Surfing will finally become an official sport at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. So by our calculations, that leaves us in the neighbourhood of 1,095 days to get really good at riding the waves (or at the very least, to practice throwing a shaka without an ounce of irony). Here, we’ve rounded up the best surf hotels for a spring or summer escape. Whether you’re hoping to rep your homeland in a neoprene suit, or you just want to wipe out with a little more grace, there’s a beachside bolthole here for you. So, fire up The Endless Summer and grab a copy of Barbarian Days for the plane. Surf’s up.
Latitude 10, Costa Rica
Santa Teresa, the bohemian town where this six-bungalow beachfront hotel is set, has been called ‘the next Tulum’. But unlike Tulum, you can actually ride the swell in Santa Teresa. The area didn’t get electricity or phone lines until the mid 1990s, but surfers began showing up in the 1970s. Latitude 10, a converted private residence, made its debut in 2006, offering both experts and kooks (that’s surfer slang for newbies) a stylish place to rest their saltwater-soaked heads. Experienced boarders can hit the beach right in front of the hotel for large, hollow waves. The less experienced should head to nearby Playa Carmen, where a set of sandbars make for more manageable conditions. The hotel can arrange lessons and they’re also happy to lend you a board.
Halcyon House, Cabarita Beach, Australia
If you’re just learning to surf now, you’re not the only proof that you can teach an old dog (no offense) new tricks. Halcyon House was once a rugged surf motel that’s now been reimagined as a 21-room luxury boutique hotel. And while surf style in the sartorial sense has been admired for ages (board shorts, tropical prints, etc) this hotel may be the first example of enviable surf style in terms of interior design. Every inch of Halcyon House – from the upholstered walls to the seascape oil paintings to the varying shades of blue in fabrics, furniture and decorative pottery – looks like it’s from the dream Pinterest board of the chicest beach bum to ever paddle the pacific.
Txai Itacaré, Bahia, Brazil
Make like the Mad Dogs – the trio of Brazilian boarders that conquered some of the world’s biggest waves (Roberto Studart released a documentary about them last year) – and cut your surfing teeth in Bahia. Txai Itacaré sits on the Cocoa Coast, where the beaches are tucked into the jungle and the air literally smells like chocolate. You can soak up all that sweetness from your bungalow’s outdoor deck, after a full day of ripping on the waves right in front of the property.
The Surf Lodge, Hamptons, USA
The 60s vibe at this dreamy Montauk inn runs deeper than the rainbow mural painted on its facade. The building dates back to 1967, when East Coast water rebels flocked to nearby Ditch Plains Beach to ride the swell and blast Beach Boys tunes. Local government tried to ban surfing altogether in 1969, but the sport’s enthusiasts couldn’t be tamed. Today, times have certainly changed and even the Hamptons elite are prone to hanging ten. As for the Surf Lodge, the hotel runs a daily shuttle to Ditch Plains for those seeking waves, and there’s live rock (though not the Beach Boys) on the hotel’s deck. Additionally, you can grab a dark and stormy at the in-house bar, which is decked out in retired boards, as well as browse swimwear at the Surf Lodge shop.
The Scarlet, Cornwall, UK
The art of the post-session chill is almost as vital to surfing as wetsuits and a solid popup. The Scarlet hotel in Cornwall – which has long been a surfer’s paradise, thanks to its 300-mile stretch of sand – pays reverence to the art in more ways than one. Each room has a private outdoor space, so you can review your GoPro footage from either a courtyard terrace or a balcony. Then there’s the spa – its relaxation room has dangling, cocoon-like pods that give new meaning to ‘hanging loose’. You’ll also find a swimming pool, log-fired hot tubs and an outdoor barrel cedar sauna for additional chill factor.
Cape Weligama, Weligama, Sri Lanka
From this clifftop retreat, survey the swell and point out every tube you would’ve caught (no doubt) if you weren’t floating in the hotel’s moon-shaped infinity pool with a piña colada in hand. Of course, you will eventually want to head down to the water, which is just steps away, as Weligama’s curls are legendary. However, that doesn’t mean you need to be on Kelly Slater’s level to shred here – the sand-bottom break is ideal for beginners. The hotel can arrange lessons, as well as a post-surf massage for your water-logged muscles.