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Amer­ica’s Cal­i­for­nia coast – es­pe­cially the rugged stretch south from San Fran­cisco via Big Sur – is of­ten lauded, but fur­ther north, Ore­gon’s coast­line fac­ing the Pa­cific Ocean is ar­guably more spec­tac­u­lar. Trac­ing a me­an­der­ing north­wards path from the Ore­gon Dunes Recre­ational Area through the seafront towns of Florence, New­port and Pa­cific City, Ore­gon’s High­way 101 ar­rives at Cannon Beach, a so­phis­ti­cated and arty town with great foodie cre­den­tials and a beach­front re­sort ho­tel that’s been judged one of the 500 Best Ho­tels in the World by Travel + Leisure mag­a­zine. Nes­tled into the softly un­du­lat­ing dunes of Cannon Beach, Stephanie Inn com­bines the charm and ca­sual el­e­gance of a New Eng­land coun­try inn with the so­phis­ti­ca­tion and in­ti­macy of a bou­tique re­sort. Try to book one of the ocean­front cor­ner suites with pri­vate bal­conies pro­vid­ing a per­sonal per­spec­tive on the dra­matic ex­panse of Cannon Beach. Through­out the sea­sons, 72m-high Haystack Rock stands sen­tinel at the beach’s north­ern end, and in sum­mer, hik­ing, bik­ing and surf­ing are all pos­si­ble. Visit in win­ter for views of mi­grat­ing grey whales, front-row views of the chang­ing moods of the Pa­cific, and the com­fort­ing knowl­edge that phys­i­cal re­lax­ation and restora­tion is on hand with the Inn’s spa and mas­sage ser­vices. Other per­sonal touches in one of Amer­ica’s most ro­man­tic cou­ples ho­tels in­clude pri­vate saunas and steam rooms in the bath­rooms of some suites, still-warm soft-cen­tred cook­ies on tap ev­ery af­ter­noon, and lo­cal seafood, in­clud­ing Pa­cific sea bass and Dun­geness crab and prawn mousse, served in the inn’s el­e­gant din­ing room. Ser­vice is smooth and pro­fes­sional, but never over­looks the fact Cannon Beach is a re­laxed ocean­side town. A 90-minute drive west from Port­land, Ore­gon’s most dy­namic city, Cannon Beach is easily reached on Hawai­ian Air­lines with flights from Auck­land via Honolulu. – Brett Atkin­son

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