Away from the honky tonk hotel zone and right on a stretch of peaceful white sand beach, the Villa Coronado del Mar cultivates a jungle vibe (sometimes to the point of kitsch). In one room, a large papier mache parrot hangs in the center of the room, in another a jungle mural, complete with pop-out sculpture of a lizard, backs the bed. So don’t be surprised if you dream you’re Tarzan or Jane while staying here. But décor aside, this is the classiest place to stay on this stretch of coastline, with a genuinely caring staff (headed by the owner, a former resident of Portland, OR), a generous breakfast (included in the price) and such niceties as not one, but two well-maintained and sizeable swimming pools, plus a tennis court. Families are well taken care of, as there are three bungalows of several rooms, and several of the bedrooms are large enough to hold roll-out beds; and guests have use of a full size fridge and microwave in one of the sofa-filled common areas. An honor bar rounds out the offerings. Best perk? You’re on the quiet end of a lovely, golden sand beach that you’ll likely have almost to yourself when you head out for a dip. 

-Pauline Frommer