27 Affordable Beach Resorts
Imagine yourself, for an indulgent moment, sunbathing on Tiririca Beach in Brazil’s Bahia. Palm trees cast slender shadows along the stretch of golden sand; the sparkling, azure ocean beckons you in for a swim. After your dip, it’s just a short meander through the trees to Pousada Sage Point, a 17-suite inn, and your spacious quarters with Balinese décor and four-poster canopy bed. Before getting ready for a leisurely seafood dinner, you can wander out onto your private balcony, stretch out in your hammock, and listen to the surf.
The Best Part: All this costs just $108 a night.
In the depths of winter, who doesn’t dream about a beach vacation? But though private balconies and water views usually come with hefty price tags, beach bargains don’t have to be a dream. There really are luxurious beach resorts out there costing less than $250 per night.
So Travel + Leisure sent correspondents around the globe to uncover the best affordable beach resorts. What did we find? That you can travel to some of the world’s most gorgeous stretches of sand and find great, authentic places to stay without cashing out your 401k.
How about a white-sand beach on St. Martin in the Caribbean for just $125 a night?At the Sol é Luna Inn on the French half of the island, you can stay in one of the six spacious rooms and suites. Sure, there’s a tradeoff for the low cost: Orient Bay is 10 minutes away, and there’s no elevator; still, the modern inn is charmingly covered in bougainvillea, and each room has a private terrace and water view.
Related: 12 Affordable Private Island Resorts
Over in Europe, the dollar may be taking a beating against the euro (see how to stretch your dollar, even in Western Europe) and France may not exactly be the least-expensive country to visit. But you can still find affordability near the port town of Concarneau, at the new Les Sables Blanc. For $191, you can stay an intimate inn where most of the 20 rooms have a sea view from the bed, along with private balconies.
Or how about heading to Goa, India, where an inn named Elsewhere sits right on the beach in a forest of coconut trees, and where you can stay for $100 a night. Your tent will be decked out with a four-poster bed, modern bathroom, and private lanai. Bali can be affordable, too, if you stay at Alila Manggis. Adjacent to an active volcano, this inn has 56 rooms that all face the Bali Sea, with a central garden where free daily yoga classes are held. And it’s yours for $230 a night.
The U.S. has options as well, of course. Azul del Mar, in Key Largo, is a six-room Art Deco villa with a private beach for just $189 a night. And if your beach fantasies take you further north, the Breakwater Inn & Spa in Kennebunkport, Maine feels like a traditional New England cottage. Its 34 rooms sit on a pebbly beach lined with Adirondack chairs, perfect for greeting the morning sun, and it’s just $159 per night.
In fact, no matter where in the world you want to go, we’ve uncovered an affordable resort, complete with tips on what to do in the area. Even better, we’ve put these spots to the T+L test, so you can be certain that "affordable" doesn’t actually mean "cheap."
Breakwater Inn & Spa Kennebunkport, Maine
WHAT IT'S LIKE: The recently revamped Breakwater Inn & Spa feels like a traditional Maine cottage, though its 34 cozy rooms are totally up-to-speed: free Wi-Fi, pillow-top mattresses. The pebbly beach is lined with Adirondack chairs that overlook the mouth of the Kennebunk River. Chef Jonathan Cartwright makes a stellar butter-poached Maine lobster and York oysters in the on-site waterfront restaurant, Stripers.
WHAT TO DO: Drop by the Day Trip Society (4 Dock Square; 207/967-4440; daytripsociety.com), a new design-forward boutique where you can buy supplies for a picnic at the beach—Sigg water bottles; plates, cups, and silverware cast by Scandinavian designer Joachim Nordwall; and a tote bag made of recycled boat sails to carry it all. —Hannah Wallace
Evans Pelican Inn Pawleys Island, South Carolina
WHAT IT'S LIKE: Just south of Myrtle Beach is Evans Pelican Inn, an informal antebellum beach house. All nine of the simple rooms have ceiling fans and screened windows to make the most of the salty sea breeze (there is air-conditioning, too). The Southern-style breakfast includes biscuits, grits, and crab salad. The inn fills up fast during the summer months, but spring is actually the most pleasant time to go, because average temperatures range between 68 and 83 and the humidity is low.
