Imagine yourself, for an indulgent moment, sunbathing on Tiririca Beach in Brazil’s Bahia. Palm trees cast slender shadows along the stretch of golden sand; the sparkling, azure ocean beckons you in for a swim. After your dip, it’s just a short meander through the trees to Pousada Sage Point, a 17-suite inn, and your spacious quarters with Balinese décor and four-poster canopy bed. Before getting ready for a leisurely seafood dinner, you can wander out onto your private balcony, stretch out in your hammock, and listen to the surf.
The Best Part: All this costs just $108 a night.
In the depths of winter, who doesn’t dream about a beach vacation?But though private balconies and water views usually come with hefty price tags, beach bargains don’t have to be a dream. There really are luxurious beach resorts out there costing less than $250 per night.
So Travel + Leisure sent correspondents around the globe to uncover the best affordable beach resorts. What did we find?That you can travel to some of the world’s most gorgeous stretches of sand and find great, authentic places to stay without cashing out your 401k.
How about a white-sand beach on St. Martin in the Caribbean for just $125 a night?At the Sol é Luna Inn on the French half of the island, you can stay in one of the six spacious rooms and suites. Sure, there’s a tradeoff for the low cost: Orient Bay is 10 minutes away, and there’s no elevator; still, the modern inn is charmingly covered in bougainvillea, and each room has a private terrace and water view.
Over in Europe, the dollar may be taking a beating against the euro (see how to stretch your dollar, even in Western Europe) and France may not exactly be the least-expensive country to visit. But you can still find affordability near the port town of Concarneau, at the new Les Sables Blanc. For $191, you can stay an intimate inn where most of the 20 rooms have a sea view from the bed, along with private balconies.
Or how about heading to Goa, India, where an inn named Elsewhere sits right on the beach in a forest of coconut trees, and where you can stay for $100 a night. Your tent will be decked out with a four-poster bed, modern bathroom, and private lanai. Bali can be affordable, too, if you stay at Alila Manggis. Adjacent to an active volcano, this inn has 56 rooms that all face the Bali Sea, with a central garden where free daily yoga classes are held. And it’s yours for $230 a night.
The U.S. has options as well, of course. Azul del Mar, in Key Largo, is a six-room Art Deco villa with a private beach for just $189 a night. And if your beach fantasies take you further north, the Breakwater Inn & Spa in Kennebunkport, Maine feels like a traditional New England cottage. Its 34 rooms sit on a pebbly beach lined with Adirondack chairs, perfect for greeting the morning sun, and it’s just $159 per night.
In fact, no matter where in the world you want to go, we’ve uncovered an affordable resort, complete with tips on what to do in the area. Even better, we’ve put these spots to the T+L test, so you can be certain that "affordable" doesn’t actually mean "cheap."