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Mon 24 Sep 2012 02:56 PM

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10 brilliant beach breaks to try

Sun, sea and sandy retreats to inspire business travellers looking for quiet downtime

10 brilliant beach breaks to try
The area: Since a landmark legislation was passed in 1966 to encourage the banking industry in Grand Cayman it has been known as the Switzerland of the Carribbean. Alpine ski lodges and mountainous ski resorts are replaced, however, with mile-after-mile of white sandy beaches and pretty bays. The huge significance of the banking industry on the islands – it is the fifth largest banking centre in the world with $1.5trillion in liabilities – has inevitably led to a surge in construction of high-end hotels and shopping facilities.\n

\nThe sea: Activities in the Cayman Islands tend to revolve around the sea. Whether it is visiting a turtle farm, exploring Stingray City by boat, scuba-diving the Kittiwake artificial reef, glass bottom boat rides or simply taking a kayak tour along the Caribbean waters, hotel resorts that makes the very most of the environment. \n

\nThe hotel: It is easier to find luxury accommodation than budget–level properties in the Cayman Isles. The famous Seven Mile Beach Resort attracts many of the world’s best renowned hotel chains. The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman is already established as a favourite among return visitors to the islands. Complete with a Greg Norman-designed golf course, Nic Bollettieri tennis coaching, Jean-Michel Cousteau nature centre, Eric Ripert restaurants and a La Prairie spa it brings together some of the biggest names in luxury lifestyle to one property. \n\n\n\nDetails: The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman
10 brilliant beach breaks to try
The area: More than 1,000 islands make up the Maldives archipelago. Only 200 are occupied and many are smaller than the size of a football pitch making it an excellent destination for seekers of solitude. \n

\nThe sea: With an average ground level of less than 1.5m Maldives is the world’s lowest country so it is easy to see why most activities tend to centre around the beach. Scuba diving and snorkeling are both excellent activities with coral reefs surrounding most of the islands.

\n\nThe hotel: Rated as the number one hotel in the Maldives by users of travel website TripAdvisor Cocoa Island Resort is a true desert island retreat. Choose from a luxury villa or a designer suite and arrive at the hotel by seaplane or private yacht. Either way you'll be sleeping above the water on your own private deck which leads directly into the Indian Ocean.\n\n\n\nDetails: Cocoa Island resort, Maldives. \n
10 brilliant beach breaks to try
The area: China is not an obvious choice for a beach holiday, or at least not for most Middle Eastern or Western travelers. But considering more than 30m tourists, mainly from mainland China, visited Hainan Island and spent $4.3billion last year it can hardly be considered a secret. Lying in the southernmost tip of the island, Sanya is a beachfront tropical city where mountains meet the sea. Crystal clear water and pristine beaches are popular throughout the year. \n

\nThe sea: Although Sanya has become known as “Oriental Hawaii” because of the quality of its water, air and sand it actually has twice the amount of beach length of America’s 50th state. The underwater world of the South China Sea boasts an abundance of coral reefs, tropical fish, seabed treasures and wild shells. The national coral reefs are well preserved. \n

\nThe hotel: Sanya’s Yalong Bay is the district with the highest density of top international branded resorts in the world. The luxurious Ritz-Carlton, Sanya resort stands out as one of the best options. In addition to direct beach access and watersport facilities the hotel boasts a 30,000 square foot spa, distinctive dining options and some of China’s best golf facilities nearby. \n\n\n\nDetails: The Ritz-Carlton, Sanya
10 brilliant beach breaks to try
The area: Monte Carlo has been a playground of the rich, famous and royalty for decades. A combination of chilled out Mediterranean lifestyle and global wealth trends continue to make it a popular destination. Ideally viewed from the comfort of your own private helicopter, yacht or limousine it is one of the most exclusive locations in Europe. Expensive boutiques, expensive restaurants and expensive hotels are plentiful and a wardrobe full of the season’s latest styles is essential. With the French and Italian Rivieras to the East and West and the Maritime Alps as a backdrop it is a resort city that has made the very most of a stunning location. \n

\nThe sea: The Mediterranean is Europe’s most popular sea with more than 4,000m of coast line and shores on around 20 countries. Warm weather, the best of French and Italian cuisine and long stretches of small fishing villages are all excellent reasons for a visit. Beaches can be a little crowded but visitors in the know can select a hotel with generous private access to guarantee space to go with their style.\n

\nThe hotel: \nAs long as Monte Carlo has existed there has been a Monte Carlo Beach Club. This most luxurious of beach resorts attracts glamorous product launches, watersports competitions and trendy tourists looking to see and be seen. The hotel is built right on the water’s edge and the art deco stylings have captivated visitors since the 1930s. The hotel has been recently redesigned and although structurally the same the best elements of twenty firct century hospitality are now present.\n\n\n\nDetails: Monte Carlo Beach Club
10 brilliant beach breaks to try
The area: Laguna Niguel is a coastal city in Orange County, California and is the state’s premier seaside artist haven – with quaint cottages, subtropical gardens and sandy coves, stretching along a seven-mile scenic coastline. Artists began arriving more than a century ago, drawn by the year-round, picture-postcard weather. Tourists visit for superb art galleries, restaurants, and idyllic resort atmosphere. \n

\nThe sea: The stretches of beach on California’s Pacific coast are regarded as some of the best surf locations in the world. Dozens of bays and beaches along the neighbouring California coast attract surfers of all abilities and starter lessons are available. \n

\nThe hotel: Perched on a cliff-top 150 feet above the Pacific waters The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel was the first luxury beach resort in Orange County. Having won the prestigious AAA Five Diamond status 27-years in a row it is one of the most decorated hotels in America and ideally situated for leisurely exploration of Los Angeles and San Diego. Dedicated beach butlers, whale-watching expeditions and excellent facilities mean visitors don’t have to stray far from the hotel if they don’t wish to. \n

\nDetails: The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel
10 brilliant beach breaks to try

\nThe area: The simple fact that Travel + Leisure magazine selected Boracay as the world’s best island this year speaks volumes about the high regard the Filipino district is held in. 315km and a lifetime away from the bustling streets of Manila its popularity has been growing since an initial tourism boom in the 1970s and is now one of the Philippines’s most sought after locations. \n

\nThe sea: Locals to the area, and the world’s media, proclaim Boracay Island to have both the softest and whitest sand on the planet. While tourism was once reserved for backpackers and the intrepid the growing acclaim is starting to attract crowds. Accordingly a large number of watersport centres, dive clubs and beachside business are starting to appear.

