Deby Beard: My five top beaches around the world
For the seasoned traveler like me, there is only one final confession to make: in the end, there’s really nothing like the sea.
When picturing paradise, the image is that of crystalline waters and a calm sea that stretches toward the horizon. Humanity shares an infinite fascination for the ocean and we find in it a beauty and complexity that remains unmatched by anything else.
By the seaside we find peace, we find shelter, we find ourselves… Swimming in the ocean is a feeling outmatched by any other. And it is because of this intense love that I’ve set out on this difficult endeavour: choosing my favorite beaches in the world.
5. Koh Samui, Thailand:
Only 750 kilometers from Bangkok lies this pearl; bathed in shallow waters, dotted with waterfalls of freshwater, it is full of picturesque corners. The beautiful south side of the island is a snapshot definition of tropical paradise.
After the beaches of Koh Phi Phi, the coastline of Koh Samui has some of the most coveted beaches by travelers who come to Thailand. In the north: Ao Bang Po, Mae Nam Hat, Hat Bo Phut, and Big Buddha beach enjoy an amazing tranquility and a privileged view of Koh Phangan. In the east and southeast lie Hat Chaweng and Hat Lamai, the most beautiful beaches on the island, but also the busiest.
And in this heavenly piece of tropical land we find the Banyan Tree Koh Samui overlooking the bay of Lamai and the South Coast. The hotel is located on a private hill on the southeastern coast of Koh Samui and combines the best elements for a getaway to find privacy and peace, synonymous with Banyan Tree. It’s ideal place to leave behind the outside world, where days pass in a flow of peaceful relaxation.
4: Cozumel, Mexico:
A short ferry ride away from Playa del Carmen lies the island of Cozumel. Its Caribbean charm attracts thousands of visitors every year, from cruise ship passengers to scuba diving enthusiasts on the prowl for the paradise hidden below Mexican waters whose beauty often makes tourists extend their stays for weeks.
Cozumel is the largest and most populated island of the Mexican Caribbean. Its western coast boasts long stretches of wide-sanded beach and a calm, crystalline sea. The turquoise color of its waters has made the island into one of the most renowned diving and snorkel destinations. Both for rookies and professionals, diving into these beautiful waters soon becomes one of the most spectacular life experiences. The number of coral reefs and underwater locations for exploring is as infinite as the horizon. After the Great Barrier in Australia, Cozumel has the largest coral reef in the world.
Nestled in the heavenly paradise of Cozumel, with unmatched views of the Caribbean and its crystalline waters, Presidente InterContinental Cozumel Resort & Spa is a seductive and elegant destination. Located in front of the spectacular National Park ‘Coral Reefs of Cozumel”, the second largest coral reef in the world, the resort offers a unique white sands tranquility where culture and environment come together for a unique experience.
3: Zighy Bay, Oman:
Separated from the rest of Oman by the east coast of the UAE, and guarding the southern side of the strategically important Strait of Hormuz, the Musandam Peninsula is dubbed the ‘Norway of Arabia’ for its beautiful khors (rocky inlets), small villages and dramatic, mountain-hugging roads.
The scenery is outstanding. Rocky, barren mountains jutting out straight from a shining, sapphire sea that in summer can be as warm as 38C.
Located on a nearly deserted bay on the Musandam Peninsula, the Six Senses Zighy Bay enjoys a truly spectacular setting, surrounded on all sides by cliffs of pink aggregate. It also offers the option of more optional arrival we could imagine: to fly over the mountains in a paraglider and reach the hotel: a unique experience. Perfectly combining the natural beauty of Oman with the luxury that always prevails in the Six Senses hotels, this magnificent resort redefines extravagance.
In this fantasy world Six Senses has created a true oasis.
2: La Digue, Seychelles:
In the list of the most romantic destinations in the world, the Seychelles are the closest you can get to the top. Located in the Indian Ocean off the coast of East Africa, this group of 115 islands is a mixture of populated ports and uninhabited coral islands.
The Seychelles are a living museum of natural history, a sanctuary for some of the rarest species of flora and fauna on earth, and a paradise with some of the best beaches in the world, pristine and uninhabited.
One of the islands, La Digue, has one of the most extraordinary beaches I have ever seen. The water is crystal clear, marked by incredible rock formations jutting out at rare intervals. It is sparsely inhabited, almost virginal.
On the paradise of La Digue we find a very limited hotel selection, but some of Seychelles’ bigger islands, paradises of their own, host some of the most spectacular hotels in the world, among them Banyan Tree. In the beautiful Intendance Bay on Mahé Island, this hotel may contain some of the most desirable real estate in the land. With a coastline that extends through one of the world's best beaches, lush hills, and magnificent views of the Indian Ocean, Banyan Tree Seychelles impress even the most discerning traveler.
1: Mayan Riviera, Mexico:
Riviera Maya, a paradise of soft, calm Caribbean waves, has become into a unique, world-renowned destination. It boasts incredible hotels and restaurant, along with an unmatched view of the crystalline waters of the Caribbean Sea and a rich cultural heritage.
Located in the state of Quintana Roo, the Mayan Riviera has, among its many wonders, the Biosphere Reserve of Sian Ka’an, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as well as the archeological site of Tulum, the beautiful lagoon of Yalkú, an endless amount of mangroves and the Great Mayan Sea Reef. This is the second-biggest sea reef in the world, over 1000 kilometers of unsurpassed underwater wonders.
The waves caress gently, almost tenderly, the white sandy beach. This is a place where time stands still, suspended in the hot air of the Caribbean, static, a world of tranquility.
Located in this paradise, the hotel Belmond Maroma Resort & Spa was first the house of a renowned architect, and only later became part of the famous Belmond international chain at a resort true to its commitment to "handmade hospitality". It is an oasis immersed in a coconut plantation of 200 acres, with a privileged beach and a sea whose colors range from turquoise to emerald green.