$235 In the middle of the French Riviera, between St.-Tropez and Cannes, is La Belle Aurore. All of the 17 Provençal-style rooms—buttery walls, whitewashed beams, blue or red fabrics—have terraces or balconies that face the sea. Mediterranean dishes are served in a candlelit dining room, and the English-speaking staff has a refreshing "Anything we can do?" attitude. 5 BLVD. JEAN-MOULIN, ST.-MAXIME; 33-4/94-96-02-45; www.belleaurore.com *
$133 A century ago, Insel Rügen was the Baltic getaway for Berlin's elite (including Einstein). As part of an effort to revamp the resort area, Hotel Villa Neander, a 14-room 1905 inn just a few blocks from the seaside boardwalk, has been renovated with California-bright sage-and-white rooms and a restaurant serving hearty German specialties. The hotel exterior mixes Rügen's signature Bäderarkitektur—whitewashed wood and balconies—with Jugendstil, the country's answer to Art Nouveau. 16 HAUPTSTRASSE, BINZ; 49-38/393-5290; www.glasner.den
$140 A 17th-century tuna fishery on Sicily overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea has been converted into Tonnara di Bonagia. Don't worry if you miss out on the mattanza, or ritual tuna hunt, held every May and June—you can learn about it in a museum dedicated to the ancient tradition, located on the property. Of the 100 elegant rooms, about half have kitchens and air-conditioning. The private beach is small and gravelly; instead, hit the adjacent Olympic-sized swimming pool, chaise longues, and snack bar. PIAZZA TONNARA, BONAGIA, VALDERICE; 800/346-5358 OR 39-0923/431-111; www.framonhotels.com; open March-November
$127 The village may be centuries old, but one look at the Ponta do Sol in Madeira and the years vanish. The 54 bright, minimalist rooms all have a Philippe Starck-like style, but it's the glass-sided restaurant sitting at the edge of the land that is the real draw. For adventurers, the hotel can arrange jeep safaris, mountain bike rentals, surfing lessons—you name it. QUINTA DA ROCHINHA; 351-291/970-200; www.pontadosol.com
$152 One of the first hotels on the fashionable Costa de Luz (Coast of Light), the Hotel Dos Mares still draws in-the-know Europeans, kite surfers, and families. The main lodge is surrounded by 35 simply decorated casitas—crisp linens, Mexican tile floors, wicker tables—hidden in a thicket of blooming gardens, palm trees, and cacti. Keeping current, the hotel is adding habitaciones, including an airy Moroccan-style suite complete with canopy bed and 14 windows that open directly over the sea. KM 79.5, CARRETERA NACIONAL, TARIFA; 34-956/684-035; www.dosmareshotel.com *
$228 Hotel Istron Bay is a sparkling all-white Aegean resort on Crete sitting between a bay and a mountain slope. Rooms and bungalows have tile floors, deep balconies, and American-style bathrooms. The four restaurants promote the healthful Cretan diet (grilled fish, grains, fruit), so no need to feel guilty for just zoning out under a palm tree. If you do anyway, activities are endless: scuba diving, folk dancing, cooking, and weekly barbecues on the private beach. ISTRON, ÁYIOS NIKOLAOS, CRETE; 30-28/41-06-1303; www.istronbay.com; breakfast included *
Contributors: Carlye Adler, Laura Begley, Andrew Bender, Jane Bills, Ted Botha, Catherine Calvert, Julie Caniglia, Andrew Collins, Chandra Conway, Gillian Cullinan, Hillary Geronemus, Jim Glab, Jaime Gross, Michael Gross, Amanda Jones, David Kaufman, David A. Keeps, Maya Kukes, Heidi Lender, Peter Jon Lindberg, Sam Lubell, Robert Maniaci, Julie Mautner, Connie McCabe, Heidi S. Mitchell, Shane Mitchell, Aoife O'Riordan, Christopher Petkanas, Alex Salkever, Emily Stone, Laura Vogel, Philip Watson, Stephen Whitlock, and Gisela Williams.