Real luxury is all about exclusivity. In hospitality, that translates to offering travellers a stellar experience with personalised touches, comfort, and amenities that surpass expectations. Add to the mix a stunning natural location, breathtaking sea and ocean views, private beaches, unprecedented levels of privacy, and attention to detail, and you’ll get a better understanding of what you can expect in each of the 10 luxury coastal vacations on our list. By Dobrina Zhekova
From classic locales that stand the test of time to emerging spots that are carving out a reputation for pampering their clientele, these waterfront vacation destinations will make you feel like royalty.
These are the best destinations for a luxury coastal vacation
Monte Carlo, Monaco
Few destinations rival Monte Carlo when it comes to opulence, exclusivity, and excessiveness. With its world-famous casino, five-star hotels, Michelin-starred restaurants, picture-perfect Mediterranean views, marina, and designer boutiques, it’s the go-to place for the one percent seeking extravagant amenities and world-class service.
Case in point: The Diamond Suite Prince Rainier III at the iconic Hôtel de Paris boasts 9,000 square feet of sophistication, including nearly 4,000 square feet of private exterior spaces, where a heated infinity pool commands what may be the best Mediterranean view in all of Monaco.
Another unexpected bonus? The 45,000 euros-a-night (approx. USD 48,000) suite’s décor features personal objects and memorabilia of Monaco’s royal family.
And if you’d rather sail into Monte Carlo, its famous marina is equipped with 26 superyacht berths, which cost anywhere between 1,351 euros per day (approx. USD 1,400) and up to 74,933 euros per day during the famous Formula 1 Grand Prix car race.
Peninsula Papagayo, Costa Rica
Another destination for luxury coastal vacation, Costa Rica may be known for its rugged landscape, yoga retreats, and biodiversity, but when well-heeled travellers want to experience its untouched beauty without sacrificing luxury amenities, they head to Peninsula Papagayo. Nestled on Costa Rica’s lush North Pacific Coast in the province of Guanacaste, this 1,400-acre coastal community is an upscale hideaway offering access to miles of uncrowded beaches, the country’s most exclusive real estate, a 180-berth marina, a beach club, and one of the most spectacular golf courses in the world, the Arnold Palmer-designed Four Seasons golf course, located in the storied resort. Peninsula Papagayo is also home to Andaz, along with a growing number of branded luxury residences and private villas with resort-style amenities.
In November, the coastal community will also add a new wilderness outpost inside the spectacular Palmares Preserve that will feature a series of hanging bridges, challenge courses, zip lines, and more than 12 miles (19 km) of hiking and mountain biking trails, available exclusively for Peninsula Papagayo residents and resort guests. The same month, the Four Seasons resort will welcome guests to its new six-bedroom residence (USD 30,000 per night), with a stunning 150-foot swimming pool and breathtaking beach and jungle views.
Dubbed the “St. Tropez of Turkey,” Bodrum has a very distinct character of its own, but the level of luxury it offers can easily rival that of its famous French counterpart.
Located in southwestern Turkey and overlooking the turquoise waters of both the Aegean and Mediterranean seas, Bodrum is steeped in history and stunning nature — and a number of world-class luxury resorts such as the Mandarin Oriental, Edition, Le Méridien, Six Senses, and Jumeirah have found that particularly attractive and fitting of their clientele.
Celebrities and royalty love Bodrum because it treats them to some of the best Mediterranean views and five-star amenities, including private helipads and marinas (Yalıkavak Marina won the World’s Best Superyacht Marina award in 2018-2019 and 2020-2021), world-class shopping (this summer, Hermes, Chanel, and Missoni will set up shop at the Mandarin Oriental), spas with hammam rooms in a league of their own, private beaches, and top-notch nightclubs.
Côte d’Azur, France
This sun-drenched, lavender-filled region of southeast France, which stretches between St. Tropez and Menton, started drawing the Old Continent’s aristocracy who were seeking a respite from the cold, rain, and cloudy skies of the north in the 19th century. Celebrities and dignitaries from all walks of life followed suit, transforming its then-quiet and unassuming fishing villages into glitzy seaside resorts filled with sprawling villas, grand hotels, private beach clubs, and Michelin-starred restaurants.
Today, one of those hotels, the iconic Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc in Antibes, is practically a household name and the place to be if you’re part of the world elite. Villa Sainte-Anne, the hotel’s newest hideaway, opened its doors this summer with postcard-worthy views of the Mediterranean, a swimming pool, a sauna, a gym, and exclusive access to the resort’s own Aquariva Super boat. The USD 14,000-a-night rate includes a butler, chauffeur, and reserved cabana at the hotel’s beach club.
Amalfi Coast, Italy
Few regions are as instantly recognisable as the Amalfi Coast without being home to any one particular landmark or monument. Its dramatic cliffside towns, bougainvillaea-covered residences, fragrant lemon groves, and dreamy beaches fronted by the azure waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea look like they belong in a fairy tale. So, no wonder this spectacular region and its palaces became the go-to vacation spot for British nobility in the early 20th century, and since then, has exploded in popularity with the jet-set crowd.
