Best Affordable Island Hotels
Too often the daydream of lounging under palm trees on some enchanted island is punctured by the reality of sky-high hotel and resort prices.
But there’s no need to despair or settle for some landlocked compromise. We’ve pinpointed affordable island hotels that span the globe, from destinations usually reserved for big spenders to others barely on the radar of most travelers. All of our favorites have room rates that start below $200—some as low as $70. And these hotels have more going for them than price point, whether it’s an oceanfront location or cozy charm.
Consider the family-run hotel La Tosca on the upscale Italian island of Capri. For a fraction of the cost of most neighboring hotels, it delivers Mediterranean views from the breakfast terrace, 11 rooms with vibrant textiles, and easy strolling access to the central Piazzetta.
Those with far-flung island fantasies will gravitate toward Sangat Island Dive Resort in Palawan, an archipelago in the Philippines voted the world’s best island by T+L readers in 2013. Closer to home, you can experience the Spanish moss–draped romance of a historic inn on Florida’s Amelia Island or indulge at a gourmand’s hideaway on the rugged Canadian island of Newfoundland.
Whatever your idea of paradise, we think you’ll agree that every gem on our list deserves treasure-island status.
Lefkes Village Hotel, Paros, Greece
Part of the Cyclades, Paros delivers all the archetypal Greek island draws—whitewashed churches, bougainvillea-festooned houses, panoramic Aegean views—without the high prices of neighboring hot spots Santorini and Mykonos. Case in point: this 20-room contemporary hotel in the quiet mountain village of Lefkes, with a swimming pool, a small museum, and a tavern that uses ingredients gathered from the surrounding fruit trees and gardens. lefkesvillage.com; from $70
La Veranda Resort, Vietnam
The island of Phu Quoc (the country’s largest) is firmly on the tourist radar these days, yet it still retains the serene small-town essence that first drew intrepid travelers to its balmy shores. This elegant two-story resort radiates French colonial–era charm: airy rooms with net-draped beds with either lush tropical garden or ocean views, a dining room serving Pan Pacific cuisine on a long veranda beneath lazy ceiling fans, and a clubby lounge bar with scarlet walls. mgallery.com; from $140
Copamarina Beach Resort & Spa, Puerto Rico
Copamarina occupies prime oceanfront real estate on Puerto Rico’s less-explored southern coast, complete with a palm-fringed beach and 20 acres of tropical gardens. It’s a setting that more than makes up for any style shortcomings. Take advantage of the recently updated on-site spa, two seafood-oriented restaurants, and several pools, or venture farther afield. The historic seaside town of Guánica is within walking distance; nearby adventures include bird-watching in Dry Forest Reserve and snorkeling by tiny Gilligan’s Island. copamarina.com; from $145
Fairbanks House, Amelia Island, FL
Amelia Island combines the Spanish moss–draped romance of the South with a laid-back tropical ambience. And this boutique Italianate-style villa is the perfect base from which to take it all in. The historic building (est. 1885) displays all manner of over-the-top details: dormers, bay windows, massive chimneys, balustraded balconies, and a 15-foot tower. Rooms feature canopy or four-poster beds, fireplaces, and bathrooms that will thrill any nostalgics yearning to soak in a Victorian-era claw-foot tub. fairbankshouse.com; from $180
Fishers’ Loft, Newfoundland, Canada
Overlooking Trinity Bay and the harbor of Ship Cove, Fishers’ Loft is found on one of Atlantic Canada’s most fascinating, idiosyncratic islands. Designed in the clapboard-and-shingles style of the late 1800s, this cozy inn evokes Newfoundland’s seafaring past; guests have the chance to spot whales and icebergs out the mullioned windows, depending on the season. Meals are sourced with ingredients gathered from the inn’s greenhouse and gardens. fishersloft.com; from $99
Auberge Seraphine, St. Lucia
A big hit with honeymooners, the lush Caribbean island of St. Lucia can also take a big hit on your wallet, thanks to its slew of high-end resorts. Not so at this sweet family-run hotel near Castries on the northwest coast. There’s no beach here, but the auberge has a lovely pool and is on sailboat-packed Vielle Bay, close to a large lily pad–filled pond popular with hundreds of white egrets. Snag a table at the on-site restaurant for seafood risotto and lobster. aubergeseraphine.com; from $125
Rosario Resort & Spa, Orcas Island, WA
