Feeling an ocean breeze is lovely. Enjoying it while also listening to live music and nibbling on a bowl of warm chips—that might be paradise.
Kelley Kitley used to live a few blocks from Shutters on the Beach in Santa Monica, and admits she often played tourist at the beachfront hotel. “They make the best mojitos and serve warm chips on the cocktail tables while a piano plays and a fire roars year round,” says the psychotherapist. “The entire hotel is airy and light, with great people-watching, and it’s just steps away from the beach. It’s perfect.”
Travel+Leisure readers concurred, placing the L.A. hotel in the top 10 among the world’s best beachy hotels. As part of the annual readers’ survey, the World’s Best Awards, readers ranked hotels, islands, cities, and even airports on their charms—including service, dining, and aesthetics. Within the hotel category, we looked at the properties around the globe that ranked the highest for their locations—and then focused on the winners that sit right near the ocean—or the sea, or even on a bustling city waterfront.
Indeed, not every great coastal hotel sits right on the sand. Some of the top 20 winners are perched on cliffs above the surf, or spread out against a harbor. But they all share the visceral joys of being in the path of those sea breezes, and many winners, not surprisingly, also ranked highly for their fresh-caught cuisine and their intangible romantic appeal.
Pris Phillips, a travel agent from Columbia, S.C., feels WHAT WAY? that way about another top 20 winner, the Pan Pacific in Vancouver. “Don’t we all love a nice hotel that overlooks the water?” she says. “Whatever body of water it faces, there’s no mistaking the soothing effect that it has—it’s truly a feast for the senses.”