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  • DARREN MORRIS

Top 10 most beautiful beaches in the world

Is it possible to rank the world’s best beaches? Of course not, as preferences will differ from traveller to traveller, based on amenities, accessibility, swimming & water sports options, safety, sense of place, relaxation, and scenery. Nevertheless, being well-travelled and having put my feet in the sand of numerous beaches around the globe, I hereby present you with my list of the 10 most spectacular beaches in the world.


From coral to sandy and long to enclosed, it should come as no surprise that most of these beaches are located in the world’s best beach destinations. Unfortunately, these beaches are no secret (anymore) and you will have to share their incredible beauty with many others travellers. If tranquillity is a must, you may consider swapping the beaches listed below for one of the world’s most beautiful (semi-)private hotel beaches or opt for a stay at one of the world’s most exclusive private island resorts.


Along with the beaches, I have also added the nearest hotel to whet your appetite!


10. TULUM, RIVIERA MAYA, MEXICO

What sets Tulum apart is its proximity to some of the most stunning Mayan ruins in all of Mexico: it is here that one of the world’s best cultural destinations meets one of the world’s best beaches. Tulum’s ruin is an ancient walled city sitting on a rocky cliff that overlooks a spectacular beach. With hordes of tourists visiting every day, the area is not exactly private, but the broad stretch of white sand and mesmerizing turquoise Caribbean waters more than makeup for it.

Mezzanine Hotel Tulum

A small and perfectly formed retreat steps from Tulum beach on the Riviera Maya

From the moment you’re greeted with a welcome margarita, you’ll know you’re in for the star treatment at Mezzanine. With just a handful of rooms tucked away beside a peaceful stretch of Tulum’s camera-captivating beach, the scene is set for a true boutique getaway.


At Mezzanine, luxury means having the time and space to completely relax. With so few other guests you’ll be well cared for – and drinks too day tips are always on offer. Each day starts with hot tea or coffee waiting outside your room. Enjoy it with sea views from your private terrace or the hotel deck. Spend the day in a hammock beside the pool, or stroll along the beach to the Tulum ruins. When you’re hungry, snack on zingy ceviche and quesadillas from the beach menu. Then by night, relish a full menu of authentic Thai cuisine – and a cocktail or two.



9. NAVAGIO BEACH, ZAKYNTHOS, GREECE

Navagio beach is an isolated yet strikingly beautiful sandy cove on the Greek island of Zakynthos. It is often referred to as the Shipwreck Beach because it is home to the wreck of a ship called Panagiotis that is believed to have been a smugglers ship. The area is defined by its sheer limestone cliffs, white-sand beaches, and clear blue water, which attract thousands of tourists yearly. The strip of beach is accessed only by boat, but you can see it from above if you stand on the high side of the surrounding cliffs.


Emerald Villas

Within 350 yards from Agios Nikolaos Beach, Emerald offers luxurious villas with private swimming pools enjoying panoramic views over the Ionian Sea. The stone-built villas include a fully equipped kitchen and provide free Wi-Fi throughout.


All Emerald are built on the cliffside and although Emerald Superior (Superior villa) and Emerald Classic (two-bedroom villa) are 350 yards away from Agios Nikolaos Port, the Suites and Deluxe villas are further.



8. GRACE BAY, TURKS & CAICOS


The Turks and Caicos comprise 40 islands and cays, of which Providenciales is the main tourist centre. It’s here, on the northern shore, that you’ll find Grace Bay, a 19km (12 miles) paradise-perfect mix of sugary sand and transparent water, fringed by a coral reef system with fabulous snorkelling and diving. Unfortunately, an increasing number of resorts and condo hotels have sprung up along the shore in recent years, so you may be better off these days on the more private hotel beaches of Amanyara or Parrot Cay.


Grace Bay Club

This impressive resort is located on Grace Bay Beach, on Providenciales, part of the Turks and Caicos Islands. It offers an extensive spa, 3 outdoor pools and a private beach area.


The resort features Infiniti Restaurant & Raw Bar, where guests enjoy fine dining on dishes with fresh, local ingredients, while The Grill and Krave Restaurants offer international dishes in an informal environment. There is also a pool bar and an infinity bar that stretches right to the ocean.


The stylish, air-conditioned suites at Grace Bay Club feature free Wi-Fi, a flat-screen TV, DVD player and iPod docking station. Each one has a private terrace with ocean views.




7. WHITEHAVEN BEACH, QUEENSLAND, AUSTRALIA

Whitehaven Beach is protected by the Whitsunday Islands National Park and is located in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef. Australia’s most famous beach stretches for 4,4 miles (7 km) and is washed by swirls of turquoise, blue and green water. The sand is 98% pure white silica, which gives it a brilliant, near luminescent colour. You can reach the beach via a helicopter or seaplane, or you can sail to Whitehaven Beach with one of the many yacht excursions in the area.


Hidden Cove on Hamilton Island

Set in Hamilton Island, 1.3 miles from Coral Cove Beach and less than 0.6 miles from Hamilton Island Marina, Hidden Cove on Hamilton Island offers accommodation with free WiFi, air conditioning, an outdoor swimming pool and barbecue facilities.


Each unit is fitted with a balcony, a fully equipped kitchen with a dishwasher, a seating area, a flat-screen TV, a washing machine, and a private bathroom with a shower and a hairdryer. A microwave, a fridge and an oven are also featured, as well as a kettle.


6. BAIA DO SANCHO, FERNANDO DE NORONHO, BRAZIL


Baio Do Sancho is situated on the remote island of Fernando de Noronha, an active volcanic archipelago of 21 islands in the Atlantic Ocean, located approximately 220 miles (350 km) off the coast of northeastern Brazil bay. Sparkling emerald water and soft white sands are surrounded by vegetation-covered 250 ft (75 m) cliffs. The beach can only be reached by boat or by foot on a dirt trail through a crack in a rock wall with a few dozen uneven, slippery-sandy steps. The beach is perfect for snorkelling and spotting rays.


Pousada Maravilha

With a luxurious, beach-style décor and boasting scenic sea views, the air-conditioned wooden-furnished accommodations feature a patio or balcony with a hammock. The spacious units offer a minibar and a 37" LCD TV with cable channels, while some include a Japanese-style hot tub.


Featuring free WiFi and a deck with an infinity pool and panoramic sea views, Pousada Maravilha is ideally located just 50 yards from Fernando de Noronha’s Sueste beach.


5. LONG BEACH, VANCOUVER ISLAND, CANADA


It is not only tropical beaches whose breathtaking beauty can make one speechless. The best example is Long Beach, the longest sandy beach on Canada’s Vancouver Island, which offers eye-popping scenic views and an unmatched maritime wilderness. Located within the boundaries of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve between Tofino and Ucluelet, its 10 miles (16 km) of pristine sand are backed by lush rainforests and washed by the cool pounding surf. Twenty-thousand grey whales migrate up this coast each spring and summer.


The Shoreline Tofino

Set in Tofino, within 1 mile of Tonquin Beach and 0.9 miles of Clayoquot Sound, The Shoreline Tofino offers accommodation with a garden and free WiFi throughout the property as well as free private parking for guests who drive. Featuring family rooms, this property also provides guests with a barbecue. The rooms are fitted with a balcony with views of the mountain.


At the hotel, every room includes a wardrobe, a patio with a sea view, a private bathroom, a flat-screen TV, bed linen and towels. The units at The Shoreline Tofino come with a seating area.



4. MAYA BAY, KOH PHI PHI, THAILAND

Maya Bay is a stunningly beautiful, sheltered bay on Thailand’s Koh Phi Phi. With a ring of white sand surrounded by mangroves and towering limestone walls blanketed by dense foliage, it’s easy to see why director Danny Boyle chose this beach for cult-favorite The Beach, starring Leonardo DiCaprio. The main beach within the bay is around 200 m (650 ft) long and features silky soft white sand, with underwater colorful coral and exotic fish in exceptionally clear water.


Phi Phi The Beach Resort

Offering hillside accommodation with beautiful ocean views, Phi Phi The Beach Resort- SHA Certified is located on Phi Phi Island’s Long Beach. It features snorkelling and kayaking facilities, and an outdoor pool.


