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The Evolution of Beach Culture

Hotel Bora Bora overwater bungalows

Photo: Courtesy of Amanresorts


French Polynesia lures travelers to its pristine, far-flung shores by introducing the next must-have amenity: the overwater bungalow. Among the pioneers is the Hotel Bora Bora (reopening in 2011), which made its debut a decade earlier as the island’s first resort.


The release of Steven Spielberg’s Jaws promotes a widespread fear of sharks, especially on Martha’s Vineyard, where the movie was filmed; night swimming abruptly stops. But it doesn’t keep celeb regulars away (Walter Cronkite, James Taylor, William Styron).


Amanresorts opens its inaugural property, Amanpuri (doubles from $500), in Phuket, Thailand. By now, this Andaman Island is one of Southeast Asia’s most popular destinations—and, thanks to resorts like Amanpuri, not only for the backpacker set.


Island Records founder Chris Blackwell brings chart toppers to the Caribbean with the launch of Island Outpost resorts. Among them is Geejam (doubles from $595), in Jamaica’s Port Antonio, which has hosted musicians such as India.Arie and Gwen Stefani.


With an influx of new properties—including Sol Kerzner’s 100-room One&Only The Palm, Dubai (oneandonlyresorts.com; doubles from $780), set to open in October—Dubai’s man-made Palm Islands are the latest option for the beach-going jet set. Swim in the Persian Gulf, anyone?


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