Take a trip to one of Lizard Island's 24 private beaches

Beach holidays aren’t all about lazing on the sand with a book and a mission to tan. Proximity to the sea also means great diving opportunities, fresh seafood and peaceful solitude. Whether you’re a night owl or a sporting enthusiast, here’s a range of beach resorts that offer more to satisfy your appetite than just a brief paddle in the surf.

Best for romance: Anantara Kihavah Villas, Maldives

Stylish Beach Resorts MaldivesIntimate barbecue for two beside the Indian Ocean
Nowhere says romance quite like the Maldives. Its crystal-clear waters, white beaches and the privacy of its small, uninhabited islands, make it the perfect backdrop for an enchanting escape.

To experience this island nation paradise to its full potential, take a seaplane from the capital, Malé, to nearby Baa Atoll Island where one of the Maldives’ newest luxury resorts is located. Since opening in 2011, Anantara Kihavah has been committed to providing a utopian retreat for its guests. Whether you’re watching fish dart inches from your table in the resort’s underwater restaurant, experiencing a massage side-by-side at Anantara Spa, or enjoying a bath for two in your villa’s sunken tub underneath a blanket of stars, you would be hard pressed not to give into the allure of the area.

From US$1,800 per night for a beach pool villa.

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Best for keeping active: Pestana Porto Santo, Portugal

Stylish Beach Resorts Porto SantoRelax around the pool after a hard day's hiking
Grupo Pestana
Madeira’s mountainous countryside provides a great opportunity for walking and hiking enthusiasts. However, take just a short flight or boat ride away and the 9km-long (5 miles) sandy beach of Porto Santo forms an oasis of beautiful shoreline away from Madeira’s black and shingle beaches whilst still retaining the same walking prospects.

When you’re not exploring the high peaks of the island, such as the 316m-high (1,036ft) Pico do Facho, you can still stay active at the Pestana Porto Santo hotel. Take a leisurely horse ride along the beach, try out the nearby 18-hole golf course or test out your sea legs with some deep-sea fishing. The beaches of Portugal’s ‘Golden Island’ will be waiting for you when you come back.

From €203 per night for a double standard room.

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Best for diving: Harbour Village Beach Club, Bonaire

Stylish Beach Resorts BonaireDiscover Bonaire's underwater worlds
Harbour Village Beach Club
As one of the first protected marine parks in the Caribbean, Bonaire presents an untouched wilderness of beautiful fringing reefs and diverse marine life. Its large focus on conservation means that the ‘look, but don’t touch’ mentality is strictly enforced. Luckily there’s much to see, with Bonaire boasting more species of fish than any other Caribbean location and the majority of dive sites being easily accessible.

Head to the Harbour Village Beach Club to enjoy daily boat dives and lessons amongst luxurious surroundings. As well as offering teaching, equipment rental and underwater tours, the resort is close to some of Bonaire’s most popular dive sites. The popular dive wreck, ‘Our Confidence’, can be accessed from the resort’s private beach, meaning you can be its first intrepid explorers of the day.

From US$275 per night for a courtyard-view room.

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Best for nightlife: Conrad Punta del Este Resort and Casino, Uruguay

Stylish Beach Resorts Punte del EsteThe party never ends in Uruguay's Punta del Este
Creative Commons / Duda Pan
Now an expensive playground for the toned, tanned and filthy rich, it’s hard to imagine Punta del Este, Uruguay, as the simple fishing village it once was. Locals and tourists alike stay out all night partying in the downtown bars before piling out to watch the sunrise on one of Punta del Este’s picturesque beaches. Other partygoers flock to La Barra’s Bikini Beach for the on-beach DJs and drink service.

There’s no need to stop the party when you get home either, as the Conrad Punta del Este Resort and Casino offers up its Las Vegas-style gambling facilities 24/7. There’s also the Lobby Lounge, which holds fashion shows and live music on weekends, and numerous music and dance events held around the torch-lit pools.

From US$310 per night for a premium ocean-view room.

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Best for foodies: Four Seasons Jimbaran Bay, Bali

Stylish Beach Resorts BaliCandle-lit feast upon the beach
Yaeko Masuda / Four Seasons
Sitting on the edge of the extensive Indian Ocean, it would be rude not to take advantage of the opportunities that this resort offers. The Four Seasons Jimbaran Bay certainly doesn’t waste the chance with its outdoor dining experiences. Here, you can indulge in an intimate five-course gourmet meal, including fresh seafood from the sea just metres away from your canopied bed. Alternatively, head to Warung Mie restaurant for some traditional Indonesian food around a communal hand-carved table from Java.

Step outside of the hotel and there’s an even greater range of feasting opportunities. Take a trip to one of the bustling night markets to sample some authentic street food, such as satay, bakso (meatball soup) and lemper (sticky rice). Afterwards, work off the calories by grabbing your surfboard to ride Bali’s famous waves.

From US$725 per night for a one-bedroom villa.

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Best off-the-beaten-track resort: Lizard Island, Australia

Stylish Beach Resorts Lizard IslandFloat away any troubles in the crystal-clear Coral Sea
Lizard Island
Once thought of as a sacred place where the Dingaal Aboriginal people used to initiate young males, Australia's Lizard Island is now a national park mainly taken up by scientific research facilities. However, the Lizard Island resort provides a unique opportunity to indulge in luxury amongst the otherwise remote and unspoilt terrain.

Although it wields a hefty price tag, the resort’s all-inclusive nature means that thoughts of money can be left at home. Take a private charter to explore the nearby Great Barrier Reef, ride a motorised dinghy to a deserted beach for a spot of lunch, or watch the sunset from a hammock in your private garden with perfect peace of mind.

From Aus$1,444 per night for an all-inclusive room.

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