From Australia to the Caribbean, there’s no shortage of beautiful beachfront hotels around the world to choose from.
But some are, quite simply, more beautiful than others.
Whether you’re after a glitzy, all-inclusive resort or a low-key island hideaway, we’ve picked 21 of the world’s most stunning.
Soneva Kiri (Koh Kood, Thailand)
Situated on the island of Koh Kood — just off the coast of Bangkok — Soneva Kiri is one of Thailand’s most luxurious and exclusive beachfront escapes.
The resort, wedged between the jungle and the ocean, features just 36 thatched villas made out of sustainably sourced wood and recycled materials.
Each villa has its own private infinity pool, sundeck and a lavish indoor-outdoor bathroom.
The resort’s pièce de résistance? Its jungle-enshrouded Cinema Paradiso, an open-air movie theater set above a lagoon that screens films nightly.
Le Guanahani (Saint-Barthélemy)
Fresh from a four-year, $40 million renovation, this classic St. Barth resort — located on its own private peninsula — is more beautiful and extravagant than ever.
Its newly revamped guest cottages are painted in bright shades of turquoise and buttercup yellow, and feature plush, modern colonial furnishings.
All rooms have spacious terraces and many feature their own swimming pool and private tropical garden.
Property highlights include two pools, two white sand beaches and a reef-protected lagoon.
Hotel Fasano (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
Located at the tip of Rio’s legendary Ipanema Beach, Hotel Fasano has views that alone are worth the trip.
From its luxurious rooftop infinity pool, guests can admire the entire expanse of Ipanema and the distinctive Morro Dois Irmaos and Corcovado mountains.
The hotel itself is as impressive as its location: it was co-designed by Philippe Starck and blends a contemporary aesthetic with quirky retro touches.
Its 79 rooms and 10 suites follow suit, mixing the ultramodern with the eclectic (think ear-shaped mirrors and colorful Sergio Rodrigues loungers).
Hotel du Palais (Biarritz, France)
Napoleon III built this lavish venue in France’s glitzy Atlantic resort town as a gift for his wife Eugénie in 1855.
It still channels the same Old World grandeur it did back then with its seemingly endless marble, crystal chandeliers and plush décor.
Its 153 rooms and suites are similarly sumptuous, crammed with antiques and richly embroidered fabrics.
But the best thing about the property is its location, perched above the windswept Grande Plage — steps from not one but two beautiful beaches.
Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore (California)
Set upon a secluded stretch of the Santa Barbara coastline — AKA the American Riviera — this classic resort is the ultimate beachfront hideaway.
Its Spanish Colonial bungalows are hidden amidst a sprawling 22-acre garden oasis, filled with 2,000 species of tropical plants and palms.
Original Spanish artwork, hand-painted Andalusian tiles and handcrafted walnut furnishings can be found throughout the resort.
Property highlights include a palm tree-flanked garden pool and the adjacent Coral Casino Beach Club — an infamous Hollywood hangout accessible only to select room categories.
Designed by famed luxury hotel architect Bill Bensley, this beachfront resort dazzles from the outset: its temple-inspired villas cascade dramatically down a lush mountainside into the ocean.
Its 197 rooms and suites are just as striking — even entry-level suites are outfitted with sprawling terraces and spa-like bathrooms with ocean-facing tubs.
Everything in the resort begs to be photographed, from the eclectic dining areas (at Citron restaurant, guests can dine in a cone suspended over the mountain) to the palm-fringed white sand beach.
But most Instagram-worthy of all is the resort’s Long Pool: an adults-only infinity pool overlooking the entire resort and Son Tra Peninsula.
W Barcelona (Barcelona, Spain)
It doesn’t get much cooler than this towering, shimmering, sail-shaped hotel.
Designed by world-renowned architect Ricardo Bofill, Barcelona’s most distinctive hotel is as sleek and as chic as its ultra hip, A-list clientele.
Its 437 rooms and suites are decorated in shades of pale gold and turquoise, designed to reflect the sea and sand.
Not that guests will need to be reminded what the sea and sand look like: the hotel sits right on the water’s edge and is the only hotel in Barcelona to offer guests direct beach access.
Rockhouse Hotel (Negril, Jamaica)
Negril isn’t a typical beach destination: the beaches here are rocky rather than sandy, and jut out dramatically into the turquoise ocean.
But they do make a spectacular backdrop for this unique boutique hotel, which sits amid shoreline jungle by the sea on Negril’s West End.
Its 20 thatched-roof villas, made entirely out of stone and timber, have private sunbathing decks perched directly over water.
Guests are unlikely to miss the sand, but just in case, the silky shores of Seven Mile Beach are just a few minutes away.
The St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort (Rio Grande, Puerto Rico)
The luxury hotel brand clearly went for the “go big or go home” approach when building its first Caribbean property.
The resort — sprawled across a whopping 483 acres near El Yunque National Forest — has its own private beach, bird sanctuary and 18-hole oceanfront golf course.
There’s also a Jean-Georges Vongerichten restaurant on site and one of the world’s best spas.
Rooms, not surprisingly, are also large and impressive, with soaring wood-beamed ceilings and enormous beach-facing terraces.
El Nido Pangulasian Island (Palawan, Philippines)
This private island resort is the most luxurious of El Nido Resorts’ four Palawan archipelago properties.
Its 42 palm-thatched villas are sprawled along a white sand cove facing the emerald waters of Bacuit Bay in the South China Sea.
Villas are decked out in modern Filipino decor — coffee-colored textiles, rattan furniture and local art — and boast large private balconies.
Property highlights include a sleek oceanfront infinity pool (though many villas have their own) and a thatched-roof spa with an open-air relaxation lounge.