Today, as soon as temperatures start rising, its waters fill up with private yachts (Marina Coppola’s Porto di Amalfi is one of the best superyacht marinas in Europe), and the ancient streets of its villages become abuzz with CEOs, Hollywood A-listers, and royalty. The Amalfi Coast is home to a roster of ultra-luxe hotels, including the iconic Caruso, A Belmond Hotel, housed in a spectacular 11th-century palazzo, where a room in June will cost you upwards of USD 5,000 (INR 4,11,220) per night and includes a two-hour morning boat ride along the coastline. This year, the Amalfi Coast welcomed another luxury property — the spectacular Borgo Santandrea, which is built into the cliffs overlooking the village of Conca dei Marini. Here, guests get access to a private beach, along with breathtaking sea vistas from the comfort of their pool suites.
Hamptons, New York
Another favourite location for a luxury coastal vacation, the East End of Long Island has been a magnet for New York‘s finest seeking tranquillity, beautiful beaches, world-class wineries, and a vibrant cultural scene for decades. The charming historic towns once inhabited by farmers and fishermen are now some of the country’s most exclusive zip codes, where politicians, celebrities, and financiers gather every summer. East Hampton’s streets are lined with boutiques like Cartier, Prada, Chanel, and Valentino. And trendy eateries such as Tutto Il Giorno and 75 Main in Southampton, and Le Bilboquet in Sag Harbor are booked weeks in advance. Getting here is usually by way of a helicopter or private plane, and if you don’t own an oceanfront mansion here, you can always stay at one of the sophisticated boutique hotels, like Marram Montauk, The Roundtree in Amagansett, Baron’s Cove, or Shou Sugi Ban House, the area’s first wellness retreat.
Palm Jumeirah, Dubai
Even by Dubai standards — and let’s be honest, they are of stratospheric dimension — The Palm is an incredible feat of human ingenuity that is now home to some of the most exclusive resorts and real estate in the world.
Visitors to this man-made island can enjoy breathtaking views of the Arabian Gulf and the ever-changing Dubai skyline, along with some pretty over-the-top amenities. One&Only The Palm, for example, is located on a private peninsula and has its own marina, an enormous 9,149-square-foot temperature-controlled swimming pool flanked by palms, air-conditioned cabanas, and alcoves. Another resort, the beachfront Kempinski Hotel & Residences, which sits on the west crescent of Palm Jumeirah, features 24-karat gold ceilings, 6,400 chandeliers (including one in the grand lobby that’s comprised of 40,000 Swarovski crystals), several private rooftop pools, a spa with 23 treatment rooms, and Dubai’s largest indoor pool.
Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia
This secluded stretch of land surrounded by Australia’s Great Barrier Reef has to be seen to be believed. As the only island resort in this part of the world, Lizard Island has welcomed celebrities seeking privacy and natural beauty. With only 40 rooms and villas and two dozen private white-sand beaches that treat travellers to a snorkelling experience unlike anywhere else in the world, Lizard Island is the pinnacle of exclusivity.
And the resort’s newest accommodation, which opened earlier this year, is in a luxury league of its own. For a cool USD 10,000 (INR 8,22,440) a night, The House offers a three-bedroom, three-bathroom beachfront residence featuring a rooftop with daybeds, an infinity pool overlooking one of three private beaches, a guest house, and a dedicated staff, including a chef. Exclusive use of the resort’s Searanger boat, evening cruises, and daily spa treatments are also included when you book The House for a minimum of three nights.
This French Polynesian island surrounded by a fairy-tale lagoon conjures images of elegant overwater villas and beautiful white-sand beaches set against lush, tropical scenery and Mount Otemanu’s unmistakable silhouette.
The list of five-star resorts here reads like a who’s who of luxury hospitality: the Four Seasons, St. Regis, InterContinental, and Le Méridien. But if you’re looking for unique and exclusive amenities, the Conrad Bora Bora is unrivalled. This year, the resort added a new floating helipad in the middle of the Bora Bora lagoon. It’s the only resort in the area with access to a breathtaking private island that Conrad guests can rent for special events or simply to relax.
Almost a decade after it opened its doors, Fogo island Inn remains one of the most exclusive destinations in the world. This remote property, located on an “island off an island” in Canada’s Newfoundland, might not fit some people’s definition of a luxury destination — after all, it doesn’t have white-sand beaches or swaying palms — but that’s exactly what makes it so special. Perched on stilts on the “farthest edge of the Earth” overlooking the mighty waters of the North Atlantic, the award-winning Fogo Island Inn has 29 one-of-a-kind modern rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows offering spectacular vistas and an experience unlike any other (iceberg tours and whale-watching are a must).
And while the property’s guest rooms and suites are quite a sight to behold (with rates starting at USD 1,875 or INR 1,54,207), the most legendary space is its dining room, which features vaulted ceilings, oversized windows, and wildflower-inspired chandeliers. The seasonal menu, curated by chef Timothy Charles, is an ode to the hotel’s surrounding landscape, focusing on plants and seafood found exclusively on and around the area.
This story first appeared on www.travelandleisure.com
Main and Feature Image Credit: Marco Bottigelli/Getty Images