I smoke - and travel a fair amount - so I guess I have some insight into this.
Not only do different chains have different rules - but their rules aren't the same in different countries - or sometimes even the same country (which is usually the United States). In general - you will find more stringent smoking rules in the US than about anywhere else in the world. For example - you can't smoke in your room in any Marriott property (including Ritz Carltons) anywhere in North America - but it is perfectly ok at many Marriott properties in other countries (like the Ritz Carlton in Berlin - where we stayed last year).
Even at our local Ritz Carlton (Amelia Island FL) - you're not allowed to smoke in your room - but you can smoke on your balcony (which seems kind of stupid to me - since smoke from your balcony is more likely to bother a non-smoker on the balcony above you than smoking in your room on a smoking floor - particularly if you're smoking a cigar). Since you are considering a "beach type" vacation - which I assume will be in warm weather - check on the rules both in the rooms and on the balconies in hotels with balconies.
Like Marriott - Starwood is non-smoking in the United States - but smoking is ok elsewhere (like the Westin in Paris).
Most Four Seasons allow smoking - even in the United States. In Florida - for a Four Seasons with a beach - you're talking about the one in Palm Beach. But there are exceptions. Like in Scottsdale Arizona (definitely no beach
) - no smoking is allowed in the room - but it's ok on the balcony.
Most Peninsula hotels in the United States that I'm familiar with allow smoking.
Most Hiltons - even in the United States - allow smoking. But a few don't. When Marriott adopted its non-smoking rules - I changed my default for non-luxury stays from Marriott to Hilton.
Since I live in Florida - and have plenty of beach access - the Caribbean isn't a place I visit. But most of the major chains - luxury or not - which have non-smoking rules apply their non-smoking rules to all properties in North American (which includes the Caribbean).
I usually don't have many problems finding a luxury hotel in a place which has luxury hotels where I can smoke. But I think the reason there is no comprehensive guide is that the rules even within companies aren't very standardized - or intelligent for that matter. It is always best to call the property directly - and talk to someone in charge to find out what the real rules are. For example - when I called the Trump in Chicago - they said the first time they would charge $250 if I smoked as a "clean-up" fee. Second time I called - they said the hotel was 100% non-smoking and the $250 was a penalty. There's a big difference. In the former case - I would be within my rights smoking. In the latter - if another guest complained - I would be violating the hotel smoking policy.
As a general proposition though - I'd say in the United States - Ritz Carlton doesn't allow smoking - and Four Seasons does.
Bottom line - figure out where you want to go - and then find a hotel which suits your preferences. And call the hotel directly and make sure you know what the exact policy is.
Note that I don't think this is a "touchy topic". It's a question of dollars and cents and business and the personal preferences of hotel guests. I realize there are a lot of people who don't like smoking - but I don't like people who try to do 5 in a single room (2 adults with 3 young kids who make a lot of noise early in the morning) - or people who bring/smuggle their yapping dogs into hotels - and leave their smells and bugs all over the place. What would a non-smoker rather endure? A whiff of smoke - or bedbugs or flea bites when you leave your hotel? I don't like being squeezed between 2 300 pounders on a plane either. A lot of hotels played it "high and mighty" during the boom years when occupancy levels weren't a problem. Now that the norm in the United States may be a "staycation" rather than a "vacation" - I will see what they do. And if they'd rather allow 6 to a room instead of having a couple of smoking floors - that is their prerogative and their problem. I will give my business to the places that value me as a customer - even if I smoke. A hotel or hotel chain is free to do whatever it wants - but I am also free to spend my money where I want.
Note that I live in a metro area where 1/3 of all adults smoke. In many areas of the world where I have been to the last couple of years - the percentage is even higher. Robyn