Ever take a look around your house and think it needs a pinch more zest to complement its lively waterfront setting? If so, then you might not be looking far enough for inspiration. From Bali to France, Crete and beyond, six top interior designers reveal their most beloved travel destinations. Looking to each location for inspiration, they share how to pull ideas from the world’s most beautiful oceanfront resorts and villas to decorate back home. Sometimes, you have to venture a little farther than your own backyard for the best design. Here’s how to step up your place, and take it from ho-hum to heavenly.

Inspiration from El Minzah Hotel, Tangiers. Peter Dunham, Peter Dunham Design, Los Angeles, CA


El Minzah Hotel, Tangiers Tapping into an aesthetic that’s one part timelessly sophisticated, one part modern twist, interior designer Peter Dunham has turned bland houses into chic homes for clientele in Beverly Hills, Newport Beach, Aspen, and Ojai. Adding elements from his British heritage and infusing splashes of rich color into his work, he’s managed to add warmth and depth to contemporary style. His resort of choice? The equally imaginative North African escape of El Minzah. Situated right next to the Bay of Tangiers—with features like an incredible Andalusian patio and regal, super-luxe Moroccan suites—this old-world Oriental resort is brimming with life, just like Dunham’s designs.

Why do you love this resort?

 “It’s one of the greatest seaside places in the world. Because of the geographic location, you can drive half an hour in one direction to beautiful Mediterranean coves, or half an hour the other way to be on several hundred miles of white sandy beach. It’s never too hot because of the breezes, the food is delicious, and the incomparable mixture of mid-century European colonial architecture and ancient Islamic medinas make it one of the most interesting places—and that is without the über-chic blend of London-Paris-Milan tastemakers who have gorgeous houses there.”


1. “Nothing says seaside like wicker, and this chair is a re-edition of a great simple ’60s design.” Tangier mid-century wicker chair, price upon request, hollywoodathome.com

2. “This vintage-style mirror with a great mid-century vibe gives an oceanfront room an ethnic twist.” Moorish mirror, price upon request, hollywoodathome.com

3. “Samarkand adds that casual ‘hippie de luxe’ layered element to informal beach decor.” Samarkand textile (shown on wall), price upon request, peterdunhamtextiles.com

4. “Allegra’s über-chic rugs feature organic geometrics, so they look great in a beach place. This design reminds me of waves.” Allegra Hicks Rug, price upon request, therugcompany.com

Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, Hawaii

Inspiration from Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, Hawaii Tim Clarke, Tim Clarke Interior Design, Santa Monica, CA


Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, Hawaii Santa Monica-based interior designer Tim Clarke is known for his timeless and elegant aesthetic, which captures the unique charm of seaside living. But when it comes to an escape to paradise, he favors the luxe look of this tropical Four Seasons resort. The bungalow-style retreat evokes the feel of Hawaii’s Golden Age with native décor and an open-air set-up, allowing guests to revel in the breathtaking white sand shoreline and exotic blue waters. 

Why do you love this resort?

“I love the way the hotel is designed to feel like each guest has his own personal little house. This is not the typical Hawaiian resort, [with its] grand, giant entrance and long hallways of door after door.” 


1. “I like Donghia’s espadrille fabric—all colorways, but particularly ‘Isoletta,’ which is a wonderful bright, fresh, multicolor-stripe heavyweight cotton fabric. This just screams ‘beach,’ and the colors remind me of the colors of the ocean view at the resort.” Espadrille textile, price upon request, donghia.com 

2. “Many of the walls in the resort are covered in this. It provides a beautiful, warm textured background that gives you the island feel without being too Hawaiian. [It’s] great as background to any art.” Phillip Jeffries woven raffia wallcovering in “Portofino,” price upon request, phillipjeffries.com 

3. “My candles for Makana were designed with scents to remind me of my time there. ‘Coastal Dawn’ is the fresh, light, clean scent of the morning air. ‘Coastal Day’ is the coconut smell that reminds me of suntan lotion and a day at the beach. ‘Coastal Dusk’ has the scents of the night-blooming flowers of Hawaii—the scents you only get after the sun goes down.” Tim Clarke by Makana candles, $30, derringhall.com

4. “This is an earthy, reclaimed slice of wood. An entire tree trunk sliced through the middle with a ‘live edge’ and some voids in the center resting on a Lucite stand.” Lawson- Fenning “Redlands” table, price upon request, lawsonfenning.com

Alila Villas Uluwatu, Bali

Inspiration from Alila Villas Uluwatu, Bali, Kristin Nugent, Kristin Nugent Interior Design, Santa Monica, CA


Alila Villas, Uluwatu, Bali California-based Kristin Nugent has infused exotic flare into completed oceanfront projects in areas like Laguna Beach and Maui, drawing ideas from her favorite Balinese resort, the Alila Villas in Uluwatu. True to the interior designer’s fresh, innovative eye for what’s next, the villas’ contemporary simplicity allows the resort to meld directly into the lush greens and vivid blue sea that surround it. For anyone who appreciates how integral natural and man-made elements are to a full living experience at home or abroad, this resort’s sleek architecture leads to a daily immersion into serenity. 

Why do you love this resort? 

“It was an absolute pleasure to stay at this luxurious resort. The views from my villa were gorgeous, the service was impeccable, and there was such a lovely feeling to each suite, with the option to open it up completely to the outdoors, an indoor-outdoor shower and your own pool. I am continually inspired by the villa’s textures and muted color palette. A must-stay for anyone considering visiting Bali.” 


