The World’s Best Beach Hotels

Attention beach lovers: These oceanside retreats are what vacation dreams are made of. Whether you’re looking to surf breaking waves, replenish and relax, or soak up the sun on the shore, we promise you’ll dig these sandy escapes.

5000 Kahala Ave, Honolulu, HI 96816, USA
Long considered one of the top hotels on Oahu, the Kahala has always been a particular favorite among the type of guests who travel with their own security detail. A number of past U.S. presidents, plus kings, queens, princesses Grace and Di, a handful of Nobel Peace Prize winners, rock stars, and movie stars, all have slept under its venerable roof at some point during the hotel’s 50-year history. The see-and-be-seen set moved on long ago, but privacy seekers still make a beeline here. They’re drawn less by the property’s fabulous beach (though that’s reason enough to stay here) than by its exclusive location—in a well-fortified cul-de-sac in the ritzy Kahala neighborhood. But there’s a warm and fuzzy side to the hotel, too. A pod of dolphins has full-time residency in the hotel lagoon, and visitors of all ages can swim with them (for a fairly steep fee). Rooms have a preppy beach house vibe—raffia ceiling fans, linen loveseats—and many come with heart-stopping sea views.
KM3.2 State Road 200, Vieques Island, PR 00765, United States
This property is closed due to damage sustained during Hurriance Maria.

The W Vieques Island is a luxury boutique waterfront hotel located on pristine Vieques Island, located eight miles off the southeast coast of mainland Puerto Rico. What’s interesting about the island is that despite being so close to the mainland, it still has a very raw, untouched feel, with tourism weaving itself into the landscape instead of taking it over. Guests of the hotel can explore ecotourism on the island through kayaking tours of the bioluminescent bay, beach trips, scuba diving, mountain biking, fishing, horseback riding, outdoor yoga, farm-to-bar social hours at sunset, and visits to the the local farm to see where the restaurant’s ingredients are sourced and even to create a meal for themselves. There’s also a sumptuous spa. Inspired by the holistic nature of the surroundings, the spa seems to blend into the landscape, with rivulets and canals flowing throughout the space, front-row views of the Atlantic Ocean, vine-covered treatment rooms, a reflection pool, and a spa pavilion surrounded by lush gardens.
60 South Shore Road, Paget PG 04, Bermuda
Crashing waves serve as the soundtrack to your stay at Elbow Beach, situated on 50 lush acres along Bermuda’s rose-hued southern coast. Decorated with exposed beams, tiled floors, and neutral color schemes, the spacious cottage-style rooms are the portrait of coastal elegance—think coral-emblazoned throw pillows, wicker benches at the foot of the beds, and ocean or garden views through French doors. Polished-pebble paths lead the way to the spa, which offers treatments inspired by local ingredients, from a ginger-and-coconut scrub to a hibiscus bath. Grab a rum swizzle in the lounge, relax by the curving perimeter of the pool, or snorkel, swim, and kayak at the hotel’s private beach. You might also prefer to hit the pavement: Elbow Beach is mere minutes from the capital of Hamilton, Gibb’s Hill Lighthouse, and four 18-hole championship golf courses.
México 1, Tourist Corridor, 23406 San José del Cabo, B.C.S., Mexico
Cabo Surf Hotel is a beachside property in San José del Cabo, an area popular among surfers and other outdoor enthusiasts. Located right on the bay, the hotel is ideal for guests who want to dedicate the majority of their vacation time to doing nothing more than relaxing on the sand or swimming languidly in the ocean. The hotel’s exterior evokes Southern California’s Spanish-inspired architecture, with white stucco walls and a red-tiled roof. Inside, rooms tend toward the simple side, with tile floors, wicker and rattan furniture, and neutral-colored linens. A spa and restaurant are on the premises. For guests who want to learn how to surf, the hotel partners with a local surfing school to offer lessons.
D209, 97133, St Barthélemy
Le Guanahani suffered major damage during Hurricane Irma and plans to reopen in late 2019.

Le Guanahani sits on an 18-acre peninsula on the northeastern tip of St. Barths between Marigot Bay and Grand Cul-de-Sac Bay. A recent $40 million property-wide upgrade features the work of Venezuelan designer Luis Pons, with decorative accents suggesting French and Creole influences. The resort has a private and residential feel.

