Top 5 Beach Resorts for Business Travelers

Sometimes you have to work and play. If you have the chance to get away from the office this season but still need to get some work done in between dips in the pool or ocean, these coastal resorts offer crucial business amenities (meeting space, Wi-Fi connections, and the like) plus recreational luxuries (hip lounges, elegant restaurants, posh spas, and more). All five are located within a half hour of a major airport, so you can get in and out quickly, if your schedule demands it.

1. Grand Velas Riviera Maya, Playa del Carmen, Mexico

This all-inclusive, AAA five-diamond resort — open since 2010 — is so upscale that it frequently hosts diplomats. The 91,000-square-foot convention center at Grand Velas Riviera Maya contains enough space for 32 breakout rooms or two conference areas for up to 3,000 people. All of the nearly 500 guest rooms are suites; those that face the ocean feature desks with a spectacular view, in case work beckons. If you like to eat well, but don’t want to head into town, you can dine at the resort’s eateries, which include Frida (haute Mexican cuisine), Piaf (French), and Cocina de Autor (molecular gastronomy). Grand Velas also houses Latin America’s largest spa, an 89,000-square-foot, $15 million complex with 40 private spa suites and a fitness center that offers pilates and yoga classes. Oh, and did we mention the property-wide Wi-Fi? Rates from $299 per night

2. Marriott San Juan Resort & Stellaris Casino, San Juan, Puerto Rico

Located in an area that’s fast becoming the island’s version of Miami Beach, the 525-room Marriott San Juan Resort & Stellaris Casino offers plenty of reasons to never leave. The recently renovated Red Coral Lounge is a popular spot for locals and hotel guests alike; it features salsa dancers, DJs, innovative drinks, and artsy touches (such as a towering wood sculpture shaped like a coral reef). Morning yoga classes overlooking the ocean can help get your day started. Or indulge in a spa treatment, such as an anti-jet lag massage or a seaweed wrap, to get into vacation mode. Property-wide Wi-Fi (free in the lobby and public spaces) allows you to stay connected. For dinner, look no further than the neighborhood, which features chic eateries like Budatai and Bar Gitano, both owned by Food Network star Roberto Treviño. Rates from $209 per night

3. The Ritz-Carlton Golf and Spa Resort, Rose Hall, Jamaica

Close to the new convention center in Montego Bay, the 5,000-acre Ritz-Carlton Golf and Spa Resort is elegant and taps into local culture. For example, you can eat at the jerk shack on the resort’s private beach, or sip from a fresh coconut after your spa treatment. Inside the 427-room resort, you can sample local fare at four restaurants, including one with a lavish breakfast buffet (think artisan cheeses and smoked salmon) and another that serves local lobster carpaccio for dinner. Golfers might find it tempting to be so close to 54 holes — the 600-acre course is on-site — but it could be the perfect reward for getting much-needed work done. Tennis, kayaking, and Hobie Cats are also offered. For organizers of meetings that won’t fill the convention center, the hotel hosts 25,000 square feet of meeting space. Inquire about a room equipped with Wi-Fi as not all feature the amenity. Rates from $259 per night (all-inclusive or a la carte)

4. Moana Surfrider, Waikiki Beach, Honolulu, Oahu

Need space to spread out? The 793 rooms at Moana Surfrider are large, and its corridors — which has accommodated guests since the early 20th century, when people traveled with steamer trunks — are equally expansive. The lobby, public spaces, and guest rooms feature high ceilings and open windows to let the breeze through, and are decorated in subtle hues of white and khaki, with hints of island décor. Afternoon tea, served on the veranda, and treatments at Moana Lani Spa allow you to schedule breaks if you’re struggling to balance work with play. There’s also Wi-Fi at the pool. Unwind at mealtime by staying put: The hotel offers decadent small plates such as foie gras and raw seafood culled from the nearby ocean for evening conversations over glasses of wine, and the restaurant Beachhouse at the Moana serves up fresh Hawaiian ingredients at its raw bar and other dishes. Bonus: You won’t need to rent a car, because the area is rife with shopping malls, tony restaurants, and beachfront luaus. Rates from $270 per night

5. Shelborne South Beach, Miami

South Beach is perpetually hot and hip, so why not check out one of its newest hotels? The Shelborne South Beach, a 180-room property located a block from the Atlantic Ocean, was recently restored to its early-1940s charm — with some modern amenities added. This includes an infinity-edge pool with a catwalk, and a “bubble desk” at check-in that’s covered with white lacquer and sparkly acrylic orbs and wrapped in black stingray skin. Two restaurants provide chic cuisine: Vesper American Brasserie (where the upscale comfort food includes Wagyu Shepherd’s Pie) and Lucy’s Cantina Royal (which offers fish tacos by the pool). Cocktails are served at Shelborne Lounge. Guests who opt for a ground-floor room can step out into the pool between conference calls, and all guests can take advantage of free Wi-Fi anywhere on the property. The hotel caters to business travelers: It offers meeting space with a terrace and, with help from the staff, a mini office (for either solo work or team brainstorming) can be set up in a poolside cabana. After all, this is Miami Beach, where everything — even tapping out an email — is done in style. Rates from $264 per night

About Kristine Hansen

A Wisconsin-based freelance writer, Kristine Hansen contributes business stories to many food and drink trade journals, as well as CNN.com, and blogs about mindful travel at Psychology Today. She also dishes out advice for writers at The Writer Magazine about running a successful writing business.
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