The Best 25 Beaches in the World

Continued (page 5 of 5)


These five far-flung strands are sexy spots to disappear together

Nooki Nooki Island, Fiji
This remote circle of sand, a South Pacific isle just big enough for two, is precisely prepared by the staff at Vatulele Island Resort for an ideal honeymoon rendezvous. You'll be whisked there by boat and left blissfully alone—for the entire day. The soft sand is raked with pretty swirl patterns, and "Bula!" (Welcome!) is inscribed with seashells and red hibiscus petals. Champagne corks dangle from a palapa-style hut set with platters of muffins, papaya and lobster salad. An ice bucket chills a sauvignon blanc. You'll find chaises for quiet moments and snorkel gear for when curiosity beckons. In water so clear sunlight dances on the ocean floor, swim among giant mushroom-shaped rocks and cheeky Nemolike clownfish. And when you return to civilization at Vatulele, it's a gentle reintroduction. Stay at: Vatulele Island Resort, an adults-only haven reachable via seaplane that accommodates just 19 couples in thatched bungalows discreetly separated by lush rainforest. (Doubles from $924, all-inclusive; 011-679-672-0300) —Nikki Goss

Railay Beach, Thailand
Located at the southern tip of Thailand and seemingly a million miles from anywhere, the Phra Nang Peninsula is known for soaring limestone cliffs, the jade green Andamen Sea, stunningly white beaches and monkeys swinging through the coconut trees. To enjoy it all in luxe seclusion, head for this idyllic strand—one of three at Rayavadee resort. Swim away from shore, gaze up at the cliffs, and it won't be long before you're overcome by the heady sensation that you're alone together in a place that feels practically pre-historic. Head to the resort's two other bays/beaches for more spectacular vistas: Nam Mao, where you'll arrive by boat your first day, and equally stunning Phra Nang, home to the Princess Cave, a cave altar filled with lingams (phallic wood carvings). Don't miss a sunset dinner at The Grotto, Rayavadee's set-on-the-sand restaurant. Stay at: Rayavadee, an escapist's dream where the indulgences range from Thai Herbal Wraps at the spa to sunset cruises on an authentic Siamese junk. (Doubles from $610; 800-745-8883) —Leslie A. Westbrook

Palmetto Point, Barbuda
There aren't a lot of beaches in the Caribbean where you can walk all day and not see another human or anything man-made—yet Palmetto Point is one of those rare shores. It's the sort of strand where, more likely than not, yours are the only footprints. Twelve miles long, the beach wraps itself around Barbuda's southwest coast, with views across the water to Antigua and far-off St. Kitts. Palmetto's other claim to fame is pink sand: not a washed-out shade but a vivid pink set against bands of turquoise and sapphire sea, and skies that seem to stretch forever. This is the kind of beach that's perfect for long, quiet strolls or sexy, impromptu trysts in the dunes. Stay at: The Beach House, a luxe 21-room retreat, where guests are given an arrival massage and a cell phone to keep in touch with their personal Service Ambassador. (Doubles from $750, including breakfast and dinner; 888-776-0333) —Joe Yogerst

Intendance Bay, Seychelles
The late Beatle George Harrison often traveled to Mahe Island in the secluded Indian Ocean archipelago of the Seychelles to meditate. Today, that serene land, which he eventually bought with friend Peter Sellers, is a Banyan Tree Resort. The most exotic amenity, however, is the 2,500-foot-long, talcum-soft beach, which from November to April is alive with the sound of foaming waves pounding the sand; in other months, the sea is more tranquil. Walk the shore, then ask the chef to pack a picnic hamper or arrange a barbecue-for-two on the beach, before returning to your villa for a dip in a private pool under the stars. One look at this peaceful strand, and it's easy to see why Harrison adored the place so much. Stay at: a href="http://banyantree.com/" target="blank">Banyan Tree Seychelles, where each of the 60 Creole-style villas features handcrafted furniture and artwork. The spa will totally spoil you. (Doubles from $1,175; 866-8-BANYAN) —Shari Mycek

Tikehau, French Polynesia
Talk about remote: The South Pacific atoll Tikehau (pronounced tiki-how) is a glittering ring of sand, coral, coconut palms and not much else about an hour's flight from bustling Papeete (the capital of French Polynesia) on Tahiti. The best strands are on the inside of the atoll, pearly white sand that melts into a warm, shallow lagoon a hundred different hues of blue and green. Tikehau is made up of dozens of pristine motus, or islets, most of them uninhabited. Grab a kayak (and a gourmet picnic lunch from your resort) and paddle off to paradise-a deserted isle for two along the eastern edge of the lagoon, where the only limitation is your own imagination. Stay at: Tikehau Pearl Beach Resort, where the overwater bungalows hover above a coral garden—and you can spy on fish through a glass-bottom table. (Doubles from $400; 800-65-PEARL) —J.Y.

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