Courtesy of Bel Air Hotel
Bel Air Hotel
The 156-room Bel Air is an oasis of calm away from the crowds of central Cancún. The minimalist design sets it apart from other area hotels: gauzy curtains line the lobby, and whitewashed rooms are filled with fire engine–red chairs. Outside, the white-sand beach is punctuated by crimson loungers and white umbrellas.
Don’t Miss: A 50-minute waterside massage by torchlight.
Courtesy of Treebones Resort
Situated high on a bluff near Big Sur, on northern California’s misty coast, the Treebones Resort is a bohemian compound of 16 spacious yurts. The tents come with polished pine floors, French doors, and sweeping ocean views. New this year: an organic garden that provides ingredients such as red potatoes and cilantro for the tagines served at the outdoor Morrocan-themed restaurant.
Don’t Miss: The trails in nearby Los Padres National Forest, which are lined with wildflowers, coastal sage, and wild mint.
Courtesy of Canalside Inn
The stylish Canalside Inn stands out in a sea of sleepy Victorian B&B’s along the Lewes-Rehoboth Canal. Twelve streamlined rooms are accented with vibrant Warholesque colors and white wood-beam ceilings. Walk to the beach (five minutes away) through the old-school boardwalk town, which is filled with candy shops that turn out freshly pulled saltwater taffy.
Don’t Miss: A flight of artisanal microbrews at the Dogfish Head Brewpub, including Chateau Jiahu, a re-creation of a 9,000-year-old Chinese recipe.
Courtesy of Cabbage Key/ 2007 Robin Harvey
Cabbage Key Inn
The 1930’s Cabbage Key Inn—a six-room hotel with a collection of seven waterside cottages—is located along a pocket-size beach on Cabbage Key. This tropical island in the Gulf of Mexico is accessible only by boat, which is arranged by the hotel. The on-site restaurant, adorned with photos of Jimmy Buffett (who was once a frequent visitor at the inn’s bar), is known for peel-and-eat Gulf shrimp, grilled mahimahi, and sublime Key lime pie.
Don’t Miss: The three-mile excursion to Cayo Costa, a barrier island with six miles of beaches and swaying palm trees.
Courtesy of Mermaid Cottages/Chris Hornaday
Tybee Island is the laid-back beach playground of Savannah. Scattered throughout the three-mile-long stretch of land are the Mermaid Cottages. These 33 former fishing bungalows are painted in colors bright enough to make Lilly Pulitzer smile. The airy houses—many of which were recently renovated by designer Jane Coslick—have floor-to-ceiling windows and screened-in porches.
Don’t Miss: Seaside Sisters, a funky boutique that stocks nautical-themed barware, vintage-inspired lamps, and costume jewelry (including some great cocktail rings).
Courtesy of Red Inn
Among the groomed inkberry hedgerows and white picket fences of Provincetown’s West End sits the rambling Cape Cod–style Red Inn. The hotel’s eight rooms are traditional, with wide-plank ceilings, pine floors, and wrought-iron beds. Private decks overlook the shell-strewn beach (allegedly the spot where the Pilgrims first moored the Mayflower).
Don’t Miss: P-town’s newest tapas restaurant, Victor’s, where well-heeled locals come for jazz, rosé champagne, and the freshest raw oysters around (only $1 apiece at happy hour).
Courtesy of Cape Hatteras Bed and Breakfast
Cape Hatteras Bed and Breakfast
North Carolina, $119
The Outer Banks are known for undeveloped beaches accented by grass-covered dunes. Located just 500 feet from one of the area’s most pristine strands is the 1950 beach chalet Cape Hatteras Bed and Breakfast. In the morning, owner Cathy Moir serves up her signature “eggs rarebit”—a toasted English muffin topped with a poached egg, Swiss cheese, and diced ham.
Don’t Miss: The Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum, where you can learn about famous area shipwrecks, tour a Civil War gunship, and see parts of a German U-boat that once trolled the nearby waters.
Courtesy of Suttle Lake
Lodge at Suttle Lake
The Lodge at Suttle Lake is set on a 253-acre lake at the edge of the Deschutes National Forest. Native American prints decorate the 11 rooms, which have vaulted ponderosa pine–beamed ceilings, stone fireplaces, and soft Denali blankets. For the most spectacular lake views, request the spacious second-floor Broken Arrow or Eagle Feather loft rooms. Book an American Indian–inspired Sacred Waters hydration wrap or a hot-stone facial in one of two on-site spa tepees.
Don’t Miss: For tree-trunk tables, antler chandeliers, and hand-carved rocking chairs, drive 15 minutes northwest to Antler Arts, where everything is crafted from local materials.
Bidart, on France’s southwestern coast, is a charmed place: on the coastal highway between Bordeaux and San Sebastián, but off the beaten path; it’s tiny enough to know in a day, but filled with chic linen shops and some of the region’s best restaurants. It’s also home to Villa L’Arche, a half-timbered Basque hotel with eight suites done up in crimson and cobalt blue. All of the rooms look out on the wide caramel-sand beach, which is flanked by the Beaux-Arts villas of the families who summer here.
Don’t Miss: Sunset cocktails at Blue Cargo, a popular club just up the beach.
The rugged Mani Peninsula, in Greece’s southern Peloponnese, is known for its stone-turreted fortresses, once used to fend off Turks, Venetians, and pirates. One such outpost is the Kyrimai Hotel, on the shore of a private bay. Athenians make the 3 1/2-hour drive to this castle by the sea, drawn by the oceanfront pool and unparalleled views of the Mediterranean sunset from the terrace. The rooms are charming, with exposed stone walls and working fireplaces.
Don’t Miss: A swim on the beach at nearby Cape Tenaro, which has ruins of a temple to Poseidon.