Newsletters  | Mobile

50 Affordable Beach Resorts


$123 North of Santiago, the exclusive coastal enclave of Zapallar is lined with cliffs, boulders, and stately mansions. In the crags above town is the Hotel Il Parador de Zapallar, its crisp, linear design by Mathias Klotz, an esteemed Chilean architect. Most of the 15 rooms have floor-to-ceiling Pacific views and an innovative industrial decorating scheme: panels of pressed-wood chips cover the floors, childlike paintings hang on the walls. Empanadas infused with squid ink are served in the ocean-facing restaurant. For guests not on a budget, there's a rooftop helipad. CARRETERA F30 N., ZAPALLAR; 56-33/790-514; www.paradorzapallar.cl; breakfast included *

$160 Three hours by boat from Salvador, Morro de São Paulo is an island escape with four beaches. There's hang gliding by day on First Beach; beach parties by night on Second; snorkeling on Third. Fourth is crowd-free, thickly forested, and home to the 16-room Hotel Porto do Zimbo. Spread out like a mini-resort, the hotel has a pool and gardens. Each room is comfortable, but hardly luxe, and has a TV, fridge, air-conditioning, and a terrace with a hammock. MORRO DE SÃO PAULO, ILHA DE TINHARÉ; 55-75/483-1278; www.hotelportodozimbo.com; breakfast included *

$165 The so-called St.-Tropez of South America, Búzios, two hours north of Rio de Janeiro, lacks chic places to stay. The exception is the Mediterranean-inspired Pousada Casas Brancas. The pool and alfresco restaurant share the same bay views as the 32 rooms, each of which has its own unique combination of weathered tiles, wood moldings, and whisper-thin curtains. The boutique-and-restaurant-filled "downtown" is only a five-minute walk from here, but many guests never set foot outside. 10 ALTO DO HUMAITÁ, BÚZIOS; 55-22/2623-1458; www.casasbrancas.com; breakfast included *

Costa Rica
$155 Sueño del Mar, a family-run hacienda, is a tribute to the country's meditative lifestyle. Each of the six rooms is lavishly rustic (wooden beds draped in Guatemalan textiles, stucco walls), and the indulgent Balinese-style outdoor showers allow you to commune with nature. Locally made hammocks line the shaded veranda, where breakfast includes just-picked bananas. The Pacific laps up against the foot of the property at high tide—in season, be sure to check out the leatherback turtles laying their eggs. PLAYA LANGOSTA, TAMARINDO; 011-506/653-0284; www.sueno-del-mar.com; breakfast included *

$76 The hotels stand cheek-by-jowl on Roatán Island's busy West Bay Beach, but the peaceful section occupied by Luna Beach Resort's 17 stucco-and-teak bungalows is farther down the shoreline. Lounge chairs are sprinkled along the ribbon of sugar sand out front; one of the world's finest coral reefs is only a few strokes beyond the surf. There's also easy access to the jungle for hiking. Once the sun descends, join the crowds that congregate on the wood deck for the weekly party until dawn. WEST END, ROATAN, BAY ISLANDS; 011-504/445-0009; www.lunabeachresort.com

$90 The roads are made of sand on the tiny 12-square-mile spit of Isla Holbox, off the Yucatán Peninsula, home to the remote Xaloc Resort. Two Spanish expats have built 18 palapa-topped casitas, which provide luxurious comforts and are kept cool with stone and ceramic tiles and concrete walls. There's not much to do besides swim in the turquoise waters or lounge by the two pools with a rum-spiked fresh mango juice. From May to October, the horizon is painted in bubble-gum pink when 40,000 flamingos migrate to the island. ISLA HOLBOX; 877/278-8018; www.mexicoboutiquehotels.com/xaloc; breakfast included *

$60 Villa Amor is made up of 32 villas scattered over a jungle hillside in the fishing village of Sayulita, just north of Puerto Vallarta. Consider your sensitivity to mosquitoes when booking (you can request an open or a closed villa), but definitely opt for the older units, which are more authentic than the condo-style models. Some also have private terraces, plunge pools, and full kitchens. (There's an Italian restaurant for those who view cooking as a chore.) PLAYA SAYULITA, SAYULITA; 52-329/291-3010; www.villaamor.com


South Africa
$84 Cape Town's Indian Ocean beachfront used to be all the rage, until fickle holidaymakers shifted their attention to the Atlantic coast. Now that the area is back in vogue, the Glencairn Hotel has been completely renovated and renamed the Southern Right Hotel in honor of the whales that frolic off its shore. The Victorian building has generous colonial dimensions, cretestone walls, and Moroccan-style chandeliers; half of the 10 rooms overlook the sea. 12-14 GLEN RD., CAPE TOWN; 27-21/782-7925

$260 Ten years ago, two vacationing Swedish sisters stopped on Zanzibar's northeastern coast. Captivated by its beauty, they abandoned their around-the-world trip and opened Matemwe Bungalows. If isolation is what you desire, this is the place. The 14 thatch huts have no telephones or televisions, or electricity, for that matter—nighttime illumination comes courtesy of flickering kerosene lamps and candles. Meals are included; save room for the cakes of fisherman-turned-pastry chef Othman. He showed such flair in the kitchen that he was persuaded to trade in his pole for an apron. ZANZIBAR; 255-747/425-788; www.matemwe.com; all meals included


$115 The tiny island of Lanta Yaiis where Bangkok's elite spend weekends in solitude. Everyone's buzzing about the stark, futuristic Costa Lanta, created using lumber from Colonial-era houses. Hidden amid shrubs, the 22 bungalows have indoor-outdoor showers and sliding wooden walls that open to the elements. Rooms 201 through 204 front the pool and are Costa's choicest. No need to worry about noise: all the action takes place down by the beach, where a groovy bar and restaurant is encircled by towering timber columns. KLONG DAO BEACH, LANTA YAI; 66-7/561-8092; www.costalanta.com *

$216 Vietnam's premier seaside spot, Nha Trang, isn't nearly as overrun as other Asian beach towns. It's also affordable, safe, and only 45 minutes by air from Saigon. Secluded at the southern edge of a four-mile-long beach is the Ana Mandara. Sixteen thatch villas house 74 Zen-minimalist rooms. Don't let the roving masseuses on the beach seduce you: the new Six Senses spa, set in a coconut grove, has pavilions outfitted with stone-and-bamboo Vichy showers and Japanese tubs. Massage therapists from India and Sweden showcase native treatments from their homelands. BEACHSIDE TRAN PHU BLVD., NHA TRANG; 84-58/829-829; www.sixsenses.com/ana-mandara *


Sign Up

Connect With Travel + Leisure
  • Travel+Leisure
  • Tablet
  • Available devices

Already a subscriber?
Get FREE ACCESS to the digital edition