WHAT TO DO: The best way to see this narrow barrier island, which is squeezed between a salt marsh and the Atlantic, is by bicycle. Rent one from Pawleys Island Beach Service (10570 Ocean Hwy.; 843/237-4666) and spend the day exploring. Also, check out the weavers at the nearby Hammock Shop (10880 Ocean Hwy.; 843/237-9122). —Shane Mitchell
Azul del Mar Key Largo, Florida
WHAT IT'S LIKE: Just past the Everglades is the six-room Azul del Mar, Art Deco villa. The husband-and-wife owners stay behind the scene—breakfast (papaya yogurt, tropical fruit pastries) is delivered to your door, and guests can barbecue on the two outdoor grills. The property is decidedly quiet, thanks to its small adjacent private beach and an adults-only policy. Book the Garden Suite Caribe, for its Jacuzzi-jet bathtub and private patio. The Aquamarina and Celeste rooms, with floor-to-ceiling windows and views of Florida Bay, tie for second place.
WHAT TO DO: Snorkel in John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park—which includes part of North America's largest living reef, located just beyond the hotel's wood-paneled dock. —Sarah Kantrowitz
Sea View Inn Carmel, California
WHAT IT'S LIKE: The floral prints and canopy beds are a little frilly, but the real draw here is the hospitality—a fireside breakfast, tea in the garden. The eight-room Victorian bungalow Sea View Inn lives up to its name; it's only steps from a broad beach on the Monterey Peninsula. Try to get Room 7, with the largest windows and garden views.
WHAT TO DO: Go on an art spree in town—Carmel has more than 100 galleries within the one-square-mile center. —Shane Mitchell
Puako Bed & Breakfast Big Island, Hawaii
WHAT IT'S LIKE: Tucked among the pricey resorts of Hawaii's southern Kohala Coast is one of the big island's best-kept secrets: a tiny village with access to prime snorkeling and surfing beaches. Puako Bed & Breakfast is as low-key as its location; host and hula performer-instructor Punahele Andrade has outfitted the four guest rooms withtropical furniture and bright Hawaiian quilts. After a breakfast of Belgian waffles, Hawaiian sweet bread, and Kona coffee, the rugged black-lava and white-coral beach beckons. For pristine, sandier stretches, head to nearby Beach 69, in the Hapuna Beach State Park.
WHAT TO DO: You can take a horseback tour of the 150,000-acre Parker Ranch, 20 miles away. —David A. Keeps
Casa Sandra Hotel Holbox Island, Mexico
WHAT IT'S LIKE: The island of Holbox (pronounced “Ole-bosh”) is a tiny spit off the Yucatán Peninsula with sand roads. At the chic 16-room CasaSandra Hotel, Cuban-born owner and artist Sandra Pérez wanted the property to feel more like a residence. So she spread CasaSandra out over five compact buildings and filled each of the spaces with one-of-a-kind regional pieces: rough-cut antique wooden tables from Guadalajara; rattan furniture; hand-woven linens; and bath products created by local artisans. Outside, a collection of palapas and breezy bales dots the sand, and the azure water's edge is 50 uninterrupted steps away. The hotel arranges fishing excursions with CasaSandra's chef, Félix Diaz, who will prepare your catch for dinner.
WHAT TO DO: From June through August, Holbox is one of the few places in the world where you can swim alongside harmless whale sharks—the largest known fish in the world. Holbox Tours & Travel (52-984/875-2173 or 305/396-6987; holboxwhalesharktours.com; $90) runs six-hour tours that guarantee time in the water with these gentle giants. —Elizabeth Woodson
Todos Santos Inn Todos Santos, Mexico
WHAT IT'S LIKE: From the outside, it doesn't look like much: a weathered brick-and-adobe hacienda hidden down a dusty unpaved side street in Todos Santos, a little beach town 90 minutes north of Los Cabos. But past the heavy iron gates of the eight-room Todos Santos Inn, you'll find a fairy-tale setting in a 19th-century sugar baron's former estate, with frescoes, adobe walls, and beamed ceilings. Netting hangs romantically over antique canopy beds in all the rooms, several of which open onto a fountain-bedecked terrace. Palm trees shade a small pool in the courtyard. Artists from the 16 neighboring galleries gather at night around the inn's candlelit wine bar, which sources bottles from around the globe.
