There’s nothing quite like sinking your toes in the sand while listening to the sound of waves crashing on a beach. Ocean retreats are sanctuaries for many travelers, who often come home inspired to protect the marine settings that brought them so much joy and tranquility.
The best luxury beach resorts in the world don’t just deliver ocean views, picturesque beaches, standout design, and activities on the water. They’re also working every day to become better custodians of the ocean through their environmental and cultural stewardship. Learn more about this trend, and read on for the 15 best beach resorts around the world—in no particular order—that are going the extra mile to protect the marine habitats that inspire us all.
On the North Shore of O‘ahu, Turtle Bay Resort is the only hotel of its caliber on this less developed part of the island. Set on a 1,300-acre property—half of which has been set aside permanently for conservation—the 408 rooms and suites all have ocean views and a neutral/blue palette inspired by the surrounding area. The resort’s commitment to environmental sustainability is palpable: Meals are prepared with leafy greens, beets, and other crops from the resort’s own Kuilima Farm, a plot of land five minutes from the hotel with a farm stand and “you-pick” self-harvesting days for locals. Meanwhile, the 18-hole golf course is maintained with gray water treated by the resort’s own plant.
The resort doubles as a wildlife sanctuary. A birding experience via electric golf cart led by Captain Scott Sundby, who runs Shaka Kayaks and has lived on the North Shore for 20 years, offers a glimpse at some of the wild residents. They include the ‘alae ‘ula, or Hawaiian common gallinule, which according to Hawaiian legend got its fiery red forehead from the gods, and Hawaiian monk seals, one of the world’s most endangered seal species. The coastline here is set within the Hawaiian Island Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary, extending more than 1,200 nautical square miles; in the winter, it’s the site of humpback breeding, calving, and nursing.