Who doesn’t love a beach vacation? The sun, the sand, and the ocean all come together to make for a relaxing getaway that, when complete, will send you home rested and relaxed – and hopefully with a tan! Where you stay, however, can make a big difference on just how fabulous your beach trip is. That’s why we’ve found the 15 most decadent hotels on the sand to ensure that you enjoy the ultimate beachfront luxury.
Eden Roc at Cap Cana, Dominican Republic
The Eden Roc, opened in 2012, is one of the most high-tech properties in the Dominican Republic, and is located in the gated Cap Cana community -- which has a Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course, marina, and beach club. The 34 colorful suites are clustered around a small, man-made lagoon and feature elegant decor (picture four-poster beds, intricate floor tiling, and spacious bathrooms). Up-to-date amenities include iPad-controlled lights, sound systems, and TVs with numerous channels in Spanish and English. Suites also come with small pools and golf carts for getting around the property.
Four Seasons Maui
An immaculate, art-filled property fronting Wailea beach, the Four Seasons stands at the pinnacle of the area's resorts, offering a slew of amenities, spacious rooms -- some with outstanding views -- and a top-notch staff. With three pools (one adults-only), golf courses, a 13-room spa, lit tennis courts, and numerous dining options, this luxe spot appeals to couples on a romantic retreat as well as families on vacation.
W South Beach, Miami
The stunning W South Beach -- located right on the sand on the outskirts of South Beach -- blends cute comforts, intricate design (that spares no expense), and flawless service. Large, modern rooms, terraces angled to overlook the ocean, elegant landscaping around the pool (which is also surrounded by classy cabanas), a white-sand beach staffed with attendants, and a Bliss spa all come together to make the W one of the most luxurious hotels in Miami.
The St. Regis Punta Mita Resort, Riviera Nayarit
This luxurious enclave is located in posh Punta Mita, and smartly sited on 22 acres amid undulating fairways and verdant tropical gardens. It's one of the most luxurious properties in the region, and every element is stunning: the three fabulous beachside pools, the acres of peaceful gardens, the ultra-luxurious spa, and the immaculate rooms that look straight out of a decor magazine. The stretch of white-sand beach on-site is interspersed with rocky coves, and there are a couple of pretty little islets just offshore.
One&Only Ocean Club, Bahamas
Bringing tranquility to otherwise-crowded Paradise Island, the One&Only Ocean Club is a gorgeous beachfront resort in the Bahamas. With tons of included amenities – such as 24-hour butler service, daily champagne and strawberries, unpacking services, and One&Only hats and totes – the hotel almost makes guests forget about the high rates. Several beautiful pools, a Jean-Georges restaurant, a lovely beach with water sports, and gorgeous rooms add to the luxurious feel.
Half Moon, Jamaica
Drawing everyone from Queen Elizabeth to 50 Cent, Half Moon strives for timeless, understated luxury. Stretching over 400 acres (including two miles of beautiful beach), this luxurious resort offers attentive service, quality cuisine, and seemingly limitless activities: Guests can do everything from visiting the spa and hitting the links, to swimming with dolphins and horseback riding on the beach.
Esperanza Resort, Los Cabos
This beautiful resort is one of the nicest in Los Cabos, and offers more of a home-y vibe than other high-end properties in the area. Handsome, spacious rooms are decorated in traditional Baja style, with authentic artwork and wood detailing. They come with high-end electronics and decadent bathrooms, but the private terraces are arguably the highlight; all have at least partial ocean views and some have whirlpools. The beach is secluded and gorgeous, and the pools are top-notch.
Caneel Bay, A Rosewood Resort, St. John
Built from a historic sugar plantation, this profoundly serene resort sits on 170 acres of a protected national park dotted with seven remote beaches. Even with a quaint pool and rustic rooms that lack TVs and phones, Caneel's attentive serviceand unparalleled setting make it one of the Caribbean's best resorts.
Shutters On The Beach, Santa Monica
A known celebrity hangout, Shutters on the Beach has an atmosphere of formal opulence, with expensive artwork in its lobby and restaurants, luxe features, and rooms that belong in a billionaire's beach house. Its oceanfront location – which makes for fabulous views from many rooms and the rooftop pool -- and doting service are hard to beat.
Tortuga Bay, Dominican Republic
Designed by Oscar de la Renta, the boutique Tortuga Bay hotel offers amazing service (including VIP treatment at the Punta Cana Airport), an on-site ecological park (complete with natural springs), and access to top-notch golf courses. Rooms are spacious, with elegant beach decor and upscale amenities such as golf carts for roaming the property and cell phones for directly contacting your personal concierge, and the hotel’s many other features make it a top choice for families and couples.
Fowl Cay Resort, Bahamas
Crowds are unheard of on this private island resort with six villas and three beaches – spread across fifty acres. Personal boats for daily excursions, on-call service, spacious with fully stocked kitchens and wet bars, and a host of all-inclusive activities make Fowl Cay a standout gem in the Exumas.
The Ritz-Carlton Kapalua, Maui
Reopened in January 2008 after a massive, multi-multi-million-dollar renovation, the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua now boasts up-to-date rooms, top-notch dining, a quality spa, polished service, and beautifully landscaped grounds of national park proportions.
The Viceroy Anguilla, opened in 2009, is the most modern property on this tiny island -- and arguably the most luxurious. The Kelly Wearstler-designed resort manages to mix an upscale look with a laid-back, beachy feel, and features sleek lines, modern amenities, numerous art installations, earth tones, animal prints, and wood, stone, and gold accents. This look continues through the rooms, which have romantic balconies as well as marble bathrooms with separate showers and soaking tubs.
Banyan Tree Mayakoba, Riviera Maya
As one might expect from the ultra-luxurious Banyan Tree brand, the Banyan Tree Mayakoba is one of Playa del Carmen's most sought after resorts. All of the villas feature sleek Asian-inspired decor and Mexican textiles -- as well as plunge pools, outdoor bathtubs, walled-in grass lawns, and up-to-date amenities such as iPod docks and flat-screen TVs. The grounds, white-sand beach, and lagoon-like pool blend seamlessly with the surrounding nature.
Resort at Fisher Island Club, Miami
This hotel is located among homes of the super-rich on a lush, private island that’s a 10-minute ferry ride from the Miami mainland. It doesn't have the party scene of the many of the mainland luxury hotels, but its history, charm, and beautiful golf and tennis facilities make it a great choice for couples and families looking for something special. The hotel also boasts a marina, beach, fitness center, spa, and several restaurants.