10 Best Affordable Beachfront Hotels
BT's summer-getaway challenge: to find 10 properties where you can go from your bed to the beach in five minutes or less—for under $150 per night.
GBB Hotel Front Marítim
The beach-vacation trifecta—culture, cuisine, and coastline.
Barcelona has it all, so why not drop your bags at the beach to ensure your downtime here is well spent? Across the street from La Nova Mar Bella Beach—where you can rent sun beds and umbrellas and stroll the boardwalk—the four-star Hotel Front Marítim's 177 earth-toned guest rooms feel like they could have come straight out of an Ikea catalogue, with clean lines, big windows, and parquet floors. A night in means dining on Mediterranean cuisine such as grilled tuna topped with tomato and fried fillet of monkfish served with crisped garlic (a Catalonian specialty) at the house restaurant, Forum, which changes its menu weekly. The nearby metro will get you into the heart of the city in 20 minutes. Paseo García Faria, 69, 011-34/933-034-440, hotelfrontmaritim.com, from $129.
An affordable corner of the French Riviera.
On the bright blue Bay of Garavan, about a 10-minute walk from the center of town, this chic retreat is just across the street from the beach—and less than a mile from the Italian border. (You can jog there on your morning run.) The 44-room hotel features light colors, airy rooms, and soft, square armchairs in the lounge, which is right next to a small pool. It's worth spending extra for a room facing the sea—you'll be rewarded with a great view and a wooden balcony with a table and chairs. A road lines the entire seafront of Menton, but once the double-paned windows are closed, the whoosh of traffic is gone. Breakfast is served on the downstairs patio, under the banana trees. For the true Riviera experience, rent a lounge chair and umbrella (about $18 per day) on the private beach and have a waiter from the beach restaurant bring you a drink. The hotel even has its own ice cream parlor next to the beach. 29 Porte de France, 011-33/4-93-35-89-50, napoleon-menton.com, doubles from $149.
Pacific Shores Resort & Spa
Vancouver Island, British Columbia
A waterfront escape in one of the world's most diverse ecosystems.
Vancouver Island is a nature-enthusiast's paradise. Not only is the region one of the best places in the world for birding and whale-watching, but it's also comprised of a surprising number of ecosystems, including rain forest, mountains, and beaches. The Pacific Shores Resort & Spa makes it easy to take full advantage of the location, with a beach and 15 acres of nature trails and botanic gardens right outside your doorstep. Head out on your own or let guest services point you to one of the hotel's popular nature walks (if you want to head off-site, they can recommend full- or half-day forest hikes, wine tours, or boat trips). The 64 suites all have balconies, and select rooms also feature fireplaces, washer/dryers, and Jacuzzi tubs. There is a spa on the property, and families will appreciate the playground, kid-friendly pools, and barbecues. 1-1600 Stroulger Rd., 866/468-7121, pacific-shores.com, from $119.
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