There’s a time to be brave. To see things through. To hold the fort. And there’s a time to throw in the (beach) towel and run screaming to the airport. After this winter, no one, not one single person, will blame you for taking off for a beach vacation.
It’s the perfect time to cash in your Stash points—or rack up more. Escape to a beautiful, beachfront hotel. Soak in sun and salt water. Return, refreshed, just in time for spring. Here are some of the finest independent beach resorts from coast to coast, to the Caribbean.
Beach House, Providenciales, Turks and Caicos. A boutique hotel experience on a Caribbean beach. Just 21-rooms, this is the resort to book when you’re in a white linen and white wine frame of mind.
What we love: The neighbors. Humpback whales, dolphins, and sea turtles live just offshore, and the third largest barrier reef system in the world lies in front of the resort.
The Buccaneer, St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands. A paradisaical Caribbean resort with beachfront bungalows and more than 300 tropical acres to explore, The Buccaneer has been family-owned and operated for 67 years.
What we love: The authentic St. Croix history. The Sugar Mill dates to the early 1700s; and the hotel opened in 1922. The bartender still mixes drinks popular with the ’20s “continentals” (as off-island guests were known): try a Raising Cane, or a Jump-Up-and-Kiss-Me.
Alexandra Resort, Providenciales, Turks and Caicos. A Grace Bay resort, where you can experience every single thing there is to do at a Caribbean resort. On the sand: let beach attendants set up your chairs and umbrellas just the way you like them. On the water: stand up paddle boards, kayaks, and snorkeling equipment use is free. In the resort: tough call—swim up pool bar or spa.
What we love: No all-inclusive fees mean you eat where you want, with no giant line item on your bill at a check out.
Blue Haven Resort and Marina, Providenciales, Turks and Caicos. Choose this nautical retreat, set apart from big resort bustle, if you vant to be alone—but with the option of dropping into a really fun yacht club bar full of gregarious seafarers swapping stories.
What we love: The ocean view, interrupted only by yachts sailing past or perhaps a passing humpback whale.
The Portofino Hotel & Marina, Redondo Beach CA. Views of sailboats and the sunset and its very own, very talkative sea lion colony make this maritime hotel a favorite upscale retreat.
What we love: Cannonball Run fans (and if you haven’t seen Burt Reynolds and Farrah Fawcett at at their finest, you’re in for a treat), The Portofino’s hotel was the finish line of the race: competitors had to ring the bell on the front desk to win.
California Dreaming: 500 bonus points, 20% off Best Available Rate, and complimentary Beach Cruiser rental. Book by 3/31/2015.
Tower 23, Pacific Beach, San Diego CA. Architecture buff? Surf Betty? Both? (If yes: you’re our hero!) Tower 23’s neo-modernist glass walls glow from within at night; ceiling-fill baths and shell-white Egyptian linens make this the perfect crash pad for the haute beach bum set.
What we love: Curling up on the Tower Deck to watch the surfers come in from their last rides at sunset.
SeaCrest OceanFront Hotel, Pismo Beach CA. Miles and miles of Pacific Ocean beach, relaxed Cali Coast atmosphere, retro-modern design, and outdoor hot tubs.
What we love: Pismo Beach is one of the few California beaches where dogs can run off-leash, and SeaCrest’s pet friendly rooms have direct access to lawns and the beach.
LaPlaya Beach & Golf Resort, Naples FL. Front row seats for this ocean view come with cold towel and sorbet service. This is an intimate luxury resort set apart from the crowds, with an Old Florida feel. Take advantage of their Frostbite Relief deal: bonus points, a resort credit and more.
What we love: Gathering round the beach fire pit to roast marshmallows or for the last cocktail of the day.
Frostbite Relief Package: 500 bonus points, $50 nightly resort credit, free valet parking, daily resort fee included. Book by 4/30/2015.
Pelican Grand Beach Resort, Fort Lauderdale FL. Oceanside dining, a private sandy beach, and a veranda for end of day cocktails. Goodnight, Moon!
What we love: Pelican Grand gets kids—there’s a lazy river at the pool and an old-fashioned ice cream shop for those vacation-saving mid-afternoon sugar breaks.
Edgewater South Beach, Miami Beach FL. Pack your pooch and head to this pet friendly, Art Deco style hotel at the quiet end of Ocean Drive.
What we love: The rooftop terrace, with a pool, bar service, South Beach views, and high speed wireless. You could work from this balmy, al fresco “office” for a week, with coffee breaks on the beach and Happy Hour beginning at 6, without breaking stride.
The Shores Resort and Spa, Daytona Beach FL. In a quiet area, right on the beach, this is a great spot for kids, with a kid’s night out program and firepits on the beach every night where the whole family can hone their marshallow roasting skills.
What we love: Massages on the private, waterfront terrace.
The Island Inn at 123 West, Friday Harbor, San Juan Islands WA. Northwesterners know the secret: the San Juan Islands in winter are just cold enough to make cozying up indoors by the fire a delicious way to spend an afternoon, but not too cold for a walk along the harbor or the wild, natural shore.
What we love: Affordable penthouses with spiffy new kitchens big enough to cook for a crowd … and a surprising number of A-list restaurants within walking distance.
The Resort at Port Ludlow, Port Ludlow, Washington. Views of the Olympic Peninsula and the neighboring harbor, a totem pole—the favorite perch of a local eagle, and huge bathtubs with local, hand-crafted soaps and bath salts for a soak after a hike along the water might turn winter into your favorite Northwest season.
What we love: Northwest cuisine—organic beef and lamb, rich sauces, veggies from neighboring farms, with outstanding wine pairings from the cellar. Enjoy both by the fire, then stay and play board games in the lounge.
Linger Package: Triple points, $50 dining credit, and 10% off Spa and retail. Book by 5/20/2015.