For a great ocean view escape:
1. Paia, HI
A hideaway on Maui’s quiet shore: For a breath of fresh ocean air―and a welcome alternative to Maui’s high-rise resorts―check into a quiet, beachfront cottage at the Inn at Mama’s Fish House, on the island’s North Shore. In the evening, dine on just-caught ono in the open-air dining room, done in a classic Polynesian style that is, somehow, anything but kitsch. From $175; 800/860-4852. –Rachel Levin
2. Venice, CA
Your stylish beach pad: So comfortable are the oceanfront studios at Venice Breeze Suites that you might feel like you’re coming home after a night out, rather than returning to a hotel.
The high-design 1930s building of 27 mod units is right on the beach. Kitchens are fully loaded, the rooftop deck―with barbecue, wet bar, and ocean views―is a primo spot for a sunset soiree, and you’re steps from the sand. Free parking (at a premium in this hood) is an added bonus.
And considering that the Santa Monica hotels within walking distance are about three times the price, this place is a steal. From $135 (from $155 for ocean view); two-night minimum; 310/ 566-2222. –MacKenzie Geidt
3. Near Zihuatanejo, Mexico
Another day in eco paradise: The Swiss Family Robinson would have loved Playa Viva, which just opened on an endless, empty beach an hour south of the Zihuatanejo and Ixtapa tourist-plex.
Two thatched casitas, set on stilts to catch the ocean breezes, house a total of five barely enclosed rooms, with a third open-air casita serving as pool- and clubhouse.
Pretty much everything is reclaimed, sustainable, organic, or solar-powered, adding up to a major dose of peace and quiet. From $295 U.S., including room, all meals, airport transfers, yoga classes, and unlimited beer and organic tequila; 650/292-0432. –Christine Ryan
4. Long Beach, CA
Mod waterfront resort: To the stylishly revamped Hotel Maya, we say: Yes, please. Bring on the dumbwaiter that delivers drinks to you in the lobby, the jungle of palm trees, the nightly sangria tastings.
An afternoon in a cabana floating above an elevated dipping pool transports us to the tropics. From $169; 562/435-7676. –Jennie Nunn
Next: 6 pampering dream trips