SHIPWRECK LODGE Skeleton Coast, Namibia
For a one-of-a-kind adventure, Shipwreck Lodge is a striking hotel in the remote northwest region of Namibia, set in some of the most arresting landscapes on the continent. Inspired by the shipwrecks that line the country’s Atlantic coast (the bushmen named it ‘The Land God Made in Anger’), the cabin-style bedrooms feel like a respite from the elements, especially once you get under the thick faux-fur covers with a hot-water bottle. Designed by a team comprised of Namibia-based Nina Maritz Architects and interior designer Melanie van der Merwe, the solar-powered cabins were built with the environment in mind, using only timber nails. July is the perfect time to go, when the coastal breezes ensure it’s never too hot for activities including game drives, climbing sand dunes to watch the desert sunrise, and visiting the mysterious Suiderkus and Karimona shipwreck remnants.
GRAND HOTEL A VILLA FELTRINELLI Lake Garda, Italy
The sumptuous 19th-century lakefront Villa Feltrinelli has a long (and at times notorious) history, including as Mussolini’s final hideaway. With Michelin-starred food served in the pergola, rooms filled with heirloom antiques, ancient lemon trees in the limonaia and a vintage motor launch to take you across the glacial waters of Garda, this is a romantic hideaway to top all others. Before the entire country goes on vacation in August, this is the idyllic alternative to the beachside scrum.
VENTANA BIG SUR California, USA
With views of the glistening Pacific and surrounding valley, Ventana Big Sur is an iconic NorCal hippie retreat with 15 safari-style canvas tents featuring custom-designed mattresses and lush linens, wood-burning firepits and access to the main resort’s offerings, including a luxurious spa, two heated swimming pools and Japanese hot baths. July is an excellent month for hiking the surrounding parks – if you’re feeling social, the community offers special camping events, with many for children under 12; if you’re feeling private, the hotel can organize private guided tours with a picnic lunch.
CASA MÃE Lagos, Portugal
Casa Mãe, in a 19th-century family estate, is now a 33-room boutique hotel oozing Portuguese tranquilidade, with terracotta flooring and traditional wooden reixa on the façade. A self-published design magazine, curated artisan boutique and open-kitchen restaurant make it more than just a place to lay your head. During July, the hotel regularly hosts a series of live acoustic fado, bossa nova and reggae concerts at its restaurant and terrace. If you want to learn a new skill, sign up for one of the workshops in ceramics, farm-to-table cooking or fishing and grilling.
BROWN BEACH HOUSE Trogir, Croatia
After exhausting yourself at one of Croatia’s many music festivals throughout the month of July (David Guetta is at Ultra Europe; Hannah Wants at Hideout), you’ll need a quiet place to recuperate. Brown Beach House is at the top of our list: a sophisticated 42-room boutique property in a charming seaside town with Renaissance and Romanesque touches, it has a full spa, a pretty sun terrace, a lively restaurant and an Instagram-worthy pool with a view of the Adriatic coast. On rainy days (of which there are very few), it feels just as vacation-y to spend a few hours indoors in the spacious parlor equipped with cozy couches, an eclectic array of books, discreet toys for kids and excellent coffee and cocktails.