Hop from beach to bar to bedroom at these five boutique hotels
Sand, sunshine, sea, cocktails – if you can show us a person that doesn’t love beach bars, we’ll eat our sun hat (and our cocktail umbrella, too). The beach-and-bedroom aficionados at Mr & Mrs Smith have picked out five of their favourite beach bars, each one attached to a holiday-ready hotel (so you won’t have far to stagger to your bedroom, if you overdo it on coconut margaritas). All you need to do? Pack your sexiest swimwear and decide which spirit you’re thirsty for…
The Datai Langkawi, Malaysia
Admittedly, the Datai has plenty to distract you from its beach bar: lush Langkawi rainforest, an 18-hole golf course, two glittering swimming pools and a spa that dishes out Ramuan rituals and Lembut massages. You’d be crazy to skip daytime cocktails at the Beach Club though, where you can enjoy breathtaking views of the Andaman Sea and the soothing sound of waves breaking against the shore (plus some very tasty cocktails). By night – and before or after dinner at one of the two ravishing restaurants – you’ll want to stake out the Lobby Lounge, a sunken bar set in the elegant, open-air lobby building.
Smith Extra: A half-bottle of champagne on arrival
The Sarojin, Phang Nga, Thailand
Nothing should drive you to drink at the Sarojin (other than the pure joy of having landed at such a heavenly hideout, perhaps). Here, items at your disposal include a secluded 11km white sand beach in Khao Lak, views of the Andaman Sea and delicious food, from Thai tapas to heartier local offerings. The beach bar is worth writing home about thanks to its tropical loungers, comfy sofas, squishy bean-bags, chilled-out soundtrack and clever barmen. Bed down in one of the Pool Residences, which come with enormous onyx plunge pools sunk into the terraces – perfect for a late-night cocktail while soaking under the stars.
Smith Extra: A 60-minute Thai massage for two people, to be taken within 48 hours of arrival
Gili Lankanfushi, Maldives
Gili Lankanfushi’s Over Water Bar is perched above a shallow lagoon with 360-degree views of the Indian Ocean, making it an ideal place to admire Maldivian sunsets. That’s a good start; factor in the lowered seating area in the middle of the bar, with a circular cut-out hole where you can see the lagoon below and the marine life swimming by, and you’re left with one of the most bonkers-beautiful beach bars we’ve ever clapped eyes on. The bar offers a buffet lunch between 12.30pm and 3pm, or you can order pizzas, salads, sushi, burgers and lobster until 6pm. Sip a ginger mint julep (Jim Beam, ginger, lime juice, mint and sugar syrup), or try one of the experimental martinis. There’s only one rule here – and it’s one we approve of: ‘no news, no shoes.’
Smith Extra: A Meera Spa gift or a private chocolate, cheese and wine experience with Gili’s sommelier
Puro Hotel, Mallorca, Spain
Puro Hotel is converted from a 14th-century palace, but there’s nothing archaic about its Beach Club, set on a peninsula positioned eight kilometres from the city. Have brunch, dinner or just cocktails at the bar and restaurant, and enjoy a spa treatment or live DJ set. Reserve places on the hotel’s free shuttle to the club on arrival (limited to six people per one-way trip) and make sure you reserve a sun-lounger too – they fill up fast. When your legs get tired from all that dancing on sand, retreat back to Puro’s 51 rooms, which overlook a pretty courtyard decorated with palms and fountains.
Smith Extra: A copy of one of the hotel’s Purobeach chill-out albums
SLS South Beach, Miami, USA
SLS South Beach doesn’t like to follow the crowd: Gallic designer Philippe Starck reimagined the hotel’s two pools as giant bathtubs, hence the 10-foot, silver ‘rubber duckie’ sculpture perched by the large pool in the beach club. Guests can lounge on tangerine-hued day-beds or cosy up in one of the private cabanas running along one palm-dotted side. Tempting canapés and drinks are served throughout the day to keep energy levels high; you can also get a massage while you sunbathe. That sounds tiring, doesn’t it? Rest up between dance/cocktail sessions at one of the madcap rooms, whose travel-inspired, leather and gilt-trimmed hideaways had some help from Lenny Kravitz, who appears to be as good at helping Starck with interior design as he is at wearing leather trousers.
Smith Extra: Continental buffet breakfast for two; GoldSmiths receive an extra bottle of champagne