\nThe hotel: With the increasing popularity comes an increase in the prevalence of luxury accommodation on the island. Discovery Shores Boracay is typical of the new breed of hotel. Located on the 4km stretch of island known as White Beach the hotel is modern, stylish and has all the trappings expected of a boutique hotel. Expect in-room an jacuzzi, views across the sands, high-quality dining and chic furnishings throughout. \n\n\n\nDetails: Discovery Shores Boracay Island\n
10 brilliant beach breaks to try
The area: The volcanic island of Tenerife sits in the Atlantic Ocean just over 300km from Africa’s West coast. Attracting more sunshine hours than any other part of Spain and offering an annual average temperature of 23º C it is a year-round holiday hotspot. The island has become known for sprawling, budget-friendly package holidays and relentless construction of new hotels. Tourists looking beyond the over-developed resorts of Playa de las Americas and Los Cristianos, however, are able to find pretty fishing villages and more authentic resorts. Guía de Isora is a tranquil and little known area in the South West of the island of Tenerife. \n

\nThe sea: Guía de Isora’s Atlantic location delivers breathtaking panoramic views across to the island of La Gomera. The volcanic landscape with exuberant vegetation and more than 300 varieties of plant are eminently explorable. But it is the underwater environment which tends to be the most memorable. Scuba divers regard these waters as some of the best dive spots in Europe. \n

\nThe hotel: Guía de Isora’s Abama Golf & Spa Resort was named the Best Resort in Spain at the Conde Nast Traveler awards. Complete with a highly-regarded golf course, Michelin-star restaurant and private beaches carved from a volcanic rock face the hotel is among the most exclusive on the island. The low-rise architecture is strongly influenced by North African design and private suites and villas are built to the highest specifications. \n\n\n\n\nDetails: Abama Golf Resort & Spa\n
10 brilliant beach breaks to try

\nThe area: The sand on Whitehavean Beach in Queensland, Australia is unlike any to be found anywhere else on Earth. Literally. Made up of 98% silica and closely protected by an environmentally-conscious government it is so clean it actually squeaks when walked upon. Which isn’t often. The stretch of land is uninhabited and tour boats are only permitted to stay for a few hours at a time to preserve the pristine nature of the area. \n

\nThe sea: Due to the fact that building is completely prohibited in the area and that there are laws against smoking on the beach or bringing pets to the shoreline Whitehaven is one of the cleanest beaches on the planet. The gentle lapping of waves on the beach’s Hill Inlet creates the shifting sand effect that gives the beach a wonderful colour gradient. colouring \n

\nThe hotel: For such a remote and well protected location, choosing a hotel to match the environment is essential. The Great Barrier Reef, Qualia resort fits the bill perfectly. Built by Australian billionaires the philosophy of quality first is demanded in every aspect of the property. Subtly-elegant yet instinctively Australian the resort’s 60 individually designed pavilions lead to private sun decks and infinity plunge pools overlooking the sea.\n\n\n\nDetails: The Great Barrier Reef, Qualia
10 brilliant beach breaks to try
The area: South Beach is Miami’s, and some would say America’s, most famous stretch of sand. The area has remained popular since it was first heavily promoted as a tourist destination in the early twentieth century but reached its pinnacle as the location of Miami Vice TV show in the 1980s. Excellent for watersports, café culture, parks and people watching it has a vibrant scene most of the year round. \n

\nThe sea: This stretch of the Atlantic coast is known for pristine white beaches and fascinating wildlife. Water temperatures are warm all year round making for excellent scuba diving and bird watching.

\n\nThe hotel: Despite the large number of tourist developments The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach is the area’s only true luxury hotel. Located right on the water’s edge and minutes walk away from the Lincoln Road pedestrian shopping district it is ideally located for exploration of Miami’s best attractions. It is also, surprisingly, one of the few places in Miami where you can get a beachside meal. \n\n\n\nDetails: The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach\n\n\n\n
10 brilliant beach breaks to try

\nThe area: No round-up of the world’s greatest beach breaks would be complete without mention of Brazil’s iconic Copacabana. \n

\nThe sea: So famous have the beach and its mountainous backdrop become that the actual attractions of this particular stretch of Atlantic coast can be overlooked. But the proximity to the Tropic of Capricorn means the water maintains a standard temperature around the 72 degree Fahrenheit mark making it excellent for diving and watersports. \n

\nThe hotel: The award-winning Santa Teressa Hotel has become one of Rio's hippest hangouts for the super wealthy and travel connoisseurs alike. Style is the primary concern at any boutique hotel but it is raised to a fanatical degree here with contemporary design by Sergio Rodrigues, Rock Lane, Studio Vitty, Zemog and Oficina de Agosto scattered througout. Guests who manage to drag their eyes away from the chic interiors can enjoy panoramic views of Rio's harbour and dramatic skyline.\n\n\n\n\nDetails: Santa Teresa Hotel, Rio De Janiro