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Local Color

8 Beach Hotels for Local Color
  • Be Tulum, Mexico

  • The Library, Koh Samui

  • The Nam Hai, Vietnam

  • Alila Manggis, Bali

  • Imanta Resorts Punta de Mita, Mexico

  • Etnia Pousada & Boutique, Brazil

  • Le Sereno, St. Barthelemy

  • La Passion Hotel, Cartagena

June, 2012

The beach, in itself, is a wonderful thing. But there are times when you want more than just sand and surf. Instead we’ve got our eye on some beach destinations where the local life is as enticing as the water.


Be Tulum
Tulum, Mexico — It’s well on its way, to be sure, but at the moment this village on the Riviera Maya still strikes just the right balance between rustic charm, far-flung isolation and a certain low-key glamour.
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The Library
Koh Samui, Thailand — It’s been some time since Koh Samui was an unspoiled little hippie paradise, but all that activity means there’s never a dull moment — and you’ll appreciate the Library’s quiet.
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The Nam Hai
Hoi An, Vietnam — Compared to its neighbor Thailand, the beach towns of Vietnam are still relatively low-key. The well-preserved village of Hoi An, with its Japanese-style footbridges, bustling markets and French pâtisseries, has to be the most enchanting example.
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Alila Manggis
Bali, Indonesia — Parts of Bali have been a little too thoroughly developed for our tastes, but the island’s east coast mixes traditional ways of life with low-key, low-impact designer hospitality.
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Imanta Resorts Punta de Mita
Punta de Mita, Mexico — Punta de Mita, on the Pacific coast, is a model of splendid seclusion, but a few miles up the coast is Sayulita, a colorful little surf village that serves as the antidote to Mexico’s big resort towns.
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Etnia Pousada & Boutique
Trancoso, Brazil — Forgive us, but we find we just can’t say enough about Trancoso, a beautiful beach town that’s managed to preserve its local character even as it’s become a world-class destination.
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Le Sereno
St. Barthelemy, French West Indies — St. Barth’s stands out among its island neighbors as a bastion of European glamour. Fortunately, this also translates into exceptional fresh food, delivered via boat from France once a week, excellent shops and a thriving nightlife.
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La Passion Hotel
Cartagena, Colombia — The colonial city of Cartagena is like a Caribbean time capsule, a particularly lovely window into the region’s past. The best beaches are out of town, but easily accessible by ferry.
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