Discover Coastal hotels
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…
Built into the medina walls, Heure Bleue hotel is an oasis of luxe in laid-back, countercultural Essaouira, the one-time playground of the likes of Jimi Hendrix and Bob Marley. Dotted with carvings and draped with fabrics, seductive African Room has a spacious king-size bed and black marble ensuite, as well as a fabulous fireplace – ideal for heating up windswept Essaouira nights.
Sandwiched between the mountains and ocean, accessible by a chandelier-lit tunnel, balmy Baja Peninsula beach retreat Capella Pedregal in north-west Mexico is dedicated to pleasure. All 96 rooms in this luxe Cabo San Lucas getaway tout stellar sea views (the balcony-blessed Estrella Suite is fabulously flirty), with colourful Mexican art and plunge pools. Four swank dining venues span beach shack-chic to fine dining, including Crudo for raw fish fans. Stroll on the sand, float in the infinity pool or relax in Auriga Spa, where treatments are inspired by the lunar cycles. Yoga and candlelit massages are also yours to command.
Just-remote-enough Japamala Resort on tiny Tioman Island is the ultimate back-to-nature escape. Joined by a series of canopy-skimming walkways, the hotel's luxury treehouses and cliff-clinging chalets are secluded and serene, promising rainforest-ringed privacy and vertiginous vistas of the South China Sea.
Marbella has been the famously chic playground of old-school, look-at-me Mediterranean glamour for decades, and Marbella Club is one of the biggest reasons behind its rep. Opened by playboy Prince Alfonso von Hohenlohe in 1951, the shore-side resort (which includes a spa, beach club, golf course, botanical gardens and champagne room, naturally) still attracts the glitz-garbed international jet set and those who like to watch them at play. Although these days, a lot of the younger guests slope off to barefoot-luxe coast club Nikki Beach down the road when they’re tired of lounging on the pool terrace…
If you have new-season swimwear to show off that is best accessorised by a 19th-century Mallorcan fort (every good bikini needs battlements for a backdrop), Cap Rocat is the place to do it. High in drama, blessed with sweeping sea views and radiating exclusivity from drawbridge to turret, it’s a secluded, adults-only hideaway, where supermodels and super yachters go for superlative service and one of the sexiest poolsides on the Med.
Style International desert luxury
Setting Palm-shaped island paradise
The spectacular One&Only The Palm resort, stretched out over the Persian Gulf on Dubai’s tree-shaped Palm Island archipelago, has all the indulgent service, spa treats and impeccable dining you’d expect from a luxury UAE hotspot, topped off with superlative sea and city views.
Surrounded by jungle and sea, boutique retreat Coqui Coqui Tulum basks on Mexico’s beach-blessed, south-eastern Riviera Maya, just a hop from coast-clinging Mayan temple Tulum. Combining rusticity with sexy seclusion, the seven breezy bedrooms are soothing spaces, with tactile concrete floors, white-linen draped four-poster beds and vast, hand-moulded sunken tubs for soaking à deux. Hammocks add a local touch, as do woven lights and own-label perfumery bath products (all rooms are lovely, but the ocean-facing Master Terrace Suites have private terraces with dreamy day-beds). Watch the waves crash onto the white-sand beach; then go temple-hopping. Viva Mexico!
This rustic retreat offers the opportunity to stay in genuine Malaysian stilted wooden houses, most more than a century old, on a former coconut plantation. Surrounded by manicured greenery and centred on one of Langkawi’s most celebrated restaurants, Bon Ton Restaurant & Resort is an essential stop-off for the savvy traveller.