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50 Affordable Beach Resorts

$179 Unlike some of its posher (and pricier) South Beach neighbors, the Roney Palace has no buzzing nightlife scene. But what this waterfront property does have is pretty appealing nonetheless: large rooms (most with kitchenettes), sleek décor, and an infinity pool that blends right into the Atlantic. Guests are kept satiated with fresh pineapple, served poolside or down on the beach. 2399 COLLINS AVE., MIAMI BEACH; 800/432-4317 OR 305/604-1000; www.roney-palace.com


$176 Dalvay-by-the-Sea, a Queen Anne Revival "cottage" on Prince Edward Island, was built in 1895 as a summer house for Standard Oil's first president and later converted into a 26-room hotel. The guest rooms are furnished with period summer-cottage antiques; sadly, however, many of the original family pieces were sold off. Eight three-bedroom units (pine interiors, Vermont casting stoves) were added in 1995—terrific for large families. GRAND TRACADIE, PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND NATIONAL PARK; 902/672-2048; www.dalvaybythesea.com; breakfast and dinner included *

$134 A confluence of currents gives Nova Scotia's Cape Breton Island the warmest water north of the Carolinas. Above Cape Breton Highlands National Park, the Markland Coastal Resort is designed for people who value location over thread count. A main lodge overlooks the beach, as do 25 cedar-and-pine cabins. The resort's arts center holds weekly ceilidhs—Gaelic for "big parties." Book now; the season begins in May. CABOT TRAIL AT DINGWALL, CAPE BRETON ISLAND; 800/872-6084 OR 902/383-2246; www.marklandresort.com *


$100 While it's not technically on a beach, you can still taste the salt at the cliffside Rockhouse Hotel, on the aptly named Pristine Cove, west of Negril. Stone-and-thatch cabanas with mosquito netting-draped beds are perched above the water. At the restaurant, which serves New Jamaican cuisine, reggae is always on the sound system. WEST END RD., NEGRIL; 876/957-4373; www.rockhousehotel.com

Puerto Rico
$125 A renovated 1940's beach retreat, Numero Uno Guest House presides over a wide stretch of sand between San Juan's resorts and casinos. The 14 rooms are decorated in light woods and muted colors. Room No. 12 has the best ocean view; all have cable TV and high-speed Internet access. But you'd be a fool to stay inside and miss the sunsets from the library's terrace. 1 SANTA ANA ST., SAN JUAN; 866/726-5010 OR 787/727-5482; www.numero1guesthouse.com *

$160 Opened in January by a pair of ex-Manhattanites, the Bravo brings a welcome small-scale, big-city vibe to Vieques. With a mere nine rooms and a two-bedroom villa, an oceanfront locale (floor-to-ceiling windows open straight onto the Caribbean), and edgy furnishings (egg lamps, Italian linens), the Bravo is the island's first true beachside designer hotel. Pack your laptop: the high-tech hotel has one of Vieques's only Wi-Fi "hot spots," for wireless Internet access. 1 N. SHORE RD.; 787/741-1128; www.bravobeachhotel.com

$120 At one end of a crescent beach, surrounded by an estuary and a salt pond, is La Sagesse Nature Centre, in a 1960's manor house once owned by a British lord. The waterfront restaurant is known locally for its balisierbread (sourdough baked in banana leaves). The resort isn't all sun and sand: hiking trails lead through mangrove swamps up into the rain forest, and Boney, an in-the-know taxi driver, takes explorers on offbeat island tours. ST. DAVID'S; 473/444-6458; www.lasagesse.com

Saint Maarten
$175 The gingerbread-trimmed Mary's Boon Beach Plantation, on the island's Dutch side, has 28 rooms painted in bright Caribbean colors, with cathedral ceilings and carved Balinese beds. Ask for a garden studio, which opens onto coconut-laden palm trees and flowering hibiscus. One caveat: the hotel is close to the airport. Instead of complaining, join the fun by grabbing a piña colada, climbing the plane-viewing platform, and cheering as the jets touch down. 117 SIMPSON BAY RD.; 599-5/457-000; www.marysboon.com *

Virgin Gorda
$195 The tree-house villas at Guavaberry Spring Bay are on a curved bijou of a beach. A couple of picnic tables are available for lunching on items bought in the honor-system commissary (Guavaberry has no restaurant or room service). Rooms are spacious and adequate, though style-seekers would be advised to look elsewhere. The real luxury here is the proximity to Virgin Gorda's main attraction: the Baths, a natural park of grottoes. 284/495-5227; www.guavaberryspringbay.com *

$95 It's a travel writer's dream: to open a hotel on a Caribbean island. After falling in love with Barbados while on assignment, Uschi Wetzels left her native Germany and applied everything she had learned over the years about the hospitality industry to create Sea-U Guest House. The whitewashed wooden building on the rugged east coast is modeled after the island's traditional architecture and has five dressed-down rooms cooled by ceiling fans and ocean breezes. TENT BAY, BATHSHEBA, ST. JOSEPH; 246/433-9450; www.seaubarbados.com *

$202 The innately modern Dutch design aesthetic and the carefree nature of the Caribbean mix at the Floris Suite Hotel. The 71 mini-apartments have clean interiors with tile floors and splashes of color. One step outside and it's tropical all the way—a thatched-roof restaurant, a bar with tables practically in the tide, nightly bands, and a pier lit up like a runway. PISCADERA BAY; 599-9/462-6111; www.florissuitehotel.com *


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