Crete and other Greek islands were the most popular destinations when we asked for your tips on small, family-run hotels around the Meditteranean.
A beautifully restored 16th-century Venetian manor house with idyllic courtyard garden, Casa Vitae is a winner. Not only for its location, architecture and breakfasts, but also for the way its staff personify the Greek spirit of hospitality. Manager Maria, formerly a lecturer, was a casualty of the country’s economic downturn and relocated to Crete from Athens. Here, exemplary customer service (finding a late-night optician to repair my specs) and friendliness (inviting us to a restaurant with her family) makes a stay so rewarding.
• Doubles from €75 B&B, Casa Vitae
Hotel Santa Anna, l’Estartit, Costa Brava
• Doubles from €82 B&B, hotelsantaanna
Casas de Parauta, Andalucía
Casas de Parauta are scattered whitewashed villas in the tiny village of Parauta. The inside is wonderful: more white walls, minimalist designs, wood-burning fireplaces, country-style kitchen for serious cooking and inviting beds. There are rooftop terraces for looking out at the galaxy that can’t be seen just 40 minutes away in the resorts of the Costa del Sol. Once you turn the lights off at night you are in pitch darkness. I had the best sleep ever. The village pool is yours to use and the views across the Sierra de las Nieves are stunning. Walking through the Sierra is so peaceful, aside from the odd eagle. Ana, who speaks great English, can suggest hiking routes. Outside of all but the busiest times villas can be had for little more than €60.
• Casa for two from €60 a night, casasdeparauta
Hotel Bahia Playa, Ibiza
Port des Torrent is a lovely quiet bay just south of San Antonio. This two-star hotel is on a quiet junction 200 metres from the beach and is friendly and clean with an authentically local vibe. The rooms are simple, all have balconies and the hotel will supply a small fridge on request. There is a large reception area with a bar/restaurant, and front courtyard and a terrace next to the pool at the rear. The well-kept pool has ample sunbeds. A decent continental breakfast is optional.
• Doubles from €87 B&B, bahiaplaya.com
B&B in Ortigia, Siracusa, Sicily
I don’t think I have ever experienced anything like Caroline’s B&B on the tiny island of Ortigia, the historical centre of Siracusa in Sicily. Every detail in her one-bedroom B&B makes the place feel unique – including the art in the bathroom. Caroline is friendly and full of stories – you will want to sit on her roof terrace garden, with views over the sea, chatting all day. She’s out early to the market to get fresh ricotta cheese for breakfast, and to the bakery to get Iris (deep fried ricotta-filled pastries). We ate in her stylish kitchen, with homemade lemon jam and bread and freshly brewed coffee and fresh orange juice.
• €70 a night, on more places to stay in Ortigia
Hotel Miramare, Liguria
• Doubles from €110 B&B, hotelmiramarenoli
Hotel Onda Verde, Praiano, Amalfi coast
• Doubles from €125 B&B or €185 half-board, hotelondaverde