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Our Favorite Beach Resorts for a Winter Escape in 2020-2021

Nothing cures the winter doldrums like a few days of sand and sea. Whether you’re dreaming of the soft, salty breezes of the Atlantic, the aquamarine waters and pastel-hued sunsets of the Caribbean, or the lush terrain of somewhere further afield—like Belize or the Maldives—we’ve rounded up our favorite beach resorts for a winter escape in the months ahead. All of these properties are practicing Covid health-safety procedures and are well-designed for social distancing—and they are located in destinations that are currently open to Americans. 

Contact Indagare or your Trip Designer for assistance planning a beach resort vacation. Our team can match you with the accommodations and activities that are right for you and provide information on coronavirus travel safety, destinations that are open to travel, covid-19 hotel policies, transportation options, private villas and charters and more. For further inspiration, explore our curated list of Indagare’s favorite destinations open to U.S. passport holders for winter vacations: Best Winter Vacations Ideas for 2020-2021.

UNITED STATES

Covid-19 Entry Requirements: Check state guidelines for travel advisories and quarantine or testing requirements. To enter Hawaii, U.S. citizens must enter their travel and health information to the Safe Travels Digital Platform and present negative test results from a NAAT Covid test taken within 72 hours of departure for Hawaii, which are only accepted from Hawaii Trusted Testing and Travel Partners. The negative test result must be uploaded onto the Safe Travels platform prior to departure and presented as a hard copy upon arrival in Hawaii. On Kauai only, as of December 2, 2020, all travelers must quarantine for 14 days upon arrival with or without a test. For the latest updates, consult the Hawaii State Department websiteThe state of Florida currently does not have any travel restrictions in place for U.S. citizens. For the latest updates, consult the Florida Department of Health website

Four Seasons Hotel at The Surf Club, Miami, Florida

Twenty minutes north of Miami Beach on a beautiful stretch of nine acres of Atlantic coastline sits the storied Four Seasons Hotel at The Surf Club, which offers the perfect blend of top-notch service and fresh, modern accommodations. The property has been around since the 1930s, when it was the holiday haunt of Elizabeth Taylor, Winston Churchill and Harvey Firestone, among others. Its latest incarnation (the hotel reopened in 2017) hits all the right notes for travelers seeking relaxation, delicious culinary options (don’t miss the Michelin-starred second outpost of Amalfi’s renowned Le Sirenuse) and lush surroundings. For guests looking for a more secluded experience, the hotel has five cabana studios with lanais, as well as their own dedicated pool. Contact us or your Trip Designer to book now.

Plus: Contact us to learn more about the newly opened White Elephant Palm Beach.

Mauna Lani, Auberge Resorts Collection, Big Island, Hawaii

As you pass through the Mauna Lani gates, the property’s sense of place is immediately juxtaposed against the surrounding natural landscape: vast collections of deep-black volcanic rock lie side-by-side a well-kept golf course, while the stunning coastline greets the hotel’s manicured entryway. The newly renovated resort has kept the bones of the original, with its 29 oceanfront acres, two golf courses, tennis courts, an indoor and outdoor spa and a year-round children’s camp, while the fresh design’s attractive interiors combine Japanese minimalism with breezy, island vibes. There is a beach, but the sand is a combination of soft sand and rocks. Once you pass the rocky entry, however, the water is pleasant and comparatively calm enough for wading or paddle boarding. Guests can also enjoy the family-friendly pool or the adults-only pool for a refreshing dip. Activities on-property are creative and cultural, ranging from sunset catamaran sails to coconut frond-weaving and rock running. The Hale I’ike Sense of Place is a Hawaiian culture immersion activity that shouldn’t be missed by anyone fascinated by cultural exploration, and the Malama Honu Turtle Program has a sustainability focus, designed to spread awareness for endangered sea turtles through education and conservation practice. Contact us or your Trip Designer to book now.

Four Seasons Hualalai, Big Island, Hawaii

The ultimate luxury resort on the Big Island, the swanky Four Seasons Resort Hualalai complex is itself a destination. All accommodations also have roomy outdoor spaces, whether it’s a patio, terrace or outdoor shower hugged in lava rock. The resort’s clever footprint snakes along the tip of the 865-acre Hualalai development—it blends beautifully into the lushly landscaped grounds, which surround the property’s different pools (with breezy, blue-and-white canvas cabanas), and 13 on-property ponds that were lovingly restored and restocked by on-site naturalist David Chai. Don’t miss King’s Pond, where some 3,000 reef fish, representing 65 species, mingle, making it a fabulous place for kids to test their snorkeling skills in a controlled environment. Contact us or your Trip Designer to book now.

Related: Indagare Exclusive – Special Seasonal Offers

CARIBBEAN

Covid-19 Entry Requirements: The Caribbean Islands that are currently open to Americans include St. Barth’s (flying via San Juan), Turks & Caicos, Antigua, the U.S. Virgin Islands, St. Vincent and the Grenadines (including Canouan and Mustique), the Bahamas, the Dominican Republic, Barbados, St. Lucia, Bermuda, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, St. Kitts, Nevis and St. Maarten. Most islands require proof of a negative Covid-19 RT-PCR test for entry, and some enforce self-quarantine for U.S. travelers at their chosen resort or villa accommodation. Consult the islands’ respective U.S. Embassy websites for specific information regarding entry and Covid-safety requirements, which vary from island to island. 

Mandarin Oriental Canouan, St. Vincent and the Grenadines

A part of the sprawling, 1,200-acre Canouan Estate, the luxe Mandarin Oriental Canouan reopened a few years ago after a massive $200 million renovation and commands the perfect location on Canouan: a quiet curve of lush hillside that looks out over the stunning, pristine sands of Godahl Beach. The 33-suite and villa property is undeniably cutting-edge and contemporary, yet its glossy newness is tastefully balanced with elegant European design. On-property amenities include a sleek infinity pool and three-tier terrace, two white-sand beaches, three restaurants (and two more at Canouan Estate), a boutique and a stunning spa that’s built into the cliff side and accessed by a funicular. Guests of the hotel also have access to all of Canouan Estate’s amenities, which include the tennis courts, Kids’ Club and Jim Fazio–designed golf course, considered one of the best in the Caribbean. Contact us or your Trip Designer to book now.

Jumby Bay, Antigua

Set on a pristine private island off the coast of Antigua, Jumby Bay is home to lavish suites, villas and estate homes, strung like precious pearls along white-sand beaches, manicured garden paths and turquoise waters. The resort underwent a multimillion-dollar renovation in 2009, and the results are splendid. Jumby Bay occupies much of the island’s west coast, where a large swimming pool, tennis courts and a beach restaurant and bar are situated. There are no cars here (guests drive around its 300 acres on one-speed bikes and golf carts), which contributes an air of timelessness and seclusion, and makes it much beloved by families. Kids feel independent and parents can relax. The water is shallow and calm, ideal for little ones. While the setting is indeed gorgeous, it’s the easygoing, friendly vibe that sets Jumby Bay apart. Contact us or your Trip Designer to book now.

COMO Parrot Cay, Turks and Caicos

COMO Parrot Cay is exclusive (located on its own cay, a 35-minute boat ride from Provo), and the resort evokes the castaway beach feel more readily associated with resorts in the Maldives or Bali. To many, this property epitomizes what drew people to Turks and Caicos in the first place. Legendary hotelier Christina Ong dreamed up COMO Parrot Cay, which opened in 1998, as a place of understated elegance, where luxury is about lounging on a muslin-draped daybed, or getting hooked on daily yoga lessons at COMO Shambhala and snacking on ultra-fresh seafood in bare feet. To really get the COMO Parrot Cay experience, it’s worth splurging on one of the freestanding beach houses or villas, as they offer more privacy, more space and direct access to the glorious sand beach that snakes around the island like a white velvet ribbon. The same minimalist aesthetic prevails in the spacious bedrooms and soaring living rooms. Most units have a wonderful screened-in patio, outdoor shower and a small plunge pool, and the freestanding beach houses come with butler service. Contact us or your Trip Designer to book now.

Eden Rock, St. Barth’s

In 1951, Rémy de Haenen, who is considered the father of St. Barth’s (and was its first mayor), bought this hilly point. He was the first person to land a plane on the island in 1945, and legend has it that he was greeted by a herd of goats. De Haenen built his home on the highest point of the outcropping, and it later became the island’s first hotel, hosting people like Baron Rothschild, David Rockefeller, Brigitte Bardot, Howard Hughes and Greta Garbo. In 1995, the hotel was sold to David and Jane Matthews, who decided to transform the neglected property from a quirky guesthouse into a 21st-century resort to rival the best in the world. With many expansions and renovations, as well as reconstructions in response to the devastation of Hurricane Irma, Eden Rock now features 37 rooms, suites and villas (with the most palatial accommodations being Villa Nina and Villa Rockstar), as well as one of the island’s best restaurants: Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s Sand Bar. Contact us or  your Trip Designer to book now.

Sugar Beach, St. Lucia

Sugar Beach is a sprawling, luxurious oceanfront resort with 59 villas, eight beachfront bungalows and 11 Sugar Mill rooms. Nestled in the valley between St. Lucia’s iconic Piton Mountains, the resort enjoys the most picturesque and historically rich piece of real estate on St. Lucia, and perhaps in all of the Caribbean. Situated at the base of the island’s volcano, this UNESCO World Heritage site features more than 100 acres of lush tropical rainforest and the only white-sand beach in the surrounding area, bordered by a National Marine Preserve just offshore. Deeply rooted in its heritage, Sugar Beach evokes a dreamy, almost spiritual atmosphere unlike anything else in the Caribbean. Contact us or your Trip Designer to book now.

Rosewood Baha Mar, Bahamas

More than 10 years in the making, the 1,000-acre, $4.2 billion Baha Mar development, which opened in 2018, is the Bahamas’ shiny new Emerald City. There is a Jack Nicklaus–designed golf course, a water park and dozens of restaurants, but the real reason to stay here is the Rosewood Baha Mar, the complex’s most luxurious property. Guests of the Rosewood are pampered in quiet seclusion from the rest of Baha Mar, which is reachable by a two-minute walk along the beach. With an elegant spa and several superb restaurants, the resort-within-a-resort benefits from all the amenities at Baha Mar; however, Rosewood guests can easily while away several days within its confines, exploring multiple pools (each surrounded by magenta flowers and peppered with overwater cabanas fit for royalty) or relaxing at the Costa restaurant, which rests on Maldives-inspired overwater villas and serves elevated Mexican cuisine and excellent margaritas. Please note: The property will reopen in February 2021. Contact us or your Trip Designer to book now.

Related: Indagare Caribbean Islands Matchmaker: The Best Caribbean Islands Open Now for Every Traveler

MEXICO

Covid-19 Entry Requirements: Mexico is open to U.S. citizens who arrive by air. Covid-testing and quarantining are not required; however, travelers may be subject to health screenings including temperature checks and testing upon arrival. Please note that there may be some restrictions on interstate travel. For the latest updates, consult the U.S. Embassy & Consulates in Mexico website.

Rosewood Mayakobá, Riviera Maya

The Rosewood Mayakobá sits within a high-end gated community that is also home to a championship golf course designed by Greg Norman. Water is the main theme here, as the restaurants, three pools and reception areas are located around a lagoon, and the 128 suites follow a network of canals bordered by mangroves. What are referred to as “suites” are, in most cases, generously sized freestanding villas built with indigenous materials such as limestone and native woods. All Rosewood Mayakobá suites come with private plunge pools and rooftop patios or a private garden. The prime rooms are those closest to the beach, as the property is sprawling. Contact us or your Trip Designer to book now.

Hotel Esencia, Riviera Maya

Hotel Esencia, which sits hidden down a dirt road and through a jungle in between Mexico’s Riviera Maya and Tulum, is a discreet, one-of-a-kind, 43-room barefoot-luxury resort—formerly the estate of an Italian duchess. The spacious rooms and suites are scattered in small whitewashed cottages throughout the jungle, each furnished simply with floor-to-ceiling doors that slide open to a terrace. Expansive bathrooms stretch outdoors as well, with private plunge pools, and some have outdoor showers. Families should book the three-bedroom villa or one of the two two-bedroom cottages, which come with their own full-size pool as well as living and dining spaces. Contact us or your Trip Designer to book now.

One&Only Palmilla, Cabo

The standout feature of One&Only Palmilla is that it offers access to one of the few swimmable beaches in Cabo—but the setting is also gorgeous: adobe Mission-style buildings on 25 lushly planted acres house 174 large, lavish guest suites, all of which overlook the sparkling Sea of Cortez and are outfitted with handmade furniture from Guadalajara. Part family-friendly enclave, part indulgent adult playground, One&Only Palmilla maintains a delicate balance between laid-back and über-chic, mostly thanks to the welcoming and caring staff. The property was built around a traditional Mexican hacienda, complete with a whitewashed chapel and bell tower dating back to 1956. Contact us or your Trip Designer to book now—and don’t miss out on our Indagare Special Offer.

Las Ventanas al Paraíso, Cabo

Las Ventanas al Paraíso, meaning “the windows to paradise,” is an iconic, romantic resort that lives up to its hype. Sleek, chic and undeniably sexy, the resort has 71 sumptuous guest suites, most of which are housed in seven three-story buildings with balconies spilling over with pink bougainvillea. All are huge (the smallest is 960 square feet) and some come with outdoor showers, private plunge pools, rooftop patios and alfresco Jacuzzis. Details throughout are exquisite and, for the most part, handmade in Mexico, including beautiful pebble-inlaid floors and headboards and wrought-iron accents. Thirteen gorgeous luxury villas have their own infinity pools, massive bathrooms with outdoor showers and floor-to-ceiling sliding glass bedroom and living room doors that can be utilized to make the entire villa open-air. The most recent addition to the villa repertoire is the Ty Warner Mansion, unveiled in June 2016, with its prime beachfront position and more than 28,000 square feet—and it includes a 328-foot-long beachfront infinity pool that wraps around the front of the property. Contact us or your Trip Designer to book now.

Cuixmala, Jalisco

The late billionaire Sir James Goldsmith bought this 25,000-acre parcel of pristine Pacific Coast just to the south of Costa Careyes and fashioned his own private reserve (complete with zebras) that is now a lavish hotel, with three unique villas and nine casitas, as well as the stunning main building, Casa Cuixmala, which offers individual hotel rooms. Emulating a Moorish castle, this improbable structure on Mexico’s rugged Pacific coast is a sight to behold. Every part of Cuixmala is so tasteful and fun, and yet so unusual and unexpected. The massive building is set on the cliffside, with a beautiful pool down on the beach, and there are endless alfresco entertainments on offer. Contact us or your Trip Designer to book now.

Related: Why Go Now: San Miguel de Allende

COSTA RICA

Covid-19 Entry Requirements: Costa Rica is currently open to all U.S. citizens who provide proof of the proper insurance to cover Covid-19 related medical treatment and quarantine lodging while in Costa Rica, as well as a completed health pass form. A negative Covid-19 test is not required. For the latest updates, consult the U.S. Embassy in Costa Rica website

Kasiiya Papagayo

Set to reopen on December 15, Kasiiya Papagayo is a one-of-a-kind luxury eco-retreat that opened in 2019 on 123 private acres of dry tropical forest in the northwestern corner of Costa Rica. Nestled between the mountains and the Pacific, the property is designed to immerse visitors in the surrounding wilderness and create a true escape from urban life. Every element of Kasiiya was crafted with the environment in mind—making it one of a very few properties that truly delivers on its sustainability promise. The seven tented suites, two restaurants and spa are barely visible among the trees, forming a secret jungle world accessible only by boat, helicopter or by driving up a steep, winding dirt road. The remoteness of the property means that guests have the jungle and two volcanic-sand beaches entirely to themselves (there are no private beaches in Costa Rica, but Kasiiya’s are so hard to access that they are rarely visited, except for a few fishermen, whose daily catch you will likely enjoy for dinner). While the main beach has beautiful views, as well as the second-best snorkeling in the region, the real gem is Portuguesa, a virgin stretch reached by an arduous hike or by boat, which can be set up for private candlelit picnic dinners and yoga sessions. Contact us or your Trip Designer to book now.

Nayara Springs

The peaceful Nayara Springs hotel sits in the shadow of the 5,000-foot-high Arenal Volcano and is set deep in the jungle canopy. While it was once the most active volcano in Costa Rica, Arenal is now a relatively quiet landmark and one of the main reasons to visit the area—and it provides a constant reminder of the contrasting beauty and power of nature. The hotel has 16 villas, each with a private garden, an outdoor shower and a terrace with a Jacuzzi (fed by natural hot springs). While the resort emanates a soothing vibe, the décor provides a punch of color and personality. Contact us or your Trip Designer to book now.

Plus: Contact us to learn more about Nayara’s newly-opened, glamping-focused sister property, Nayara Tented Camp.

Related: The Best Yachting Destinations in the Caribbean to Book Now

BELIZE

Covid-19 Entry Requirements: Belize is also currently open to all U.S. citizens. To enter, travelers must book accommodations at approved Gold Standard hotels (Indagare-preferred hotels fall in this category); download the Belize Health App and fill out the required health form no more than 72 hours prior to landing in Belize; and present proof of a negative Covid-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours of arrival in Belize. No quarantine is necessary. For the latest updates, consult the Belize Tourism Board website

Matachica

Named after a particularly elegant species of petite palm tree, Matachica has grown over the years to include 31 thatched-roof bungalows, all just steps away from the warm, calm water of the Caribbean Sea. Each bungalow features white walls, mosaic tiling and art collected from around the world. Families with older children (the minimum age requirement is 14) or couples traveling together will appreciate the 1,700 square foot, two-bedroom villa with a kitchenette that’s also available. Conveniently located just a 15-minute boat ride from San Pedro, Matachica is an elegant retreat for relaxation and indulgence. Contact us or your Trip Designer to book now.

Turtle Inn

From Francis Ford Coppola and his daughter Sofia, Turtle Inn is a Robinson Crusoe–style island hideout fit for royalty, with 19 thatched-roof, Bali-inspired villas and cottages that range from 600 to 1,500 square feet. The laid-back atmosphere is the real luxury at Turtle Inn. Craving coconut water? One of the beach attendants will scurry up a nearby palm for a coconut, hack a hole in the top and stick a straw in it for you. Guests relax in hammocks strung up between palm trees. And as you’d expect from Coppola, a celebrated winemaker as well as a celebrated moviemaker, the Italian-inspired restaurant does not disappoint and features wonderful wines from his Napa vineyard. Contact us or your Trip Designer to book now.

Related: The Benefits of Going Private

MALDIVES

Covid-19 Entry Requirements: For those willing to make the journey, the Maldives are open to American travelers. To enter, travelers must fill out and submit a Traveler Health Declaration form online, within 24 hours prior to their travel. Travelers must also present negative results from a PCR test taken no more than 96 hours prior to the scheduled time of departure from the first port of embarkation en route to the Maldives. Travelers are not required to quarantine. For the latest updates, consult the Maldives Ministry of Tourism website. 

Cheval Blanc Randheli

Wanting a tropical beach alternative for their deep-pocketed guests when they tired of too much snow in the Alps, Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy secured an island in the Noonu Atoll, which they have outfitted with 45 deluxe “maisons” planned to feel like lofts on the beach. Interior designer Jean Michel Gathy (also the visionary behind One&Only Reethi Rah) worked with the craftsmen in the LVMH stable to fashion furniture and accessories that showcase the artisan traditions behind the storied LVMH labels. The attention to detail begins as soon as guests board the Cheval Blanc seaplane for their 40-minute flights to the resort, and continues with “experience alchemists,” who focus on tailoring every holiday. The contemporary architecture of the villas makes the most of the stunning scenery with enormous glass doors and cathedral ceilings. In addition to the standard array of Maldivian water pursuits like diving, snorkeling, dolphin cruises, yacht trips and private picnics, there is a Guerlain Spa with an exclusive sun skin treatment. Contact us or your Trip Designer to book now.

One&Only Reethi Rah

The biggest island resort in the Maldives and arguably its most indulgent, One&Only Reethi Rah has been raising the bar for celebrities and loyal repeaters every year since it opened in 2005. A Rolls-Royce of a beach hotel, the One&Only lays its indulgences on thick (guests are collected from the Malé airport in a plush 55-foot yacht, complete with on-board air-conditioning and Wi-Fi, and the tone is set). Reethi Rah, which means beautiful island, encompasses 109 acres and has six kilometers of white-sand coastline and a lush, tropical interior. Guests are whisked through tunnels of tropical greenery on golf carts to their private villas, where butlers manage their stay. Among the 130 villas are 32 overwater villas and a variety of beach villas (the lowest category without a private pool and the largest with two bedrooms). They are scattered along 12 different beaches. Privacy is key here, and each villa (aside from the overwater ones) is tucked away in thick vegetation that opens to a marvelous swath of meticulously raked white-sand beach and turquoise sea. Outdoor living space around the villas include dining and lounging areas, outdoor showers as well as a hammock on the beach. Contact us or your Trip Designer to book now—and don’t miss out on our Indagare Special Offer.

Related: The Indagare Holiday Gift Guide 2020: Our Favorite Gifts for Travelers

FRENCH POLYNESIA

Covid-19 Entry Requirements: To enter the territories of French Polynesia, American travelers must register their trip on the French Polynesian registration website, within three days prior to travel, and confirmation must be presented at check-in; at this time, they must also present proof of a negative RT-PCR test taken within three days of departure at the airport. Travelers may also have to submit to health screenings at airports and other ports of entry. Travelers will be required to test again four days after arriving in French Polynesia, following the requirements designation by transit health authorities. Travelers are not required to quarantine. For the latest updates, consult the U.S. Embassy in Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Tonga, and Tuvalu website.

The Brando, French Polynesia

Marlon Brando’s private island paradise has been transformed into an eco-luxury resort, and every element of The Brando, from the sumptuous villas to the beautiful landscape and warm local staff, is top-notch. Visit, and you’ll see that the sheer natural beauty of this atoll in the South Pacific, just 33 miles from Tahiti, is enough to make a hermit out of anyone (after shooting the film Mutiny on the Bounty nearby in 1962, Marlon Brando married his Polynesian co-star, bought the atoll and spent much of the next few decades living there in relative isolation). Brando insisted that the resort preserve the atoll’s rich ecosystem and promote scientific research through a non-profit organization—and the level to which The Brando takes its sustainability is truly remarkable (it was bestowed with LEED Platinum certification in 2016). The hotel has just 35 accommodations: 30 one-bedroom villas and five two- and three-bedroom villas, all of which are located on the beach. The villas are located in two areas of the island: the sunset side of the cove, which is steps from a coral garden (great for snorkeling), and Mermaid Bay, which sits on a stretch of taupe sand (best for swimming and wading). The rooms are massive and feature handsome mid-century furniture, plunge pools and garden areas. The Brando has an all-inclusive pricing model, which, while steep at first glance, is a great value, considering rates include top-shelf alcohol, vintage wines and gourmet cuisine. Thanks to the all-inclusive system, guests have anything (and everything) available to them at no additional cost: a seamless luxury that exemplifies the overall Brando experience. Contact us or your Trip Designer to book now.

Related: Where to Go in 2021

Contact Indagare or your Trip Designer for assistance planning a beach resort vacation. Our team can match you with the accommodations and activities that are right for you and provide information on coronavirus travel safety, destinations that are open to travel, covid-19 hotel policies, transportation options, private villas and charters and more. For further inspiration, explore our curated list of Indagare’s favorite destinations open to U.S. passport holders for winter vacations: Best Winter Vacations Ideas for 2020-2021.

– Indagare on December 11, 2020

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