WHAT TO DO: A few minutes' drive outside town are miles of empty Pacific Coast beaches. Pick your own stretch of white sand: apart from three spots that are popular with the surf set, you're pretty much guaranteed
to be alone. —Laura Begley
Tres Sirenas Beach Inn, Puerto Rico
WHAT IT'S LIKE: Rincón is known for its pounding waves, which attract some of the world's best surfers. But the location of the Tres Sirenas Beach Inn—on one of the town's more tranquil strands—is just as appealing. Ex–New Yorkers Lisa and Harry Rodriguez returned to Harry's native Puerto Rico to open a laid-back, stylish B&B. And with four breezy rooms (dark woods, rattan, white linens) and the elaborate breakfasts Lisa cooks up every morning for guests, this seaside spot fits the bill. If you're traveling with a group, consider renting out the entire villa. It sleeps 10, and goes for a reasonable $840 per night.
WHAT TO DO: Make the 1 1/2-hour drive southeast to Puerto Rico's second-largest city, Ponce. The lovely historic quarter, with its Spanish-colonial and Art Deco buildings, is worth exploring for a day. —Elizabeth Woodson
Bellavista Bed & Breakfast, St. Thomas
WHAT IT'S LIKE: In 2001, Wendy Snodgrass left her job in guest relations at the Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas, and opened the Bellavista Bed & Breakfast, a 1930's West Indian–style villa overlooking Charlotte Amalie harbor. The four rooms are done up in floral prints and bright hues, some with a canopy bed. Guests spend most of their time outdoors on the sun-drenched front balcony or lounging along nearby Magen's Bay, a stretch of calm water that's perfect for swimming. At breakfast, order the banana–sour cream waffles served with a pineapple–passion fruit frappé.
WHAT TO DO: Take a five-minute stroll along the Crystal Gade to the St. Thomas Synagogue, a peaceful 174-year-old refuge with sand-covered floors and whitewashed walls. —Bridget Moriarity
Sol é Luna Inn, St. Martin
WHAT IT'S LIKE: Between Grand Case and Orient Bay on the French half of this multicultural island, the cliffside Sol é Luna Inn delivers a modern twist on rustic Provençal style—an ocher-hued stucco exterior covered in bougainvillea, washbasins reminiscent of the Danish designer Verner Panton, colorfully tiled plunge pools. Each of the six spacious rooms and suites has a private terrace with a view of the cerulean waters of Orient Bay, just 10 minutes away. There's no elevator here, and the hilltop rooms are located up a stone stairway—book the Jasmine or Nacre suites for a shorter climb.
WHAT TO DO: Visit the two-acre Plantation Mont Vernon (2 Mont Vernon; 590-590/295-062), where coffee is grown on-site, then dried and roasted to make potent petits cafés, served after the tour. —Jennifer V. Cole
Bahari Beach Bungalows, Costa Rica
WHAT IT'S LIKE: On an isolated six miles of dark-sand Pacific beach, the Bahari Beach Bungalows attract outdoorsy travelers who don't necessarily want to rough it. There are two bright rooms in the main building; at the very edge of the water, the lodge's hosts and owners, Ludwig and Andrea Zirkelbach, have pitched four oversize safari tents that sleep two people. Here, the mesh walls give the sensation of sleeping outdoors, with the added comforts of tiled floors, freshly cut flowers, and spacious bathrooms. In the thatched-roof, open-air dining room overlooking the grounds, the owners serve octopus salad in vinaigrette and tender grilled mahimahi. The Zirkelbachs also make delicious cocktails that you can carry onto the beach to watch the sun set.
WHAT TO DO: Nine miles away is the Hacienda Barú National Wildlife Refuge (011-506/787-0003; haciendabaru.com), which protects 815 acres of coastal rain forest. Look for capuchin monkeys, toucans, and three-toed sloths along the reserve's well-groomed trails. —Carolina A. Miranda
Pousada Sage Point, Brazil
WHAT IT'S LIKE: You'll feel like you're on the set of The Blue Lagoon at the Pousada Sage Point, on the palm-studded Tiririca Beach in Bahia. The two-story, secluded tree-house property is made entirely from Brazilian noble wood. Owner Ana Maria Pineiro decorated the 17 airy, rustic suites with four-poster canopy beds, Balinese accents, and—the big draw—hammocks on private balconies. Every morning, the friendly staff lays out a breakfast of fresh fruit, mozzarella, açai, and guava juice. Book the two-floor Mermaid Suite, with an 80-square-foot veranda and ocean views from the Jacuzzi.
