Best Affordable Beach Resorts
Coqui CoquiTulum, $250
Along a stretch of Mexico’s Mayan Riviera surf, the six-room Coqui Coqui resembles a whimsical sandcastle. This hotel is back-to-basics—not for those seeking lavish amounts of attention. But if it’s simplicity you’re after, the cream-and-cocoa interiors contrast beautifully with the turquoise sea. Rooms are lit by candles after dark; platform beds are draped with sheer netting. The spa is devoted to natural therapies—try a scrub made from sea salt and coconut.
Don’t Miss: An alfresco lobster dinner at Posada Margherita, hidden down the beach.
Bel Air HotelCancún, $140
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.
Treebones ResortCalifornia, $155
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.
Canalside InnDelaware, $125
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.
Cabbage Key InnFlorida, $119
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.
Mermaid CottagesGeorgia, $125
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).
Red InnMassachusetts, $240
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).
Cape Hatteras Bed and BreakfastNorth 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.
Lodge at Suttle LakeOregon, $199
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.
Villa L’ArcheFrance, $180
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.
Kyrimai HotelGreece, $151
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.
Villa RosmarinoItaly, $244
Built in 1907 for a sea captain, the Villa Rosmarino lies 12 miles northwest of Portofino, on the Ligurian coast. The six rooms—all with views of towering Mount Portofino—are a mix of crisp white linens, vintage Scandinavian furniture, and original features such as floral-patterned inlaid marble floors. It’s a 10-minute stroll to the gray-and-white-pebbled beach at Golfo Paradiso.
Don’t Miss: The shale beach at San Fruttuoso Abbey, a 1,000-year-old monastery restored by FAI, Italy’s national heritage fund; it’s a 15-minute ferry ride away.
Badhotel BruinNetherlands, $162
The tiny island of Vlieland, 65 miles north of Amsterdam, is home to the newly renovated Badhotel Bruin. Book one of the Hastens rooms; they’re the choicest, with linen-covered chesterfields and windows that look out onto rooftops and the gardens below. Each morning, you’ll sip cappuccinos with hip young Amsterdam families on the terrace before biking off to one of the island’s wide, unspoiled beaches just 10 minutes away. Evenings are given over to fresh seafood at the restaurant and live jazz at Mrs. Browns, the hotel’s bar.
Don’t Miss: A show at the new art-house cinema next door, Podium Vlieland, which features an artisanal ice cream parlor.
Near Bodrum’s crescent-shaped Bardaçi Beach, the Butterfly is surrounded by the summer mansions of Turkey’s elite (a former prime minister is among them). Its five suites are a mix of rustic textiles, antiques, and indigenous touches (including whisper-light, locally made cotton sheets). Privacy is key, whether on the candlelit garden patios in the evening or in the rooms (all ingeniously constructed so none share walls) or on the patios, many of which give Cinemascope-worthy views of the Aegean and the Greek island of Kos.
Don’t Miss: The Etrim Village Cooperative, 30 minutes from Bodrum’s center, for oversize Turkish wool carpets.
Gurnard’s HeadUnited Kingdom, $147
On Cornwall’s rugged coast, the brightly painted Gurnard’s Head is situated along the ancient pilgrims’ route to Land’s End. Rooms are rustic in feel: wool blankets draped over beds, old books on the nightstands, and bathrooms stocked with locally made soaps. Downstairs, the wood-beamed bar pours pints of local ale and the restaurant sources ingredients daily: hedgerow salad, wild mushrooms, and hand-harvested scallops.
Don’t Miss: A picnic lunch on the secret beach below the hotel.
Bequia Beach HotelBequia, $144
The new Bequia Beach Hotel, on Friendship Bay, overlooks calm water and the jagged Grenadine islands in the distance. The 29 colonial-style rooms open onto sun-drenched patios, and terraced gardens are filled with banana, mango, and papaya trees. Ask for one of the five Classic Pool & Sea View rooms on the second floor for extra privacy.
Don’t Miss: Dinner at Fernando’s Hideaway, where chef Fernando Morgan and his two sisters serve grilled snapper and a warm apple spice cake.
Beau RiveDominica, $163
This tiny island in the Windward chain is a short flight from San Juan, but totally disconnected from the rest of the world. High on a hillside 240 feet above the sea on the eastern shore is the plantation-style Beau Rive. The eight rooms, all facing the Atlantic, are simply designed, with hardwood floors, jalousie shutters, and paintings by local artist Marie Frederick.
Don’t Miss: The Sari Sari Falls Trail, which begins in the village of La Plaine and continues along the canopied Sari Sari River.
Salines Garden CottagesSt. Bart’s, $190
Bright pink bougainvillea frames the five cozy cazes (traditional Creole houses) at Salines Garden Cottages, just minutes from one of the island’s most picturesque beaches, Anse de Saline. The cottages tastefully channel (and are named after) exotic destinations such as Cap Ferrat and Essaouira. And with each poolside breakfast you’re reminded of the area’s French connection—freshly made pains au chocolat come from a boulangerie just down the road.
Don’t Miss: A soothing post-beach facial in your room from Ligne St. Barth, which operates a mobile spa using ingredients sourced from the area, such as roucou oil, a natural sun protectant.