Phi Phi The Beach Resort- SHA Certified is a 2-hour 30-minute journey from Phuket and Krabi Airports. The trip includes land and sea transfers.


Featuring teak wood furnishings and private balconies, rooms at The Beach Resort Phi Phi come with satellite TV and tea/coffee making facilities. Private bathrooms provide hot and cold water.


3. CAMPS BAY, CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA


Cape Town tops my list of the world’s most beautiful cities, not least because of the magnificent beaches on its doorstep. Camps Bay is not only Cape Town’s most popular beach, but also the only urban beach to make it into my top 10 list. Boasting blinding white sand set against the majestic backdrop of the Twelve Apostles Mountain Range and Table Mountain, Camps Bay’s water is a bit cold, due to the currents in the Atlantic Ocean, but that will not distract you from the amazing surrounding scenery and world-famous sunsets.


The Marly

With the Twelve Apostles Mountain Range as a majestic backdrop, The Marly boasts panoramic views of Camps Bay Beach and the ocean. It features stylish suites and a pool-terrace bar.


Each of the spacious suites offers uninterrupted sea or mountain views. They are equipped with a flat-screen TV, iPod docking station, DVD and CD player and an Illy coffee machine. The modern bathrooms are fitted with a large bath and rain shower. The Deluxe and Superior Suites boast an additional outdoor shower on the balcony.


2. POLIHALE BEACH, HAWAII, USA

Polihale is hands-down the Hawaiian archipelago’s most breathtakingly beautiful beach. This seemingly deserted 11 km (7 mi) stretch on the western end of Kauai, one of the world’s most scenic islands, is several miles from the nearest town and holds a vibe of enchantment and mystique, still alive on Hawaii today. The beach can only be reached via a poorly marked, dirt sugarcane road, making a four-wheel-drive vehicle preferable (check with your rental car company for restrictions before heading out).


Grand Wailea Resort Hotel & Spa

Located on 40 acres of tropical landscape on the white sand of Wailea Beach, the Grand Wailea Resort Hotel & Spa, A Waldorf Astoria Resort boasts 5 restaurants, a spa, a water park, and 3 golf courses. Guest rooms and suites feature free WiFi.


All spacious guest rooms feature privately furnished terraces with views, a flat-screen TV and premium feather duvets. Each en suite bathroom boasts Italian marble vanities, a deep soaking tub, plush bathrobes and slippers, designer toiletries, a makeup mirror and a hairdryer.


Humuhumunukunukuapua'a, a Polynesian thatch roof restaurant set over a romantic oceanfront lagoon, serves Hawaiian-influenced fish and meat entrees. Bistro Molokini offers California and Island fare in a relaxing, open-air ambience with ocean views. Café Kula provides Hawaiian food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. A sumptuous daily breakfast buffet and Champagne Brunch with panoramic Pacific Ocean views are featured in the Grand Dining Room. Guests can also dine at the Grand Luau of Honua'ula.


1. ANSE SOURCE D’ARGENT, SEYCHELLES


One of the most photographed beaches in the world, the blinding white sands of Anse Source d’Argent unfurl across La Digue, one of the 115 islands that makes up this paradisiacal archipelago in the Indian Ocean. The beach sparkles against a backdrop of enormous granite boulders, worn by time and weather. An offshore reef provides protection from ocean waves, making turquoise water an ideal spot for swimming. Keep an eye out for endangered birds and giant tortoises!


Le Domaine de L'Orangeraie Resort and Spa

Located on La Digue, Le Domaine de L'Orangeraie features a number of amenities to ensure guests have a relaxing stay, including a spa and wellness centre. Two on-site restaurants provide guests with various dining options.


The spacious accommodations here offer guests a minibar, a coffee machine, a balcony, a flat-screen TV with satellite channels, air conditioning and a private bathroom with a shower. Free WiFi is provided throughout the property.


Other resort facilities include 3 bars, an outdoor swimming pool, a tropical garden and a 24-hour front desk. A number of outdoor activities can be enjoyed here, including snorkelling, hiking, swimming and cycling. A bicycle rental shop is available on the property.


Anse Severe Beach is a 2-minute walk, Anse Patate Beach is a 12-minute walk and Source D'Argent Beach is 1.2 miles away.


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