These Are The Beachfront Hotels You Should Escape To This Winter


I remember the moment I walked up the steep gravel hill toward Maderas Village — a boutique hotel at Playa Maderas, Nicaragua. A smiling woman was sitting on a balcony, swinging her legs like a kid hanging off the side of a tree fort. Beside her, two men, both chiseled out of wood with beards out of Kinfolk, sipped cocktails. I sensed instantly that these were the “beautiful people” Tom Wolfe wrote about in The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. Sexy, happy, tanned, flecked with salt crystals from hours spent in and out of the ocean.

“Get a drink, have a good time now, welcome to paradise,” the woman cooed from above.

Fellow electronic music lovers might recognize that line from “Since I Left You,” by the Avalanches, though the phrase itself is cribbed from a 1987 Linda Hamilton vehicle called Club Med. The point of the movie line, the song sample, and the iteration called down to me from a balcony all had the same effect: They were invitations to beachfront hedonism.

Later that night, I sat down at a communal meal and looked around the table. It was a startling array of glowing faces and perfect smiles.

“If that dude isn’t a model there’s no justice in the world,” I whispered to my cousin, referring to a Paul Newman lookalike sitting kittycorner from me.

He was. And he wasn’t the only one. For days we stayed there, steps from the sand. Surfing in the mornings, playing croquet after lunch, and watching the sun dip beneath the horizon from the shore. There were early yoga classes and late parties and even later afterparties and… this is what a good beach hotel does. It engulfs you in its distinctly beachy culture. It drowns you in its vibes.

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Sadly, Maderas Village is currently closed due to political instability in Nicaragua. But these hotels are open and waiting for you. Calling to you with their patented siren song — the lapping of waves on shore. Since “beach hotels” is impossibly broad, we limited this roundup to hotels that are on the mainland. Or an island big enough to feel mainland-y. It’s not an exact science. Enjoy!

— Steve Bramucci, Travel Editor

Tower 23: San Diego, California

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