Five summer beach clubs to book now
Roula Khalaf, Editor of the FT, selects her favourite stories in this weekly newsletter.
Marinella magic on the Amalfi Coast
Borgo Santandrea made waves on the Amalfi Coast when it opened in 2021 (HTSI had the exclusive look). The 49-room hotel is a sleek stunner that has only gone from strength to strength since: the landscaping lush and mature, the restaurants serving dishes that showcase all the local highlights. But the ace up its sleeve has always been its private beach – one of the very few on this entire coast – and the adjacent beach club, Marinella, a chic fit-out of an old stone boat house, now gleaming with a cocktail bar and pizza kitchen.
This summer, BSA’s owners, brothers Salvatore and Maurizio Orlacchio, decided to open Marinella’s terrace restaurant in the evenings as well; and you don’t have to be a guest of the hotel to book. The long alfresco space glows with candle- and fairy-light; slick teak tables seat couples or parties as big as 20. You can cruise in on your boat at sunset for a cocktail by the water, then head upstairs to enjoy the menu of revisited classics, including a new Platonic ideal of aubergine parmigiana. borgosantandrea.it; rooms from €2,210; Marinella by booking only
A St Barths classic remade (and open to outside guests)
Eden Rock St Barths has been a destination on the Franco-Swedish Caribbean island since the days of Greta Garbo. Its beach, St Jean, is one of the prettiest on the island, the place to watch the Cessna Grand Caravans buzz into St Barths’ thrilling runway while sipping a frosé (the so-tacky-it’s fabulous rosé slushie).
This year, starting with the season in October, its newly revamped beach club and ER bar will be open (outside guests who want to book in for a morning, a lunch or an afternoon, will be able to do so from July to August). There are lounges, umbrellas and a beachside service; snorkelling kit and stand-up paddleboards; and the club’s rock raft for anyone who wants to swim for their reward. The menus go long on classics – seafood towers, oysters, tartares – as well as pizzas, burgers and the island’s best club sandwich. oetkercollection.com
Cornwall’s sweet coastal escape
Olga Polizzi is best known as the design director of Rocco Forte Hotels, the international collection overseen by her brother, Sir Rocco. On the side, she’s long been a respected hotelier in her own right: besides beautiful Tresanton in St Mawes, and Hotel Endsleigh in Dartmoor, which have been part of the Polizzi Collection – which she created with her daughter Alex – for over a decade, she more recently renovated and relaunched The Star, a 30-bedroom gem in the East Sussex Downs. Tresanton might be the Platonic ideal of the Cornish seaside hotel, with its mullioned windows and local art on the walls (it also has an 8m yacht, Pinuccia, for exploring the coast).
Now, the Polizzis have added the Beach Club at Hotel Tresanton, directly below the hotel, spread across three long terraces overlooking the rockpools of Tavern Beach, to which it has direct access. There are fresh juices – or craft beers, good wines and cocktails – and a straightforward lunch served from the grill. Smart blue and white umbrellas shade the tables and sun loungers – which, if summer 2023 continues as it’s started, may be in high demand. thepolizzicollection.com
Beaching sustainably on Bali
Bali in 2023 is a love-or-hate proposition: a terrible, overdeveloped place to some, still a haven of natural beauty and spiritual succour for others. The latter team knows to follow the subtle migrations of locals and longtime expats, as and when they shift their own centres of social gravity: once upon a time the beachside town to be was Kuta, then it became Seminyak; these days it’s Canggu and its western neighbour, Pererenan. Opened in 2022 on Batu Belig Beach, the point where Seminyak segues into Canggu, is Mari, which proposes a new version of “Little Bali” – the quiet, low-key destination of old.
The bamboo pavilions and restaurant are the work of Elora Hardy, whose architectural firm, Ibuku, has pioneered the use of one of nature’s strongest and most sustainable materials in building, here and abroad; all the other materials she has selected, from driftwood to copper roofing, reflect local culture and craftsmanship. The layered patios recall the rolling landscapes of the rice terraces in the island’s centre; there is an enormous, undulating infinity pool, bales and loungers, and a very grown-up menu that blends Japanese and Mediterranean influences. Beach clubs on Bali are their own thing, with day-into-night DJs and, invariably, one or two influencers in the wild, furiously posing and snapping. Mari, being a bit more spacious than most, offers a few corners to live the experience minus the full force of that madness. maribeachclub.com
Bondi Beach for the people
A few years back, a local developer submitted proposals for permission to open a private, Italian-style bathing club and restaurant on Bondi. Plans to rope off a section of the country’s most iconic beach for the exclusive use of cashed-up people met, not surprisingly, vigorous pushback, and approvals are still pending. In the meantime, a far more fitting way to live the real Bondi life has appeared: almost 100 years after first opening, Bondi Pavilion has undergone an A$48mn (about £30mn) refurbishment.
It reopened late last year with a series of cultural spaces open to the public. This year, it’s adding eating and drinking venues, starting with Promenade, a multi-concept indoor-outdoor destination overseen by Chris Benedet, a chef who’s logged stints at some of the city’s top tables (Monopole, Rockpool and most recently Cirrus, in the Barangaroo dining “precinct”, in the city’s west). The food is ambitious, the interiors Vogue Living-ready; but there’s still a walk-in-off-the-sand factor (to what’s called the Front Yard Bar) that keeps things real. promenadebondibeach.com, bondipavilion.com.au