When it comes to nightlife, Greece’s most glamorous isle has sunrise to sunset appeal. Capital, Mykonos Town has a drinking scene to rival Ibiza, with a winning mix of beach parties, candlelit corners and huge clubs. And most of them have a really upmarket feel, attracting a cosmopolitan crowd. Paradise and Super Paradise beaches are where most of the action takes place – a 20-minute drive from the capital. Here, stylish bars pump out music from mid-afternoon until sundown, before everyone moves on to the clubs. Paradise Club is the island’s biggest – DJs like Martin Garrix and Tiesto have taken to the decks. It lines up an indoor club, a pool and an open-air section with great sea views. There are three different VIP areas, too – go Premium and you’ll get a table with a Magnum of Belvedere or Grey Goose vodka, plus a bottle of Champagne. Perched high on the cliffs opposite is another big superclub, Cavo Paradiso. On top of the international DJs, there are out-of-this-world views to match. Back in town, the charming Little Venice area is full of snug piano bars, while the nearby harbour is the best place for cocktails by sunset. And food-wise, you can splash out with Nobu restaurant, Matsuhisa, or stick to the souvlaki shops and harbourfront seafood joints.
Where to stay
The Hotel Porto Mykonos flaunts the island’s signature whitewashed looks – both inside and out. It’s set on a hill above the harbour, so views are guaranteed, whether you’re by the pool or enjoying a drink on your balcony. That said, it’s still just 10 minutes’ walk from the bars and clubs in Mykonos Town.
Up until a few years ago, Croatia was relatively unheard of on the clubbing scene. These days, it’s up there with the best of them. But the bars and clubs here come with a better-than-average backdrop. This eastern European gem is a place of pine forests, pebble coves and ancient architecture, so it only seems fitting that the nightlife follows suit. Wine bars have set up shop in Dubrovnik’s 17th-century buildings, while clubs get their own island in Hvar. This A-list isle is home to some of Croatia’s swankiest nightspots. Carpe Diem is a household name in Hvar Town, and it’s a two-for-one deal. There’s a harbourfront bar serving up cocktails, fashion shows and DJs. Then, come 1am, everyone hops on water taxis over to Carpe Diem Beach, where the music, dancing and fireworks continues until sunrise. Elsewhere, Hula Hula has just as Instagram-worthy views from its shoreline spot. And it’s built up a reputation as the leading place on the island to watch the sunset. You’ll probably see a couple of yachts in the surrounding waters, since people often anchor up off-shore to join the party. Over in Dubrovnik’s UNESCO-rated old town, churches and palaces are joined by wineries and cocktail bars after dark.
Where to stay
Dubrovnik’s laid-back bars and clubs are just 15 minutes’ walk from the Lero Hotel. But that’s not the hotel’s only plus point. It’s got a really chic pool scene, with comfy, padded loungers, potted plants and wooden decking. And you can try Bosnian dishes at the à la carte eatery.
With Hollywood-themed interiors and a waterfront cocktail bar, the Riva Hvar is perfect for style-conscious clubbers. There’s a glamorous vibe, thanks to movie-star murals, spotlit staircases and dark-grey bedding. Plus, the extra touches really make you feel like a Hollywood star – expect Prosecco and brownies in your room, as well as free glasses of wine during happy hour. And it’s all within easy reach of Hvar Town’s harbour-based night scene.
Malta specialises in cocktail lounges, rooftop bars and multi-storey clubs. The upmarket town of St Julian's is where most people head for a night on the town. It’s a pretty-as-a-picture place with a buzzing waterside area and a sandy, Blue Flag beach – a rarity in Malta. The area dubbed Paceville is the last word in nightlife here. And it’s got quite a sophisticated edge. The clubs are often several storeys, which means they cater to all ages and tastes. Take Hugo’s Passion, for instance – it’s got a pop club on one floor, a laid-back sushi restaurant and cocktail bar on the ground floor, and a techno and house club on another level. One of the smartest clubs around is Twenty Two, which, funnily enough, you’ll find on the 22nd floor of Malta’s tallest building, the Portomaso Tower. The floor-to-ceiling windows mean the panoramas are on tap, while the black, leather sofas give it a designer feel. As you’d expect, there’s a smart dress code here. You’ll find even more bars in historic capital, Valletta, which is a 20-minute drive from St Julian’s. It’s a good place to come for sightseeing, too, especially since it’s set to become the European Capital of Culture in 2018.
Where to stay
The Valentina Hotel has stylish city pad written all over it. The lobby’s like an art gallery, with quirky, hanging lamps and sculptures on the walls. Then there’s the rooftop infinity pool, which provides sweeping skyline views. Meanwhile, the bar deals with the cocktails. When you want to head out, Paceville’s bars, clubs and restaurants are a five-minute wander away. And there’s a 24-hour martini bar in the lobby, too.
White-sand beaches, Mayan ruins, thick jungle – Mexico isn’t exactly your average clubbing holiday. But you can forget what you know about the nightlife here. Away from Cancun’s party-hard spring breakers, you’ve got cosmopolitan Playa del Carmen, or Playa as it’s known to locals, and authentic Puerto Vallarta. Playa, on the Riviera Maya, is the liveliest. You can start your night along cobbled, car-free 5th Avenue, where the cocktail bars, boutiques and restaurants are back-to-back. Everything tends to close around midnight, so if you want a big night you’ll need to head for the shoreline. Clubs and bars line up along the beach, putting on explosive fire shows and acrobatic performances. On the west coast, evenings are best spent outdoors in Puerto Vallarta. Whether it’s sipping martinis at a beachside lounge or drinking under the stars at a rooftop bar. Lots of the upscale hotels also hold lavish dinner shows, giving tourists a taste of traditional Mexico. Massive buffets, dances and fireworks are usually part of the package.
