The Top 10 Beach Resorts in the World
Le Taha’a Island Resort & Spa, Raiatea, French Polynesia
What’s special: 45 overwater beach suites with wraparound decks, and 12 beach villas on a tiny motu off of Taha’a island (a 35-minute boat ride from Raiatea) with views of magnificent Bora Bora on the horizon. Snorkelling in coral gardens, tours of nearby pearl farms, and historic vanilla-producing plantations get you off-island. Private, in-room, Tahitian dancing lessons for couples keep you perfectly self-sufficient.
Bora Bora Pearl Beach Resort & Spa, French Polynesia
What’s special: Spectacular views of Bora Bora’s Mount Otemanu from Motu Tevairaoa. Seventy garden bungalows (with pools), 10 beach suites, and 50 overwater bungalows. Above and beyond all else, the Tatau Experience at the Manea Spa offers expertly done traditional Tahitian tattooing for a Polynesian souvenir unlike any other.
Shangri-La’s Boracay Resort & Spa, Philippines
What’s special: Puka Shell Beach. Full stop. A private speedboat will get you there in 15 minutes from Caticlan Airport (a 60-minute flight from Manila). It’s the first and only resort on the island. Rooms, suites, and villas all have sea-views with capiz shell lights and Abaca weave rugs, a balcony, and sybaritic daybed.
Capella Lodge, Lord Howe Island, Australia
What’s special: Location, location, location! It’s halfway between Australia and New Zealand in the middle of the Tasman Sea. This couldn’t be more Crusoe-esque (boasting the world’s most southernmost coral reef). Chic, modern interior design is themed after the island’s endemic Kentia palm (some grow to over 30 feet tall and 20 feet long).
Banyan Tree Mayakoba, Riviera Maya, Mexico
What’s special: 118 strikingly sophisticated villas with private pools, surrounded by lagoons, mangroves, and a PGA golf course (a perfect stretch of beach north of Playa del Carmen lies nearby). Private dining on inland waters in a traditional trajinera boat–breakfast or dinner, In-Villa Barbecue evenings, and superb Thai cuisine at Saffron restaurant.
Le Sereno, St. Barts
What’s special: Supremely sophisticated lodgings along 600 feet of Grand Cul de Sac beach—the perfect spot for learning to kite surf or paddle board in shallow waters. Minimalist interiors designed by Christian Liaigre, soft sheets, robes, and towels made especially for the resort by D. Porthault. This is the ne plus ultra of elegance on the island.
Nisbet Plantation Beach Club, Nevis
What’s special: What’s not to love? An authentic Caribbean plantation on 30 beachside acres along the north coast of this most atypical island (quiet and laid-back). Readers return, year after year, for personal greetings, fantastic food, and comfy accommodations in lemon-colored cottages set either side of the property’s grand allée of palms.
Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora, French Polynesia
What’s special: Views of Bora Bora’s mountains from Motu Tehotu are almost unbelievable. A large number of overwater bungalows and beachfront villas have two bedrooms each (perfect for family vacations–children age 5 to 12 will love the Tamarii Club). An inner lagoon on the grounds of the resort is fascinating to explore with complimentary guided snorkelling tours.
Curtain Bluff, Antigua
What’s special: Genuinely all-inclusive (Cuban cigars, rare wines, and spa treatments aside), there’s hardly a better escape to be found in the Leeward Islands. Set atop a promontory between tranquil Carlisle Bay and white-capped Morris, it’s the perfect getaway for families looking for lots of activities and fun.
Four Seasons Resort Langkawi, Malaysia
What’s special: The archipelago of Langkawi is UNESCO’s first World Geopark (containing 550 million years of remarkable geological history).The Four Seasons is perfectly placed to explore it all, from mangrove safaris to guided bicycle tours to tiny villages. Take a jungle trek to spot flying squirrels or go hands-on padi planting at the island’s unique Rice Museum.