Vista Casita

New awakenings – 2021's hottest properties

Dreaming of sun-drenched days and refreshing ocean dips? Us, too. From Thailand to the Maldives and beyond, Blossom Green scopes out the best beach resorts to have opened their doors over the past 18 months. Address books at the ready

Four Seasons Punta Mita Mexico

If getting away from it all is at the forefront of your mind right now, Mexico’s ever on-the-up Riviera Nayarit is a choice place to plot your escape. Facing the Pacific Ocean on a private peninsula, Four Seasons Punta Mita relaunched last summer bringing a ‘mi casa, su casa’ approach that sees open-air terraces draw the ocean in across homely casita-style suites. And while there are few things better than basking by the pool in a private cabana, a world of adventure awaits you on the shore. Think horseback riding along the beach, setting sail on the house yacht for a sunset cruise, eco discovery tours of the Marietas Islands or a round on the Tail of the Whale golf course – the world’s only natural island green. You’ll want to make time to get under the skin of Mexican agave with tequila and mezcal tastings, and a sea foraging excursion on the hunt for seaweed, octopus and sea urchins with chef Jorge González, who’ll whip up your finds for a private beach supper. And, if you can’t get enough of the lifestyle, tag on a couple of nights at sister property Tamarindo, opening later this year just along the coast.

Four Seasons Punta Mita Aerea

Travel Details

Casitas from £1,398,

Ritz-Carlton Maldives Fari Islands

Set on a long, slim islet, this new luxury pad sees an evolution in the wave of ‘New Maldives’ concepts. Found on the Fari Islands on the North Malé Atoll, Ritz-Carlton stands out in that it shares a communal social scene – Fari Marina Village, accessed via a traditional dhoni boat – with a pioneering clutch of neighbouring resorts. In an area teeming with marine life, the azure waters here are as much for exploring as for relaxing. Waterskiing, surfing, diving, fishing and dolphin cruises are all on the cards, with a spa, photography classes and Maldivian drum lessons ideal for more sedate days. Refined and inviting, nothing’s overdone in the 100 pool villas, with the surrounding views doing the talking. When it comes to dining, expect everything from high-end Cantonese and modern Japanese under the stars, to laid-back southern Italian.

The Ritz Carlton Maldives Fari Islands Ocean Pool Villa Bedroom 1

Travel Details

Overwater villas from £2,633,

Patine Maldives Fari Islands

Also part of the Fari archipelago and promising a soulful sanctuary, Patina is the eponymous flagship for a new lifestyle brand. While the paint swatch of blues may scream ‘Indian Ocean’, here, the artisan-leaning design (by Brazilian architect Marcio Kogan) speaks a more global language.

At one with nature, its low-slung stature sits outside the usual Maldivian remit and the earthy interiors across the 90 pool villas and 20 studios – found woven into the beach or seeming to float over water – combine Japanese minimalism with rustic-luxe nods. Sculptural blonde wood, Hessian hues and soothing art ensure a natural flow between the indoor and outdoor spaces. Enveloped by the cyan lagoon, kayaking, snorkelling and paddle boarding, or indeed any other aquatic pastime, is a given. After, head to the vibey Fari Beach Club (a country first, being open to visitors from other islands, too) for 12 dining options – from Japanese-Nordic fusion and a tempting gelato tuk-tuk to Latin American parrillas and Aegean sharing plates – all with a ‘zero-waste, all taste’ mantra.

Aerial Veli bar pool

Travel Details

Beach pool villas from £1,200,

The Goodtime Hotel Miami

This Miami hotel’s moniker says everything about its slant – a playful, peachy pink pad that doesn’t take itself too seriously, it opened in April after five years in the making. Channelling South Beach spirit, the space is nostalgically reimagined as a tropical modernist take on the art deco heritage this stretch of the city is known for. Cue sorbet shades, gold-leafed lifts, botanical murals, carpets woven to emulate wet footprints and 266 rooms styled as a fresh version of 1950s Miami. A bright and breezy library bar and flagship Strawberry Moon restaurant/beach club – evoking Havana and heavy on the Mediterranean small plates front – seal the deal. Okay, so while it may not sit on the water, this place is all about the beach vibes – along with a cabana-flanked pool area set up for days spent mainlining cocktails and rays, a five-minute walk will have your toes firmly in the sand, with yacht charters and water sports to hand. Hedonists or drop-and-floppers will find a good time here.

GOODTIME 0436 v3

Travel Details

Doubles from £137,

Andaz Bali

If the thought of waking to tropical climes and the sound of the waves caressing the shore has you in rapture, look no further than the Island of the Gods. The layout of this trendy lifestyle hotel in Sanur – Andaz’s first foray in Indonesia – is a modern iteration of a Balinese village. Hanging greenery frames the facade – made from local heritage red brick – and local craftsmanship leads across the 149 rooms and 22 villas. Three pools and a private beach provide respite from the heat of the day, while, nearby, Olympian Oka Sulaksana offers private water sport sessions. Cultural activities might be a journey into the hypnotic art of gamelan or jewellery making, and four restaurants champion freshly caught fish and Indonesian mainstays.

