The Most Stylish Beach Hotels in the World 2019
Belmond Cap Juluca
Maundays Bay, Anguilla
It was spectacular before the storm: a strand of stark-white villas with Greco-Moorish domes and archways keeping chic company with the aquamarine shimmer of Maundays Bay. But when the eyewall of Hurricane Irma savaged and swamped Anguilla in late 2017, the damage to this star-studded sanctuary forced a reboot. And what a spectacular reboot it has been. Helmed by U.S.-based designer Lauren Rottet's studio and debuting late last year, Belmond Cap Juluca has doubled down on exterior enchantments (including the stunning new Arawak Spa and a sea-edge infinity pool tiled to Moorish perfection) and interior refinements in its 66 rooms and 42 suites, including bold new textiles in botanical hues and lush little courtyards reached via expansive baths. Rates start at $725; belmond.com.
Revered for its strand of hotels and resorts that cater to (and hide away) a platinum roster of expats and visitors from royals to rock stars, the west coast of Barbados remains one of the Caribbean's most exclusive addresses. What a joy to witness the superb refreshing over five years of one of the area's most beloved small hotels, the ever-chic Cobblers Cove. With British design studio Soane Britain transforming the great entrance hall, drawing room, and two signature suites, the new look is a pitch-perfect marriage of whitewashed rattan and hand-painted linens in pale pinks, blues, and greens. Forty suites occupy 10 cottages amid lush landscaping, while those signature suites overlook it all from the Great House. An elegant pool, blush-striped umbrellas, and the turquoise Caribbean are the perfect counterpoint. Rates start at $400; cobblerscove.com.
It's not easy to stand out in tony-bohemian Tulum, which has minted its own brand of thatched-roof luxury nests overlooking the Caribbean. But just north, on a stretch of talcum powder sand, an Italian duchess's former villa tucked among 50 acres of lush estate is the great, stylish secret of the Riviera Maya (and is featured on our cover). After purchasing the property in 2014, entertainment industry mogul Kevin Wendle partnered with French interior designer C.S. Valentin to give the main house and 43 suites a sophisticated effortlessness that keeps the feeling on premises in the friends-who-are-aristocrats variety. A winning touch is the bright, sunlit Mistura restaurant (shown here), which pops with primary colors and is home to a sea-to-table menu. Rates start at $700; hotelesencia.com.
Mandarin Oriental, Canouan
St. Vincent & The Grenadines
There's pink, and then there's pink. And no resort of late can touch the aplomb with which this opulent resort tucked away on the tiny island of Canouan (which is further tucked away in the far-flung and jet-setty archipelago of St. Vincent and the Grenadines) embraces an elegant expression of joie de vivre that comes with the hue. Taking over the former Pink Sands Club on bright-white Godahl Beach, Mandarin Oriental's first Caribbean resort opened last summer with 26 reimagined haute-luxe suites, 13 villas, and a sophisticated allure that calls like a bejeweled siren. Rates start at $1,300; mandarinoriental.com.
St. George's Grenada
Yes, it begins at that pool. Stretching from the breezy, serenely modernist lobby past pale cabanas and lounges 330 turquoise feet to the cerulean waters of Grand Anse Beach, it's a major design moment (not to mention the longest pool in the Caribbean). This minimalist magic permeates the entirety of this newly built resort that sets 43 suites and nine beachfront and hilltop villas with clean lines and restrained neutrals into the embrace of the gently sloping hillsides at its back. What better way to let this under-the-radar West Indian gem of an island dotted with fragrant spice trees, hidden waterfalls, and pale and pristine sands play the starring role it deserves? Rates start at $800; silversandsgrenada.com.
Skylark Negril Beach Resort
Eclectically vibrant, from its whitewashed concrete walls and Art Deco–style bamboo paneling to its Italian modernist outdoor furniture and midcentury-modern decor in 32 guest rooms, this sassy arrival on white-sand Seven Mile Beach is a low-key luxury getaway with a pure Jamaica color palette to match. The signage—echoing the logo of the eponymous 1960s Buick automobile—is a nod to the sun-drenched glory days of the West End while punning on the songbird of the same name and Jamaican slang for engaging in shenanigans. Other alluring shenanigans include the record-album-cover-lined Miss Lily's, a celebrated Caribbean restaurant that got its start in New York City, a complimentary cleansing foot ritual at the Skylark Spa, and a devotion to showcasing Jamaican musicians both over the speakers and in live performances. Rates start at $95; skylarknegril.com.
