Geography factoid: Rockaway Beach is the largest urban beach in the USA, located in the New York City borough of Queens. With such an inviting name, it didn’t take much arm-twisting for us to dig the shorts out of winter storage for a trip to the resort’s Playland Motel.
That might have been a little too optimistic in January with a polar vortex swirling around the nether regions, but there is loads to warm the heart inside the hotel. Each guest room of the 19th Century building has been designed by a different artist. Most of them are horizontally laid-back and tailor-made for relaxation, such as the sandy shores of Melanie Dizon and Marina Burini and the forest calm of Nektaris Ioannidis, while the likes of Federico Saenz-Recio and Nadia Kaufhold have delivered a keener edge to their rooms. Very keen in Nadia’s case – anyone got a band-aid? Different strokes etc, they’re all bloody marvellous.
Crawling out from under the covers, you’ll find a bar and restaurant with a Neopolitan brick pizza oven and plenty of tasty beverages to drown in, and visitors can keep on lapping up the beach vibes in the form of Balearic disco and surf rock from DJs and live bands. There’s also a family-friendly outdoor recreation area, but it might be tempting to leave the kids at home and enjoy your fun in the sun grown-up style.