When the weather is cold, when work is stressful, when the kids are off school, it’s time to start looking for the best beach hotels to escape to. Travel + Leisure editors and contributors love a good seaside vacation, too, and have the experience to make the most helpful recommendations. T+L has scrounged the world for the best hotels by shore or harbor, white sand or dramatic cliff, remote seascape or lively cityscape.
Not all beaches are tropical (though many of Travel + Leisure’s favorites are). Some of the best beach hotels overlook mountainous landscapes, such as Cold Harbor in Vancouver, where you might even spot a whale. Others sit atop oceanfront cliffs, like those that wall Italy’s picturesque Amalfi Coast. Adventure lovers might pick a rugged seaside resort in Big Sur, while honeymooners might prefer to book a lagoon-side bungalow in Bora Bora. Many, but not all, of these hotels provide additional water-only amenities, whether it’s a swim-up bar or a set of water skis.
As with any kind of lodging, seaside hotels are measured by their location, service, dining, and aesthetics. The primary concern, however, is its relationship to the water. While not every hotel may have a sandy beach out front, each should make visitors feel connected to their surroundings, whether offering dazzling views of the oceanfront, seafood caught the same day, the sound and smell of the surf, or a private spot to lounge under a palm tree and enjoy the water.
Seeking out a sea breeze? Looking to work on your tan? Hungry for some fresh-caught fish? T+L (and a healthy amount of sunscreen) has you covered. There’s a beach hotel for every taste, just as there’s a beach for every traveler—whether you are looking to cool down, warm up, chill out, or get social.