WRITTEN BY Rachael Medina
Rachael Medina is the staff writer and content manager for California.com. She was born and raised just outside the Mojave Desert in Southern California and moved to the redwood forests of Humboldt C…See full bio
There is a wide array of lodging options throughout California’s laid-back beach towns and fast-paced urban environments. Whether you are looking for a relaxing spa getaway, a touch of Hollywood glamour, or a taste of the state’s rock-n-roll heritage, a staycation at any of these destinations will excite your senses and make you fall in love with California all over again.
Situated along Napa’s rolling hillsides of olive trees and giant oaks, Auberge du Soleil has earned a reputation as wine country’s most iconic luxury property with its refined elegance. The hotel features 50 guest rooms and suites complete with outdoor showers and indoor-outdoor living spaces facilitated by French doors.
At the end of a full day exploring Napa, lounge on the sun-kissed terrace, gaze across the acres of vines, dip your toes in the crisp pool water, and taste the house-made charcuterie, local cheeses, and caviar at Napa Valley’s first fine-dining establishment: The Restaurant at Auberge du Soleil, which has garnered 13 consecutive Michelin stars for its dynamic Mediterranean-inspired dishes featuring local and seasonal ingredients.
Terranea Resort resides on a 102-acre estate atop coastal bluffs overlooking the Los Angeles coastline. Along with the crescendo of waves and vivid coastal sunsets, the resort boasts a spa, an award-winning golf course, four swimming pools, and nine distinct dining experiences that embrace the beauty and complexity of Southern California. These restaurants take local dining seriously, with many ingredients plucked from the resort’s grounds and surrounding peninsula.
When not indulging in the resort’s many amenities, relax in the comfort of your very own Mediterranean-inspired casita, bungalow, or villa.
Experience the best of Yountville, one of Napa Valley’s hidden gems, at the Bardessono Hotel. Here you will find a blend of modern lines and stunning natural elements to help you relax and melt away all of your stress. This hotel thought of everything—from having bikes to traverse the vineyards, to a full menu of spa treatments, to seasonal cuisine featuring ingredients from the garden, to a sunny rooftop pool made for sipping flowery, pink concoctions.
Ventana Big Sur combines the best of California into a singular experience. You can admire the unparalleled serenity of the sea, the detailed color palettes of the mountains, and the wonder of the redwoods all at the same time—simply by looking out the window.
At Ventana you can practice yoga, sample cheese, and find contentment on the deck of your cottage or in front of the fireplace. Rustic luxury surrounds guests when they cozy up in their room, villa, or glampsite.
The must-see Hotel Californian features Spanish Colonial Revival architecture, captivating patterns, and Moroccan-influenced interiors. This 121-room haven sits in Santa Barbara, between the Santa Ynez Mountains and the open expanse of the Pacific Ocean. Complete with a rooftop pool, Turkish-inspired spa, hyper-seasonal Mediterranean cuisine, thousands of hand-painted ceramic tiles, and curated picnic baskets, this hotel leaves nothing to be desired.
Although the Hotel Californian began with a rocky start (the historic earthquake and fire of 1925 destroyed much of the hotel only 11 days after its opening), it has blossomed into a renowned seaside destination that’s worth visiting.
The Colony Palms Hotel, Palm Springs’ most iconic retreat since 1936, is home to 57 guest rooms, suites, and casitas along with one of the best restaurants in town. This hotel is so welcoming that Frank Sinatra once referred to it as his home away from home. With a 65-foot heated saltwater pool, central downtown location, spa treatments, complimentary bike rentals, and proximity to two of California’s most coveted music festivals—Stagecoach and Coachella—one visit to this hotel may convince you to make it your home away from home, too.
For a quick bite or an upscale meal, check out the poolside-terrace dining or the California-inspired seafood menu at Purple Palm Restaurant & Bar, just steps from your room. On your walk over, take a moment to appreciate the landscaped grounds and views of the mountains at twilight.
Inspired by the California surf culture and the Malibu landscape, The Surfrider provides a tranquil escape from daily life. Situated along the Pacific Coast Highway and directly across from the famous Malibu Surfrider Beach, this coastal getaway offers the best of the best. The hotel’s 20 rooms feature organic skincare products, outdoor hammocks, cozy robes, white linens, and teak accents along with a shared library and rooftop deck. The once outdated, 1950s-era motel has been entirely redesigned into an enviously cool boutique hotel that reflects the beach town surrounding it.
The Phoenix personifies the rock n’ roll spirit of the Tenderloin and Civic Center districts of San Francisco. Located right down the street from the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, the Great American Music Hall, and several other music venues, the large parking lot of The Phoenix continues to welcome musicians and hippies alike, an unusual find in the congested city.
The essence of the 1950s-era motor court hotel has drawn artists throughout its history—including Neil Young, who stayed at the Caravan Motor Lodge before the hotel was renamed The Phoenix in 1987, as well as later guests Kurt Cobain, Debby Harry, and JFK Jr.
The lush courtyard holds the communal walkways that sport the 44 guestroom doors and serves as a nice reprieve from the rest of the city, fitted with an artistic, heated pool. The property also features its own restaurant, every inch as interesting as the hotel’s history; seasonal menus are served indoors or poolside, accompanied by music from the large collection of vinyl records kept on display.
Perched on a precipice above La Jolla Cove, La Valencia Hotel serves as a renowned landmark on Prospect Street where Hollywood starlets have flocked since its formation in 1926. Known for the intimate feel, bright exterior, and distinct character, the "Pink Lady" rises above the bluffs to capture panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean.
La Valencia welcomes everyone. With four different types of rooms, the 114 lodgings include everything from vintage suites to secluded villas. The outdoor pool boasts ocean views for deep relaxation, and the hotel’s central location allows undeniable access to the miles of coastline, boutiques, museums, and galleries of La Jolla.
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