Home-schooling and working from home during lockdown with no time for yourself or your partner? We wouldn’t blame you for needing a break away from the family and the daily grind to rest and rejuvenate when pandemic restrictions ease.
Drop the children at their grandparents, unplug the WiFi and turn off your phone alarm: from luxuriating at boutique hotels and restorative spa resorts to sleeping under the stars in quirky cabins, here are our picks of the best adult retreats across Europe.
Memmo Alfama, Lisbon, Portugal
Short city breaks are the preserve of couples looking to enjoy a romantic night or two away from the family. And nothing says romance like absorbing the glow of Lisbon at twilight over a pre-dinner aperitif.
Blended into the heart of the city’s Alfama district, Memmo is nestled in the terracotta rooftops of this historic quarter and offers some of the best views in the city - from your room or the outdoor pool and bar on the first floor.
Make sure you leave the comfort of the hotel to explore the neighbourhood’s narrow laneways, awash with azulejo tiles and filled with the strains of wistful Fado music.
Demeter Cave House, Santorini, Greece
With its cliff top villages, whitewashed houses and blue church domes, Santorini has been one of the most popular calling points in the Cyclades. But don’t let that put you off if you’re looking to get away from the hordes of visitors.
Tucked away in Pyrgos, one of the island’s prettiest villages, this little nest for two is built into the rock and comes complete with a private courtyard, heated jacuzzi and a terrace with stunning panoramic views, not to mention Scandic-inspired interior design with authentic Greek flourishes.
Paragon 700, Puglia, Italy
Set in a renovated red palazzo in the “white city” of Ostuni, this luxury boutique was always going to stand out from the crowd. Not far from Brindisi in Puglia, the region that makes up the stiletto heel of the Italian boot, the hotel melds Italian charm with rooms finished with ornate fixtures and furniture from around the world.
High ceilings, sunken baths, fireplaces, balconies, orange and lemon orchards, private cruises - this place was made for reconnecting with your partner as only old romantics like the Italians know how.
The Scarlet, Cornwall, UK
Designed with relaxation in mind, this adults-only spa in a tranquil corner of Cornwall ticks all the boxes for a restful break to recharge your batteries. Clifftop hot tubs, sauna, open swimming pool, beach views and Ayurvedic spa - what more do you need, really?
Well, there are of course the rooms with sea views, private rooftop sitting areas and private gardens, too. You may just forget you have responsibilities at home if you stay long enough.
The Krane, Copenhagen, Denmark
You’ll have heard of lighthouses being converted into guest houses - but what about cranes? Perhaps an unconventional choice, this hotel - built in a former coal crane in the Danish capital - combines whimsy with luxury to give you the makings of the most memorable break away from the family you’ll ever have.
The hotel’s only bedroom is located at the top of the crane, showcasing the best of modern Danish interior design. There are also two terraces - one eastward facing for sunrise and one westward facing for sunset - as well as a spa with sea and harbour views.
Panorama Glass Lodge, Iceland
If seeing the Northern Lights has ever been on your bucket list, this is the place for you and your other half. Catching sight of the phenomenon is never guaranteed but it helps when you’re cuddling under a blanket beneath the night skies in Iceland’s wild, volcanic landscapes.
There are just a handful of luxury cabins on the site near Selfoss in southern Iceland, all combining modcons with spectacular panoramic views from floor to ceiling, all enjoyed from the comfort of your own bed.
With just four two-man chalets sitting at an altitude of over 300 metres above sea level, Nebesa is a veritable Shangri La in the clouds. From the panoramic deck overlooking the peaks of the Julian Alps, choose between watching the sun rise, set or stargazing with your partner as you let the clean mountain air ease the knots in your shoulders.
The disconnect from the earth below you means you can truly get away from it all and watch the world go by guilt-free.
If you do feel like moving more than reaching for your book, the surrounding Soča Valley is a hedonist’s paradise with mountain trails, cycling and canyoning for adventurers and cheesemakers and wine tastings at local vineyards for foodies.
Domaine les Roullets, Vaucluse, France
No children and an on-site vineyard? Where do we sign up?
An exclusive, five-room B&B in the hills of Provence, Domaine les Roullets is the ultimate French bolthole. Boasting extensive grounds, complete with the aforementioned vineyard as well as an olive orchard and truffle forest, it’s little wonder this spot was once favoured by the Romans themselves.
If the heat gets too much, take shelter in the shaded courtyard with its views of the picturesque village of Oppède-le-Vieux or go for a dip in the pool flanked by olive trees.
Fontsanta Hotel, Mallorca, Spain
A wellness resort and spa on the southern fringes of Mallorca, Fontsanta’s raison d’être is to help you cast off your woes and regenerate.
Overlooking rugged Balearic landscapes and salt flats, the location of the 5-star hotel is unique on the island for being the only one with subterranean thermal springs. The Romans were the first to discover them and visitors have been benefiting from their healing properties ever since. One of the island’s finest beaches is also nearby if the pampering gets too much (but who are we kidding?).
Translated as “Heaven bed,” these bubble hotels are dotted around the fairytale-esque Thurgau region of Switzerland.
Given how open they are, they are not for all couples but being immersed in nature - with a choice of sleeping in a vineyard, orchard or garden - and sleeping under the night sky gives a romantic slant on this twist on camping.
There is of course another option - sleeping under your favourite apple tree in a sumptuous double bed. Just don’t hog the covers.