Napili Sunset Resort, West Maui
Steve Brinkman Photography

The World's 10 Best Beachfront Hotels

By Charis Atlas Heelan, Matt Higgins, and Julia Levine
Many hotels claim to be located on the beach or to have spectacular ocean views—but you're either beachfront or you're not. For travelers who aren't satisfied with having to cross a road, walk down from a cliff, or climb over rocks to reach the sea, we've found 10 reasonably priced beachfront hotels with rooms, suites, and bungalows that are literally steps from the sand. Allow us to help you find your perfect sunny getaway, from the Greek Islands to the Great Barrier Reef.

Photo: Napili Sunset Resort in Maui
InterContinental Presidente Cozumel Resort & Spa, Mexico.
InterContinental Presidente Cozumel Resort & Spa
Presidente InterContinental Cozumel Resort and Spa, Mexico
The setting: Located off the eastern coast of Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula, the island of Cozumel is easily accessible by a 45-minute ferry ride from Playa del Carmen.

The resort: Sitting on a half mile of palm-fringed private beach, the hotel features two swimming pools, a putting green, two bars, and four restaurants. There's also a spa offering a variety of services, including the authentic Mayan Temazcal, an ancient herbal steam treatment. Take advantage of the onsite scuba and snorkeling center or just sit back and relax on your personal terrace overlooking the sea.

Distance from the sand: The closest rooms to the water are only about 20 steps from the beach.
Bolongo Bay Beach Resoort.
Courtesy Bolongo Bay Beach Resort
Bolongo Bay Beach Resort, U.S. Virgin Islands
The setting: St. Thomas

The resort: Bolongo Bay is a boutique Caribbean property with its own 1,000-foot-long beach lined with palm trees and frequented by iguanas. Enjoy the beachfront pool and the complimentary use of paddleboards, Hobie Cats, kayaks, aqua tricycles, snorkeling gear, and other watersports equipment. 

Distance from the sand: Beachfront rooms are about 3 feet from the edge of the white-sand beach.

More info:
Nikoi, on Nikoi Island, in Bintan Island.
Courtesy of Nikoi
Nikoi, Indonesia
The setting: Nikoi Island, about two hours by ferry from Singapore

The resort: This private island is capped at 60 guests who take up temporary residence in two-story beach houses on stilts. Each of the 15 suites features a king-size bed with mosquito nets, a balcony overlooking the palm-fringed beach, an ensuite bathroom, a wooden-decked lounge area, and daybeds. The resort also has two swimming pools, three bars, a restaurant, acres of virgin rainforest to discover, and coral reefs to snorkel through.

Distance from the sand: Zero—your suite is right on the beach.

More info:
Overlooking the Andaman Sea at dusk from the Pimalai Resort and Spa
Pimalai Resort and Spa
Pimalai Resort and Spa, Thailand
The setting: Koh Lanta island, about two hours by van and ferry from Krabi Airport

The resort: This island resort whose name in Sanskrit means "a little patch of heaven" is located within a pristine tropical landscape. If you're looking to escape beaches crowded with tourists and reconnect with the natural world, look no further. Accommodations include villas, suites, and hotel rooms. Several onsite dining options are available.

Distance from the sand: About 50 feet. Depending on the tide, the warm, crystal-clear waters of the Andaman Sea are only another 30 feet or so away.

More info:
Hotel Tierra Verde, Isla Carenero, Bocas del Toro Panama.
Hotel Tierra Verde
Hotel Tierra Verde, Panama

The setting: Isla Carenero in the Bocas del Toro Archipelago of Panama. The island is easily accessible by water taxi from the mainland and from the other islands in the chain. This is a favorite spot for serious surfers and even more serious birders.

The resort: The family-run Hotel Tierra Verde is secluded and serene, yet easy to get to by water taxi. It's on the quieter, eastern side of the island, away from the noise of neighboring Isla Colón. The inn's seven rooms are cozy, woodsy, and comfortable. For those who want to upgrade, there's a two-bedroom suite with a private terrace facing the ocean. The hotel fronts a small, quiet, and swimmable beach. The owners can help arrange tours to anywhere in the Bocas as well as surfing trips. 

Distance from the sand: Three steps max

More info:

Private sandy beach at Knossos Beach Bungalos and Suites.
Courtesy of Knossos
Knossos Beach Bungalows and Suites, Greece
The setting: Heraklion, Crete. Direct flights are available from many European cities. Ferry service from Athens and various Greek Islands is also available.

The resort: Terraced rows of 135 whitewashed bungalows and suites line this exclusive stretch of Greek paradise. All waterfront rooms and suites feature private sun decks. The hotel also has three pools, three bars, and two restaurants.

Distance from the sand: About 3 feet 

More info:
Crusoe's Retreat, Fiji.
Courtesy of Crusoe's Retreat
Crusoe's Retreat, Fiji
The setting: Viti Levu island, about two hours from Nadi, where the main airport is

The resort: Crusoe's Retreat is an intimate resort on Fiji's famous Coral Coast. With only 29 bures (traditional huts), Crusoe's is the ultimate getaway. It's located next to an authentic Fijian village, and you are encouraged to experience firsthand how time-honored traditions and ancient customs continue. Complimentary resort activities include sea kayaking, snorkeling, beach volleyball, and bush hikes.

Distance from the sand: According to the resort manager, you're so close you can hold your breath while walking from your bure to the edge of the water.

More info:
Castaways Resort and Spa, Mission Beach, North Queensland Australia.
Courtesy of Castaways Resort and Spa
Castaways Resort and Spa, Australia
The setting: Mission Beach in northern Queensland

The resort: Bounded by the Great Barrier Reef and the Wet Tropics rainforest, the luxurious Castaways Resort & Spa sits on a stretch of sand that is 9 miles long. From the beach right outside your room, you can snorkel out to coral reefs. The resort also offers spa services and whitewater rafting.

Distance from the sand: Walk across perfectly manicured lawns outside your villa for 60 feet to reach a private Coral Sea beach.
Napili Sunset Resort, West Maui.
Shel Givens
Napili Sunset Beachfront Resort, Hawaii
The setting: Napili Bay in western Maui

The resort: It isn't easy to find a true beachfront hotel in Maui that doesn't involve high-rises, high costs, or hundreds of rooms. Fortunately, you can book a night at the Napili Sunset Beachfront Resort, a collection of two-story buildings with 26 tropical-themed rooms and spectacular views. Napili Bay is known for its golden sand, gentle surf, and memorable sunsets. During the winter months, you may spot some whales and dolphins swimming in the warm waters. 

Distance from the sand: About 10 feet 

More info:
Shelborne South Beach, Miami.
Courtesy of Shelborne South Beach
Shelborne South Beach, Florida
The setting: Miami's South Beach

The resort: This 1940s-era hotel in the heart of South Beach's Art Deco Historic District is one of the few truly oceanfront properties in Miami's glitziest area. Many of the property's 200 rooms and suites have beachfront views, and there's a pool that reaches right up to the sand line.

Distance from the sand: About 40 feet

More info: