7 New Coastal Resorts

Where to grab some beach time now
— Spring 2019

Silversands Grenada

GO MODERN ON SPICE ISLAND

BY DON NICHOLS

renada might be a bit more far-flung from the U.S. than other Caribbean islands, but once your flight lands, you’ll be beachfront in less than 15 minutes at this intimate getaway with just 52 rooms, suites, and villas. The property, which opened in December on serene Grand Anse beach, is just 4 miles from the island’s international airport. Here, tips on kicking back at this Grenadian beauty.

Cool off: When you walk through the resort’s front doors into the lobby, a jaw-dropping view instantly shifts you into chill mode — a 330-foot-long rectangular pool stretches all the way down to the beach. You’ll definitely want to spend plenty of time here.

Bask in the difference: A minimalist design gives Silversands a hipper vibe than the isle’s other luxury properties. Sleek furniture with clean lines and neutral colors creates a simple aesthetic that’s rich, sophisticated, and modern. Walls made of limestone and vertically hung oak slats complement the look. In a 1,300-square-foot one-bedroom suite, you’ll feel like you’re in an upscale, contemporary New York apartment — except floor-to-ceiling windows/doors overlook the Caribbean, not a sea of skyscrapers. A romantic touch: Sheer-white floor-to-ceiling curtains wrap around the bed with the flip of a switch. 

Go Asian: Expect the unexpected at dinner, too. The menu at the Asian-influenced Asiatique restaurant focuses on Thai flavors. Order the White Elephant cocktail, a mix of apple-flavored vodka, lemon-flavored rum, apple juice, lime juice, and a touch of vanilla. For your entree, try the Crispy Lion Fish with three homemade chili sauces. Weather permitting, dine on the outdoor terrace overlooking the pool for the fresh air and cool ocean breezes. 

Say cheers! Just off the lobby sits Puro, a handsome rum and cigar bar with nearly 100 rums, some quite rare. Enough said.

Let the rhythm get you: At some point, you’ll realize you’ve been unwittingly soothed by music playing throughout the public areas, coming from speakers in the ceilings and landscape. Thank Renaud Soufflard, the spinmeister who mixes all of Silversands’ playlists. The affable Frenchman’s on property deejaying in the beachfront casual restaurant during the winter season.

Rub elbows with the locals: Get a welcome dose of island life on walks along 2-mile-long Grand Anse. You’ll pass locally owned, no-frills restaurants and bars that you’ll want to drop into; Grenadians sunning and swimming; fishermen wading in from small boats anchored just offshore, fresh catches in hand; boys having a ball kicking soccer balls — plus spectacular sunsets on clear days. 

Sail away: With Savvy Grenada Sailing Charters, mix fun on the water with history on a 43-foot Carriacou sloop. From the early 1800s, Caribbean sailors used these types of hand-built wooden boats to travel the islands trading goods — cigarettes, rum, spices, and more. The company takes private groups of up to 20 on snorkeling and sunset cruises. sailingsavvy.com

Details: From $800. silversandsgrenada.com

Chablé Maroma

REVEL IN THE CELEBRITY TREATMENT ON MEXICO’S YUCATAN PENINSULA

BY DREW LIMSKY

ccupying a prime location on the Riviera Maya 25 miles south of Cancun International Airport, this beachfront property delivers privacy and pampering, with an undeniable selling point: Its exceptionally warm and attentive staff makes you feel like a movie star languorously hiding from the paparazzi. Offering grand but unfussy accommodations rich with creature comforts — even the (fabulously ample) bathroom boasts a daybed — the just-opened resort cultivates a discreet, boutique vibe. Here’s the lay of the handsome land.

Take the plunge: There’s a lot to admire when the staff shows you around your room, but once you’re introduced to your private outdoor plunge pool, just try focusing on anything else. Each of the 70 accommodations has one. But that’s not all: Your room comes with a second fluid feature — an outdoor shower where the water drops from a rustic slot in a thickly satisfying stream.

Savor the seafood: The menu at the poolside restaurant Kaban homes in on the Mexican fish preparations that everyone loves, from ceviches to tostadas made from your choice of tuna, shrimp, or the day’s catch. Chef Jorge Vallejo also oversees Raw Bar by Bu’ul, the rooftop terrace overlooking Maroma Beach that serves up raw and grilled clams, crab, oysters, prawns, shrimp, and more. Meanwhile, Bu’ul, the resort’s flagship venue, boasts a 300-bottle wine list.

Book a treatment: Whether you opt for the Maroma Sea Salt Scrub, the Chablé Obsidian Stone Massage, or any of the other two dozen experiences (the longest treatment, for couples, is an indulgent four hours), this is time well spent. The 17,000-square-foot spa features eight massage rooms arranged around a water sanctuary-type courtyard with a hot pool, a cold pool, and a standout therapy pool clad in petrified wood.

Hit the beach: The private 650-foot strand never feels crowded, with lots of sandy space separating the thoughtfully placed loungers and cabanas. Since an offshore reef protects the beach, the swimming is easy, and you can also kayak and paddleboard. Plus, the resort’s stunner of an infinity pool — it’s uniquely surfaced in tiles with a wavy aqua pattern — sits right on the beach.

Swim in a cenote: The Yucatan teems with exposed groundwater swimming holes. Some of the best cenotes near the resort include Dos Ojos, an especially picturesque flooded cave system; and Casa Cenote (aka Cenote Manati), known for its clear aquamarine waters. Note: no sunscreen or lotions — that’s how cenotes stay so luminous.

Details: From $650. chablemaroma.com

Islas Secas

IN PANAMA, ESCAPE TO THIS SECLUDED PRIVATE ARCHIPELAGO

BY HANNAH LOTT-SCHWARTZ

t this getaway in the Gulf of Chiriquí 20 miles off Panama’s Pacific coast, the tide fills and empties the crescent bay dramatically, creating and eliminating white-sand beaches in turn and lending the archipelago its name: the dry islands. It’s a bit of a misnomer, given that the 14 volcanic isles that make up this privately owned paradise that opened in January are drowning in riches, as you’ll discover during your stay.

Arrive (and stay) in style: Get there by private car from Enrique Malek International Airport in David to the boat dock for a private boat transfer. Then settle into one of nine casitas that accommodate up to 18 guests. The casitas are grouped into four villa sites, with each site reached by a coral-lined path where a gate opens into a lush garden and onto views of the ocean just below. Palapas with frondlike fans shade cush loungers adjacent to cool plunge pools, while casita walls are floor-to-ceiling cherry-wood shutters, eliminating the boundaries between the clean colonial elegance indoors and the tropical extravagance outside without sacrificing comfort.

Get moving: Choose from a wide array of activities, such as a rugged hike across the wilds of Isla Cavada in search of remnants from the ancient cultures that once roamed here, or a bird-watching excursion to the country’s second-largest colony of frigates at Islas Cocos. The water never gets deeper than 100 feet between here and the mainland, creating the optimal marine sanctuary for catch-and-release fishing near La Bruja rock or a morning of pristine scuba diving. Cap off the day with a Champagne picnic on Isla Pargo’s white-sand beach. 

Eat healthy: Sustainability rules here, so the culinary team plans mouthwatering menus (sans single-use plastics) around seasonal organic produce and the day’s fresh catch. Prepare for masterful spreads that lean toward expertly executed simple flavors made brighter by the bamboo pavilion under which you dine. Can’t finish your tempura-fried barracuda? The resort dehydrates all food scraps for compost and fertilizer. 

Go offshore to explore: An hour out to sea, 38 islands constitute Coiba National Park, a veritable aquatic wonderland covering more than 430,000 acres. Drop anchor at Isla Coiba, where you’ll play peekaboo with the white-headed capuchin monkeys that swing through the mangroves before heading out to Wahoo Rock for next-level snorkeling with sea turtles, white-tipped sharks, and the most vibrant coral reef colonies the ocean offers. 

Details: $1,000 per person per night (for double occupancy), three-night minimum stay. Inquire about full buyout. Daily direct flights to Panama City via Copa Airlines. 800-377-8877; islassecas.com

Katikies Mykonos

INDULGE IN SERENITY NOW ON DYNAMIC GREEK ISLE

BY AMY LAUGHINGHOUSE

uzzy bars, boutiques, and restaurants line Mykonos Town’s labyrinthine lanes on Greece’s Mykonos island in the Cyclades archipelago. But less than 3 miles from those touristy thrills on the isle’s west coast, you’ll find a whole lot of chill at this resort, which opened last June on the site of an older hotel after a complete renovation. The property positively glows, with ascending rows of brilliant white bungalows carved into a slope above the Aegean Sea. An A.Spa with a trio of two-person treatment suites — each featuring a shower and hammam — bolsters the resort’s laid-back vibe. Here, three more ways to unwind.

Let the architecture soothe your spirit: Thirty-five rooms and suites are divided into seven categories, varying from 276 to 645 square feet. Each features a terrace with either a jetted tub or a private pool, where you can gaze upon the peaceful sea. A minimalist palette prevails, with rooms painted white from floor to ceiling, white leather seating, blue leather headboards, and throw pillows and outdoor ottomans covered in a bespoke blue-and-white peacock print. High atop the hillside, a tiny blue-domed chapel provides a tranquil focal point — and an intimate wedding venue.