Where to stay
The greeting at the Villa Premiere speaks volumes. You’ll be met with a glass of fizz, a face towel and a mini-massage. And it’s uphill from there. The rooms come with ocean-view balconies, as well as butler menus. Speaking of butlers, they’ll even help you unpack. The five-minute walk to Puerto Vallarta’s bustling boardwalk is the icing on the cake.
Nine restaurants, seven bars, three pools, and a nightclub – the Breathless Riviera Cancun Resort & Spa really does have it all. There’s an unlimited dining concept here, which means you don’t have to book the buffet, beachside grill or six à la cartes. As such, one night you can tuck into French, the other, Lebanese. Plus, you won’t have to step a foot outside the hotel to party. As well as seven bars, this place has its own nightclub, but Playa del Carmen and Cancun’s nightlife is half an hour’s drive away. And for chilled evenings, there’s live music and film screenings on the beach. The spa’s treatment list has also been designed with grown-ups in mind – we’re talking chocolate body wraps and wine therapy massages.
Ibiza hasn’t earned the title of clubbing capital of the world for nothing. And the ultimate party playground’s nightlife is as A-list as they come. You’ve probably heard of the big names like Pacha and Amnesia, but there’s a whole different, more five-star side to the white isle. By day, the beach clubs are the places to see-and-be-seen. Nikki Beach near Santa Eulalia is where the bronzed-and-beautiful crowd like to party. Draped cabanas, white daybeds and live saxophonists set the scene, while sushi and cocktails make up the menu. Similarly, there are tonnes of upscale dining and drinking spots in Playa d’en Bossa. One such place is Ushuaïa Beach Club, where a clutch of cocktail bars are sprinkled around the gardens. After dark, things centre on the neon-lit pool, with DJs playing to an open-air dance floor. Just 10 minutes’ stroll along the sands, there’s another VIP hangout – Nassau. Here, you can get food and drinks delivered to your lounger, or book a table at the fine-dining eatery inside. San Antonio, on the other side of the island, is known for its notorious Sunset Strip of clubs and bars. Trace your finger along its sandy cove, and you’ll find Cala de Bou. Kumharas bar and restaurant has an ideal seafront setting for watching the area’s famous sunsets. There’s also a cocktail list as long as your arm, plus stalls selling handmade jewellery and clothes.
Where to stay
They say good things come in threes – that’s definitely the case at the Ushuaia Ibiza Beach Hotel. This chic property boasts three elegant pools and three restaurants, including a Japanese place and a steakhouse. An oyster bar and poolside waiter service only add to the air of exclusivity. Entertainment-wise, you can expect everything from pool parties to international DJs. Rooms come with LED mood lighting, rainfall showers and aromatherapy menus as standard. Upgrade to a whirlpool suite, however, and you’ll get a games console and a private hot tub on your terrace thrown in, too.
With spa tub suites, a tapas gastrobar and a top-of-the-range spa, the Hard Rock Hotel Ibiza is fit for a rock star. It’s right in the heart of Playa d’en Bossa, so the beach and clubs are within wandering distance. But you’ll rarely want to leave this super-chic crash pad. The suites come with hot tubs and huge, 50-inch flatscreen TVs with iPod and laptop connectors. You can get ready at the spa, since it offers pampering treatments, as well as a hair salon and makeup station. And food comes in the form of fresh seafood from the beach club or 20 courses of cutting-edge cuisine from Sublimotion – the creation from Michelin-starred chef, Paco Roncero. Mannequins wearing glitzy outfits owned by the likes of Rihanna and Shakira add an extra celeb touch.
The same goes for the THB Ocean Beach Hotel, which is every inch as stylish. The pool area puts on chic, Balinese beds, waiter service and al fresco massages. There’s also the famous Ocean Beach Club next door, which means you get 50% off entry. In the evening, this place puts on quite the show – think DJs and acrobats suspended from the ceiling. And back at the hotel, you’ve got a 24-hour bar.
The home of full moon parties knows how to let its hair down. It’s also a great place to head for a party-hard holiday with a difference. Patong Beach, in Phuket, is a lively mishmash of pubs, karaoke bars and live music joints – not to mention a two-mile-long swathe of white sand. Bangla Road is where you’ll find most of the action. Cue cabaret shows featuring the most glamorous costumes around. But there are lots of other day and night options, too – be it diving, spas, street markets or upscale eateries. And there’s also a big Thai boxing stadium and a shopping mall with amphitheatre-like cinema screens.
Where to stay
It’s all about the looks at The KEE Resort and Spa – from the chic rooftop restaurant to the pool with an LED-lit fountain. Cocktails are on tap from the swim-up bar, which is shaded by a sail-shaped canopy. And that’s not the only thing that’s swim-up – you can book bedrooms that pull up to the water’s edge, as well. Plus, you’re just minutes from Patong Beach’s legendary nightlife and beach.
The super-stylish infinity pool is the jewel in B-Lay Tong’s crown. It’s got in-water loungers, a wall made of glass and a swim-up bar. Speaking of the bar, it majors in smoothies and vitamin-boosting milkshakes. Meanwhile, you can splash out on Champagne from the lobby bar. And you’re guaranteed a good night’s sleep, thanks to a peaceful setting to the north of Patong Beach. You’re still just a 10 minutes’ tuk-tuk ride from the night scene, too.
It’s location, location, location at the in Malta. It’s right by the shops and restaurants, and five minutes’ stroll to the clubs.
You can relax on Balinese beds by the pool at Ibiza’s Hotel Garbi Ibiza & Spa. Or swap the pool for the sands – they’re just next door.
A rooftop infinity pool and all-white interiors are just two of the highlights at the Hotel Cavtat, just 25 minutes’ drive from Dubrovnik.
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