Baby, it’s cold outside. Freezing temperatures have swept the nation (here in New York City it’s a brisk 31 degrees), and we’ve been fantasizing lately about some of our favorite sunny getaways. If you’re ready to escape your cubicle and fly south for the winter (or at least for a long weekend), take a look at our list of ten drool-worthy island resorts that won’t break the bank.
For an upbeat all-you-can-drink mega-resort, the fresh-built Iberostar destroys the competition–better food, liquor, service, and activities (including free scuba tours) for less cash. You pay a little more for an all-inclusive up-front, but with this resort’s high-quality liquor and variety of dining options, you’ll definitely eat and drink your money’s worth. Read full review
Location, location, location — the age-old motto certainly holds true in Oahu’s Waikiki, where mega-resorts have tried to edge each other out for the choicest beachfront spots. Yet this budget hotel, with rates that tend to range between $100 and $150 a night, managed to squeeze its way in; the family-friendly Kuhio section of Waikiki Beach is right across the street. Back in the room, guests will find fun tropical decor, flat-screen TVs, and in most cases an ocean view. A free, daily, hot breakfast is another nice perk. Read full review
For a massive, hyper-indulgent, all-inclusive mega-resort, the Iberostar Costa Dorada is among the best in Puerto Plata — great buffets, activities, entertainment, liquor, and service. Sure, there’s no gym, and the giant pool can get a little chilly. But to the many guests who come back every year, those are just petty details. It’s also cheaper to reach Puerto Plata than La Romana or Punta Cana; flights to the Puerto Plata airport tend to cost less, and the 25-min taxi ride from the airport averages $35. Read full review
The Negril Tree House Cottages have a prime spot on Seven Mile Beach, one of Jamaica’s most popular, but it still offers uncrowded stretches of sand. For the location, you’d be hard-pressed to find a good hotel that’s any cheaper. There’s zero security after dark, and the rooms feature nothing but an old TV and a bar of soap. But most guests don’t seem to care, once they’re swinging on a porch hammock overlooking Jamaica’s best beach. Plus, great bars and restaurants are right next door. Read full review
- Price: $83/night
- Rating: 3.0 Pearls
You won’t find any other decent option for under $100 a night, and the Aruban has some great features, including kitchenettes in the rooms, two great pools (one with a 150-foot waterslide for kids, one with a waterfall for adults), a gym with state-of-the-art cardio equipment, and five lighted tennis courts. Rooms are outdated and Eagle Beach is a 10-minute walk away, but it’s hard to complain when the price is this cheap. Read full review
Boasting 84 hippy-chic cottages, guest rooms, and villas in secluded Treasure Beach, Jake’s is one of Jamaica’s trendiest hotels. Guests come to unplug — there are no phones or TVs, though there is Internet. The beaches aren’t Jamaica’s most impressive, but the Driftwood Spa, on-site painting and yoga classes, and excellent food make this a particular favorite. Read full review
Located in the Maui town of Kihei, a cluster of budget hotels, shops, and affordable restaurants that’s 10 miles from Wailea’s pricey resorts, the 265-room Maui Coast is the island’s best value. The closest beach is a five-minute walk, and guests will likely want to head into town to dine. But the clean rooms have modern furnishings, flat-screen TVs, mini-fridges, and microwaves. The laundry facilities are free, and a fun poolside bar hosts live music at night. Read full review
There’s no pool, lobby, or dazzling features, but Catcha’s quaint cliffside huts come with warm service, open-air showers, breathtaking sunsets, comfortable beds and simple homemade cuisine. You can eat one of the best breakfasts in Jamaica for free until 11 a.m. at Ivan’s Bar. Read full review
Quality food, oceanfront bungalows, free trapeze lessons, and beachside canopy beds make this 600-room resort an excellent value; the sexy, 80 percent Italian clientele doesn’t hurt, either. There are some minor cleanliness issues, like debris in the pool, but the beach has some of the softest sand and clearest water in the D.R. (though there are the occasional coral rocks). Read full review
This 72-room Waikiki boutique offers designer style with sample-sale price tags. Recently renovated rooms fashioned by San Francisco designer Jiun Ho are some of the most stylish on the island, yet you can usually get them for less than $150. The hotel is lacking in amenities, but it offers a number of handy discounts for services ranging from rental cars to gym passes to museum tickets. Read full review
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