Soak in the poolside scene: A 10-minute walk along the coast leads to a crescent beach, but you can enjoy a unique beach experience without leaving the property, thanks to a stretch of silky sand beside a vertiginous infinity pool at the top of the resort. Dare to go bare — footed, that is — while feasting on Greek Anatolian dishes such as seafood dolma at the adjoining open-air Mikrasia Restaurant. Seltz Champagne Bar & Restaurant, serving an eclectic menu ranging from sushi rolls to Iberico pork, overlooks a second infinity pool near the resort’s entrance. Try the savory, slow-cooked beef brisket with truffles.

Go clubbing (sort of): Katikies Mykonos is part of Katikies Resorts & Club, which includes a second Mykonos hotel and five on Santorini. Guests automatically join “the club,” which offers exclusive experiences such as dining privileges in sister hotels and private boat excursions. Cast away the cares of the modern world with a day cruise, swimming in the clear azure sea beside abandoned beaches, and exploring the archaeological ruins of Delos, the legendary birthplace of Apollo.

 Details: Open seasonally May 1 to Oct. 15. From $402. katikies.com/katikiesmykonos

The Ritz-Carlton, Koh Samui

CHECK INTO THIS NEWLY MINTED RETREAT AND SEE WHY IT KEEPS THIS THAI ISLAND AHEAD OF THE LUXURY CURVE

BY CHADNER NAVARRO

pon arrival, it’s easy to see why Thailand’s Koh Samui has been nicknamed Coconut Island, with towering coconut trees as ubiquitous as sugary, blue-water beaches. Previously a coconut plantation, the Ritz-Carlton, Koh Samui, which opened last June, boasts plenty of the trees. The hilly, 58-acre property on the isle’s northeast corner references this history quite beautifully while still offering up plenty of modern amenities — all of it bundled up with charming Thai hospitality.

Spring for a villa: At this 175-key resort, it’s all about the beautifully decorated thatch-roofed villas, which come with sexy plunge pools accessed from the living room. Leave your bedroom doors open at bedtime and views of the sea will greet you as soon as first light hits. Ask for a villa located higher up on the property for added seclusion.

Pamper yourself at the spa: Tranquil and picturesque best describes the Spa Village, with its open-air massage pavilions and minimally stylish treatment rooms. As an homage to the destination’s agricultural history, many of the services feature coconut — hydrating oil for the Thai Herbal Facial and an exfoliating scrub during the Songkran Shower ritual, for example. Don’t leave without spending an hour or two in one of the cabanas next to the lap pool, exclusive to spa guests.

Build up your appetite: Of the six on-site dining venues, we favor Baan Talat, the weekly market-style pop-up for street food; and Pak Tai, a restaurant of private huts around a water feature serving sophisticated southern Thai cooking, known for its flavorful heat. At the latter, don’t miss Yum Pak Kood, a refreshingly light wild fern leaf salad tossed with prawns, roasted coconut, and red onions, and then drizzled with a spicy lime dressing. At a nightly cocktail hour at the welcome pavilion, sip coconut juice while you watch the sky turn from pink to orange to black as the sun sets.

Get active: Burn off some of your decadent meals while learning the basics of Muay Thai boxing (from how to wrap your wrists to how to maintain balance) in a dedicated ring next to the gym. Before your lesson ends, the instructor will let you practice your new moves on a boxing stand. Sunrise yoga, beach volleyball, or snorkeling with clownfish (and 50 other marine species) in the reef the resort built are less high impact but no less fun.

Head out: To see something truly spectacular, book a private sailing trip to the Mu Ko Ang Thong National Park. The jaw-dropping panorama of roughly 40 lush islands (not far off Koh Samui’s northwest coast) is what Instagram dreams are made of.

Details: From $600; 800-542-8680; ritzcarlton.com/en/hotels/koh-samui

Six Senses Fiji 

SAMPLE NIRVANA IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC

BY TERRY WARD

eauty targets all emotions at this luxury brand’s first foray in the exotic South Pacific nation of more than 300 islands. Open since last April in the Mamanuca archipelago, the property fronts a sweeping beach and sheltered lagoon buffered by a barrier reef on the southwest side of Malolo Island. Arrive via a 10-minute helicopter flight from Nadi or a 35-minute boat ride on the resort’s launch. Some hints to ensure you enjoy every minute of your stay … 

Cocoon in luxury: The 24 villas and suites are spread between a beachfront setting and a grove of palms, banyans, and frangipanis accessed via sandy trails just back from the shoreline. All have private pools and indoor/outdoor appeal enhanced by natural materials. Mahogany floors and minimalist raintree timber furnishings in the villas are sourced from reforested timber stocks. Other villa standards: private outdoor showers and separate oversize soaking tubs set in a lush nook off the interior bathroom. The nine lavish private residences (ranging from two to five bedrooms) available to guests also have private pools plus spacious outdoor decks.

Sip a living cocktail: Minimal-guilt menu offerings are a Six Senses forte, and the Fiji property specializes in cocktails made with fresh island produce and homemade probiotics and tonics.

Stay active: No way to get bored here. Diverse programming ranges from woodcarving lessons with a Fijian master artisan and aerial yoga to private scuba diving and surf expeditions. Sign up at Tropicsurf, the on-site luxury surf operator, for lessons in the calm lagoon. Progress to riding (or at least ogling!) some of the world’s most legendary surf breaks, including Cloudbreak, within a short boat ride. If you like snorkeling, Fiji’s coral reefs are like nowhere else, with neon-colored hard and soft corals and clouds of tropical fish. Fin out right from the beach or book a boat trip to the fringing outer reef.

Or just go Zen: De-stress in the spa, hidden away in a grove of tropical plants in a dedicated “wellness village.” Hot and cold plunge pools and individual villa-style therapy rooms await.

Set sail: While in the Mamanucas, book a sailing trip with Big Blue Fiji (bigbluefiji.com) aboard a private Lagoon 440 catamaran — with fishing, wake skating, and visits to secluded sandbars among the ways to tailor your day. 

Details: From $950. sixsenses.com/resorts/fiji/destination

Viceroy Los Cabos

BASK IN SEASIDE TRANQUILITY

BY CONNOR GARRETT

long the southern tip of Mexico’s Baja California Sur, this ultramodern, pearl-white resort, which opened last May, emulates the subtle drama of the Sea of Cortez. A masterpiece of minimalist architecture by Mexico-based architect Miguel Angel Aragones, it uses open-air design to create a theatrical interplay among the warm Cabo breeze, the abundant sunshine, and deep-blue ocean, all of which inspired the resort’s sensual curves. The elegant, uninterrupted flow evokes the sensation that nothing is confined and everything, including you, is enhanced. The property originally opened in 2015 as Mar Adentro, then Viceroy closed it for renovations after buying it in November 2017.

Live the suite life: The resort boasts 192 rooms but treat yourself by booking one of its 22 suites, each of which comes with a lavish lanai, awe-inspiring ocean views, and an all-in-one technology system to dim the lights, lower the drapes, and play high-fidelity music with the touch of a button. Enjoy a leisurely room-service meal on your lanai — or simply hang out there cooling off in a jetted free-standing tub or snoozing on the daybed.

Eat organic and inventive cuisine: Five distinct culinary destinations feature food inspired by Peruvian, Spanish, and Mexican cuisine, with an emphasis on organic and locally sourced ingredients curated by the chefs. Our favorite dish: the seared Zarandeado local octopus at Casero Restaurant, with grilled lemon enhancing the smoky flavor. At both lunch and dinner, savor the tapas-style offerings at Nido Cevichería, the nestlike restaurant at the heart of the resort. For Baja fish tacos, a mezcal cocktail, or a refreshing aqua fresca, head down to Nidito, the latticed beachfront bar.

Stay fit: If you’re a fitness buff, you won’t want to skip your workouts even if you are kicking back in a relaxing Mexican haven. LA-based celebrity trainer Harley Pasternak, who has worked with Bono and Lady Gaga, designed the well-equipped 24-hour gym. For a full-body burn, use any combination of the adult jungle gym, spin bikes, and Hoist Roc-It strength equipment. The on-site fitness team also offers one-on-one personal training sessions.

Soak up the sun poolside: In the resort’s center, cool off in one of four infinity pools separated by elevated walkways. Wade in the knee-deep espejos de agua, which translates to water mirrors, ride water-bikes along the surface, or sunbathe on lounge chairs along pool edges. Gaze at the ocean and notice how the golden-sand beach curls like a contented grin from horizon to horizon as you enjoy the two deeper, but smaller infinity pools by seaside Nidito.

Appreciate the art: Carefully selected talents from around the world create custom works of art for the resort as part of “Canvas for Discovery,” an artist-in-residency program. LA-based contemporary artist Spencer Mar Guilburt was the first chosen, painting a vibrant floral mural adorning the nautiluslike walls leading down to the sea. The Viceroy team continues to curate art to perfectly complement Aragones’ minimalist vision.

Details: From $420. 888-909-4158; viceroyloscabos.com 

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