socialised around a lively game of pétanque. Today, the spirit of the Mediterranean lifestyle continues in what has become one of the hottest spots on the French Riviera. Between aquamarine waters and a flat-rocked cove, Executive Chef Yiannis Kioroglou channels the soulful dinners of his youth through elevated Greek cuisine. As bright days fade into golden evenings, the buzz of the band gives way to the pulse of the DJ and revellers bask in this island haven until late.
Nammos is flamboyantly extravagant, boasting a shisha lounge, private yacht and helipad. It’s unsurprising, then, that this hedonistic beach club attracts the world’s movers and shakers, who descend to fill up on mammoth seafood platters before dancing the days away, serenaded by the sound of popping champagne corks. An intoxicating energy reverberates along the shoreline as Nammos transforms into a glitterati playground all summer long – party people, assemble.
Capri is a timeless destination and Fontelina is one of the most iconic spots on the islet. With a thatched roof, blue-and-white striped umbrellas and waves lapping at the rocks, it effortlessly seduces visitors with its dolce vita vibes. Linguine topped with just-caught lobster washed down with a cool glass of Chianti are what we’re ordering for the table, followed by a refreshing dip in the sea. It’s no wonder that Fontelina has become a firm favourite among A-listers and jet setters – keep your eyes peeled for a familiar face.
Located in prestigious Puerto Portals in southwest Mallorca, UM Beach is all about slow living, from its barefoot-luxe Bali beds to its soulful menu. Afro-house beats permeate through swaying palms as hot young things flit between the pool, beach and bar, sipping on fruity frozen daiquiris and satiating themselves with tacos, quesadillas and buddha bowls. If you’re looking for a lively yet relaxed atmosphere, this is your jam.
With fine, white sand, a sushi restaurant, cocktail bar, spa, yoga facilities, boutique and kids club, it’s no surprise that Coccaro Beach Club is a popular spot. One of the few beach clubs in understated Puglia, it’s an ideal place to while away a day, especially if you’ve got children in tow. That doesn’t mean it’s not an adult affair, though. Join sophisticated Italian holidaymakers as they tuck into crudo mare and baskets of king prawns complemented by a bottle of the finest Primitivo, the gentle sea breeze carrying summery beats through the air.
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