Guests stay in luxurious cottages, many with private pools. Cottages are decorated in a timeless explorer style and blend seamlessly with the surrounding tropical landscape of hibiscus and coconut trees. The look is fresh, the atmosphere is private, and the interiors carry the landscape into the rooms. Colors reflect the rainbow of shades found in an island sunset. Sliding-glass doors and walls open completely to the balmy Caribbean breezes, so guests can fall asleep to the smell of salt air and crashing ocean waves.
Staniard Creek, Andros Island
Near the northern end of Andros Island, about 15 minutes by air from Nassau, remote Kamalame Cay is worth the effort it takes to get there. The 96-acre private island features 34 rustic-chic rooms and suites, all within steps of a white-sand beach, as well as a central Great House where guests come together to sip wine before dinner and share stories afterward (of course, many opt for a secluded, candlelit meal set up somewhere along the three miles of shoreline). A range of seaside activities keep everyone from the kids to newlyweds to the occasional celebrity happy. There’s a freshwater swimming pool, an over-water spa, world-class fishing off the coast, and entertainment by local “rake-and-scrape” bands. And for those who live in fear of being unplugged, relax. Kamalame Cay offers hotspots around the island for full cell service (if you want it) and Wi-Fi in the reception area.
Km 4.5, Carretera Tulum-Boca Paila, Zona Costera Tulum, 77780 Mexico, Q.R., Mexico
Papaya Playa Project, in keeping with its natural surroundings, is low-key and laid-back. Opened in 2011, the hotel’s founders conceived of the property as a place where “like-minded creatives” could slow down and connect with one another. To foster such connection, staff encourages visitors to unplug, and while both charging stations and Wi-Fi are available in the lobby, the temptation to go device-free is strong. Papaya Playa Project’s founders are also committed to the larger community; to this end, they created an initiative known as “United for Tulum” to encourage slow and thoughtful development in the area. Guests’ basic needs are met, without extra frills. Rooms are simple in design and decoration, featuring high, thatched-roof ceilings, mosquito-netted beds, and colorful Mexican blankets.
Lower Bight Road, Grace Bay, Providenciales TKCA 1ZZ, Turks and Caicos Islands
With 21 suites, all of them larger than 1,000 square feet, set among grassy dunes on a less-developed swath of Grace Bay, Beach House is both intimate and roomy. Condo-like in their dimensions and layout, every suite has a kitchenette and a large balcony with a daybed. A few of the suites face the pool, but most have an ocean view that looks out on a white-sand beach and snorkeling reef just beyond. There’s adventure on the beach, with a list of water sports, and at the table, with a variety of ceviches and Kitchen 218’s signature sticky toffee pudding.
Cayo Espanto, Belize
Cayo Espanto is one of those fantasy vacation spots, the kind that one might think exists only in daydreams. But this private island actually is the stuff of dreams, with powdery sand and private beaches lapped by the clear Caribbean waters, doting service, and plenty to do—or not. Cayo Espanto, one of Belize’s hundreds of cays (off-shore islands), sits three miles off the coast of another Belizean island, San Pedro, and can boast what few other properties can: a location right along the second-largest barrier reef in the world.

Each of the seven villas occupies its own private slice of the cay, and an excess of amenities is included: airport pick-up service, boat transfers to and from the island, personal butler service, three customized meals per day, snacks and drinks, and all non-motorized activities, including the use of kayaks and a sailboat. Villas are painted in tropical hues and are exceedingly comfortable, with windows that open right up to ocean views. Some have private infinity-edge plunge pools.
Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico
As is the case with many hotels in the Tulum section of Riviera Maya, Casa de las Olas shies away from the “luxe” label, preferring to promote itself as a simple, eco-friendly retreat where intimate spaces and five-star service are more important than linen thread counts and extra amenities. Bright white walls, mosquito nets, private balconies, and canopy beds are what guests can expect in their rooms. This doesn’t mean that Casa de las Olas is skimpy in any way. The staff are known for their thoughtful attention to guests, and the small size of the hotel—just five suites—ensures they are never overwhelmed by guests’ requests or needs. Plus, each room has views of the Caribbean Sea, and the hotel’s private beach is never more than a few steps away.
JI. Abimanyu (Dhyana Pura), Seminyak, Bali
From its beachfront locale to the sweeping terraces and sliding-glass doors, everything about this hotel is aimed at maximizing views of Bali’s most sought-after shoreline. Local stone and wood put an Indonesian twist on the resort’s Thai design, which incorporates a dark-wood color scheme, a mini waterfall, and lattice screens. The hotel offers one-of-a-kind experiences, including special-occasion dinners on the beach and spice-infused cooking tours that introduce guests to regional flavors (don’t miss Spice Spoons, in which you’ll sample exotic fruit and other local ingredients, or the seaside Indonesian cooking class with a master chef). Bustling Seminyak lures travelers to its restaurants, bars, and nightclubs—often early into the morning—but Anantara’s spacious sundecks, refreshing pools, traditional spa suites, and umbrella-shaded beach chairs are waiting to revive you the next day.
158 Calle Flamboyan, Vieques Island, Puerto Rico
El Blok’s strikingly modern aesthetic, pared-down vibe, and uncompromising comfort make it a surprising Caribbean find. Located in the small coastal town of Esperanza on the Puerto Rican island of Vieques, the 22-room hotel opened its doors in 2014. San Juan–based architecture firm Fuster + Partners is behind the cool, contemporary design, with concrete wrapping the exterior, a central light well illuminating the interior, and a rooftop pool drawing guests from the beach just across the street. The furniture was carved from locally sourced driftwood and hardwoods, and works by Puerto Rican artists Javier and Jaime Suarez decorate the common areas. Distinctive touches such as an after-hours vending machine, Aesop amenities, and an obsession with local coffee contribute to an alternative yet luxe vibe. Should you ever want to leave the property, the El Bike program enables guests to explore Vieques without renting a car.
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