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Summer Above Par | Six of the Best Hotels on the Best East Coast Beaches

best east coast beach and hotel Little Palm Florida

Little Palm Island Resort & Spa

Our travel expert curates a must-stay list of six boutique hotels on the best beaches on the East Coast.

Today, marks the start of “Summer Above Par,” our new season-long series with Founder Brandon Berkson of @HotelsAbovePar—an expertly curated guide with under-two-minute reads designed for the hip traveler who is short on time. In celebration of summertime travel, Berkson will be writing for ICONIC LIFE each month, highlighting his favorite hotels across North America.

So, where are we headed first? Let’s go to my favorite beach hotels and the best beaches on the East Coast.

The East Coast in the summer is replete with beaches from woodland-fringed shores in Maine to the clear oceanwater of South Florida. Many hotels are found on these beach destinations; some with style and grace, others with unfettered rustic personalities that exude authenticity of place. Below are six of the best East Coast beaches and beach hotels to visit this summer.

The Setai at Miami beach

The Setai

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THE SETAI | Miami Beach, Florida
South Beach is full of trendy shops, modish bars and restaurants, and long sandy strands made for basking under the sun. The Setai, Miami Beach is one of the area’s hippest hotels, a standout due to its unparalleled Art-Deco-meets-Bali aesthetic. At first entrance, guests step into a calm-toned lobby, where a Southeast Asian-style iced tea awaits them at check in.

Jaya restaurant at The Setai Miami

The Setai

They soon notice the hotel’s hallmark grand Balinese-style courtyard, which flaunts a centerpiece fountain, charcoal-colored sofas, tall plants and outdoor seating that jets out from ambrosial restaurant, Jaya. Accommodations come in two settings—a rebirthed Art-Deco building from 1936, and a modern tower with views of the Miami Beach coastline. In addition to being right on the beach, other nourishing perks include a first-class spa and fetching pool to cool down in on a hot summer’s day.

ICONIC TIP: A BEST EAST COAST BEACH / Miami Beach

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best east coast beach in Little Torch Key Florida

Little Palm Island Resort & Spa

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LITTLE PALM ISLAND RESORT & SPA | Little Torch Key, Florida
Little Palm Island Resort & Spa is set on a private isle in the Florida Keys. The hotel’s architecture and interior design is a nod to the British West Indies. The scene is beachside bungalows with thatched roofs and vaulted ceilings, swaying palm trees, crushed seashell paths, and top-line accommodations such as the Island Escape suite, equipped with four poster beds, butterfly netting and an outdoor shower.

best beach hotel Little Palm Island Resort

Little Palm Island Resort & Spa

The hotel’s beach boasts calming privacy, unpigmented sand, crystal-clear water and pearl-white lounge chairs. For further relaxation, refreshing treatments await at SpaTerre; its picturesque two-story atrium and handcrafted tile fountain evoke complete tranquility.

ICONIC TIP: A BEST EAST COAST BEACH / Bahia Honda State Park

best-beach-on-the-east-coast-Cumberland-Island

William Silver / Shutterstock

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GREYFIELD INN | Cumberland Island, Georgia
Located on Cumberland Island—a Georgian haven with 18 miles of isolated beach, flora and fauna-abundant marshland (wild horses outnumber humans here), and 300-year-old Live Oak Trees everywhere—Greyfield Inn reels in seclusion seekers through its standing as the area’s only commercial establishment. In fact, the National Park Service limits the number of daily visitors to the protected Cumberland Island National Seashore.

Greyfield Inn best beach Cumberland Island

Greyfield Inn

The property was originally built by the Carnegie family in 1890 as a private residence, turning into a hotel in 1962. Inside the colonial-style building are elegant guestrooms and common areas furnished in storied Victorian antiques, Tiffany lamps, as well as Chippendale furniture. During the day, in addition to lounging on the beach, the hotel can arrange for guests to kayak low-country estuaries, birdwatch (Cumberland Island is a migration stop for more than 300 species of birds) and fish local waters.

ICONIC TIP: A BEST EAST COAST BEACH / Fernandina Beach

best east beach hotel Marram in Montauk

Marram

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MARRAM | Montauk, New York
An oceanfront Hamptons treasure that exudes barefoot luxury, Marram is a 96-room boutique hotel that opened to the public in the latter half of 2019. Rooms sooth guests with their White Oak lumber beams, subtle-hued handwoven rugs, as well as light-brown and beige design schemes which serves as a nod to the hotel’s backyard sandy beach.

best beach hotel and restaurant Marram in Montauk

Marram

Daylight is best enjoyed reclining by the on-site pool or taking a dip into the Atlantic. Nighttime itineraries are peaceful here; many guests like to start off the evening at Chef Fernando Trocca’s in-house restaurant, Mostrador Marram—which serves savory meats, local seafood, farm-fresh vegetables, as well as tasty baked goods—and segue into s’mores roasting at one of the hotel’s firepits.

ICONIC TIP: A BEST EAST COAST BEACH / Montauk Beach

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best Nantucket beach hotel at Life House

Life House

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LIFE HOUSE | Nantucket, Massachusetts
Life House is one of the travel world’s coolest new unique hotel brands; its Nantucket location is no exception. Opening its doors last year, the company revamped a 19th-Century, federal-style mansion to reflect the design narrative of “a nonchalant innkeeper’s coastal cottage filled with a touch of the island’s flora.”

best east coast beach and hotel Life House in Nantucket

Life House

Top-line splendors and nods to Nantucket are found everywhere here, especially in the 17 sun-soaked guestrooms, equipped with floral-patterned upholstery, bespoke millwork, botanical rain showers, raffia writing desks, Le Labo bath products and Marshall speakers. The hotel is short walk from the island’s charming town and picturesque beaches.

ICONIC TIP: A BEST EAST COAST BEACH / Mazdakite Beach

best east coast beach hotel at White Barn Inn

White Barn Inn

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WHITE BARN INN | Kennebunk, Maine>
Coastal charm and timeless elegance are the vibe at White Barn Inn in Kennebunk, Maine. Part of the lauded Auberge Resorts Collection, the riverfront property and its 26 meticulously refurbished rooms are housed in a landmark main estate, garden inn and waterfront cottages.

best beach hotel at White Barn Inn Maine

White Barn Inn

Gastronomy-wise, White Barn Restaurant artfully pairs a wooded atmosphere and garden-peering floor-to-ceiling windows, with award-wining seasonal dishes. The hotel is a 13-minute walk from the beach. If you’re not in the mood to go by foot, you can rent a beach bike, or better yet, arrange to cycle along the Southern Maine coastline with the General Manager of the hotel.

ICONIC TIP: A BEST EAST COAST BEACH / Bay View Beach

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