By this point of the weekend, you are so ready for a real vacation…away from the noisy family, away from the crowded airports, away from anything having to do with turkey. Don’t worry, we’re here to help. Picture yourself at one of these beachfront escapes—ten hotels all highly ranked by our readers in the annual Readers’ Choice Awards, and just steps away from a dip in the ocean.
Upon arriving at this ecological enclave “where there is never a rush to get anywhere,” guests are “immediately transported into relaxation mode.” “The architecture is stunning”: Rooms have wooden lattices, glass doors, and earth-toned contemporary decor, and some suites come with private plunge pools and roof decks. Yucatán limestone and renewable woods make rooms “warm, gorgeous, and private.” The “incredible and huge spa” is on a private island overlooking limestone lagoons and offers “unique Mayan-influenced treatments,” including the couples’ Sun &Moon Journey. Expect “a fun and unique ambience” at the Agave Azul Sushi Bar & Tequila Library, which serves tequila and traditional bites like shitake gyozas, octopus sunomono, and miso butter Kobe beef with “a gourmet twist.”
Explore the “exquisite grounds” of this Oscar de la Renta-designed property using the private golf cart assigned to each room. Bright, airy beachfront villas are “as good as it gets,” with wicker furnishings, a palette of island colors, four-poster canopy beds, and villa concierges awaiting your call on the complimentary mobile phone. Two championship golf courses are “really good and scenic.” The tucked-away Bamboo serves Mediterranean-influenced dishes; for local seafood, try La Yola, which is modeled after a fisherman’s boat and has views of the sea through its glass floors.
“Experience the best of the best” at the former home of St. Bart’s first mayor, set on a rocky point overlooking St. Jean Bay. Expect “flawless service”: “Staff bend over back- ward to take care of your every need.” Guest rooms are “like works of art,” with antiques, hardwoods, rain showers, and beds with silk and satin pillows. At the aptly named On the Rocks with Jean-Georges, enjoy globally inspired dishes with ingredients from the garden and “memorable views of the stars” through the glass roof.
Guests are welcomed with tropical rum punch and their names on wooden plaques on their rooms at this “very private and isolated resort,” accessible only by boat or seaplane. The crushed-seashell paths and more than 250 Jamaican coconut palms make guests feel like they are “in the South Pacific.” Housing four-poster beds and outdoor showers, renovated thatched-roof bungalows in British colonial decor lack phones, televisions, or clocks, making them “wonderful places to relax and reconnect.” The “food is expensive but marvelous” at the restaurant, which serves French and pan-Latin dishes with the occasional wild card, hence Peking duck foie gras and yellowtail snapper seviche. “The staff are the best.”
This small property is “on the prettiest beach in Florida, with gorgeous views from every suite,” ergo the perfect location score. Twenty miles from historic St. Augustine, it was built to resemble a Mediterranean villa and has Spanish mission accents: a terra-cotta roof, stucco exterior, stone fountains, and wrought iron lampposts. Accommodations come with floral bedding and curtains and four-poster beds. Have lunch outdoors—fish tacos and ahi tuna salad—under beige and green umbrellas at the casual Oasis, then sit indoors at the Innlet for a more formal dinner of fresh seafood like bourbon-marinated Atlantic salmon or Cajun-seared mahimahi. Expect “phenomenal service.”
“A charming cottage community on Sunset Key, away from the noise and crowds,” “it’s worth every penny for the private-island feel and escape.” Reachable by boat, just off Key West, the resort is “surrounded by turquoise water, white sand, and tropical flowers.” Wake up in one of the 40 cottages to “a picnic basket with breakfast waiting on your front porch.” Each residence has a Victorian tin roof and is bright with warm butter yellows, blues, stripes, and floral prints. Latitudes, serving local seafood, is “the most romantic place” thanks to its beachfront and alfresco dining.
The grounds of this Waikiki property are “as good as or better than most on the island” and look out on Gray’s Beach and Diamond Head. Inside the main plantation building, which has a hipped roof to capture the sea breezes, rooms have soaking tubs, marble basins, and private terraces—”it’s paradise on earth.” The French fare at La Mer is “legendary, but so are the prices.” At House Without a Key, two former Miss Hawaiis perform hula. Service and staff are “top-notch.” Stop by the spa for time in a Japanese furo bath.
Unwind at this “romantic oasis for those tired of the hectic city life. “The blue-and-white British colonial-style inn has no TVs or radios but does promise sea views. “Divine suites” have private balconies over-looking the Caribbean, local antique furniture, and full-size dining tables. Cottages add Indonesian-style interiors, private plunge pools, and secluded outdoor showers to the mix. “Staff make you feel at home and go out of their way to make sure you have the most enjoyable experience possible.” At the open-air dining room set under a canopy of palms, the menu focuses on Caribbean cuisine.
This Nantucket Shingle lodge with sweeping rooflines and broad porches is in a “great location right on the beach”—”the place took me back to the Gatsby era.” The “incredible, awesome lodgings” include rooms in the Main House with period antiques and oversized tubs, and mini suites in the Ocean House that exhibit West Indies decor and have ocean view decks facing the Atlantic. Wood floors, brass lighting, and a fireplace mark public areas. Enjoy breakfasts that “are better than Mom’s” each morning and wine and hors d’oeuvres during a social hour in the evening. “The innkeepers go out of their way to make you feel at home.”
“Totally over the top yet tastefully so—it’s like living in a dream.” Named for the local patois word for a playful spirit, this former sugar plantation on a private island has room palettes of pale cream and café au lait, with bright coral and jewel tone accents. In the Pool Grille, which has a casual atmosphere and views of the Caribbean and the pool, guests recline on loungers in canopied areas. “It’s a wonderful resort that gives you a first-class stay.” The kids’ club, Rose Buds, runs an endangered hawksbill turtle adoption program.