For an island getaway with a dose of history, consider this quaint 40-acre resort on the largest of Washington State’s San Juan Islands, overlooking East Sound and Cascade Bay. Rosario shares land with Moran Mansion, the magnificent former home of shipbuilder and onetime Seattle mayor Robert Moran. It’s now a museum featuring archival photographs, model ships, and an impressive collection of Arts and Crafts furnishings amassed by Moran. rosarioresort.com; from $99
Villa Serena, Dominican Republic
Word has spread about the Samaná peninsula, an unspoiled stretch of coastline in the island’s northeast corner, far from the madding crowds of the Punta Cana resort region. Part of the peninsula’s appeal is its bevy of stylish small hotels, among them, Villa Serena on Las Galeras Bay. It has all the classic Caribbean colonial features—Palladian arches, wooden shutters, acres of white gingerbread trim—set in sprawling tropical gardens just steps from the sand. Daily alfresco yoga sessions overlooking the ocean are a highlight. villaserena.com; from $110
Sangat Island Dive Resort, Palawan, Philippines
It’s not hard to understand why T+L readers voted Palawan their favorite island in the 2013 World’s Best survey; the lightly populated archipelago shows off the sublime underwater richness of the Philippines. After diving or snorkeling in the surrounding coral reef, retreat back to your cottage at this low-key resort at the foot of towering limestone cliffs. Simple tropical furnishings—bamboo floors and walls, bright textiles, and terraces slung with hammocks—keep the focus on the outrageously beautiful ocean views. sangat.com.ph; from $85
La Tosca, Capri, Italy
Dreams are made of this: a charming family-run hotel in one of Italy’s most upscale destinations for around $100 a night. Whitewashed La Tosca also occupies a lofty position, providing glimpses of the Faraglioni rocks from the breakfast terrace. Rooms are simply furnished, with vibrant textiles, tiled floors, and windows opening onto either the gardens or the Mediterranean. It’s within strolling distance of the island’s famous Piazzetta, the Gardens of Augustus, and the Monastery of St. Giacomo. latoscahotel.com; from $100 (closed November–March)
Little Corn Beach & Bungalow, Nicaragua
With no airport and no cars, Little Corn Island remains a rugged paradise of beach trails, coral reefs, and tropical forests. The basic bungalows at this low-key resort are well suited to dive enthusiasts or intrepid beachcombers looking for a relaxed, sand-between-the-toes getaway on an unspoiled beach. The great value continues at mealtimes, when you can feast on Caribbean specialties for less than $10. littlecornbb.com; from $79
Sagu Resort, Ilha Grande, Brazil
Make your way through dense Atlantic rainforest on the Bay of Abraão off the coast of Rio de Janeiro state to reach Sagu Resort, a nine-room hideaway in a Portuguese colonial house with wide verandas. You can circumnavigate the beautiful, largely undeveloped island by kayak, or just settle into the hammock with a caipirinha and watch the world go by. saguresort.com; from $150
Tybee Island Inn, Tybee Island, GA
Boardwalks, sand dunes, and Atlantic Ocean vistas: that’s the formula for a Tybee Island–style sybaritic getaway. This inn captures the local spirit with its garden setting shaded by live oaks draped in Spanish moss and maritime-themed rooms. Some feature details like private decks and oversize copper bathtubs. tybeeislandinn.com; from $139
Hotel Rocamar, Isla Mujeres, Mexico
This enchanted isle off Mexico’s Caribbean coast has a youthful yet chilled-out vibe. While the three-story motel-like Rocamar may not be the most visually appealing stay, its location overlooking the sea is unbeatable, and the eminently reasonable room rates include breakfast with fresh fruit and coffee—fortification for a day spent snorkeling or diving the marine life–rich waters surrounding the island. rocamar-hotel.com; from $65
Relais Marama, Fakarava Island, French Polynesia
In the rarefied world of French Polynesian luxury resorts, shelling out four figures per night for a hotel room is par for the course. Luckily, this scenically blessed region comes through with the occasional bargain. Take, for instance, this eight-bungalow hotel in the village of Rotoava. Five-star luxuries are nonexistent, but the vibe is friendly and communal (guests are welcome to cook their own food in the dining room or barbecue area, or have meals prepared). And its location on the atoll of Fakarava grants access to tropical waters teeming with kaleidoscopic marine life. relais-marama.com; from $79
Rockhouse Hotel, Negril, Jamaica
Once you check in to Rockhouse, you may never want to leave the premises. Consider your digs: a thatched-roof bungalow with a four-poster bed, giant windows, and a private patio or sundeck—a few even have private ladders leading down to the sea. Then there are the sunset views from the hotel’s cliff-top perch, the massages at the open-air spa, plus the thrill of snorkeling in the sheltered waters of Pristine Cove. From $125.
