Cool Pools & Beckoning Beaches
Beat the heat this summer with these six sensational waterfronts
By Jennifer Davoren
Alleywood/Atlantis Paradise Island
(Scroll down to see a slide show.)Swimsuit? Check. Sunblock? Check. Now, which waterfront to put on your summer vacation wish list?
On the following pages, we offer six tempting suggestions for a warm-weather getaway. Stretching from Costa Rica's forested west to stylish spots in the Bahamas, these resort properties boast prime oceanfront or stunning swimming pools -- or in some cases, both. Click here or follow the links below for more information on these and other sunny sanctuaries, or call the travel specialists at Vacations To Go, (800) 998-6925.
St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands
Sprawled across a 170-acre slice of the 7,000-acre Virgin Islands National Park, Caneel Bay, a Rosewood Resort, boasts seven pristine beaches on the northwest edge of St. John. Each spot caters to a different type of traveler -- sunset photo ops await at the aptly named Paradise Beach, while gentle surf and water sports cater to families on sunny Little Caneel. No matter which stretch of sand guests choose, they'll find the same luxurious and exclusive atmosphere that drew the resort's first owners, the Rockefeller family. Be sure to plan around the property's seasonal closure, Aug. 26 to Nov. 1 this year.
The Cove Atlantis
Paradise Island, Bahamas
Bahamian megaresort Atlantis Paradise Island gets a lot of attention for its kid-friendly amenities, from an interactive dolphin exhibit to the sky-high slides of its sprawling water playground. But The Cove Atlantis, a stylish, 600-room subdivision of the Paradise Island complex, offers Cain at the Cove, an adults-only "ultra pool." The 9,000-square-foot expanse is ringed by swaying palm trees, cushioned sun beds and private teakwood cabanas. Lounge chair sunbathers who are too comfy to head to the bar signal passing waiters for drinks and snacks, while guests on a hot streak belly up to poolside craps and blackjack tables.
Lodge Kura Hulanda and Beach Club
The Southern Caribbean isle of Curacao is a diver's dream, where sunken ships and airplanes complement miles upon miles of coral blooms to draw scuba and snorkeling enthusiasts. At Lodge Kura Hulanda and Beach Club, on the northwest end of the island, guests don't have far to go if they're in the mood for some underwater viewing -- an assortment of reef clusters wait just a few steps from the shore, and gentle surf and translucent waters are ideal for novice snorkelers. While an on-site dive center plans offshore adventures, many guests prefer to bob along the lodge's secluded beach cove.
Sandals Emerald Bay
Great Exuma, Bahamas
In addition to sugar-white sands and cerulean waters, the Out Islands of the Bahamas offer peace and quiet. Catering exclusively to vacationing couples, Sandals Emerald Bay embraces this laid-back atmosphere on its one-mile stretch of private beach on Great Exuma. It's an all-inclusive property that wraps accommodations, meals, a host of activities (including two scuba dives per day) and more into a single price that's paid up front, giving guests another reason to stay carefree. For an added layer of tranquility, book a concierge- or butler-served suite, which includes oceanfront cocktail service. More indulgence awaits at the Red Lane Spa, including treatments in seaside gazebos.
El Conquistador Resort
Fajardo, Puerto Rico
Welcome to La Metropolis del Sol Naciente, the city of the rising sun. Perched on the eastern edge of Puerto Rico, it's one of the first destinations warmed by the region's tropical rays each morning. Fajardo is home to El Conquistador Resort, a Waldorf Astoria property with an expansive water park. While Mom and Dad stretch out on the 25,000-square-foot pool deck or relax at the waterside bar and grill, kiddos clamber across a rope bridge, shoot down inner-tube and body slides or float along a 180,000-gallon "lazy river" system from dawn 'til dusk.
The all-inclusive Cancun Palace -- scheduled to become the Hard Rock Hotel Cancun, once its rebranding is complete this summer -- wraps around two of the most enticing waterfronts on the Yucatan Peninsula. The property's prize feature is its infinity-edge swimming pool, a glassy expanse bookended by shady swim-up bars. Just beyond are the white sands and Caribbean waves that have long drawn vacationers to this corner of Mexico. Book an outdoor spa treatment to enjoy the sight, sound and salty scent of the sea while being pampered in an open-air massage cabana. The youngest guests are drawn to a separate kiddie pool with slides and climbing features as well as the busy roster of activities offered by the resort's Kids Club. Their teenage siblings enjoy organized adventures, too, including field trips to Wet'n Wild, Cancun's 18-acre water park. Three large hot tubs dot the property, and each of the Cancun Palace's 601 rooms boasts a double Jacuzzi for those who prefer a private soak.
The information in this story was accurate at the time it was published in May/June 2012. Please visit Vacations To Go or call (800) 998-6925 for current rates and details.