Published January 11, 2012
Getting wrapped up in winter gear was fun for the first week of the big chill. But now that the chill is migrating to your bones with a vengeance you know you want to take it all back off and have some much needed fun in the sun.
While there are many beautiful beach getaways, many don't have that special something that make it worth the trip. That’s why we've taken all the work out of it for you and handpicked six glorious beach escapes that won't just tide you over until the Spring, but will provide you with an unforgettable escape. We based our selection on beauty, accessibility and value. Some are best for families, while others are the perfect romantic escape.
Don't forget to bring extra sunscreen and your party shoes.
Xpu-Ha Beach, Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Relax at the Esencia Hotel where the pristine powder-white sand beach is semi-private and flanked only by private homes. With the brilliant blue of the Caribbean Sea, and your own private palapa or tiki hut to take in the views this beach is paradise—paradise where Corona shoots some of its famous beach ads. There are no rocks, only colorful coral just off the shore for easy snorkeling. Rates at the Esencia Hotel start at $525.
Getting there: Located about an hour south of Cancun International Airport, its an easy ride to Xpu-Ha Beach. Rent a car or ahead of time and you can save some money, or let the hotel staff sort out the details.
Palm Beach, Aruba
Guests at Hyatt Regency Aruba (rates start at $495) are steps away from one of the most sought-after beaches in the world. This year, TripAdvisor’s “Traveler’s Choice Awards” voted Aruba’s Palm Beach as the third best beach destination in the world. The island’s premier beachfront property encourages guests to take advantage of everything Palm Beach has to offer, from lounging under a hut to dining al fresco with your feet in the sand at Footprints beach restaurant, or hopping on a Catamaran at Red Sail Sports located at Hyatt Regency Aruba’s Piet’s Pier Bar where there’s always a chance to karaoke some Kokomo.
Getting there:American Airlines, Continental, Delta, United Airlines and US Airways all fly into Reina Beatrix International Airport. The flight is only 2 hours from Miami and 4 1/2 hours from New York. The hotels are very well located, but you may want to rent a car to get around by yourselves.
The BodyHoliday, St. Lucia
St. Lucia’s premiere all-inclusive resort dedicated to health and well-being, re-opened its doors in October 2011 following a $20 million renovation that touched on nearly every aspect of the property. The extensive renovation unveiled significant updates to the resort’s public spaces, wellness center and dining venues, a new infinity-edge swimming pool and boardwalk, and an expanded Watersports Center. The 154-room all-inclusive wellness resort sits directly on a private bay and is surrounded by 42 acres of lush tropical gardens. Rates start at $625.
Getting there: American, Delta, JetBlue and US Airways all fly to Hewanorra Airport. It is about a 90 minute ride to Le Sport through spectacular countryside. You can also take a helicopter for those who want to cut down the time.
La Concha, a AAA Four-Diamond property, is the quintessential San Juan beach hotel, and a nightlife destination for Puerto Rico’s “in crowd.” La Concha Beach Resort is situated on a breathtaking, sun-splashed corner of prime Caribbean beachfront in Condado, San Juan’s most elegant district and fifteen minutes or less from Old San Juan. The property has five on-site restaurants (including Perla, in the famous floating seashell), a state-of-the-art casino, and 483 guest room accommodations boasting majestic views. Celebrity fans of the property include Jennifer Lopez, Paul Walker and Zoe Saldana.
Getting there: San Juan airport is served by American Airlines (non-stop from 14 US cities), Delta, Continental, Northwest, TWA, United, and US Airways. The drive to the resort takes about 15 minutes and taxis are available 24/7 for a flat rate of $16.
Isla Verde Beach Resort, San Juan, Puerto Rico
The Isla Verde is perfect for families, couples, and groups who are looking for affordable rates, appetizing restaurants and friendly and first-class service with a local flair. Rates for this property run by Courtyard by Marriott start as low as $169 depending on when you book. Situated on the biggest and most beautiful beach in the San Juan metro area, the hotel features an adult pool, a kid’s pool and a special toddler pool; swim-up bar; beachfront hammocks; a fitness room; casino; arcade and more. Guests can take surfing and paddle boarding lessons in the pristine and warm ocean, or go jet skiing. Guests can also take part in complimentary cooking classes with Chef Nelson Rosado and complimentary salsa dance classes in the lobby and poolside.
Getting there: See above for airlines that fly into San Juan. The resort is about a mile from the airport and about a 10 minute cab ride.
Gansevoort Turks & Caicos
Located in Providenciales, Turks & Caicos Islands directly on beautiful Grace Bay Beach, Gansevoort Turks & Caicos is a modern Mediterranean-inspired boutique hotel with 91 oversized guest rooms, four stunning penthouse suites, and a central 7,000 sq. ft. palm tree canopied pool with a dining oasis and private lounging islands. Further distinguishing this property is the Exhale spa, the first in the Caribbean, complete with a beachfront yoga pavilion. Rates start at $500.
Getting there: The preferred airport for Gansevoort Turks And Caicos is Providenciales International, which is served by American Airlines, Delta, JetBlue, United and US Airways. Taxis are readily available and there is also a shuttle from the airport ($9 one-way).