It’s been a long, cold and snowy winter and even though Punxsutawney Phil predicted an early spring, we’re still in the middle of this bitter season. If you’re sitting at your desk looking out the window at frozen piles of snow and wishing you were sitting on a beach drinking a frozen margarita instead, then we’ve got the answer for you. It’s time to ditch the cold and head for the tropics.
We’ve rounded up a list of the best beach hotels to let loose in and soak up the sun. They’re all affordable, unique and offer tons of amenities that will make you forget where you came from. Oh, and none of our picks our cookie-cutter all-inclusives.
Hotel Boca Chica, Acapulco, Mexico
Acapulco was a beach hotspot back in the ‘50s and the recently updated Hotel Boca Chica recaptures the cool vibe of that era (the hotel was featured in Elvis’s Fun in Acapulco). The 30 rooms all have a hammock and are stylishly yet minimally decorated with all-white furnishings. Hotel Boca Chica boasts six suites each with an outdoor living room and private garden. Take a dip in the amoeba-shaped pool or book a spa appointment. Late night, you can head over to the Coco Wash club or head back to your room and enjoy a 24-hour sushi menu by Executive Chef Keisuke Harada.
The Damage: $125/night for a standard room.
Rockhouse, Negril, Jamaica
Nestled among lush tropical gardens and cliffs, the Rockhouse is consistently named one of the best hotels in the Caribbean. Its location (the western most point in Jamaica) makes it the ultimate spot to watch sunsets. The rooms at Rockhouse all have private balconies or terraces and the furniture is exclusively designed for the hotel and made with local materials. Water on the property is heated with solar panels, making this an environmentally –conscious hotel. The newly-built yoga room (with ocean views, of course) is the best place to start your day. Get into deep relaxation mode at the Spa Pavilion. Try the Island Mint Tea Scrub and Herbal Wrap. The hotel offers several dining options including the Rockhouse Restaurant where award-winning executive chef Kevin Broderick gives classic Jamaican cuisine a modern twist.
The Damage: $160/night for a standard room
The Harmony Hotel, Nosara, Costa Rica
If you’re a nature lover or adventure junkie, Costa Rica is your perfect destination. Located in the coastal town of Nosara, The Harmony Hotel is right near the Playa Guiones, which has consistent year-round waves. Awaken the inner surfer in you and rent a board for less than $25 a day. The Cocos rooms have a private and secluded patio space where you can relax after a day of catching waves. The open air restaurant is casual and laid-back and serves fresh local, organic food. A great feature of The Harmony Hotel is the juice bar. Try the watermelon and cilantro or the mango, basil and orange. Light snacks like papaya salad or soba noodles are also offered at the juice bar. Immerse yourself in the pura vida (pure life) lifestyle even more by visiting the Healing Center and taking a yoga class or getting a massage.
The Damage: $220/night for a Cocos room, includes a full breakfast and one yoga class per person per stay, plus use of bicycles.
The Cove, Eleuthera, Bahamas
Eleuthera is a small island in the Bahamas with pink sand beaches and ancient coral reefs, ideal for snorkeling. Recently renovated, The Cove offers vacationers modern accommodations with a hint of island charm. You will definitely want to take advantage of the complementary snorkeling gear and spend the day oohing and ahhing over the reefs and tropical fish. Grab a couple of bicycles and explore the beautiful island before dinner. And what a dinner it will be. Although the menu changes frequently, recent items included a spicy seafood curry and a grilled New Zealand rack of lamb.
The Damage: $200/night for a garden view room.
Hotel La Catalina, Cabrera, Dominican Repubilc
Whether you want to bask in the sunlight on the beach or play golf on a world-class course, Hotel La Catalina in the Dominican Republic is your perfect destination. This intimate and family-owned hotel has 36 rooms and apartments, each with a unique view of the sparkling ocean. If you’re the active type, you’ll enjoy surfing with locals (board rentals and lessons offered for a fee). The nearby Playa Grande Golf Course was designed by architect Robert Trent Jones, Sr. and offers stunning views from every single hole. And don’t forget to fuel up with La Catalina’s famous breakfast (included in price of room). Enjoy omelets, French toast, crepes and fresh fruit.
The Damage: $85/room.