Escapism looks a little different for everyone, but we can all agree that a reasonable price tag spells relaxation almost as much as a hammock and a cold one. So we've rounded up our favorite affordable beach resorts worldwide, each checking in between $50 and $250 per night.
After all, a beach vacation isn't rocket science. The three key ingredients are simple: sun, sand, surf. It's not all about the tanning butlers or 12-course molecular gastronomy tasting menus or the flat-screen pool-cabana entertainment systems. And it certainly isn't about watching your bank account wash out to sea.
Luxe-mod Peruvian surf breaks? Nouveau preppy Kennebunkport, Maine? Avant garde architecture in Norway? Yup, we've got those too. So go ahead and dive in. The forecast is sunny for this choose-your-own-resort adventure.
With the emerald hills of Scotland at its back and the turquoise sea at its front, this serene five-room cottage hotel on the Isle of Lewis draws hikers, sailors, surfers, and divers. Reclaimed merbau hardwoods and bath products of local lavender and Hebridean seaweed bring the outside in. Guests gather by the lounge’s wood-burning fireplace or recap the day’s adventures over fig and walnut pudding at dinner. Cost: From $175. Don’t Miss: Take an early morning stroll on one of the 20 nearby beaches and try to spot the area’s playful sea otters. See More Affordable Beach Resorts Photo: Courtesy of Auberge Carnish
Free iPad rentals, white-on-white leather furnishings, cute naming conventions (B Active gym, B Nourished restaurant)—sound familiar? If it weren’t for the rates, you could mistake this hotel for a pricer single-letter chain (cough, W, cough). But we love how the 240-room B Ocean does affordable without nickel-and-diming guests. Wi-Fi is free, ocean views are standard, and spa services are a bargain. Cost: From $189. Don’t Miss: The self-serve Enomatic wine machine lets guests sample their way through a number of vintages. See More Affordable Beach Resorts Photo: Courtesy of B Ocean Fort Lauderdale
You’ve heard of pop-up shops and restaurants. Now meet the pop-up hotel, developed by the Berlin-based Design Hotels brand. Papaya Playa’s 99 thatched-roof cabanas are outfitted with local textiles and hammocks and attract visiting artists, designers, and DJs. They collaborate at a beach amphitheater, spin at Mayan full moon parties, and share freshly baked bread from the clay oven. Cost: From $50 for bunk beds and a shared bathroom; from $75 for queen-bed casitas with private bathrooms. Don’t Miss: The entire hotel. It’s scheduled to be open until May 2012, with a possibility for an extension. But we wouldn’t take our chances. See More Affordable Beach Resorts Photo: Courtesy of Papaya Playa
Just 10 minutes from Punta Cana airport on the new 33,000-acre Cap Cana development, this hotel is the ideal family getaway. You can swim right out of many of the 299 Mediterranean-style villas, which all have kitchens, sofa beds, and either a balcony or patio. Horseback riding, paintball, sailing, fishing, and the Jack Nicklaus–designed Punta Espada Golf Course are in easy reach. Cost: From $198. Don’t Miss: There’s no direct beach access because the lodge is situated around a marina. The upside is that you get to take a fun, two-minute boat ride to reach a private stretch of sand. See More Affordable Beach Resorts Photo: Courtesy of Salamander Hotels
Although it’s situated in a gated luxury community of golf courses and vacation homes, there’s an untouched beauty to the surrounding nature trails and mangrove forests. That means guests at Magdalena Grand Beach Resort enjoy the thrills of back-to-nature adventure combined with the perks of a large resort development. All 178 rooms have marble baths, high-def flat screens, and ocean-view balconies. Cost: From $210. Don’t Miss: Little ones can learn about Tobago’s leatherback, hawskbill, and green turtles at the complimentary Kids Club, while parents score downtime at the adults-only pool. See More Affordable Beach Resorts Photo: Courtesy of Magdalena Grand Beach Resort
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