Your dream of an endless summer has just become one step closer to reality. The perfect tonic for relaxation, our guide of the best beaches the world over will ensure you can enjoy the sun, sea and sand all year round and it’s just a plane journey away. With travel tips from Tamara Heber-Percy (the co-founder of Mr & Mrs Smith) get set to pack your swimsuit and dive into the most luxury beach destinations in the world.
Tamara Heber-Percy grew up between Ibiza and Shropshire, and graduated from Oxford with a degree in languages. Since the launch of Mr & Mrs Smith in 2003 the award-winning boutique hotel specialist has opened offices around the world. Heber-Percy knows the ins and outs of the best places to stay around the globe and here she shares her words of wisdom to help plan your best seaside holiday yet.
1. Gibson Beach, Hamptons, US
The weekend playground of many stylish New Yorkers, the glamorous Gibson Beach is often referred to as the St. Tropez of the States. Don’t forget to pack your Agent Provocateur towel as these sandy shores are known to attract quite a stylish set.
Check Into: The Maidstone, East Hampton
“This serene and stately, white clapboard hideaway has been renovated in a distinctive Scandinavian style. The 19-room hotel showcases Svenskt Tenn florals and audacious colour-blocking. All the bedrooms are different, and boldly styled. I love the adjoining His Majesty’s Suite and Her Royal Highness’ Suites, with fleur-de-lis wallpaper and deep claw-foot bath tubs in gold and silver; and the dramatic Edvard Munch Room – all wingbacks and old-gold walls, its bathroom outfitted in gleaming black Swedish slate.” – Tamara Heber Percy
2. Whitehaven Beach, Hamilton Island, Australia
Part of the 74 islands that make up the Whitsundays, Whitehaven Beach is a pristine, award-winning beach on Whitsunday Island. Stretching over seven kilometres and boasting a brilliant white silica sand that is amongst the purest in the world, your newly painted toenails will be in heaven sinking into the sand here.
Check Into: Qualia, Hamilton Island, Australia
“Built by Australian billionaire, winemaker and sailing enthusiast, Bob Oatley, this truly idyllic resort has a no-expense-spared feel, and all 30 acres of immaculately landscaped grounds exude class. The space was harmoniously designed by architect Chris Beckingham, and celebrates natural materials, mostly wood and stone, all meticulously detailed and finished. Inside, it’s elegantly furnished with muted organic tones and adorned with Dennis Nona’s Aboriginal-inspired artworks and interiors by Freedman Rembel using fabrics and patterns inspired by nature.” – Tamara Heber Percy
3. Maya Bay, Ko Phi Phi, Thailand
Made famous the world over after being featured on the film The Beach, Maya Bay is a stunningly beautiful bay secluded by 100-metre high cliffs. Be warned – with the sea water so bright and the sand as soft powder, don’t be surprised if you never leave.
Check Into: Zeavola, Koh Phi Phi, Thailand
“This is a favourite beach-chic retreat where you can saunter barefoot through the beach-front villas, that at first glance, little more than a scattering of dinky wooden huts. Closer up, however, it’s clear that the Thai-village enclave has been cleverly designed to mask all-mod-con luxury with a veneer of rustic island charm. All Zeavola’s villas are fashioned entirely from teak and coloured with warm amber toners and any vestiges of modern life are cunningly concealed inside traditional Thai furniture.” – Tamara Heber Percy
4. Anse Source a’Argent, La Digue, Seychelles
The spot really does have all of the stuff that dream destinations are made of: the softest of sand (which is pink), swaying palm trees, calm waters, granite boulders tumbling into the sea, tropical climes, secluded location and is part of the archipelago – 115 islands in the Indian Ocean. Run, don’t walk.
Check Into: Maia Luxury Resort & Spa, Seychelles
“Designed by American landscape artist and architect Bill Bensley, these luxurious thatched villas have a peaceful and private Balinese air. All the Indian Ocean clichés – palms rippling in the warm breeze, white sand abutting turquoise waters – are made reality here, and all you have to do is roll out your rattan sun mat in the midst of the 12 acres of coconut and mango groves and rare plant species that make up the truly enchanting gardens.” – Tamara Heber Percy
5. Matira Beach, Bora Bora, French Polynesia
Dotted with holiday-perfect bungalows sitting atop stilts across long stretches of secluded beaches, this is a truly picturesque beach spot that is a popular honeymoon destination.
Check Into: Bora Bora Pearl Beach Resort & Spa, Bora Bora
“Supermodel-beautiful, Bora Bora’s jungle-green central island is surrounded by a beyond-blue lagoon and this Polynesian escape hotel has the best seat in the house, perched on a magical motu (mini isle) at the lagoon’s edge. Choose a seductive overwater bungalow for direct access to the water, or an ultra private Garden Pool Suite, with huge boudoirs, open-air showers, and a plunge pool, deck and shaded seating area in your own walled garden.” – Tamara Heber Percy
6. Spiaggia del Principe, Sardinia, Italy
Rumour has it that this stunning crescent beach was named so because it’s the favourite spot of Prince Karim Aga Khan. We don’t really care whether that’s true or not – the combination of transparent waters, white sands and interesting rocks of this hotspot in the booming Costa Smeralda region speaks for itself.
Check Into: Petra Segreta Resort & Spa, Sardinia
“Charming and calming, this little 15-room, romantic retreat was once a hillside hamlet, and is worlds away from the jet-set glitz of the Costa Smeralda, but within easy reach of Olbia’s most crystalline waters. Surrounded by juniper bushes, white granite boulders and Holm oaks, this stylish hideaway is made up of traditional stazzi farmhouse buildings and specialises in recalibrating your body and soul with its fantastic spa and delicious Sardinian specialities.” – Tamara Heber Percy