- Share this article on Facebook
- Share this article on Twitter
- Share this article on Email
- Show additional share options
- Share this article on Print
- Share this article on Comment
- Share this article on Whatsapp
- Share this article on Linkedin
- Share this article on Reddit
- Share this article on Pinit
- Share this article on Tumblr
If you purchase an independently reviewed product or service through a link on our website, The Hollywood Reporter may receive an affiliate commission.
The holiday season is in full swing. When planning your next getaway, it’s tough to resist the appeal of turquoise waters, swaying palms and the seductive aroma of coconut-banana infused sunscreen wafting through the salty air — especially during winter
Simply vacationing adjacent to an ocean, sea or lake is rejuvenating. But there’s nothing more alluring than a prime beachfront perch, complete with ocean views and the soothing sounds of waves caressing the shore while lounging in a breezy coverup.
Whether you plan to cozy up with a book while slowly skimming your feet through the sand or hit the beckoning ocean with snorkel gear and a stand-up paddle, you’ll want to soak in the scene with an array of stylish fashion and beauty finds. And of course, the SPF!
Ahead, we’ve rounded up the top oceanfront hotels in Hawaii, Miami and Santa Barbara and the clothing, accessory and beauty items to stash in your suitcase for the ultimate in beachside bliss.
Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina
While many travelers instantly think of bustling Honolulu with its high rises, crowds and iconic Waikiki Beach at the mere mention of Oahu, it’s the serene west side of the island that offers a more pristine, peaceful ambiance and where you’ll find the coastal town of Ko Olina, which translates to “the fulfillment of joy,” and how apropos as this peaceful enclave lives up to its name in droves. Quiet and less developed, this area of the island is also home to Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina (from $945 per night; more booking options at Booking.com and Expedia) where Jessica Alba and Amy Schumer have been spotted and revered for its many blissful offerings including a prime beachfront perch on a tranquil, glistening lagoon.
From the moment you arrive at the breezy, open-air lobby filled with vintage-inspired artwork by local artist Nick Kuchar and tropical ocean breezes, the healing island vibes instantly permeate your being. Surrender to bliss inside a spacious, residential-style oceanfront guest room with Hawaiian décor and expansive views of towering palm trees and the Pacific. Traditional sliding shutter doors open to an inviting lanai where you’ll revel in the enchanting Hawaiian sunsets.
With charming pathways, hidden alcoves and tropical plants and flowers at every turn, the property oozes tranquility. There’s even a “secret beach” adjacent to the hotel where you’ll find some of the best crowd-free snorkeling complete with frequent sightings of sea turtles and tropical fish.
With its sophisticated vibe and seductive views of the Pacific Ocean, the resort’s adult pool is the pinnacle of nirvana, down to the Instagram-worthy Dr. Mai Tai’s swim-up bar (which is actually a retro VW bus), adjacent to the pool where a mixologist whips up a bevy of memorable libations. For those with littles in tow, there are two pools that cater to families along with a discreet, adults-only spa pool, and of course, the beach on the lagoon where lounge chairs, paddle boards and a highly attentive staff beckons.
Given the celestial enclave of Ko Olina is removed from the frenzy of Waikiki, there are fewer trendy restaurants in the area, but with the breadth of knockout on-property dining, any discerning gourmand will be right at home. The resort’s award-winning restaurants not only offer blissful settings with ocean or tropical plant-studded views they’re also revered for culinary brilliance. From the seafood towers and decadent “line-to-table” seafood platters at Mina’s Fish House to the whipped ricotta and lobster spaghetti at Southern Italian-inspired, Noe, and the iconic fresh lobster-flowing Sunday Brunch For All Seasons buffet at La Hiki, this is pure epicurean splendor.
When the day calls for an added dose of transcendence, head straight for the Naupaka Spa. This free-standing mecca of rejuvenation offers Hawaiian-inspired therapies including a massage in one of their Hale treatment huts, where you’ll drift off to Cloud Nine amid the meditative sounds of the neighboring swaying palms. Paradise found.
St. Regis Bal Harbour, Miami
With its electric energy, international ambiance and prime perch on the inviting Atlantic Ocean, Miami oozes tropical flair. While South Beach, the epicenter of this vibrant city, is always pumping, you can still revel in the wow factor minus the relentless crowds just a little further north. St. Regis Bal Harbour (from $999 per night; more booking options at Booking.com and Expedia) is 25 minutes away from the city’s whirlwind scene and envelops visitors in refined beachfront elegance.
From the shimmering art gallery-inspired entrance to the devastatingly opulent, cut-glass mirrored wall lobby, the property is dripping with modern decadence fit for royalty. But here the azure oceanfront scene feels more discreet and privileged. The resort, which has reportedly attracted Michelle Obama and Sofia Vergara, is situated on one of the most desirable beaches in the city and directly across the street from the swanky Bal Harbour Shops studded with such designer boutiques as Valentino, Hermès and Dior and some of the area’s coveted restaurants including Makoto and Le Zoo.
Miami is all about the soft sand beaches and warm turquoise water, and you’ll revel in this majesty from any of the over 200 contemporary guestrooms and suites, all boasting spacious glass-walled balconies and soothing ocean breezes. Revered for their suites and accompanying butler service, many of these posh residential-style retreats feature a living room, dining area, two or more balconies, modern kitchenette, two bedrooms and a vast walk-in closet. Don’t be surprised if you choose to surrender to an idyllic afternoon cozied up on one of the sun-drenched balcony loungers.
When you’re not taking in the mesmerizing views of the Atlantic from your patio, several pools and beachside experiences await. Lounge at the adults-only pool, in the luxurious confines of an oceanfront cabana, at the family pool, or stroll the sea grape-dotted beach walk.
Later, retreat to the ultimate in swank, The St. Regis Bar, where the hotel’s classic Bloody Mary and live music await. This is heaven.
Rosewood Miramar Beach, Montecito
As the only beachfront hotel in Montecito, Rosewood Miramar Beach (from $1,510 per night; more booking options at Expedia) is in a class of its own. This Shangri-La offers prime positioning too — the quaint town of Montecito, with its indigenous boutiques and restaurants, is in walking distance, while the lively energy of Santa Barbara’s harbor (where you’ll find Brophy Bros. for some of the area’s best local seafood) and bustling State Street are just a 10-minute drive away.
Upon entering the property’s elegant Manor House, you’ll feel as if you’ve stepped into a dear friend’s stately home with its regal foyer and rounded staircase. Just beyond is the sumptuous living room studded with cushy sofas along with views of the expansive verdant lawn and, of course, the ocean.
While all of the glamorously appointed guestrooms are ocean- or mountain-facing, it’s the beachfront suites that will be calling your name. With close to 1,000 square feet of living space and decked-out patios for relishing the salty air, this is the epitome of coastal nirvana.
Captivating dining options at this utopia are aplenty. Indulge in fine dining at Caruso’s (one of the most coveted reservations in town), adjacent to the beachfront suites and the echo of the crashing waves. And beginning mid-December, the restaurant will showcase its Southern Italian delicacies at sister property Rosewood Mayakoba for their “taste of the American Riviera in the Riviera Maya” winter residency where Chef Massimo Falsini’s culinary magic will entwine with local ingredients from the Yucatán.
Santa Barbara is a mecca for seafood, including the prized sea urchin. And this delicacy, along with the best of the Toyosu Fish Market in Tokyo’s Kōtō Ward, is on full display at the property’s new AMA Sushi. Lead by executive chef Kentaro Ikuta from Osaka who designed Michelin-starred omakase offerings for many years, gourmands should expect a beguiling experience down to Hokkaido Scallops and Miyazaki A5 Wagyu Ribeye grilled over Binchō-tan Charcoal. This is living.
What to Bring to Winter Beach Vacations
Now that you know where to book, all that’s necessary is gathering your vacation must-haves for oceanside lounging and evening dining. So whether you’re heading to the stylish and starry destinations above or your own favorite seaside paradise, we’ve rounded up the best items to bring and wear to the beach in the winter — see all of our top picks below.
White Linen Two-Piece Set or Coverup
Lightweight, versatile and easy to pack, an ultra-wearable button-down shirt and drawstring shorts or pants number (or a one-piece coverup) will take you from morning beach strolls to evenings out. Simply toss on a long necklace and mules and you’re ready for a dressed-up dinner.
Cleobella Gina Set
Hermoza Alamista Romper
Matthew Bruch Linen Shirtdress
Packable UPF50+ Hat
Leaders in modern, sun safe clothing, hats and accessories with UPF 50 + (Ultraviolet Protection Factor), a packable hat (like Coolibar’s “virtually indestructable” Perla silhouette and others below) is designed with an innovative polyester that looks like natural straw but is remarkably durable. In other words, you’ll be enjoying this clever number for years, as it’s easy to stuff, roll or smoosh it into your suitcase or carry-on without a second thought.
Coolibar Perla Packable UPF 50+ Wide Brim Hat
Comfy Leather Sandals
While rubber flip flops are a beachside staple, perhaps it’s time to elevate your tropical footwear game. OluKai’s soft leather sandals are designed with noticeable underfoot support, so not only are they more luxurious, they’re wildly comfortable too — you may even have a difficult time taking them off. We’re particularly fond of this feminine, double-strap style.
OluKai Kāpehe Luana Leather Beach Sandals
M. Gemi The Lorenza Tan Leather Sandals
Alo Yoga High-Waist Airlift Legging
Whether hiking, lounging or indulging in yoga, these supremely sleek leggings by Alo Yoga (worn by Jennifer Garner, Taylor Swift and Mel B.) are designed to flatter all sizes. The micro-performance double-knit, moisture-wicking Airlift fabric wears like iron so they’re a smart investment and they lift, smooth and sculpt while providing the perfect amount of stretch.
CalPak Trnk Carry-On Luggage
Arrive in style with CalPak’s vintage trunk-inspired carry-on, complete with 360-degree spinner wheels, a TSA-approved lock and a durable shell. The sleek interior features a divider with pockets and compression straps for smart, efficient packing.
Mesh Beach Bag
Spacious, machine washable and easy on the eyes, a durable beach bag easily holds all of your poolside essentials, and is even machine washable, so no need to worry about it getting splashed. As its available in a variety of vibrant colors, you can easily coordinate with your swimwear.
Kalidi Beach Mesh Tote Bag
L*Space Cinnia Bag
Miraclesuit Jena One Shoulder Swimsuit
Turn heads wherever you may be soaking up the sun in this striking asymmetrical one-piece by Miraclesuit, the alluring swimwear brand spotted on Rebel Wilson. Designed to provide a high dose of all-over body shaping, sheer panels add a touch of allure to this showstopper and the interior, unlined shelf bra delivers maximum comfort.
A Boho Maxi Dress
Boho-style maxi dresses are a year-round classic, such as Natalie Martin’s stylish silhouettes that are often spotted on Rihanna, Reese Witherspoon and Barbra Streisand. Slip into this breezy style (we’ve selected a range of options with three-quarter-length sleeves and v-necklines) any time of day — whether donning it as a coverup or indulging in freshly caught tuna Poke bowls poolside.
Meenew Women’s Maxi Bohemian Dress
HOKA Clifton 8 Running Sneakers
Spotted on everyone from Winnie Harlow and Gwyneth Paltrow to Pippa Middleton and Jennifer Garner, HOKA sneakers are revered for their undeniable, technically advanced comfort whether running, hiking, working out, or enjoying leisurely beachside strolls. Plus, their joy-inducing array of eye-catching styles and thick, cushioned foam base punch up any look.
Yonka Lait Auto-Bronzant Self-Tanning Milk
There’s nothing like gliding onto the beach with a kiss of sun and this stellar self-tanner by Yonka is a classic. An iconic French skincare brand beloved by Tracee Ellis Ross, Kerry Washington, Oprah Winfrey and Madonna (as well as no shortage of Hollywood beauty insiders), this formula delivers a golden glow while infusing the skin with a host of skin-soothing ingredients including rice oil, shea butter and vitamin E to help hydrate and protect skin against environmental damage.
Pickleball Is Life by Erin McHugh
As the immensely popular sport of pickleball continues to cast its spell across the nation (Both LeBron James and Tom Brady recently invested in Major League Pickleball teams), curl up with this joyous new book by Erin McHugh and learn all about the reportedly fastest-growing recreational sport. Pickleball courts are even popping up at resorts all over the country including at Four Seasons Oahu where they also offer classes led by pros.
Roen Kiss My Liquid Lip Balm
Infused with hydrating mango, grapeseed and coconut oils, Roen’s luscious lip gloss-meets-balm adds a natural, come-hither sheen to your kisser without an ounce of stickiness. Stash it in your trusty mesh beach bag for a nourishing indulgence throughout the day.
Prepare for compliments galore with a pair of supremely stylish sunnies that offer UVA and UVB radiation. Find some of our top picks below, from exceedingly budget-friendly to star-approved.
Related: The Best Sunglasses for Women
Stojo Classic Round Sunglasses
Prive Revaux The Hepburn Sunglasses
Lapima Lisa X Square Sunglasses
Macrene Actives Eye Cream
Sun-filled vacations require a high dose of mega-watt skincare to combat potential damage. Ageless beauties Sienna Miller and Brooke Shields head straight to dermatologist and scientist Dr. Macrene Alexiades for her collection of plant-based, immaculately clean and vegan clinical-level products housed in glass containers — Macrene Actives. Her new High Performance Eye Cream is scientifically proven to rejuvenate the eye area and help lessen the appearance of fine lines — ideal after exposure to chlorine, sea salt and sunscreen.
Aerie Scalloped One Piece Swimsuit
Kick things up a notch with this quintessential stunner from Aerie. The textured waffle fabric and scalloped edges make every moment in this one piece even more memorable.
Krigler Voyage au Paradis 56 Fragrance
With seductive notes of jasmine, sparkling bergamot, white musk, and blood orange, this “holiday-evoking” classic scent by House of Krigler (a favorite of royals and such screen goddesses as Grace Kelly and Audrey Hepburn) will instantly transport you to tropical, sun-drenched shores even upon returning home from your beachfront vacation.
Sign up for THR news straight to your inbox every day