WHAT TO DO: When you've had enough of the beach, the staff will set up a rafting tour along the Contas River. —Clara Sedlak
Les Sables Blancs, France
WHAT IT'S LIKE: Near the fortified port town of Concarneau, Les Sables Blancs presides over an unspoiled strip of sand. The hotel opened less than a year ago, and has a mod, minimalist look, with bright orange chairs on a vast lantern-lit bar terrace where guests gather at night. Most of the 20 rooms have sea views from the bed and sliding glass doors that lead to private balconies. Le Nautile, the on-site restaurant, is known for creative seafood dishes like squid sautéed with bacon and cocoa beans.
WHAT TO DO: On a clear day you can see Les Glénans, an uninhabited archipelago called “the Tahiti of Brittany.” The hotel arranges day trips by boat to its largest island, which has a diving school and several pristine beaches. —Tina Isaac
Hotel Codina San Sebastián, Spain
WHAT IT'S LIKE: The 65-room Hotel Codina was completely overhauled in July 2006, transforming from an outdated hotel into a stylish business-meets-beach haven. Rooms are equipped with free Wi-Fi (rare in Spain), sleek wooden furniture, oversize windows, and porcelain bathrooms. The hotel anchors the Antiguo neighborhood, and is only a few yards from the perfectly shaped half-moon cove of Ondaretta Beach. For the best beach views, ask for a room with a patio on the north-facing corner of the seventh floor.
WHAT TO DO: Right near the hotel is the Palacio de Miramar, Queen María Christina's old haunt. Her gardens are perfect for a picnic with a royal ocean view. —Sarah Wildman
Hotel della Baia Italy
WHAT IT'S LIKE: On the volcanic island of Ischia—famous for its hot springs and therapeutic mud—and outside the small town of Lacco Ameno, sits the Hotel della Baia, a chic, secluded, 25-room inn. The outdoor bar is surrounded by bougainvillea and lime trees, and the garden terraces off the first-floor rooms overlook both San Montano Bay and a private sandy beach. Negombo Park, across the street, has 14 outdoor geothermal pools of varying sizes and temperatures, all scattered over a rocky hillside.
WHAT TO DO: Visit the Museo Archeologico di Pithecusae (Corso Angelo Rizzoli; 39-081/900-356; pithecusae.it), in Lacco Ameno. The museum houses ancient artifacts, including the Coppa di Nestore (mentioned in Homer's Iliad), from the ancient Greek settlement of Pithecusae. —Hannah Wallace
Palazzo Radomiri, Montenegro
WHAT IT'S LIKE: An 18th-century Baroque palace turned 10-room hotel, Palazzo Radomiri is refreshingly at odds with the flashy all-inclusive resorts popping up along the Montenegrin coast. It is located in a quiet fishing village beside a mountain-rimmed bay. Exposed-stone walls and gilded furniture make for rustic-luxe rooms, while outside, waiters carry rakija (plum grappa) to guests as they soak up the sun. The hotel can plan a private trip by motorboat to secluded beaches on the Gulf of Kotor, and will send you off with a picnic of local specialties, such as fresh figs and goat cheese.
WHAT TO DO: Some of Europe's best white-water rafting is close by in the Tara River Canyon—a UNESCO World Heritage site. —Shann Fountain
Poseidon Hotel Athens, Greece
WHAT IT'S LIKE: The seven-story Poseidon Hotel rises above a winding stretch of coastline between Athens and Cape Sounio, home to the Temple of Poseidon. The 88 rooms are stylishly sparse: pale wood furniture, crisp white bedding, opaque curtains. Terraces along the eastern side of the hotel look across the road to hip Edem Beach, which is dotted with the resort's white umbrellas and lounge chairs. Sip retsina at the rooftop restaurant as the sun sets over the Saronic Gulf.
WHAT TO DO: The hotel is five minutes away from the Alimos and Trocadero marinas, where you can rent a boat to Aegina to see the ancient Aphaia Temple. —Ada Calhoun
Oyster Residences Ölüdeniz, Turkey
WHAT IT'S LIKE: Built in the style of a seaman's manor, Oyster Residences evokes the town's quaint traditional architecture with its stone walls and an olive tree–shaded courtyard. But the real treat is the attentive staff, known to leave flowers on your balcony. The hotel has access to a one-mile expanse of ivory sand and a turquoise lagoon on a tiny inlet along a rugged stretch of the Turkish Riviera. Book rooms on the ground floor, with garden terraces that open up to
the pool and courtyard.
