If escaping to a world of pristine beaches, coastal bike trails, and dunes covered in sprays of sea grass sounds like the sort of vacation you need, then a Long Island getaway is in order. Here are our favorite beach hotels on the island.
The upscale Gurney's Montauk has the best beachfront location in the Hamptons. Truly, no other Hamptons resort can match Gurney's absolutely fantastic (and massive) stretch of sand, and no other Montauk resort can compare in terms of features. What's more, it's one of the largest resorts in the area, and its size and vertical layout ensure endless ocean views from just about every point on the property -- though this means that guests heading back from the beach to upper-level rooms for a snack or bathroom break must climb several flights of stairs and traverse multiple hallways. Those who want quick access to the sand should consider the beachfront cottages, though there are only a few so they book up quickly. The beach itself is not private, but the resort does have its own loungers, as well as a beach bar with cocktails and comfort food. Outdoor showers are on hand for rinsing off sandy feet (recommended, as most of the rooms have carpeting). The waves can get rough, ideal for surfing and bodyboarding, but less ideal for young or less experienced swimmers. A lifeguard is on duty during the day and flags are used to indicate safety levels. Not surprisingly, beachfront weddings are very popular here.
The 143-room Allegria Hotel is a boutique hotel right on the Long Beach boardwalk. In fact, it's the only hotel right on the Long Beach boardwalk, and will remain so -- the hotel opened in 2009, but the building first received permission to open as a hotel in the 1930s, allowing the developers to get around modern-day zoning rules. Even more unusual for the area: The hotel offers not only direct beach access via an underground tunnel, but also beach service (excluding alcohol, which is prohibited on the sand). Nearly all of Allegria's features take advantage of its noteworthy location: its small seasonal rooftop pool offers stunning views of the ocean, its restaurant opens its windows right up to the boardwalk, and even its fitness center possesses huge windows facing the water.
The quiet and family-friendly Surf Club Resort sits on an eight-and-a-half-acre site lined with staggered, two-story townhouses -- some face toward the pool, while others look out over the beach and the ocean. The resort's main draw is its location directly on the beach in Montauk. There, the hotel provides some lounge chairs and umbrellas, but the whole scene feels largely natural and not built up, with sand dunes lining the shore between the townhouses and the ocean. From the outside, the buildings have a modern beachy look, clad in gray weathered shingles, and the majority of the units are privately owned vacation rentals. The property is run like a hotel, though, with a front desk and standard hotel services. Families, couples, and groups of friends all flock here in season; many are repeat guests, making this one of the most popular destinations in town.
The Driftwood on the Ocean is a large condo property on the dunes of a quiet Montauk beach (it sits between Napeague and Hither Hills state parks). Like Surf Club Resort, it's a peaceful and kid-friendly place, with privately owned units that have weathered shingles and occupy two single-story wings -- one wing faces east toward the dunes, while the other faces the ocean. The hotel has well-maintained grassy lawns, and a long pathway leads to the sandy shores, which has lounge chairs and an attendant on duty. The vibe here is quieter than in downtown Montauk, and the Driftwood draws couples and families. Guests often gather around bonfires on the beach to roast s’mores and cook meals on barbecue grills. Yoga and Pilates are available on the beach.
This 32-unit condo property is all about peace and relaxation. It enforces quiet time from evening until morning, and does not permit guests under 14 (unlike Surf Club and Driftwood, both of which are family-friendly). Ocean Dunes has a pool at its center (its most "bustling" spot) and a pleasant boardwalk that leads through a nature preserve, providing private access to an expansive beach. There's miles of sand in both directions, and beach chairs, umbrellas, and lounge chairs are available to guests. The hotel is located on scenic Bluff Road, just a short drive from Amagansett (a hamlet of East Hampton) and a 15-minute drive from Montauk.
Fully renovated in 2016 and 2017, Hero Beach Club is a chic beach boutique with a few features geared toward relaxation: a large pool surrounded by lounge chairs and a wide green lawn for outdoor activities and picnicking. The beach itself is a large stripe of white sand where guests bring their own towels, umbrellas, and chairs. Hero Beach Club is about a 10-minute walk to Montauk's Plaza; however, most area attractions are best reached by car. For example, Montauk Point Lighthouse, commissioned by George Washington and built in 1796, is a 13-minute drive away.
Smack dab between Amagansett and Montauk, the Sea Crest on the Ocean resort is a two-level condo property. On-site, there are tennis courts, charcoal grills, a large outdoor pool, a playground, and a basketball court, but most people are here for one reason: easy access to the beach, where beach chairs, towels, and attendants are on hand. Note that there's no restaurant on-site and Montauk’s bustling town is just a 10-minute drive up the road. Also know that second-floor rooms are more likely to have a view of the ocean.
This modest, 2014-renovated property has a great location right on the beach, surrounded by beautiful scenery. As a budget motel, Montauk Blue offers few features. A large atrium houses the indoor pool and whirlpool, and there's an oceanfront deck that leads right onto the beach. Outdoor hallways and stairs lead to the guest rooms, which all have private entrances. From Montauk Blue, it's a 15-minute walk to the town center.
Royal Atlantic Beach Resorts is a 150-room beach motel popular with families and couples. The best thing about the lower-middle-range property is the location of its main building, which is directly on a beautiful mile-and-a-half-long sandy beach. Guest rooms on the ground floor of this building have direct access to this unspoiled stretch of sand, but visitors should note that Royal Atlantic's other two buildings are a block away. There are other hotels in the immediate vicinity and a few beachside restaurants (including Royal Atlantic's own), and Montauk's town center, with its shops, restaurants, and bars, is an easy walk away (about 15 minutes). Royal Atlantic has two large heated outdoor pools, one with patio furniture, the other with loungers and sun umbrellas, but on the beach, the resort doesn't provide loungers, umbrellas, or even towels. Note that while Montauk Blue was renovated in 2014, Royal Atlantic looks like it hasn't been updated in decades.