Andaz Bali Liang Pool

Travel Details

Doubles from £114,

The Aerial Buck Island

Poised on the British Virgin Islands’ Buck Island, this private eco retreat crafts bespoke experiences – cerebral and physical – to create your ultimate holiday. The landscape drives it all, whether you take to the water with private water sport and sailing instruction, get stuck in with turtle tagging or redress your life-work balance with an immersive wellness programme, your every need will be preempted by a raft of experienced hosts and experts. Made for groups and sleeping 30+ guests (with a price tag to match) across five houses, halcyon days are standard, with nature hikes and waterfont yoga balancing out languid dips in the ocean or pool and farm-to-table lunches. For those whose pockets aren’t quite so deep, day access is bookable for travellers passing through neighbouring islands, and ‘island special’ weeks offer nightly stays.

Buck island shoot Extra property shots 1794

Travel Details

Doubles from £1,084; all inclusive buy-out, from £30,550 (£1,018pp pn; three-night minimum stay),

Six Senses Ibiza Spain

Tucked along Xarraca Bay, which curves like the hint of a smile on the White Isle’s northern tip, Six Senses Ibiza is proof that paradise can be found close to home. One of the most hotly anticipated – and newest – on our list, it opened in early July. Eight hectares reveal 116 gorgeous rooms – think sea view, rooftop gardens and beachfront cave suites – plus gallery, music room and high-spec wellness centre. Balmy Balearic days might mean chartering an in-house boat, snorkelling clear waters or adrenaline-fuelled cliff jumping and free-diving classes. Driven by the terroir, food across four restaurants comes from the Six Senses farm estate and olive press, which guests are welcome to explore. Convivial HaSalon, by the founding father of new Israeli cuisine Eyal Shani, is one to linger over come golden hour.

Ibiza spain 612 VR building terrace with private sundeck and view to the bay

Travel Details

Doubles from £646,

Banyan Tree Krabi Thailand

The sounds of nature echoing through the mangroves and rainforests surrounding this new Thai resort are all part of your welcome committee. Within, the major draw across 72 fresh-faced modern suites and villas is that they all come with private pools and overlook the karst isles that jut out from the Andaman Sea in a scene that wouldn’t be out of place on the pages of an Alex Garland novel. By day, you’ll be kept busy with all the usual trappings of a beach break – pool, day bed, beach, repeat (there’s a pool kitted out with slides to keep kids busy, too) – but be sure to save time for a speedboat trip to a neighbouring island and a little therapy at the signature spa. Local culinary delights are on the table at Saffron, but for something different, a special private dining experience perched amid the trees will live long in the memory.

Beachfront Pool Villa 2

Travel Details

Pool suites from £269,

On the horizon...

A glance at the months ahead suggests things are only getting hotter on the hotel front – expect some exciting island escapes opening in Mauritius, St Barths and Crete, plus big new plans for properties in Indonesia and the Maldives, too. Here’s a taste of things to come

Coming to northern Mauritius in November, Lux* Grand Baie will bring a boutique-style edge to this sugar-sand stretch. Architect Jean-Francois Adam is behind the modernist space, informed by days watching boats from the very beach it now sits on – while Kelly Hoppen’s cast her design gaze over the interiors. With clean lines, neutral hues and luxe accents across 114 suites and villas, it’s dressed to feel like a designer’s tropical outpost. At the rooftop beach club an infinity pool stands ready to showcase standout sunsets, and three dining options, a spa and Olympic-sized rooftop running track complete the picture.

In St Barths, Rosewood Le Guanahani will open in October. Following the devastating effects of Hurricane Irma, the group have taken an island icon under their wing, giving it a head-to-toe redesign while conserving its French Caribbean design and food heritage. Set on a private peninsula flanked by two beaches, many of the 66 modern suites have their own pools.

Closer to home, this summer Crete welcomes Numo Ierapetra – a bohemian-leaning seaside retreat. A total of 132 modern rooms sprawl across 17 low-rise buildings undulating down to the beach. Earthy interiors reflect the surrounding tamarisk trees and evergreen gardens, and as well as an ocean-facing pool, the beach is bedecked with sunbeds and cabanas. Expect seafood and Cretan classics on the menu.

Far-flung and fabulous, Bawah Reserve is launching its second private island late this summer. Elang, on Indonesia’s Anambas Islands, is an adult-only option available for private buy-outs. With a tangible sense of synergy with the surrounds, it houses six cliffside lodges made from natural materials, with hushed pathways leading directly to the sea. A private clubhouse, pool and restaurant accompany it.

Meanwhile, in the Maldives’ Raa Atoll, the sublime Joali is bringing Joali Being to a neighbouring island this winter. Immersed in nature and centred on wellbeing, expect 68 beach and overwater villas, two wellness centres and a culinary programme focused on earth-to-table cuisine.

Wooden jetty on blue ocean

Travel Details

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