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Inn love: 12 lodging favorites

Produced by Susan Haynes
Coastal Living

Seagrove Villas in Seagrove Beach, Florida


Hotels and accommodation
Tourism and Leisure

(Coastal Livingexternal link) -- The travels of Coastal Living staffers lead to accommodations that run the gamut in style and service. Read on for a dozen of their latest finds.

The Cliff's Edge

Haiku, Hawaii

Staying here feels like standing at the edge of the world -- only less risky and certainly more relaxing. Hidden along a dirt road on Maui's North Shore, the tropical estate overlooks ethereal views of plunging lava cliffs. Choose between two bed-and-breakfast suites with appealing Hawaiian decor and private lanais, or bask on a private deck at one of two detached guesthouses. The Bali Cottage features teak trim, marble floors and baths, and granite counters. Stay here en route to Hana or to sample Maui's many other attractions. End your days in the hot tub or hammock staring at the starry night sky and listening to the pounding surf. Rates: $165-$325; (866) 262-6284 or link.

Camano Island Inn

Camano Island, Washington

This island's raw shores and rolling green pastures belie its one-hour-drive distance from Seattle. Here, the natural splendors of Puget Sound take center stage. The scenic performance unfolds from private decks off the inn's six simple but comfortable rooms (some with outdoor hot tubs). Sweeping silence and a goose-feather bed catalyze restful sleep. Heated bathroom floors ease chilly toes into the morning, which begins with a glorious cheese soufflé (or other mouthwatering egg dish) and strong coffee -- delivered to your room in a basket. If that's not enough decompression, the hot-stone massage will leave you swooning. Rates: $120-$225; (888) 718-0783 or link.

Ocean Haven

Yachats, Oregon

This rustic, two-story, five-unit charmer keeps getting better, and the ocean roar and spectacle from its high, isolated promontory is unsurpassed. Owners Bill James and Christie DeMoll help guests maximize their autumn hikes, winter storm-gazing, spring whale-watching or summer tide-pooling. Christie recently refurbished the already-pristine units, "and we elevated most of the beds, so you don't even have to sit up to keep an eye on the ocean," she says. Ocean Haven's new Eatin' Inn minigrocery sells organic meal choices guests can easily prepare in the units' kitchens. Ten percent of inn proceeds goes to ocean-conservation groups. Rates: $85-$150 ($20 more per person in units with three or four guests); (541) 547-3583 or link.

The Cliffs Resort

Shell Beach, California

On this beachy-keen Central Coast of flip-flops and surfboards, you're OK strolling across the lobby's marble floor with sand on your feet. In fact, pets may track through as well: They can be guests on the ground floor. Locals head to the Cliffs for its popular happy hour. Many linger for the chef's pistachio-crusted halibut at the resort's Sea Cliffs restaurant. Despite 165 rooms, the hotel exudes an aura of intimacy and natural attachment to its land- and seascape. To enjoy this terrain, follow the undulating Shell Beach Bluffs Walking Path nearby. Rates: $119-$399; (805) 773-3555 or link.

The Red Inn

Provincetown, Massachusetts

Smack on Provincetown Harbor, the small inn keeps serene distance (a pleasant 10-minute walk) from the town's tourist throng. The quintessential cottage style spells "New England" -- in soft cherry rather than customary white or yellow. Welcoming weary travelers since its 1805 construction, the property showed wear when new owners bought it in 2001. Their stunning makeover brought upscale flair to the eight guest quarters but left the architectural bones intact. All rooms have handsome private baths, expansive harbor views and waterfront decks. Noise from the cozy harborside bar and dining room can waft to guests in the Cape Light guest room, but the restaurant's lobster-corn chowder, panko-crusted shrimp and pan-roasted local cod make amends. Rates: $135-$350 (the cottage and residence are available weekly, $1,395-$3,118); (866) 473-3466 or link.

The Inn at Perry Cabin

St. Michaels, Maryland

Giant linden trees line a brick drive that transports you from busy Route 33 to a world of Colonial, maritime elegance. Gleaming white architecture and lush landscaping gracefully occupy the hotel's 25 acres on a Chesapeake Bay tributary. Inside, it takes a day just to peruse the absorbing collections amassed here. Exquisite oyster plates ornament the main dining room. Dozens of shell etchings mark one passage. Along another, black-and-white nautical photographs take you on a visual sail around Maryland's Eastern Shore. For dining, Executive Chef Mark Salter's imaginative creations show off regional fare. Rates: $195-$625; (800) 722-2949 or link.