WHAT TO DO: Visit the nearby town of Kayaköy—the hundreds of abandoned Greek-style houses here supposedly inspired the novel Birds Without Wings, by Louis de Bernières, the author of Corelli's Mandolin. —Özgür Gezer
The Palace, Egypt
WHAT IT'S LIKE: Marsa Alam, a remote fishing village on the west coast of the Red Sea, has long been a destination for die-hard scuba divers intent on exploring its pristine coral reefs and clear waters. Now there's a reason for the rest of us: Port Ghalib, a new three-hotel complex. The Palace—the grandest of the three properties—is modeled after a 12th-century citadel, with soaring ceilings and elaborate North African wrought-iron chandeliers. The 309 guest rooms look onto terraced gardens, a winding lagoon, and the Red Sea. And there's something here for everyone: rock climbing, camel tours, horseback riding, and more. In December, Delta Airlines added a nonstop route from JFK to Cairo, which connects with Egypt Air's new nonstop to Marsa Alam, making the
once remote location more accessible.
WHAT TO DO: Take a diving trip along the reef with Emperor Divers (20-12/737-2126; emperordivers.com), which is adjacent to the hotel. —Andrea Bennett
Africa Jade, Tunisia
WHAT IT'S LIKE: During the past decade, the Tunisian owners of the 66-acre Africa Jade—one of the world's first Club Meds—have turned it into a domed, columned palace ornamented with African art; all 260 rooms are outfitted with oversize wicker furniture, mosaic-tiled baths, and private verandas overlooking the ocean. The property is set along a vast stretch of white, dune-rimmed beach on the Cap Bon peninsula. True to its Club Med roots, there are plenty of diversions, with four restaurants, as many tennis courts, an archery range, a 12,000-square-foot swimming pool, and a new thalassotherapy spa.
WHAT TO DO: Ask the concierge to arrange a sunset camel ride along the beach, or shop for ceramics and silks in the souks of Tunis, an
hour's drive west. —Richard Alleman
Whale Sanctuary Lodge, South Africa
WHAT IT'S LIKE: It's all about whales in this sleepy hamlet 90 minutes up the coast from Cape Town. To offer guests the best vantage point, Whale Sanctuary Lodge is set on a cliff above Walker Bay, where you can spot orcas, southern rights, and humpbacks out at sea. A private balcony juts over the water in each of the six suites, which have white marble floors, dark leather furnishings, and Ngoni cowhide mats. The Orca suite is the biggest (700 square feet) and has the best views, with two walls made entirely of glass. There is a slightly rocky beach below the lodge, but there are 15 miles of deserted golden sand just a five-minute drive away in the Walker Bay Nature Reserve.
WHAT TO DO: The hotel can arrange cage-diving among great white sharks, from the nearby town of Kleinbaai. —Gillian Cullinan
Aleenta Resort & Spa Hua-Hin Pranburi, Thailand
WHAT IT'S LIKE: In-the-know locals travel 130 miles south of Bangkok's steamy bustle to the Aleenta Resort & Spa Hua-Hin Pranburi, which commands a three-mile stretch of white sand near Hua Hin. The 18 thatched-roof villas and suites range from studios with private plunge pools to loft-style bungalows near the warm waters of the Gulf of Thailand. Egyptian-cotton linens, bamboo lamps, and teak floors make an ideal setting for an afternoon nap, but even better are the shaded beachside guest hammocks. Try the grilled kingfish or the tender steamed lobster at Chao Lay (15 Th Naresdamri Rd.; 66/3251-3436; dinner for two $53), a wharfside restaurant next door to the Aleenta.
WHAT TO DO: There is a nighttime market on Dechanuchit Road, a 30-minute drive from Hua Hin, where you can find locally made handicrafts like carved wooden elephants and silk fabrics. —Jennifer Flowers
Elsewhere Goa, India
WHAT IT'S LIKE: In 2003, Mumbai-based fashion photographer Denzil Sequeira opened up his ancestral compound, Elsewhere, to paying guests. Four colonial beach houses and three candy-colored tents sit at the water's edge; for the most affordable option, book one of the latter, outfitted with a muslin-draped four-poster bed, a fully modern bathroom, private lanai, and your own wooden pier. The hotel is set in a forest of towering coconut trees on a hidden spit sandwiched between the Arabian Sea and a saltwater creek, near the former Portuguese port of Goa. Recent celebrity sightings have included Bollywood belle Preity Zinta. Ask manager Vinod Pednekar to arrange an afternoon
dolphin cruise with local fishermen.