Barefoot at Havelock, India
The delicate ecosystem of India’s Andaman Islands is guarded by the Barefoot at Havelock. The 25 thatched cottages are filled with teak furniture sourced from renewable forests, and the showers are open to the elements. A short path through the mahua trees leads to Beach No. 7, where you can stroll along the white sand or swim with Rajan, the resort’s resident elephant. Schedule an indulgent treatment at the Ayurvedic Wellness Centre for your return. From $68.
Maison La Vallette, Malta
This one-bedroom historic town house combines brocade upholstery and gilded chandeliers with Alessi furnishings and original wood beams. Guests have the run of the maison, which includes a living room and a kitchen. It’s a few blocks from Valletta’s rocky seashore, where ferries depart for neighboring islands. maisonlavallette.com; from $162.
Sol é Luna Inn, St. Martin
Between Grand Case and Orient Bay on the French half of multicultural St. Martin, this bougainvillea-covered inn puts a modern twist on rustic Provençal style. Each of the six spacious rooms and suites has a private terrace with a view of the cerulean waters of Orient Bay. 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. From $125.
Koh Mook Sivalai, Thailand
In the Andaman Sea, the sleepy island of Koh Mook offers seclusion and the pleasure of staying at this easygoing resort with an enviable position on a long spit of beach. Its 48 villas have clean lines, floor-to-ceiling glass doors, and decks whose lounge chairs point at the white sand and azure sea. Go exploring with the canoe and snorkeling equipment, or sign up for a long-tail boat tour of the surrounding islands. From $135.
Bellavista Bed & Breakfast, St. Thomas
This 1930s West Indian–style villa overlooks Charlotte Amalie harbor—and has plenty to attract your attention inside as well. The four high-ceilinged rooms are done up in floral prints and bright hues, some with a canopy bed. Guests wake up to breakfasts courtesy of owner Wendy Snodgrass (formerly of Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas) and can relax on the sun-drenched front balcony or along nearby Magens Bay, a stretch of calm water that’s perfect for swimming. From $195.
Cape Hatteras Bed and Breakfast, North Carolina
Located just 500 feet from one of the area’s most pristine strands is this 1950 chalet. Ceiling fans, pastel walls, and design motifs like seashells give the eight rooms an easy, breezy feel. In the morning, owner Cathy Moir serves her signature “eggs rarebit”—a toasted English muffin topped with a poached egg, Swiss cheese, and diced ham. Fuel up and then hit the beach with a borrowed bike and hat in tow. From $140.
Temple Tree at Bon Ton Resort, Malaysia
This resort on Langkawi Island named each of its historic villas after an indigenous flower—white frangipani; yellow orchid—and decorated them in a shabby-chic style, with Turkish rugs and deep wooden tubs. The golden beaches of Pantai Cenang are a 10-minute walk away; take a small boat out to Daya Bunting, one of the 99 uninhabited islands nearby. From $170.
Alila Manggis, Bali
Fifty-six rooms surround a palm-fringed pool and overlook a garden with coconut trees, white frangipani, and pink bougainvillea—the setting for the resort’s free daily yoga sessions. Alila Manggis arranges dives at the Blue Lagoon, a sloping reef just 15 minutes away. You’ll come face-to-face with scorpion fish, turtles, and whitetip sharks. More adventurous types can trek up sacred Mount Agung—a four-hour climb to the summit. From $170.
Hale Ohia Cottages, Big Island, Hawaii
Surrounded by botanical gardens and just a mile from Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Hale Ohia counts four main lodge rooms and four small cottages. They’re decorated with mid-century Hawaiian antiques and resemble ship’s quarters for their cozy nooks (books and games provided). Outside, a small Japanese soaking tub sits under mammoth tsugi pines. Lava viewings are a popular activity; ask owner-manager/architect-designer Michael Tuttle where and when to go. From $115.