The Inn at Cocoa Beach

Cocoa Beach, Florida

Among the many things to like about this iconoclast -- a touch of boutique Mediterranean style amid redundant hotel chains -- perhaps what's most fun is breakfast. In the Spanish-tiled dining room, open to hibiscus-filled grounds and beachfront, nearly all guests stop by the Egg Bar. Practical and whimsical, it's set with an electric pot of boiling water, a chilled bowl of uncooked eggs (their shells numbered in pencil for ID in the pot) and directions for using classic, low-tech timers. Elsewhere, all 50 guest rooms face the beach and have balcony views to NASA's rocket launch pad. A suite of public sitting rooms displays wine and decorative items for sale. And everyone talks to the mascots: Tucker, Murphy, Tango and Tangee -- two dogs and two macaws, respectively. Rates: $125-$325 (includes breakfast); (800) 343-5307 or link.

The Aerie

Vancouver Island, British Columbia

A half-hour beyond Victoria, check into the Aerie for a perch over Finlayson Arm that only a seaplane could match. The Olympic Mountains and Pacific fjord views from this Relais & Chateaux hotel fall nothing short of spectacular. Interiors dazzle as well, with fine upholstery and tasteful amenities. Though posh to its core, the 35-room resort mirrors the warmth and friendliness of Maria Schuster, who created her dream-come-true hotel here in 1991. For fine dining, don't miss the talents of Executive Chef Christophe Letard. But also allow time for a day trip to the Cowichan Valley below. There, in what's called "Canada's Provence," you can visit wineries, artisan cheesemakers, herb farms, salmon smokers and numerous other foodie havens. Rates: $195-$995 Canadian; (250) 743-7115 or link.

Presidente Intercontinental

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Outside the Presidente Intercontinental, Pacific waves crashing on the white-sand beach sound like a summer afternoon thunderstorm. But soon, the low roar of the ocean becomes background music for an afternoon swim and nap in the sun. An attentive, Spanish- and English-speaking staff greets each arriving guest. From the thatched-roof, open-air lobby to the 10 floors of large guest rooms, the hotel, remodeled in 2004, offers stylish, relaxing accommodations. One of three restaurants serves an impressive breakfast surfside. The pool with a swim-up bar gives beachgoers a freshwater option just steps from the sand. Travel the five miles to downtown for shopping, sightseeing and more dining. Rates: $126-$1,500; (888) 303-1758 or link.

Tropical Hotel

St. Barths, West Indies

Tucked above the village of St. Jean and a mere 40 yards from sand and surf, the Tropical's simple, chic accommodations sit alongside terraces and give stunning views of the ocean or the hotel's lush garden. In keeping with the island's romance, mosquito netting drapes from beamed ceilings over comfortable beds, and well-appointed baths have room for two. In each of the one-story hotel's 21 rooms you'll find an air conditioner (which you'll need) and a TV (which you won't). Pair the Continental breakfast, served near the pool or in your room, with a bowl of the island's amazing fruit. Sit back and let this French Caribbean island cast its spell. Rates: $144-$420; link.

Casa Madrona Hotel and Spa

Sausalito, California

Staggered up the Sausalito hillside, rooms at Casa Madrona present enchanting vistas of Richardson's Bay, Tiburon, Angel Island and Belvedere. Clear days yield views of Alcatraz and San Francisco proper. In addition to the inn's high-end amenities, the Historic Bay View rooms feature individually themed decor. For simple, modern ambience, ask for one of the recently renovated Contemporary Harbor View rooms. Dine at Poggio and savor scrumptious Italian fare with California flair. Rates: $109-$440; (800) 288-0502 or link.

Seagrove Villas

Seagrove Beach, Florida

With six circa-1949 cottages and two low-rise buildings, this classic Florida inn makes for a comfortable, affordable option on the pricey Panhandle. Near the much-lauded town of Seaside, the humble compound accesses the same emerald-striped water and baby-powder beaches from its bluff-top perch. The place lends instant gratification to those who relish a beachside Florida vacation that feels like the 1950s. "We're one of the last properties in the area that hails from that era," says manager Nikki Floyd. The pool stays heated November through March, as off-season rates drop dramatically. Year-round, the property's bikes allow guests to wheel down the road to Seaside's architectural wonders, shops and eateries. But everyone's happy to return to the lodgings, each with all-you-need amenities -- cable TV, stereo, refrigerator, and, of course, patios or decks with that view of the jewel-tone Gulf. Rates: $82-$290; (800) 336-4853 or link.

Jeff Book, Jennifer Chappell, Jacquelyne Froeber, Lacey N. Howard, Susan C. Kim, Steve Millburg, Diana Morley and Julia Dowling Rutland contributed to this report.

Copyright 2005 COASTAL LIVING Magazine. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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