Five of the Best Hotels for a City Beach Break in Europe

Choose your city break wisely and you can mix sun, shops and sightseeing this summer...

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Hotel Arts, Barcelona – Barceloneta Beach

It goes without saying that compared to the pearly white sands of the Caribbean or Southeast Asia, the beach at La Barceloneta is not really going to stack up. But the trade-off is that you’ve got great shopping, art and nightlife to keep you occupied.

As for a suitable place to stay, the seriously swanky Hotel Arts (one of the city’s celebrity hotels of choice) is just a couple of short steps from the beach. We also recently picked Hotel Arts out as one of our favourite hotels with rooftop pools, so if the beach is crowded you can retreat to your own private lounger, order yourself a cocktail, sit back and admire the views.

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Hotel Windsor, Nice – Blue Beach

Like Barcelona, Nice is a good bet if you’re looking to mix sun and sights. The whole of the Baie des Anges, the long, white curve of sand that separates the city from the sea, is made up of a mixture of private and public beaches. The (private) Ruhl Plage or the Blue Beach are the ones to head to for if you’re staying at Hotel Windsor (both are around a five-minute walk away), and fancy a lazy afternoon of eating, drinking and sunning yourself. Like the Hotel Arts, the arty Hotel Windsor has a pool to return to if the sand – and the crowds – start to grate.

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Kemp Townhouse, Brighton – Brighton Beach

Brighton Beach is all of about a 200-metre walk from Kemp Townhouse, making it the perfect spot for a very British type of seaside holiday. And if it rains? The boutiques of Kemp Town are on the doorstep, and a little further along the seafront from the hotel, you’ve got the Lanes to explore. Or you can just pick up some candy floss and play the penny arcades on Brighton Pier. Very British. But also lots of fun.

Portixol, Palma de Mallorca – C’An Pere Antoni

C’An Pere Antoni is a small city beach – the first of a series of strips of sand that stretch away to the east of Palma de Mallorca. It’s just around the corner from Portixol, a smart former hostal with a buzzy pool-side vibe, a good bar and restaurant. and a handful of stylish rooms with sea views. Mix cool mornings exploring the narrow streets of the Old Town, and the shops that radiate out from the Plaza Juan Carlos I, with baking hot afternoons stretched out on the sand.

L’Hotel, Paris – Paris Plage

Like all civilised European cities, much of Paris has always decamped to the coast for the summer. For those Parisians (and visitors) that remained, a sultry month or two lay in store. Until a few years ago that is, when some bright spark had the idea of dumping a load of sand on the Seine quayside, and the Paris Plage, one of the more innovative city beaches, was born.

This year the Plage opens for business on 21 July on the stretch of Seine near the Quai des Celestins. L’Hotel is just a stroll over the Ile de la Cite away, so you can spend the usual Paris weekend away of pottering around the shops of St Germain, but also manage to easily squeeze in a couple of hours sunning yourself, too.

Planning a city beach break? Before you go, make sure you check out ELLEuk's pick of the summer's best swimwear.

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