Santa Monica Proper Hotel
Santa Monica, California
Designer Kelly Wearstler might just be hotel design world's Midas, turning everything she touches to impeccably cool. Her latest magic is in evidence in sun-drenched Santa Monica, where she's drawn soothing neutrals and modern lines into play with circa-1928 Spanish Colonial architecture and Moorish details in the just-opened Santa Monica Proper Hotel—the first high-end luxury hotel to open in the city in nearly 20 years. The 271 guest rooms are masterworks in shape and texture, with chairs, settees, and tables playing sculptural consort to beds (positioned for maximum views out large windows) with natural-fabric headboards that arch like soft Art Deco setting suns. Rates start at $450; properhotel.com.
Laguna Beach, California
If surfers had money and cared more about design than the morning swell, this would be their ultimate hangout. Such is the promise and delivery at this superbly crafted redo of a circa 1930s motor lodge right in the surf-centric, artsy heart of Laguna Beach. Casting his eye westward from an empire of chic creations in New York City and the Hamptons, designer Robert McKinley has crafted a fresh iteration of California cool in the hotel's 22 whitewashed guest rooms with sculptural lighting, bentwood and caned furniture, vintage barware, idiosyncratic small oil paintings, and confident use of a natural-forward palette that lets the ocean out the windows do the talking. Rates start at $309; hoteljoaquin.com.
Rosewood Miramar Beach
Are we in Capri? This might be the question you ponder as you slip onto the polished wicker seats of a pale pink "Jolly," one of the three petite open-air vehicles with striped canopy roofs that shuttle guests among the 161 guest rooms of the Manor House, Lanai House, Beach House, and bungalows that compose the long-awaited new resort on the golden sands of Santa Barbara's exclusive enclave of Montecito. And indeed, the charming little conveyances (not to mention the butterfly chair–lined deck overlooking the sparkling Pacific) evoke a sophisticated Italian coastal sensibility. But under the guidance of owner Rick Caruso, there are intoxicating Southern California touches at work here, as well, including a serpentine-sided Cabana Pool that honors the work of renowned midcentury California architect Paul Williams. Imaginative indulgences, including an evening cocktail cart service at the Beach House, might even shift the question from Are we in Capri? to Are we in heaven? Rates start at $800; rosewoodmiramarbeach.com.
Casa Cook Chania
It takes guts to step outside the white-on-white motif of so many hotels in Greece, which is what makes this naturals-forward newcomer on Crete's northwest shore such a stunning arrival. With modernist lines from Greek architecture firm K-Studio in collaboration with Lambs and Lions Berlin, a village of concrete-and-timber-lined boxes creates soothing spaces in 106 guest rooms that get even more zen in the interior design and styling hands of Lambs and Lions and Annabell Kutucu. The feeling is one of shady, cool retreat from the Greek sun, rather than feeling bleached out by it—a brilliant innovation. Rates start at $318; casacook.com.
Hôtel Byblos Saint-Tropez
Mick and Bianca were married here. Cher and Elton hung out here. What more does one need to know about the eternal allure of this high-wattage hideaway on the French Riviera, except that Missoni recently redid the suite the Jaggers spent their wedding night in? (The Italian design house's pastel stripes embrace sofas, draperies, and even mirror frames in the luxurious, buoyant lair overlooking the pool.) And now, after a half century of perching over the buzzy marina, the hotel has extended its domain this spring to the sand. On famed Pampelonne Beach, the private club Byblos Beach Ramatuelle now occupies an exclusive strand with minimalist style and features a new restaurant, Cucina Byblos, overseen by chef Alain Ducasse. Rates start at $540; byblos.com.
Bikini Island & Mountain Hotel
Port de Soller, Mallorca, Spain
It's gypset time—that blend of jet-set and gypsy style—on the Mediterranean at this newly opened renovation of a circa 1969 hotel in the picturesque village of Port de Soller. Macramé has never looked better than in the hands of German designer Armin Fischer, who has lovingly channeled 1960s California magic into the interiors, anchored by furniture designed and crafted in his studio. Perhaps the coolest statement in Bikini's 114 rooms and suites is draping rugs over the TVs: Because beyond the texture on the walls, it's really about unplugging and discovering one's groove outside in the Balearic Islands sun. Rates start at $243; bikini-hotels.com.
These forever-captivating resorts and hotels are icons that set the standard year after year: