If you’re in search of a sandy paradise filled with luxurious amenities and views to die for (and come on, who isn’t?), look no further than our picks for the top five beach destinations for 2012.
Royal Island, Bahamas - This lush private island, a Cuvee Escapes destination, was once invite-only, and we’re not surprised considering its exclusivity. There are only five villas available for rent, all situated steps from the ocean and suited with 180-degree views, king size beds, and wrap-around decks. Every guest is treated as a VIP, with unlimited access to the entire 430 acre island. Resort staff is on hand to create custom itineraries and a gourmet five-star chef is onsite, offering up mouth-watering options such as toasted potato gnocchi with butter poached lobster and spicy tomato sauce. For a really fresh experience, harvest your own conchs, and Royal Island chefs will craft them into a special appetizer.
Le Maquis, Corsica - This Corsican gem is located on the Gulf of Ajaccio, hidden away in its own protected cove. Guests can bask in the sun on the hotel’s private beach or by the pool overlooking emerald and blue waters. The suites have a unique Mediterranean vibe, each different, with a sea view and terrace or a private balcony. Aptly named Horizon I, the penthouse offers sweeping views and a private terrace, perfect for sunbathing or a candlelit dinner. We hear presidents and celebrities head to Le Maquis when in need of a relaxing getaway. Photo credit - Mary Winston Nicklin.
Ariara, Calamian Islands, Philippines - Here’s another impressive private island retreat. The island welcomes up to 17 guests on an exclusive basis, promising ultimate privacy. All eight villages and cottages are situated right on the beach, with endless views of the sea, surrounding islands, and the sunset. Guests also have access to their own private chef and an expert guide to help select a personal wine cellar. Dine and drink where you choose; the island is yours to explore.
Viceroy Maldives - These luxe villas are situated over the water or on the beach, each designed for maximum privacy. Water villas have private plunge pools and immediate access to the blue lagoon. You can relax on the tiered deck or dive right into the surrounding turquoise waters. Beach villas are fitted with private gardens and outdoor showers. Over-the-water Spa Villas offer a unique setting for massage and spa treatments. For a romantic day of pampering, there's a couple’s suite awith a private wet chamber and Vichy shower. Guests also have access to the spa's steam showers, private decks and hydraulic treatment tables.
Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, Puerto Rico - It's not quite ready for visitors, but we still had to include this latest addition to the Ritz-Carlton Reserve portfolio. The resort is focused on sustainability, with an eco-adventure program that will allow travelers to explore surrounding coral reefs and tropical wetlands. Not to mention luxury accommodations, upscale cuisine, and a spa fitted with private gardens, outdoor showers and soaking tubs. This tropical getaway won’t debut until December 2012, but the resort will start accepting reservations on August 1st.