Need to press the reset button? Forget flopping on the beach and working on your tan: take on the swells for a chance to unwind, unplug and savour a welcome rush of adrenaline. If a surfing holiday conjures visions of long-haired dudes in fading baggies, it’s time to reconsider: whether you’re a paddling novice or a pro on the barrels, there’s a stylish surf retreat just right for you.
The hedonist: Bali
Bali’s days as an undiscovered ‘Island of the Gods’ may be long gone, but there’s much to be said for the pleasure-seeking ways of its southern coast. Ideally positioned between Seminyak’s glitzy nightlife and Tanah Lot’s otherworldly cliff-fringed breaks, Canggu makes a relaxed jumping-off point for a first surfing foray. Just off the beach, Hotel Tugu Bali’s thatched suites are as exquisitely furnished as they are seductive.
A spectacular expanse of golden sand stretches along the western coast near the little town of Santa Cruz, an hour’s drive north of Lisbon. In the off season you’ll have the waves to yourself — great crashing things rolling off the Atlantic wilderness — but the area has its share of glam boltholes, too. A vision in glass and sea-bleached wood, Noah Surf House is a restaurant and surf school with a boho aesthetic; just up the coast, hotel Areias do Seixo cleverly combines a barefoot-luxe vibe with strikingly modern good looks.
A pocket of luxuriant vegetation home to teeming wildlife, Nosara embodies the country’s ‘pure-life’ motto: expect jaw-dropping vistas, pristine shores and yoga-fuelled elation. Blessed with perfect crests, this surfer’s paradise strives to protect its sea-turtle habitats and end poaching. Hole up at The Harmony Hotel, where sea-fresh feasts, swaying hammocks and resident howler monkeys await after a heady day of riding the waves.
The artist at heart:
Much has been written about the quality of light in St Ives — a soft, golden glow blending the edges of this genteel coastal town. But Cornwall is also the UK’s surfing mecca, thanks to its Caribbean-blue waters and sub-tropical climate. When it reopens next year, a visit to the local outpost of The Tate will vivify your mind, as well as your body. Exposed to the Atlantic’s tidal swells, picturesque Godrevy Beach is popular with surfers. Hide away at Trevose Harbour House, an elegant B&B with a nautical palette and hearty home-made breakfasts.
urbanite: Santa Monica
A bustling city may not be the first thing that comes to mind when it comes to finding the perfect surf spot, but, much like its sociable, happy-go-lucky surf crowd, Los Angeles is bold, bright and breezy. Idlers, foodies and fashionistas thrive here: take a stroll down the pier, hit the designer shops at Third Street Promenade and gorge on Dungeness crab and Maine Lobster at Cast, the Viceroy Santa Monica’s sleek monochrome eatery (its oversized bathrooms and sweeping sea vistas aren’t bad, either).
Mr & Mrs Smith gets you the best rates, guaranteed, as well as a little something extra on arrival at every hotel. To book, call the Smith24 team toll free at 800 441 1406 or visit mrandmrssmith.com.