“The Post Ranch Inn is a serene, almost spiritual, place that feels miles in the sky. The majestic view of the Pacific Ocean and the misty bluffs of Big Sur from its cliff-side patio is like none other in the world,” says Anastacia Maggioncalda, a San Francisco–based film producer who honeymooned there with her husband, Steve.
While hotels and resorts have long leaned on Mother Nature to enhance their guest experiences, few wild assets rival that of prime waterfront real estate—be it on a sugary sand beach or a dramatic rocky bluff. Fortunately for travelers, there’s a lot of choice for those seeking a great coastal getaway.
Culled from Travel + Leisure’s annual World’s Best Awards, the following hotels were rated highly by readers—and come with ocean breezes, water views, and ultra-scenic shores. Asked to evaluate properties for categories including rooms/facilities, location, and service, survey-takers made it clear that a coastal location can be one of a hotel’s greatest features.
On Hawaii’s Big Island, the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai at Historic Ka’upulehu is an intimate isolated resort spread among low-rise bungalows just steps from crystalline Pacific waters and a volcanic rock coast with black lava outcroppings. Bungalow 8 even overlooks a saltwater snorkeling lagoon.
For a New England spin on coastal living, check in to Rhode Island’s renovated Ocean House. Expansive decks overlooking a private white-sand beach and manicured croquet lawns are a nod to old-time glamour, while the light-filled rooms suites have oversize soaking tubs and custom-made dark wood furnishings.
No matter your definition of what makes a great coastal hotel, from the Florida Keys to Oregon, there’s one clear characteristic that all of the properties flaunt: location, location, location. —Adrien Glover