America is teeming with great resorts. However, as new ones are built, old ones go out of fashion, and existing ones are sometimes refurbished or simply rediscovered, the most commonly recommended ones change with each passing year. In a way this is fantastic, because it means the resort scene across the U.S. is dynamic and always offers something new. However, it can also be mildly frustrating, because it’s just about impossible to nail down a list of the “best” options around the country in any definitive way.
This is true in individual regions as well, and the East Coast isn’t any exception. This vast coastline along the Atlantic Ocean is home to some of the most alluring destinations in the U.S. for vacationers, both from within the country and from abroad. Naturally this, plus its size, means it houses all kinds of different resorts, with different options rising and falling on lists every year.
Again, it’s impossible to nail down the “best.” But to give our best snapshot of this particular moment in time, we’ve compiled a few of the East Coast’s best resorts heading into the vacation seasons of 2019.
1. Boston Harbor Hotel – Massachusetts
The Boston Harbor Hotel has to top this list because it’s simply one of the nicest luxury hotels on the East Coast right now. It also exemplifies how the term “resort” can be understood in different ways, given that it’s more of an urban hotel, yet offers all of the comforts and perks we think of when we hear that word. Having been described as a beautiful blend of Boston’s colonial past and chic present, it’s a sprawling, gorgeous 5-star venue right on the waterfront. In addition to beautiful rooms, in-house spa and dining options, and tremendous waterfront views, the hotel is defined by its massive exterior arch. And nowadays there’s one more perk to staying here, which is that the Trillium Garden – one of the prettiest and trendiest beer gardens in the United States – is right across the street.
2. The Lodge at Turning Stone – New York
Upstate New York simply seems to escape notice as a vacation destination, but you may just be interested if you take a few moments to explore The Lodge at Turning Stone. By all appearances a massive lodge doubling as a golf destination, it’s actually a sprawling hospitality complex. There are tennis courts and hiking trails, camping grounds and casino games, spa facilities and numerous restaurants on site. It’s a comprehensive resort experience, and one that’s about as peaceful and enjoyable as they come, provided you go when the weather is nice and you can enjoy the open air around the golf course and the sight of the low mountains in the near distance.
3. The Water Club at the Borgata – New Jersey
It seems wrong not to mention an Atlantic City establishment, even if the city has fallen on hard times. It’s still essentially designed to match the over-the-top resort culture of Las Vegas across the country, and in at least some ways it succeeds. Though the online gambling scene hosts more than enough activity spread across numerous sites for anyone to Atlantic City’s live casino resorts, many do still frequent them, and if you look past the city’s shabby reputation some of them are quite nice. The Water Club at the Borgata is part of a larger Borgata complex consisting of multiple hotels near the beach (which can be lovely in nice weather). It’s a beautiful hotel, quite Vegas-like in its approach, with a private outdoor pool, its own shops, dining options, and spa, and tremendous suites that are probably the best in the city. All in all, this resort can change your perception of Atlantic City.
4. The Cloister in Sea Island – Georgia
It’s somewhat strange that Georgia doesn’t get much attention for its coastal beauty. Perhaps because its neighbors are South Carolina (which has Charleston) and Florida (the most renowned beach destination on the East Coast), it simply gets overlooked. However, parts of Georgia, and Sea Island in particular, are becoming very desirable getaways for their unique brand of beauty, relative seclusion, and luxury accommodation options. On Sea Island, the place to stay is undoubtedly The Cloister, a converted mansion built in the 1920s on a private island. Spa and fitness centers, golf outings, a quaint old bar right in the building, and even a private wine cellar are among the venue’s perks.
5. Sunset Key Cottages – Florida
Key West, Florida is about as remote as you can get without simply leaving the U.S. and going to the Caribbean, and this makes it the ideal beach destination for those who prefer a more secluded resort. The Sunset Key Cottages, meanwhile, are like a Key West within Key West, essentially comprising their own little white sand island, dotted with palm tress and scattered, private cottages. A restaurant by the pier and a few other people in their own cottages are about the only hints of civilization, and besides that it’s just you, your own place on the beach, and incredible natural beauty. It’s not particularly heavy on amenities, as some resorts pride themselves on being, but many would still call it the nicest resort on the East Coast (and to be clear, there is still a spa!).