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Last updated: 23 September 2022

It’s hard to beat the toes-in-sand sensation, as you take your first barefoot steps of the holiday along your chosen coastline. But what if yours are the only footprints on the beach, or they’re shared with just a handful of other hotel guests? Escape the crowds and the rush for sunbeds at these exclusive boutique hotels with private stretches of sand for a select few to enjoy.

Praia Art Resort, Isola di Capo Rizzuto – Italy

Poised between mountains and the sea, Praia Art Resort is the ideal gateway to the Ionian Coast. Backed by hills, dotted with myrtle and citrus trees, and facing a beautiful ocean scene, its villas sit perfectly in their natural surroundings. The guests at this hotel have exclusive access to the white sandy beach, where you’ll find 30 socially-distanced umbrellas and loungers (equal to the number of rooms) and three over-water hammocks. Take a dip in the marine protected waters, or see more of the Ionian Sea from a glass-bottomed boat at the Le Castella Marine Reserve.

Cap Rocat, Mallorca – Spain

Wake up to the sound of the sea at Cap Rocat, a 19th-century fortress turned adults-only boutique hotel overlooking the Bay of Palma. Set in 88-acres and stretching along the coastline for two kilometres, the hotel’s private rock cliff beach has direct access to the sea, jetty and salt water pool. Decorated with a clever blend of contemporary and classic furnishings, suites have their own private patio with beautiful Mediterranean sea views.

Milaidhoo Maldives, Baa Atoll – Maldives

Part of Baa Atoll – a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, the natural beauty of Milaidhoo Maldives is both protected and private. A true immersion in Maldivian life, wander along the endless wooden walkways stretching over the water, or sleep under the stars on a sandbank setting for two. For your very own piece of paradise, opt for the Beach Pool Villa or the Beach Residence – hidden amid lush tropical greenery, these spacious villas are set on private powdersoft beaches and offer ocean views from the King-size bed. Opening 180-degrees to the sundeck which has a swing chair, sun loungers, and private freshwater infinity pool, this is island life at its luxurious best.

Las Alamandas Resort, Costalegre – Mexico

Set in beautiful tropical gardens on a 1500-acre nature reserve, Las Alamandas Resort is a secret beachside retreat on the sensational Mexican Riviera. With just 16 suites in seven characteristically brightly painted casitas, the colourful villas are set along a vast stretch of white sand beach, with fresh-water lagoons, coves and rocky islands to discover. Seek shade beneath the pretty pink parasols on the hotel’s beach, or wander down to the beachfront spa palapa for a calming spa treatment to the soothing sounds of the waves.

La Villa del Re, Castiadas – Sardinia

On the southern side of Sardinia’s curving coastline, wrapped in gardens of fragrant Mediterranean plants, sits La Villa del Re. Just 18 metres away lies a white sandy beach reserved for hotel guests, with refreshments delivered straight to your sun loungers. Slip into the relaxed pace of island life with a swim in the infinity pool, or dine alfresco on the terrace surrounded by palm trees – with an authentic local menu offering Sardinian specialties, from fresh seafood to handmade pasta.

Hotel Excelsior Dubrovnik – Croatia

With a spectacular seaside setting overlooking both the Adriatic and the ancient Old Town, Hotel Excelsior Dubrovnik enjoys the most enviable location of any hotel in this UNESCO city – just a five-minute walk from the medieval fortress walls. While the days away on the sun-soaked Salin terrace, sunbathe to the sound of the waves lapping the rugged shore on the hotel’s beach, or dine beneath the waterside arches at Prora Beach Restaurant.

La Peschiera, Monopoli – Italy

A former fish hatchery turned luxury hotel, La Peschiera promises your own slice of paradise on Puglia’s shores. With just a handful of artfully designed rooms and suites, and a private stretch of sand at your disposal, this boutique resort is utterly exclusive. Take in the Adriatic views from your terrace, dip your toes in the water at the hotel’s beach, or the seven pools, plunges and cascades which make up this thalassic concept hotel.

Petit St. Vincent, Saint Vincent & the Grenadines – Caribbean

An exclusive 115-acre private island paradise in the southernmost waters of the Grenadines, Petit St. Vincent is the ultimate understated luxury retreat. Each of the 22 cottages are wonderfully secluded and scattered over hillsides, bluffs and beaches, which guarantees limited contact with other guests. In true Robinson Crusoe style, you can order anything, anywhere using the island’s signature flag-pole communication system, including to your beachfront hammock. For an intimate desert island experience, take a 15-minute powerboat ride to your very own atoll and dine on a specially prepared picnic under the shade of a traditional thatched parasol on the sandbanks of nearby Morpian Island.