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8 Swell Surf Hotels

  • The Harmony Hotel

    Harmony Hotel, Costa Rica

  • Shorebreak Hotel

    Shorebreak Hotel, Huntington Beach

  • Pelican Eyes Resort and Spa

    Pelican Eyes Resort, Nicaragua

  • Playa Viva

    Playa Viva, Mexico

  • Dream Inn

    Dream Inn, Santa Cruz

  • La Suite by Dussol Rio de Janeiro

    La Suite by Dussol, Rio de Janeiro

  • Six Senses Laamu

    Six Senses Laamu, Maldives

  • Ponta dos Ganchos Exclusive Resort

    Ponta dos Ganchos Exclusive Resort, Brazil

March, 2013

The surf is always up somewhere. Whether it’s a sandy little casita in a far-flung Mexican backwater or a high-gloss resort on the cliffs of Santa Catarina you’re after, these eight surf hotels can all put you on a wave.


Harmony Hotel
Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica — From the eco-friendly, thatch-roofed units at Harmony, it’s just a two-minute walk down a jungle path to Playa Guiones, a gorgeous sandy beach with consistent year-round waves. The hotel has everything you need to get some surfing in — board rentals, instructors and plenty of knowledge about the best local surf spots.
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Shorebreak Hotel
Huntington Beach, California — Known as Surf City, Huntington Beach is indelibly linked to Southern California’s surf culture. At the beachside Shorebreak Hotel, blown-up surf photos abound and surfboards are everywhere you look. Even if you don’t want to get in the water yourself, you can always watch the surfers from the privacy of your balcony. Visit during the US Open of Surfing and you’ll be watching some of the world’s best.
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Pelican Eyes Resort
San Jual del Sur, Nicaragua — San Juan del Sur, the coastal town where Pelican Eyes makes its home, has been a famous surf destination for some time now. As a resort town, though, it’s just getting started, so it’s still easier to find a good surf instructor and a wave of your own than a frozen tropical cocktail.
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Playa Viva
Zihuatanejo, Mexico — It’s low-key, low-tech and low-impact, but the surfing at Playa Viva is tops. The eight thatch-roofed casitas overlook some of the best waves on Mexico’s Pacific coast. If you get tired of the swells at the beach outside your door, there are half a dozen surf spots within an hour’s drive, including one of the few places in Mexico where you can get into a proper pipeline.
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Dream Inn
Santa Cruz, California — Santa Cruz is a classic northern California beach town with a surfing tradition to match, and the Dream sits right on its famous boardwalk. Once a faded Sixties mid-rise, the hotel has been given the retro-chic mid-century modern boutique treatment, just the right look for a Santa Cruz surf hotel.
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La Suite by Dussol
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil — Let the landlubbers wallow in the sun on Ipanema Beach. Surfers know that Joatinga is the place in Rio to catch a wave, and it’s just down a cliffside road from La Suite by Dussol. If you haven’t had enough time in the water after a day of surfing, the intimate seven-room hotel has two pools of its own to choose from, plus views of the water from every room.
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Six Senses Laamu
Laamu Atoll, Maldives — Admittedly, the Maldives aren’t exactly in the same league as Mavericks when it comes to waves, but when you’re paddling through the warm crystalline waters of the Indian Ocean with your private instructor, you’ll hardly be suffering. And there’s more consolation in the form of the over-water bungalows, which range from cushy to impossibly lavish. Six Senses is the only five-star resort on the Laamu atoll, an extremely secluded and unspoiled place even by Maldivian standards.
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Ponta dos Ganchos Exclusive Resort
Santa Catarina, Brazil — Ponta dos Ganchos sees more guests arrive by helicopter than by sputtering VW surf-van, but that doesn’t make the nearby surfing at Santa Catarina any less legitimate. It’s some of the best in Brazil, and back at the hotel, you get what you pay for — a chic little bungalow tucked into the lush hillside, with a hammock and chaise on the private veranda for taking in the sea views.
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