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The Coolest Beach Hotels in the USA, Hands Down

A towel and a stretch of sand? Good. A hip beach hotel with a buzzy après-la-plage scene and Instagram-ready design? Now we're talking. Here are 8 hipster-approved finds just a stone’s throw from the sand.

Bedroom at Hotel Erwin
Ocean view from Hotel Erwin

Hotel Erwin

Tap into Venice’s free-spirited, bohemian vibe at Hotel Erwin, a boutique stay just steps from the Venice Beach Boardwalk. All 119 guest rooms rock a retro '60s style (think: multi-colored wall murals, evocative surfboard décor, photos of Jimi Hendrix and Joni Mitchell), and some have spacious balconies with ocean views. Sip on jalapeño strawberry margaritas while mingling with shaggy-haired surfer dudes at High bar (the only rooftop lounge in Venice), then tuck into ahi tuna hash, crispy pig ears, and white truffle fries downstairs at Barlo Kitchen & Cocktails. The next morning, work it all off with a swim in the ocean or sweat sesh at nearby Muscle Beach (speedos and fake tans not included).

RELATED: The World’s Most Underrated Islands Worth Adding to Your Bucket List

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W Retreat & Spa - Vieques Island

The tiny island of Vieques off Puerto Rico's east coast was a U.S. Navy base until 2003, with untouched beaches, tropical forests, and crystal clear waters. Since then, luxury resorts have moved in and put the sultry atoll on the map, but it still manages to feel like an untamed tropical paradise. Get on island time at the W Retreat & Spa, a design-forward stay along Vieques' secluded northern coast. Inside, polished cement floors, warm wood walls, and mod décor all blend seamlessly with the surrounding gardens. Drink a fruity cocktail by the palm-studded pool, or go snorkeling at the hotel's private beach, where you'll find a pristine reef teeming with exotic fish and Hawksbill sea turtles.

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The Surf Lodge

During the summer, this hotel-meets-bar-meets-club is the cornerstone of Hamptons nightlife. Dressed in fringed caftans and platform mules, leggy fashionistas gather on the 2,600-square-foot outdoor deck to take in late-night performances by the likes of the Flaming Lips, Tove Lo and Lana del Ray. But it's not just the party that draws the young and the beautiful to this hipster hang. With on-site activities like vinyasa flow yoga classes, stand-up paddle boarding and bonfires on the man-made beach, the Surf Lodge is like a summer camp for grown-ups. It's no wonder that celebs like Leonardo DiCaprio and Solange have been spotted lounging on its hammock-strung patio.

RELATED: Trip Matchmaker: Find Your Perfect Hamptons Escape

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Tower23 Hotel

This waterfront hotel in San Diego knows how to up the cool factor. Architect Graham Downes, the man behind some of the city's hippest clubs and resorts, is responsible for Tower23's contemporary design (see: invisible windows and stark white walls). We love the buzzy JRDN raw bar and polished guestrooms, all of which have private balconies with Pacific Ocean views. But the hottest scene undeniably takes place under the sun. We mean the Pacific Beach Boardwalk, where you can take one of the hotel's free beach cruisers and pedal past a fit crowd of surfers, volleyball players and bronzed beach-goers.

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The Moorings Village and Spa, Islamorada

The very definition of an adult's playground, this 18-acre property offers every outdoor activity imaginable, from deep sea fishing to wind surfing, kayaking and snorkeling. The resort itself is a collection of 18 darling cottages—all shaded under a canopy of coconut palms, and connected by wooden walkways that lead to a 1,100-foot beach. With scenery like this, it's no wonder the hotel has served as the backdrop to countless photo shoots (ahem, Victoria Secret and Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition included). For a delightfully lazy afternoon, settle into one of the many hammocks with a piña colada and a beach read.

RELATED: Florida’s Best Secret Beach Getaways

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Delano South Beach

The Delano may be two decades old, but it is somehow still one of the sexiest spots on South Beach. A 2012 Philippe Starck-helmed renovation added whimsical touches like a billowy white fabric-draped lobby, art by Dalí, Eames and Gaudí, along with oversized armchairs and chessboards. But the hotel's main attraction is the 7,000-square-foot pool. Lounge under a canopied daybed (they go fast so get yours ahead of time!), and order a cocktail and a small bite from Chef Brian Massie's award-winning kitchen. You're steps from the beach, but we'd recommend going for a body-smoothing treatment or anti-aging facial at the spa. Trust us, you'll want to feel your best for later, when you try to get past the tough rope at the hotel's glitzy subterranean FDR club.

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Faena Hotel Miami Beach - Miami, FL
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Faena Hotel Miami Beach

It takes a lot to turn heads in Miami. But the glam Faena Hotel Miami Beach make you do a double take. We're talking Baz Luhrmann-designed interiors, butler service, a 150-seat cabaret-style theatre, and a lobby accented with floor-to-ceiling gold-leaf murals. Bonus: You're just a short walk away from the widest and most pristine swath of sand in Miami Beach. After you've worked on your tan, head to chef Francis Mallmann's restaurant, Los Fuegos, for South American fare like grapefruit-topped corvina crudo and roasted korobuta pork belly.

RELATED: The 10 Best Luxury Hotels in Miami

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Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort

At Andaz Maui, the newest resort on the Wailea coastline, there are three cascading infinity pools, an apothecary spa and a Morimoto eatery—plus direct access to a peerless four-and-a-half-mile stretch of golden sand. But the real reason we're dying to bed down at this Mokapu Beach sleep? It's called style, people, and the Andaz Maui has it in spades. Walk through the grand porte-cochère and along a lantern-lit path to arrive at the hotel's dramatic open-air lobby, where tree-like pillars frame floor-to-ceiling ocean views and pillowy loungers border a central sandpit. Guestrooms are equally as striking, with sleek slate flooring, rich wood tones and batik prints.

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