Since I love the sea, I have four favorite places, all of them seaside and all of them very different.
1) Sitges, Spain
An enchanting old-fashioned seaside resort just south of Barcelona on the Mediterranean, Sitges has a wonderfully democratic clientele of bourgeois Spanish families, bohemian types from all over Europe, gays, and young families. The Hotel Tryp San Sebastian is right across the street from a perfect beach and far from the maddening crowds on the other side of the promontory. You don’t need a car in Sitges. Just hop a train directly from the airport in Barcelona. The perfect long weekend on the coast and the paella with squid’s ink and aioli served in the beach side restaurants is delicious.
2) Sihanoukville, Cambodia
A strand of white-sugar beach that’s just right for a time out after touring Angor Wat and Pnom Pehn. Sihanoukville is off-the-beaten path and perfect for being so. It offers great swimming and wonderful seafood restaurants.
3) Belle Ile, France
The Castel Clara is easily one of the most romantic hotels in the world, with stunning views over a deep V-shaped cove that’s covered with bright green bracken. The food’s delicious, there’s a terrific little thalassotherapy spa and this place pulls a charming crowd. Belle Ile itself is more than aptly named, and the Plage du Donant is one of the world’s great beaches.
4) Harbour Island, Bahamas
For years I had an aversion to Caribbean. Then I found Harbour Island, which is the perfect place in the sun, with an easy flight of the US. I love the fact that there are almost no cars on the island–everyone gets around on golf carts, bikes, or walks. This little speck is bling free, with beautiful colonial architecture and the most gorgeous beach in the western hemisphere–the famous pink sand beach.