Not sure where to leave winter behind this year? Consider one of these gorgeous sandy spots — six of the best beaches from all over the world. All are top ocean side destinations with plenty of postcard views and luxury hotels.
Grace Bay Beach
Providenciales, Turks & Caicos
Located off the Northeast coast of Providenciales, Grace Bay Beach is renowned for its pristine white sand and bathwater-warm, blue water. A barrier reef found about
a mile offshore protects the beach from ocean swells, keeping waves to a minimum and making the beach ideal for swimming and water activities like stand-up paddle boarding. A row of top-end hotels with restaurants and bars means visitors don’t have to bring anything beyond suits and sunscreen. Direct flights to Provo from the East Coast and the fact that the island uses U.S. dollars makes even short jaunts easy to manage.
Where to Stay: Perched on 11 acres along the beach, Grace Bay Club is particularly perfect for families, thanks to their extensive Kids Town program offering excursions and activities for little ones. Two- and three-bedroom villas offer plenty of space to spread out and include family-friendly amenities like washer and dryers, full kitchens and separate living and dining rooms. And should you need anything, you can use a resort-provided
cell phone to contact your personal butler, available 24/7. From $640/night, gracebayresorts.com
Kauai, Hawaii, United States
This two-mile long, half moon bay is one of the most striking in the world, thanks to its backdrop of the mountains of Kauai’s North Shore. Hanalei Bay is also a surfer’s paradise, with waves fit for both experienced boarders and novices looking to learn. There are stretches of white sand for sunbathing and swimming, plus a pier for fishing.
Where to Stay: The St. Regis Princeville overlooks Hanalei Bay, with views both from its public spaces and its pool, as well as from guest rooms—bathrooms even have glass walls through which guests can watch the surfers in action (don’t worry, there’s a switch to make the glass opaque for privacy). Head to the spa for treatments that incorporate Hawaii’s indigenous flowers and herbs, play a round of golf overlooking the Pacific, and be sure to make a reservation for the tasting menu at Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s superb Kauai
Grill, with sweeping views of the bay. Rooms from $1,225/night, stregisprinceville.com
Whitehaven Beach is a snow-white stretch of sand located in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef and protected by the Whitsunday Islands National Park. Its sand is made of 98 percent silica, making it powdery and bright white, washed by swirls of turquoise, blue and green water. Visit via boat or get a bird’s-eye view with a private helicopter or seaplane tour.
Where to Stay: Hamilton Island is the perfect home base for exploring the Great Barrier Reef and Whitehaven Beach—the resort offers a long list of ways to visit, including day sails, snorkeling adventures and helicopter tours. A golf course, stunning spa and over a dozen dining options mean there’s plenty to keep visitors busy on Hamilton Island, too. There are a variety of guest rooms to choose from, but opt for the secluded “qualia” section of the resort for freestanding pavilions that include private sundecks and infinity-edge pools. From $370/night, hamiltonisland.com.au
Phra Nang Beach
Accessible via a longtail boat ride along the Andaman Sea, beautiful Phra Nang is a
great fit for folks who like a bit of activity during a day at the beach. Rent a sea kayak to
explore the caves and lagoons located along the rock formations offshore, including Happy Island (pictured).
Where to Stay: Rayavadee is surrounded by limestone cliffs, which means guests access the hotel via a short speedboat trip from
Krabi pier. The resort is home to 98 two-story pavilions and four private villas spread
over 26 acres of coconut groves and tropical gardens and is bordered by three beaches,
including Phra Nang. Must-dos while you’re there include a Thai cooking class, a boat trip around stunning Phang Nga Bay and a visit to the spa for treatments that draw on ancient Thai healing traditions. From $321/night, rayavadee.com
Salomon Bay Beach
St. John, USVI
Because it’s only accessible by boat or via an easy hike along Lind Point Trail, Salomon remains one of St. John’s least crowded and most pristine beaches. Palm trees dot the clean, white sand and provide shade, and the water is warm, calm and bright blue. There are no facilities or restaurants at Salomon, so pick up picnic provisions from Deli Grotto in Mongoose Junction, a short walk from the trailhead in Cruz Bay.
Where to Stay: Caneel Bay is set on a 170-acre peninsula within the Virgin Islands National Park, which has seven beaches of its own for visitors to explore. Guests can spend the day snorkeling or sailing off the hotel’s shore, relaxing by the pool, or unwinding with a massage. If you want to visit Salomon Beach, just follow the road along the water from the hotel, which brings hikers to the Lind Point Trail path to the beach. From $429/night, caneelbay.com
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Rio is famous for its lively beaches, and our favorite among them is Ipanema for its party-like atmosphere and jaw-dropping view of the Morro Dois Irmãos. Ask a beach attendant to set up a chair and an umbrella, then enjoy the show—you’ll see locals and tourists playing beach soccer, enjoying a few cold beers and signaling down vendors selling everything from bikinis to chilled coconuts. At sunset time, everyone pauses their activities to watch, applauding as the last rays of light disappear behind the hills.
Where to Stay: The Philippe Starck-designed Hotel Fasano is one of the city’s hottest places to stay thanks to its prime location just across Avenida Vieira Souto from Ipanema Beach, haute Italian cuisine at Fasano al Mare restaurant and its stunning rooftop pool and bar, with sweeping views of the coastline. All guest rooms have balconies and marble bathrooms stocked with Ipanema flip-flops by Oskar Metsavaht. Guests have access to the hotel’s exclusive beach stand on Ipanema, which provides lounge chairs, umbrellas, bottled water and magazines, and the concierge can also arrange for surfboard or bike rentals. From $820/night; fasano.com.br