10 irresistible winter beach hotels
Posted November 9, 2017 9:32 a.m. EST
(CNN) — Moody skies, chilly sea spray and windswept coastal walks possess a certain blustery charm, especially when they're followed by a soothing hot toddy.
There's no need to wait for summer: Seaside hotels provide the perfect vantage point to view the towering waves and listen to the howling wind while you're sitting warm-as-toast next to a blazing fire.
Off-season shore vacations present the opportunity for solitude, peace and quiet travel. Upscale waterside hotels discount room rates in winter, so scoring a deal is easy.
Leave your flip-flops at home and pack your warmest sweater, puffiest parka and most fashionable foul weather gear. Get ready to watch the snowflakes fall from one of the following 10 luxurious beach hotels.
1. Ocean House, Watch Hill, Rhode Island
Watch Hill is a discreet old-money summer colony. Winter is so quiet it borders on meditative, with storm watching and excursions to Watch Hill Lighthouse taking center stage.
Perched high on the bluffs, Ocean House is an impressive structure overlooking a pristine stretch of beach with views of the Atlantic Ocean, Montauk and Block Island.
On entry you're handed a bubbly adult beverage. Perhaps you didn't know you were thirsty, but the gracious staff seems to magically anticipate your whims.
The property's elegant guest rooms and swanky suites don't skimp on the creature comforts. Beds cradle you in soft, soothing linens while you listen to the sound of waves crashing nearby -- so near you may as well be on a very elegant boat.
The spa provides services that lean local, incorporating sea salt and beach stones into pampering treatments.
Dabble in edible activities at the onsite Center for Wine & Culinary Arts, where guests can book a cooking class or workshop with the in-house forager and dive into Rhode Island's agricultural bounty.
Ocean House, 1 Bluff Avenue, Watch Hill, RI 02891; 855-678-0364
2. Delamar Southport, Southport, Connecticut
Southport is a coastal New England village that looks straight out of a Norman Rockwell painting. Stately homes with clapboard shutters, cobblestone streets and family-run shops dot this all-American town.
The Delamar Southport is just minutes from the Long Island Sound's serene beaches. Oversized rooms are filled with handcrafted furniture, gas fireplaces and marble bathrooms with soaking tubs. Original artwork from the owner's personal collection adds polish.
A glass of port or sherry at check-in and a bountiful breakfast buffet that includes a smorgasbord of fresh-baked goods are included.
Take advantage of the free shuttle van that whisks guests to Southport Beach in a jiffy.
Delamar Southport, 275 Old Post Road, Southport, CT 06890; 203-259-2800
3. Tofino Resort + Marina, Tofino, Vancouver Island, British Columbia
Tofino, with its wide sweep of sea, pristine stretches of sand and endless sky, surrounded by an emerald forest, is Vancouver Island's jewel.
This remote hamlet offers an intoxicating mix of scenery, outdoor adventures and laidback charm. Visitors may experience the galleries, artisan shops and sea-to-table dining.
Thanks to a fine Pacific Ocean break, surfing is popular. Locals await wintertime swells, so renting a wetsuit is vital.
Laid back Tofino Resort + Marina is the only full-service resort located directly on the marina, walking distance from restaurants and surf shops.
The 62 guestrooms have oversized balconies with enticing views, plush beds and stylishly low-key décor. Each room's clean lines, crisp color palette and uncluttered feel blend in with the natural surroundings.
Excursions are available at the resort's adventure center, where you can sign up to view orcas, grey and humpback whales and sea lions that inhabit these wildlife-rich waters.
For a soothing alternative, you can catch a boat to Hot Springs Cove. A dip in the steamy water is a surefire elixir to the winter doldrums.
Tofino Resort + Marina, 634 Campbell Street, Tofino, BC; 844-680-4184
4. Baron's Cove, Sag Harbor, New York
Sag Harbor is a former whaling village that cherishes its maritime roots. Though it's situated on Long Island's East End, a summer playground for affluent New Yorkers, the town's inviting Main Street remains vibrant year-round. Art galleries, boutiques and a full-force restaurant scene keep residents and weekenders satisfied even in the dead of winter.
Baron's Cove is an in-town retreat, walking distance from many of Sag Harbor's attractions. Casually sophisticated with harbor views, the 67 rooms enjoy chic minimalist décor with bright nautical touches.
The lobby lounge, with a wood-burning fireplace and live music on weekends, is a cozy spot. Guests gather here before dinner to enjoy a craft cocktail or a glass of wine, perhaps from a North Fork vineyard.
The restaurant at Baron's Cove draws a loyal crowd thanks to a menu of soul-satisfying dishes, including its hearty fish stew.
Baron's Cove, 31 W. Water Street, Sag Harbor, NY 11963; 844-227-6672
5. Cliff House Maine, Ogunquit, Maine
Ogunquit's smooth sand and Atlantic shoreline makes it a vacation favorite. Its popular coastal walking path, Marginal Way, is a 1.25-mile trail that hugs the shore and offers abundant ocean and harbor views. In winter, snowshoeing is a fun way to traverse the frosty trail.
Ogunquit has been a magnet for artists for generations, many of whom come to paint sublime Perkins Cove. Their work is on display in the numerous galleries in town.
Cliff House is located atop Bald Head Cliff, overlooking the ocean's edge, just a few miles from Ogunquit's center. This venerable resort has recently been transformed into one of New England's most up-to-date seafront hotels.
