Ventana Inn & Spa
Big Sur, California
Pretty much synonymous with coastal living, Big Sur wins over with its rocky slopes, dramatic vistas, and artsy community. Perched on a hilltop on 243 acres of wilderness, this 60-room property’s villas and cottages are scattered among redwood, oak, and bay laurel trees. Soak in the inn’s Japanese-style hot baths or have local expert Stephen Copeland guide you through the surrounding woods.
Rooms from $600.
The Lodge at Sea Island Golf Club
Saint Simons Island, Georgia
Situated between two golf courses (one par-70, the other par-72), this English-style manor-cum-lodge features oversized, antique-filled rooms with exposed beam ceilings and soaking tubs. Butlers settle guests in, while a bagpiper plays at sunset. Also of note: a 10,000-square-foot men’s locker room with full bar, poker, and pool tables. Of course, given Sea Island’s golf history, you’ll find PGA pros like Davis Love III, Lucas Glover, and Matt Kuchar training at the courses here too.
Rates from $395.
Duck, North Carolina
This 95-room Outer Banks resort, recently renovated and reopened, sits next to a 3,400-acre bird sanctuary, which might explain the double-crested cormorants, black-bellied plovers, and sharp-shinned hawks coming down the walk. Indeed, this is a nature-lover’s paradise. History buffs, meanwhile, will love the proximity to Kitty Hawk. Or simply book a massage in an outdoor gazebo, with the waves as your soundtrack.
Rooms from $299
Rugged meets refined on the western coast of Vancouver Island at this 75-room Relais & Châteaux property, perched atop a rocky promontory with plenty of pounding surf at its feet. Every single room and suite faces the ocean and features soaking tubs and fireplaces and pre-mixed cocktails in the minibar. Spa treatments incorporate seaweed that’s hand-harvested from along the island’s coast. And the food? Think locally sourced seafood and an endless list of British Columbian wines and craft beers.
Rooms from $460.
White Elephant Hotel
Along Nantucket Harbor, this waterfront hotel has been an island icon since the 1920s. These days, the 66 rooms — book a Harbor View suite — come with fireplaces, decks, and even afternoon port and cheese. It’s quintessential New England here: cobblestone lanes, old-fashioned street lamps, and lighthouses. Or book your own private yacht for the day and tour the harbor, stopping to swim with seals or picnic aboard.
Rooms from $195.
Weekapaug, Rhode Island
Coastal woods turn into dune grass and sand as you approach this serene 31-room property, which faces the inlet of Quonochontaug Pond. Reopened last fall after a $20-million facelift, the inn’s interiors are by designer and long-time local resident Nancy Taylor, who restored historic Stickley furnishings and added custom quilted bedspreads and braided rugs to round out the coastal vibe. An on-staff naturalist leads guests on guided kayak puddles, bird watching, barrier beach walks, and fly-fishing seminars.
Rates from $445.
The Tides Beach Club
This 21-room seaside inn, completely renovated two years ago, sits along three-mile Goose Rocks Beach. You’ll be able to see (and practically touch) the beach from either of the inn’s two Jonathan Adler Suites; the mod suites feature private decks, perfect for afternoon lounging and cocktails. Or borrow bikes and ride to antique shops and old-school lobster shacks like Nunan’s Lobster Hut.
Rates from $399.