1. [Use] hand-blown Italian-glass lighting. I had an opportunity to visit Murano and watch the technique being used firsthand. They are true masters.” LU Murano chandelier, price upon request, lu-murano.it 

2.“This is a beautiful, soft fragrance that gives the ambiance of being at a beachside resort. [It’s the] perfect scent to recreate that feeling in your home. I suggest the use of their diffuser to create the optimal ambiance.” Frederic Malle “Cafe Society” scent, $145, shop.fredericmalle.com

3.“Kettal is a very innovative Spanish outdoor furniture company with fantastic designers; one of my favorites is Patricia Urquiola. Her pieces lend themselves to an oceanfront home with their clean styling and innovative design.” Kettal Cottage, price upon request, www.kettal.es

4. “These outdoor planters have incredible texture and style. One of my favorites is the BRF Series. It is a perfect transition to the residential exterior and gives a feeling of warmth, a very ‘Bali feel’ with overscaled proportions.” Planters, price upon request, ateliervierkant.be

Emirates Palace, Abu Dabi

Inspiration from Emirates Palace, Abu Dabi, Perla Lichi, Lichi-Zelman Style Interiors, Pompano Beach, FL, and New York, NY


Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi As one half of Lichi-Zelman Style Interiors, Perla Lichi is known for her opulent work in designing incredible interiors in private homes, villas, and palaces on multiple continents. With her background in art history and penchant for fine architectural detail, the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi is a fitting favorite retreat, with its amazing mosaic glass dome, tall columns, and gold-and-silver leaf finishes. The combination historic grandeur and a state-of-the-art touch is just to Lichi’s tastes. Why do you love this resort? “It’s right on the ocean and totally my style. It feels like a palace I am currently designing. People see pictures of the place and think: ‘Perla designed this!’ The mosaics, the finishes, the columns and walls—the hotel has different links. You really feel like you’re in an old palace, there is so much detail. You are in a fantasy world. But besides the opulence, it is totally state of the art. Everything is automated. You push a button and lights dim, curtains open. It’s above a five-star [resort].” 


1. “They have this mosaic dome made of glass—incredible.” Pearl and Gold round mirror, $180, pier1.com 

2. “For the chandeliers, they use gold iron. Very Mediterranean. It looks like jewelry.” Imperial gold crystal chandelier, $1,308, bellacor.com 

3. “In general, throughout, they focus on rich velvets, like in a palace, [which] makes it unique.” Velveteen in “Cottontail,” price upon request, donghia.com

4. “Lots of finishes are a gold and silver leaf.” Phillip Jeffries Antique Istanbul antiqued gold leaf, price upon request, phillipjeffries.com Blue Palace Resort and Spa, Crete

Inspiration from Blue Palace Resort and Spa, Crete[/caption] Katia Bates, Innovative Creations Interior Design, Ft. Lauderdale, FL


Blue Palace Resort and Spa, Crete Given her Venetian background, Katia Bates often melds traditional European touches seamlessly with contemporary interiors, so it wasn’t surprising that she fell head-over-heels in love with the Blue Palace Resort on the island of Crete. Here, less is definitely more. The clean, modern lines of the rooms don’t distract from the gorgeous sea views that surround the resort, and pools nestled in between stunning stone architecture evoke classic Greece. Why do you love this resort? “My husband and I have a special tie to Greece, as we chartered a yacht for one week during our honeymoon. We fell in love with the Islands and always wanted to go back. A few years ago, we decided to take our teenage son and daughter, and this time, the four of us fell in love with the island of Crete. The Blue Palace is just wonderful in every way. The views from our room were beautiful, and it gave us a sense of peace and wanting to be together.” 


1. “A natural material would be a wonderful wall treatment to complement the color of the sea on a beautiful summer day.” Cowtan and Tout seagrass wallpaper in “Blue,” price upon request, cowtan.com 

2. “A sophisticated yet almost-casual drapery treatment for wall-to-wall windows, so you can enjoy spectacular views.” Colefax and Fowler “Brockham” embroideries in “Old Blue,” price upon request, colefax.com

3. “For an outdoor spacious balcony or poolside and for romantic sea-watching, they are fashion forward and minimalist. I’d pick up two of them, because I would want to share these special moments with my husband.” Caribe chaise lounge, price upon request, robertirattan.com

Hotel Royal-Riviera, Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, France

Inspiration from Hotel Royal-Riviera, Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, France, Lindsay Hair, Lindsay Hair Interiors, New York, NY


Hotel Royal-Riviera, Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, France Her resume includes design work in the Hamptons, Palm Beach, and Vail, but interior designer Lindsay Hair also tries to stamp her passport as often as possible. One of her favorite seaside destinations is Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, near Nice, where she often spends time at the Hotel Royal-Riviera dreaming and drawing inspiration. Built in 1904, this amazing Mediterranean getaway taps into rich culture in the South of France with Art Deco influences, Neo Hellenic style, and sunny terraces overlooking the water.

Why do you love this destination? 

“When heading to the South of France, before I make the journey into Provence, I always spend a night outside of Nice in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat. Nestled on one side of a bay opposite the small town of Beaulieu-sur-Mer, the casual sophistication of the Hotel Royal-Riviera allows you to momentarily escape the hustle of tourists going from Nice to Monte Carlo. What’s more enchanting? At this hotel, one has the best view of the legendary coastal mansion, Villa Kerylos.”


1. “I like these chairs, as they offer a more streamlined look to a woven chair.” Deauville dining chairs from JANUS et Cie, price upon request, janusetcie.com

2. “Black iron outdoor sconces with fretwork detail are a nice way to add a touch of sophistication while maintaining a casual atmosphere.” Collier Webb Steppe wall lantern, price upon request, collierwebb.com

3. “Pieces from the André Arbus Collection from Baker Furniture have streamlined silhouettes of wood and metal paired with linen, and they exude a sense of casual elegance.” “Du Roi” chaise lounge and “Château” table, prices upon request, bakerfurniture.com