Beach in reach, Bahia

We've scoured coasts, combed beaches and searched the shore in our hunt for the coolest seaside stays, where the hotels are never far from the water’s edge. Clifftop castles, beachy B&Bs and island idylls – you'll find them all here, alongside sandy resorts and Caribbean retreats. You just have to decide whether your idea of beach-bum heaven is skimming stones in Brighton, surfing in Santa Monica or scuba diving in the Seychelles…

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The boho loafer

The boho loafer

Slouch from the ramshackle, Unesco-listed main square of Trancoso to white-sand beaches where reefs form natural swimming pools: Uxua Casa in Brazil was our 2014 Best Hotel winner (and honeymoon choice of Solange Knowles).