Beaches are inherently grand with their unending horizons, cooling breezes and the stirring yet calming sound of waves crashing and rolling into the surf. Add sumptuous resorts and spas, exclusive shops and exceptional dining and you have luxury to the nth degree.
These are beaches where natural splendor is augmented with impeccable lodging and services and unforgettable adventures. Some are protected by attendance caps and natural preserve status.
You are going to have the time of your life, whichever one you choose.
Grace Bay Beach, Turks and Caicos
This 7-mile stretch of powdered sugar-soft white sand on calm waters near this Caribbean destination’s largest town has been named the “best beach in the world” several times over. The public beach has nine access points and is family-friendly, with plenty of watersports options like snorkeling and jet skiing, plus the hybrid of “Snuba” diving.
Or just bask in the sun on the sand or at its multiple luxury resorts offering beachfront villas, rejuvenating spa treatments and exemplary dining.
Pantai Kok, Langkawi, Malaysia
This archipelago of 100-plus islands off the west coast of Malaysia is loaded with gorgeous beaches, but the swankiest of them all is probably Pantai Kok, found on its largest island right next to attractions like the cable car up to the peak of Mount Mat Cincinang, with its sweeping views over the rainforested mountains and on out to numerous tiny islets.
There are no shops or stores directly on the public beach, but nearby five-star accommodations supply elegant rooms and restaurants, predominantly in the yacht-oriented Perdana Quay complex.
Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia
Nusa Dua is the place to go to be steeped in Balinese culture and opulent resort style. You’re close to the Uluwatu Temple, a 1,000-year-old Hindu sea temple perched on the edge of a cliff famous for its daily Kecak dance at sunset and felonious Macaque monkeys.
Or visit the town of Ubud, a center for traditional spirituality and crafts surrounded by rice paddies. Nusa Dua’s high-end resorts use local materials, design and vegetation to bring you deep into the island’s heart while pampering you with exquisite cuisine and top-ranked spa selections.
Plage de Pampelonne, Cote d’Azur, France
The best of the best in the French Riviera, it’s known for its pristine white sand, classic resorts, chic restaurants and celebrity-studded yachts hanging out just offshore.
This iconic beach is the heart of Europe’s Mediterranean playground and still free of the skyscraper backdrop that has overtaken too many shorelines — and it’s near many quaint towns just inland.
Palm Jumeirah, Dubai
This palm tree-shaped cluster of manmade islands has beaches rimming each one of its “leaves” and is connected to the city by bridge monorail. Many A-listers including the Beckhams and Madonna have homes there, amidst a dizzying array of posh resorts and residences, designer shopping malls and top-scale restaurants.
It’s all surrounded by the dramatically dazzling Persian Gulf and its other attractions include the mammoth Aquaventure Waterpark and the View at the Palm observation tower.