Does the mere thought of an exotic island vacation cause several dollar signs to form in your eyes? It’s true, the crystal-clear blue waters, powdery (or even pebbly) sand, swaying palms, and creative cuisine can come at a high price. The key word there, however, is can. While you certainly can splurge on that overwater bungalow in that far-flung destination, you need not have deep pockets to find great lodging on some of the world’s most beautiful islands. See for yourself below -- and get one step closer to feeling the breeze in your hair and sand between your toes.
1. The Kana Kuta, Bali
Upscale it may be, but budget-friendly rates are no stranger to this hotel in Kuta. Follow the bamboo-lined driveway until you arrive at the sleek lobby, where you’ll be greeted with cold towels and welcome drinks. Booking a stay here means you’ll be close to the area’s attractions and airport, but a bit far from the beach (Kuta Beach is approximately two miles away). That said, the family-friendly property offers great on-site value for the price -- there’s a nice outdoor pool, small fitness center, free breakfast and area shuttle, kids center, and spotlessly clean rooms with high-quality mattresses, flat-screen TVs, and free Wi-Fi (some also have balconies).
2. Acacia Hotel Manila, Luzon, Philippines
Located in the quiet residential and commercial area of Alabang, this property breaks all stereotypes that luxury and affordability can’t coexist in the same place. It might be a 20-minute drive from Manila’s major attractions, but the downsides end there. On-site amenities, including several dining options, a rooftop pool with beautiful views, a small spa, and a solid fitness center, offer plenty of bang for your buck, while freebies like Wi-Fi, breakfast and shuttle service to local destinations are cherry-on-top perks. Plus, rooms are stylish and contemporary, with flat-screen TVs, memory foam beds, and large windows.
3. Holiday Inn Phuket Mai Khao Beach Resort, Phuket, Thailand
Nestled among tall palm trees, this beachfront resort on Thailand’s shimmering Andaman Sea might feel secluded, but it’s less than 20 minutes from Phuket International Airport by car. Once you arrive, the property delivers -- no matter your interests. Guests will have plenty of opportunities to stay active, with kayaking, paddle boarding, yoga, Kid and Teen Zones with games and activities, and a 24-hour fitness center. Those who have nothing but leisure on their mind will have no problem finding it here, in the form of on-site restaurants, a large infinity pool with a swim-up bar, live entertainment, Thai massages at the spa, and long walks on the beach.
4. La Quinta Park Suites, Tenerife, Canary Islands
Looking for a quiet hotel in Tenerife that’s not teeming with crowds? La Quinta Park Suites, housed in a curved building atop a cliff, is the way to go. There may be no beaches within walking distance, but you won’t remember that for long once you partake in the on-site amenities, which include a wonderful spa with a hydrotherapy area, three pools (one for kids), a buffet restaurant and poolside cafe, and a fantastic fitness center. Plus, suites are spacious and feature kitchenettes and balconies, some with panoramic ocean views. Free shuttle service to Puerto de la Cruz also makes it easy to explore the area. But if the beach still beckons, the nearest shores have black volcanic sand typical of Tenerife and can be reached in about 10 minutes by car.
5. Wyndham Grand Rio Mar Beach Resort & Spa, Puerto Rico
This Puerto Rico property, located about a 20-minute drive from downtown Rio Grande, might come with a casino and bars, but don’t expect a party-hearty atmosphere. Instead, guests here are more keen on a low-key vacation, which might consist of relaxing by the pool, strolling down the coastline, unwinding in the spa, or taking trips to nearby El Yunque National Park. Lucky for you, the hotel features direct access to a stunning stretch of beach, and more than one attractive pool, including an adults-only option with a waterfall feature and a kid-friendly activity pool with a waterslide. When it comes time to catch some Zs, head back to the room -- some of which offer wrap-around balconies.
6. Kolymbia Beach Hotel, Rhodes, Greece
A popular Greek island, Rhodes serves up 300 days of sunshine per year. Luckily, the 191-room Kolymbia Beach Hotel offers plenty of places to soak it all up. For starters, guests have direct access to one of eastern Rhodes’ most beautiful beaches, where cocktails can be ordered to your umbrella-shaded lounger. In addition to this shingle beach, the property houses a large, lagoon-style pool, with plenty of loungers and sea views to go around. All of this and more -- a kids’ club, two restaurants (including a beachfront cafe), a sprawling garden, and spacious rooms featuring balconies with views of either the beach or mountains -- lures a steady stream of budget-minded couples and families.
7. Negril Tree House Resort, Jamaica
For a lively, yet not out-of-control spring break scene, head to this property that’s tucked amidst lush gardens. A pool, buffet breakfast, beach bar and grill with freshly made jerk chicken, room service, and clean and comfortable rooms make this spot a great budget-friendly option for families, couples, and friends. Those who are in it for the beach (and let’s face it, the majority of folks who visit Jamaica are searching for the coastline) are in luck, as the hotel sits on the beautiful and calm Seven Mile Beach. Hotel guests are also free to use the loungers and umbrellas, though it can get crowded. Massages can be arranged on the beach, and yoga classes are also available. Just keep in mind that the beach is public, so you’re likely to encounter vendors hawking various wares.
8. Zafiro Rey don Jaime, Majorca
Situated a short, two-minute walk from the stunning white sand of Santa Ponsa Beach, this hotel will impress guests from the moment they check in. The hotel has a nice range of amenities for its budget-friendly price tag, including an indoor pool and spa, kids’ club, and two outdoor pools -- one of which is on the roof. And though the food at the buffet restaurant receives mixed reviews, the property makes up for it with guest rooms that are a cut above the others in the area, thanks to their stylish decor, free Wi-Fi and sleek furniture.
9. Boracay Beach Club, Boracay, Philippines
Beachside location? Check. Affordable rates? Check. This property -- albeit basic -- is a great pick for budget travelers seeking good value in a waterfront property. The family-owned hotel sits right across the street from White Beach, Boracay’s most stunning stretch of sand. Also on the grounds are an airy restaurant, rooftop deck with views, a small pool, and a beachfront bar with drinks, food, and unobstructed sunset views awaiting a spot on your Instagram feed.
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