WHAT TO DO: Check out the innumerable starfish that wash up on the nearby 550-yard Mandrem Beach. —Alysha Brown
La Veranda Resort & Spa, Vietnam
WHAT IT'S LIKE: The sleepy, palm-fringed island of Phu Quoc is one of Southeast Asia's most buzzed-about destinations, and the intimately scaled, 43-room La Veranda Resort & Spa is one big reason why. The poshest of Phu Quoc's dozen hotels and guesthouses, La Veranda sports paddle fans, butter-yellow exteriors, whitewashed louvers, and tropical gardens recalling a colonial plantation. Freestanding deluxe villas are the best choice for their sea-facing porches, spacious bathrooms, and cathedral ceilings. There's a good in-house restaurant, a lively bar, and a modest spa, but the real draw is the location: smack on a 12-mile stretch of soft sand with a prime sunset vantage over the sea. Swim out to the pontoon dock and doze off to the gentle afternoon swells, or indulge in a $5 surfside massage (vendors outnumber the tourists—at least for now). Next door, the rustic Palm Tree restaurant (Bai Truong; no phone; dinner for two $16) serves grilled seafood and chilled fresh coconuts from dawn to late night, attracting a genial mix of backpackers and resort guests. NB: an impending development boom will soon bring mega-resorts and cruise ships to this impossibly quiet island; get there now before the tenor changes.
WHAT TO DO: The concierge can arrange snorkeling or diving excursions in the nearby An Thoi archipelago as well as nighttime squid-fishing trips (Phu Quoc squid is among the finest in Asia). —Peter Jon Lindberg
Alila Manggis, Bali
WHAT IT'S LIKE: Yoga practitioners and nature buffs flock to the rugged, volcanic-sand shore of Alila Manggis, an hour east of touristy Kuta's nightclubs and adjacent to Mount Agung, an active volcano considered Bali's most sacred peak. All 56 rooms face the Bali Sea and overlook a lush central garden with coconut trees, white frangipani, and pink bougainvillea—the setting for the resort's free daily yoga sessions (all levels are welcome). The rooms are set in two-story thatched houses that surround a palm-fringed pool and are designed with batik accents and hand-finished bedding; each has its own shaded private terrace.
WHAT TO DO: The resort arranges dives at the Blue Lagoon, a sloping reef just 15 minutes away. You'll come face-to-face with scorpion fish, turtles, and white-tip sharks. More adventurous types can trek up Mount Agung—a four-hour climb to the summit. —Jennifer Flowers
Bannisters Point Lodge New South Wales, Australia
WHAT IT'S LIKE: The Bannisters Point Lodge is propped on a Pacific Coast headland, in a town that attracts both surfers and migrating whales. During the past four years the property has been updated from its origins as a 1970's motel—it's now equipped with an infinity pool, an outdoor cocktail lounge, and a spa that specializes in hot-rock therapies. The 31 rooms are done up in rattan furnishings; balconies overlook eucalyptus trees and the ocean. Just a five-minute stroll down the hill is the white crescent of Mollymook Beach. For the best views at the hotel, head to the spa's private Jacuzzi, built into a deck above the clifftop.
WHAT TO DO: Weekend markets in the landmarked village of Milton, 2 1/2 miles northeast, feature antiques and crafts from local artisans. —Kendall Hill
Awaroa Lodge, New Zealand
WHAT IT'S LIKE: When he created the isolated Awaroa Lodge, leading Kiwi architect Ian Athfield was inspired by a classic New Zealand bach (weekend cottage). Set deep within the Abel Tasman National Park, the 26-room eco-lodge is in harmony with the great outdoors: earth-toned interiors, recycled-driftwood banisters, balconies that overlook wetlands teeming with native birds (including rare white herons). The golden, iron ore–laced sands of Awaroa Bay are a two-minute trail walk through the bush. To get to the hotel, you can take a plane, helicopter, or boat, but the least expensive way is with a water taxi from the Abel Tasman National Park entrance at Marahau (aquataxi.co.nz; one-way fare $27).
WHAT TO DO: The 32-mile Abel Tasman Coastal Track, which runs right past the lodge, makes for a great hike along the Tasman Sea. —Kendall Hill