The 132 unassuming yet luxurious rooms have private terraces with mesmerizing sea views. Top-of-the-line mattresses, Maine-sourced comforters and the sound of the surf practically guarantee a quick descent into dreamland.
The weather's bound to be blustery, so relax in front of the common area's floor-to-ceiling windows and watch the tide roll in.
Cliff House Maine, 591 Shore Road, Cape Neddick, ME 03902; 855-210-6901 or 207-361-1000
6. Portmeirion, North Wales
With a ruggedly beautiful coastline and majestic snowcapped peaks, Mother Nature has graced North Wales with an abundance of riches.
The gentle lilt of the Celtic language and castles as far as the eye can see weave a spell over visitors.
Portmeirion is located along the Dwyryd estuary. The village presents an enchanting architectural fantasy of styles nestled among woodlands and gardens.
Exteriors for the 1960s cult BBC classic "The Prisoner" were shot here, so the eclectic imagery may be familiar to those who are part of its devoted global fan base.
For overnight stays, Portmeirion visitors can choose the main hotel, self-catering cottages or Castell Deudraeth for accommodations that ooze distinction. Hotel Portmeirion rooms have richly detailed furnishings and indulgent touches such as in-room sherry and delectable sweets.
The hotel's restaurant serves cuisine that utilizes the unpretentious ingredients that grow in the fertile soil and thrive in its clean water, capturing the no-fuss spirit of the Welsh kitchen.
Portmeirion, Minffordd, Penrhyndeudraeth, Gwynedd, LL48 6ER, UK; +44 1766 770000
7. Wentworth by the Sea, New Castle, New Hampshire
New Hampshire's sliver of shoreline is only 18 miles, but its modest measure of white sand and surf is top-notch eye candy.
Located on the island of New Castle, hardcore history buffs may recognize Wentworth by the Sea as the hotel where the diplomats negotiating the Portsmouth Peace Treaty stayed back in 1905.
The hotel overlooks the open Atlantic Ocean, the Isles of Shoals, Little Harbor and the Piscataqua River, ensuring water views from every angle.
Rooms and suites come complete with sumptuous bedding and marble baths; some also have balconies and gas fireplaces. Even Prince Charles has visited, so it has the royal seal of approval.
The Wentworth's Winter Wine Festival attracts casual sippers to serious oenophiles, who relish the chance to meet wine producers from across the globe.
New Castle is just minutes from Portsmouth, a small city with a big culinary reputation. With its active seaport, it is practically redundant to mention that its restaurants offer a fresh take on boat-to-table seafood.
Wentworth by the Sea, 588 Wentworth Road, New Castle, NH 03854; 866-384-0709 or 603-422-7322
Little River Inn, Little River, California
The Mendocino Coast in Northern California is a patchwork of crashing waves, jagged cliffs and cypress trees.
The family-owned Little River Inn is a classic resort that retains much of its original Victorian appeal, yet its amenities should exceed discerning modern expectations.
Many guest rooms are situated on a bluff or at the ocean's edge, with uninterrupted Pacific Ocean views. Extras like a wood-burning fireplace for cool, foggy nights and outdoor Jacuzzis add a dash of low-key luxury.
Van Damme State Park is just a short stroll from the inn. The park's miles of fern-carpeted hiking trails meander alongside Little River and past the Cabbage Patch, a bog of skunk cabbage that's rich in wildlife. A miniature forest of decades-old trees and a beach favored by abalone divers are highlights.
Little River Inn, 7901 Hwy 1, Little River, CA 95456; 707-937-5942 or 888-INN-LOVE
The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island Golf Resort, Kiawah Island, SC
Kiawah Island is a barrier island located 21 miles from Charleston. Paved hiking and biking trails, a wealth of marine life, uncommon bird species and 10 miles of sparkling shoreline mingle with Southern hospitality.
Snow is a rarity but the winter temperatures dip low enough to require warm jackets.
The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island Golf Resort is an opulent 255-room oceanfront hotel. Rooms offer all the trappings of gracious living with marble-lined entryways and private balconies.
The thoughtfully developed resort is committed to preserving the island's natural habitat of maritime forest, water ponds and sand dunes. On-staff naturalists show off the island's flora and fauna with a range of outdoor programming. Kayaking in the salt marsh, birding tours and beach walks offer sea air and solitude.
With five championship courses, the resort has earned a prominent position on the serious golfer's map.
It's an easy drive to Charleston to explore its fabulous restaurant scene, but the resort presents a variety of culinary treats. The outdoor oyster roast is an authentic Lowcountry experience.
The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island Golf Resort, 1 Sanctuary Beach Drive, Kiawah Island, SC, 29455; 843- 768-2121 or 800-654-2924
Harbor View Hotel, Edgartown, Massachusetts
Once the summer crowds go home, Martha's Vineyard is a tranquil wintertime escape.
Beachcombing and in-town strolls are favored cool-weather activities, and numerous art galleries and restaurants remain open all year.
Harbor View Hotel enjoys ocean and lighthouse views from its perch on the harbor of Edgartown. Flanked by historic homes and stately elms, it's an idyllic base to explore the Vineyard in winter.
No two rooms are alike. Overnight visitors stay in one of three distinct, closely clustered venues: the historic hotel, the Governor Mayhew Building and the Captain's Cottages. The eight Captain's Cottages all have in-room fireplaces.
The hotel is steeped in traditions. Freshly baked cookies and milk are served each night, as soothing as a lullaby.
Harbor View Hotel, 131 North Water Street, Edgartown, MA 02539; 508-627-7000