5 Best Beach Resorts – 2017 Platinum List

The Dunmore, Four Seasons Bora Bora, Shutters on the Beach, Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica, and Cliff House

5 Best Beach Resorts – 2017 Platinum List

The Dunmore
Harbour Island, Bahamas

With its charming cottages and elegant details, this historic Bahamas hideaway embodies the spirit of “simple luxury”

A visit to The Dunmore on Harbour Island, set directly upon the famous pink sand beach, is like stepping into another world—and that’s entirely the point. “Our clientele enjoys a nostalgic, charming environment,” says designer Amanda Lindroth, who created the island-chic décor. “It’s much more important to them than a polished, spacious, expected resort experience.” Indeed, the property’s graciously proportioned cottages nestled on 10 acres amid Bahamian bougainvillea and jasmine embody the carefree elegance of a lost era.

The Dunmore was founded in 1963 as a private club. Original owner Basil Albury had a very strict policy of dress, insisting that gentlemen wear ties at dinner, among other social niceties. “They ate beef in Bordelaise sauce and soufflés, and it was very proper and old-fashioned,” Lindroth says. When Dallas real estate executive Gil Besing bought the property in 2010, he wanted to maintain the style, but open it up to a 21st-century audience.

The cozy scale of the resort is one of its key attractions. Arriving guests enter through a small pavilion that opens into a three-foot-wide path that is enveloped in tropical landscaping. “The old trees form a beautiful canopy, with sunlight dripping through,” Lindroth says. “Three-quarters of the way down you see the aqua sea past the top of the diminutive white clubhouse. It’s just magical.”

Throughout, a feeling of tropical chic prevails, informed by Lindroth’s childhood love of “the glamour of 1960s and ’70s Palm Beach.” Straw mats, ceiling fans, vintage rattan and crisp white linens are set within a neutral palette that occasionally incorporates a radiant hue, most notably in the resort’s signature orange and white umbrella stripe. “I like a white box with pops of color,” says the Nassau-based designer, who fashions interiors for clients in Lyford Cay and Palm Beach, among other posh locales. Each of the 14 guest residences has a patio overlooking the ocean, bay or lush gardens, while classic books and perfectly starched white bedding add elements of “simple luxury.”

During the day, The Dunmore offers tennis, yoga and assorted water sports, from kayaking and paddleboarding to snorkeling. A private boat charter can be arranged for fishing or exploring nearby islands.

Dunmore Town itself is also ripe for investigation. The first British colonial capital of the Bahamas, it was governed by Lord Dunmore, who had overseen New York and Virginia. He arrived on Harbour Island in the 1780s, creating a grid pattern of a dozen streets and establishing beach access every 400 yards. Walking tours take visitors past colorful houses and unique restaurants and shops.

In the evening, The Dunmore’s restaurant is a prime destination. Chef Philip Armbrister, a veteran of New York’s James Beard House, uses local seafood and produce in sophisticated preparations. Spicy stone crab capellini, roast lobster with mango coconut relish, and red curry of grouper are among the favorites devoured by guests and locals alike, who, true to The Dunmore’s legacy, must still wear long pants at dinner.


Four Seasons
Bora Bora, French Polynesia

Whether you’re riding a scooter underwater or donning a helmet to explore a lagoon, this resort will get you up close and personal with colorful corals.


Shutters on the Beach
Santa Monica, California

Breezy eateries and chic suites make this “the beach house we’ve always dreamed of,” says PL expert Samantha Brown.


Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica
Peninsula Papagayo, Costa Rica

The resort’s owners are transforming a corner of Costa Rica with eight miles of trails and a marina for superyachts.


Cliff House
Cape Neddick, ME

Samantha Brown calls this “a stunning cliffside resort maintaining the coastal non-fussiness that is Maine.”