Bacolet Beach ClubTobago, $190
The Bacolet Beach Club sits alone on a crescent of sugary sand along sprawling Sandy Bay. The 22-room property has a stark white façade, mahogany four-poster beds swathed in sheer curtains, espresso-colored rattan chaises, and an infinity pool overlooking the cerulean Caribbean Sea.
Don’t Miss: A snorkeling tour with World of Watersports along the southern coast, where you’re most likely to encounter giant manta rays.
Knai Bang ChattCambodia, $179
In its 1950’s heyday, Kep, just over 100 miles southwest of Phnom Penh, was the weekend destination of choice among French colonials and the Cambodian elite. Today, it’s a haven for international jet-setters, who love the two-year-old Knai Bang Chatt. Set in three waterfront Modernist villas, the 11 airy rooms are done up with Asian antiques, Khmer fabrics, and furniture made from salvaged driftwood.
Don’t Miss: Lunch at one of the ubiquitous crab shacks that line the beach—order the day’s catch, accompanied by a puckery citrus-peppercorn sauce.
Wild Orchid ResortIndia, $80
The 12-room Wild Orchid Resort, on Havelock Island, part of India’s Andaman archipelago, is reached by ferry from Port Blair. This is an oasis of style in the region: hand-carved beds, dark wood ceilings, rattan wall hangings. The menu at the open-air restaurant changes daily. Try the smoked trevally fish with chili mustard or the Burmese oh nout kaw swe, noodles simmered in coconut milk. Down a short, sandy footpath is isolated Beach No. 5, where the slope is so gentle it’s possible to wade 200 yards out.
Don’t Miss: A rickshaw ride from the hotel to Radha Nagar beach, where you may spot local celebrity Rajan—one of the only elephants in the world that swims in the sea.
Hotel Tugu LombokIndonesia, $175
Traditional thatched huts and jade-green fields border the pristine mile-long beach on Lombok island’s underdeveloped northwest coast. True to this country’s blend of cultures, Hotel Tugu Lombok deftly combines Dutch, Peranakan, and indigenous design. Colonial-era doors and window frames are still intact in the 18 bungalows, villas, and suites; the rustic-luxe interiors are filled with Chinese and Indonesian antiques.
Don’t Miss: A cooking class that begins with a trip to the nearby market to pick up ingredients such as galangal (blue ginger), lemongrass, and candlenuts.
Koyao Island ResortThailand, $245
Between Phuket’s throngs and Krabi’s crowds lies the pristine, 20-square-mile island of Koh Yao Noi, home to the Koyao Island Resort. Fifteen thatched open-air villas, cooled by a breeze from the Andaman Sea, face the bay’s dramatic limestone islets. At the spa, try the Nuad Bolaan massage, an invigorating, deep pressure treatment.
Don’t Miss: The resort will arrange a tour of the island’s mangrove-lined rice fields, tiny tin-roofed villages, and miles of uninhabited beaches on a three-wheeled tuk-tuk.
Seven Seas ResortThailand, $169
Seclusion is one of the most attractive amenities at the Seven Seas Resort, on a 237-acre island reserve 170 miles south of Phuket. This five-month-old hotel borders an isolated stretch of powdery white sand, and the 32 thatched-roof villas—outfitted with pine furniture—open onto spacious sundecks screened by giant coconut trees. Snorkelers can come face-to-face with the endangered sea cow, one of the Andaman’s gentle giants, as well as sea horses and ghost pipefish.
Don’t Miss: A long-tail boat excursion to Tham Morakot, the “emerald cave.” At low tide, you’ll navigate through a 260-foot-long limestone tunnel before reaching a sparkling green pool.
Rurutu LodgeFrench Polynesia, $95
A one-hour flight from Tahiti, the Rurutu Lodge is an outpost of civilization on secluded Rurutu island, formed by a raised coral atoll, that doesn’t seem to worry about the rest of the world. Each of the 10 whitewashed bungalows comes with tropical hardwood floors and beds strewn with natural linens. Rurutu’s coastline is ringed with dramatic cliffs and golden-sand coves.
Don’t Miss: A snorkeling swim with female humpback whales in peak season (July–October) led by the Raie Manta Club. The docile creatures nurture their young in the warm waters off the island.
Ocean ElevenSouth Africa, $182
On a stretch of savagely gorgeous coastline, 90 minutes southeast of Cape Town in Hermanus, sits the spare, white-on-white, colonial-style Ocean Eleven, a 10-room inn at the water’s edge. The owner’s recommendations for Hermanus’s best galleries, shops, and cafés are spot on, as are the lavender-infused soaps and salts in the travertine-clad bathrooms.
Don’t Miss: The pear salad with warm brie and toasted pumpkin seeds at Heaven Restaurant, part of the Newton Johnson Vineyards in the nearby Hemel-en-Aarde Valley.
Hotel JAL Fujairah Resort & SpaUnited Arab Emirates, $181
The Hotel JAL Fujairah Resort & Spa is a calm desert oasis on a private 1,600-foot-long elbow of sand, two hours from Dubai’s skyscrapers. The silver-blue Gulf of Oman laps the beach in front of the hotel, where each of the 257 rooms has high ceilings and large balconies that face the water. The tiny town of Deeba, only 10 minutes away by taxi, is a window into local daily life: Stop for meze at the square, where residents mingle with expats from India, Pakistan, Yemen, and Iraq over tea in the shade of date palms.
Don’t Miss: An early morning hike in the mountains that rise up just behind the hotel—you might catch a glimpse of an Arabian red fox.