Some of the world's best beach resorts drip with luxury — think cocktails and cool towels delivered to your beach chair after your 90-minute massage at the spa. Others are great for the family moments they foster, from cannonball and sandcastle contests to snorkeling excursions. Here are TripSavvy's favorite beach hotels and resorts for 2018.
Beach Hotels & Resorts
Halekulani Hotel: Honolulu, Hawaii — featured in The Best Honolulu Hotels
A place of tranquility and grace that stands beside a small strip of Waikiki Beach, Halekulani is one of the world’s most acclaimed luxury hotels. Arrive and be lulled by the soothing sound of ocean waves and the perfume of tropical flowers. Among its 453 rooms is a butler suite designed by Vera Wang. Picturesque views of Diamond Head and the Pacific Ocean, the hotel's signature Mai Tai cocktail, flourishes of ikebana, and the acclaimed SpaHalekulani's lomi lomi massage all add to the sense of place.
Through November 5, Joni Sternbach's surfing tintypes are on display in the Halekulani Gallery. –Susan Breslow
Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino: Aruba — featured in The Best Hotels & Resorts in Aruba
Perfect for multi-generational groups — or simply friends traveling together with varied interests — this 411-room resort hugging Palm Beach boasts multiple pools (including the adults-only H20asis), a casino, Mandara Spa (with 12 Balinese-style treatment rooms) and eight spots to eat (from the romantic seafood-focused Atardi, right on the sand; to scoops of indulgent gelato at Gelato & Co.). Located in Oranjestad — the cultural and business hub of Aruba — it’s a quick 20-minute drive from the island's airport.
Rooms flaunt beach-chic blue-and-white décor and many offer ocean views. Three of the room categories are family-friendly, with sofa beds to help younger travelers spread out. –Kristine Hansen
The Kahala Hotel & Resort: Honolulu, Hawaii — featured in The Best Honolulu Hotels
This hotel has been a favorite of royals, presidents and celebrities, which has earned it the nickname Ka-hollywood. The Kahala Hotel & Resort is just 10 minutes away from bustling Waikiki, a popular destination for surfers and shoppers. But, it’s tucked away on a private beach in one of Oahu’s more upscale neighborhoods. A standout amenity at this hotel? The natural ocean water lagoon that’s home to a family of playful Atlantic Bottlenose dolphins who make frequent cameos. One of the dolphins, Hoku, has a restaurant at the hotel named after him.
Guests here can also take surf or scuba lessons, or exercise with panoramic views overlooking the ocean. Of course to really get this Hawaiian vacation right, add the warm Pohaku stones on to a spa treatment. –Brittany Anas
Crystal Pier Hotel and Cottages: San Diego, Calif. — featured in The Best Beach Hotels in San Diego
San Diego has its fair share of beach hotels with ocean views but none are quite as charming as the Crystal Pier Hotel and Cottages in Pacific Beach. The quaint Cape Cod style studios and apartments sit out over the sand and water on a historic pier in a lively beach area. The hotel has been family-owned since 1961 and though the rooms show their age slightly, all have been updated and even feature kitchenettes and individual decks. Plus, this is the only beach hotel in San Diego where you can actually feel tide come in as the water crashes against the pier moorings beneath the rooms.
Marquis Los Cabos: Los Cabos, Mexico — featured in The Best Adults-Only Los Cabos Resorts
Guests will know they’ve arrived somewhere special when they are greeted with a cocktail and live-performance saxophonist or violinist playing in the open air lobby. Marquis Los Cabos is an adults-only, all-suite property with prime real estate on the Sea of Cortez in Cabo. Laze in a beachfront infinity pool at this all-inclusive (but luxe) resort, and you’ve got a front-row seat to spot whales passing by. One of the pools is perfectly positioned to show off Cabo’s famous sunsets. Resort guests can choose between five restaurants, ranging from fancy French fare to more casual poolside grill.
Entertainment comes in the form of salsa dancing lessons and live mariachi performances. –Brittany Anas
- The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort: Abu Dhabi, UAE – featured in The Best Hotels in Abu Dhabi
- Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve: Dorado, Puerto Rico – featured in The Best Beachfront Hotels in Puerto Rico
- JW Marriott Phuket Resort and Spa: Phuket, Thailand – featured in The Best Phuket Hotels
- St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort: Dhaalu Atoll, Maldives – featured in The Most Beautiful Maldives Hotels
- Mykonos Blanc Hotel: Mykonos, Greece – featured in The Best Mykonos Hotels
Grand Velas Riviera Maya: Riviera Maya, Mexico — featured in The Best Family Resorts on the Riviera Maya
While technically an all-inclusive, the high design and spectacular food (like molecular gastronomy at Cocina de Autor, just one of the seven culinary concepts) at this Riviera Maya resort’s lush, tropical setting could fool most guests. It’s also easy to forget that there are 492 suites here, given the level of attentive service from staff. Grand Velas Riviera Maya’s spa is among the largest in Latin America; each treatment begins with a hydrotherapy water journey that includes a clay room and color-therapy showers.
Choose from the Relaxation, Romantic Getaway (hello, private plunge pool on your terrace!) and Family Fun packages for the most personalized experience while at this property. –Kristine Hansen