From San Francisco to Big Sur, California is full of cities perfect for a romantic getaway. Rugged cliffs, sandy beaches, and hiking trails make California one of the most beautiful states to spend time with your partner. After visiting the best hotels across the state, we take stock of how they stack up against the competition, take Take a look at the most romantic resorts in California and start planning your love getaway!
1. Calistoga Ranch, Auberge Resorts Collection
Secluded, beautifully landscaped property — many vineyards within the drive
Cabins make unique use of space. Each room is a separate building surrounded by an outdoor living area
cabins have grills, inside chef’s kitchens, and outdoor rain showers
Rooms are contemporary chic with flat-screen TVs and working fireplaces
Bathrooms are extraordinary, with deep soaking tubs and plenty of space
Is there a private jacuzzi in each unit
The phenomenal spa offers a full range of treatments
Fantastic private dinners at the Lakehouse Restaurant
Beautiful outdoor pool area adjacent to a vineyard with spectacular views
Rental Mercedes-Benz and bicycles provide guests with quick access to the city
Private wine cellar full of local and international wine varieties
Free Wi-Fi in cabins
Retreats and luxury don’t come cheap Rates are easily the highest in the area.
Cabins have room for a family, but there’s little to keep kids entertained.
There’s no question why royalty, elite celebrities, and athletes return to luxurious Calistoga Ranch: It’s in a class by itself. Guests can rent exquisite cabins on a 157-acre park-like property with climbing trails, a top-notch restaurant, and a spa. Attention to detail runs from the design of each room to the landscape planning. All cabin modules were flown in by helicopter not to diminish the surrounding trees and maximize privacy. The property has plenty of activities, including open-air yoga, a beautiful heated outdoor pool, a boccia court, a fabulous gym, and wine-tasting seminars. If guests venture outside for whatever reason, they can access the town of Calistoga and beyond with rental bikes and rental Mercedes-Benz! This property stands out as one of the most remarkable in Napa Valley and the entire country.
2. Post Ranch Inn
One of the most beautiful hotels in the United States, if not the world
Magnificent views of Big Sur abound
Three on-site pools: two “hot” sunbathing cliffside pools kept at 104 degrees and a lap pool
The hotel-housed restaurant is arguably the best in Big Sur, with tremendous views
The acclaimed spa offers unique treatments, including shaman sessions
Free morning yoga, meditation sessions, nature walks, and stargazing
Stunning organic architecture
eco-friendly practices (guests can even borrow a Lexus hybrid)
Plenty of free snacks, including those from the well-stocked minibars
Adults-only establishment (a con for some)
The spa has only four treatment rooms (though guests can request services in their rooms)
There are no TVs or alarm clocks in the rooms (a pro for some)
Pervasive fog can block ocean views
Adults-only establishment (a pro for some)
The 39-room Post Ranch Inn is one of the most beautiful hotels in the United States — if not the entire world — and offers a romantic, intimate stay amid gorgeous natural surroundings. The hotel is built into the cliffs of Big Sur, and the organic architecture is impressive, seeming to grow out of the ground next to the redwoods surrounding the hotel. The spacious, eco-sensitive rooms have ocean or mountain views (which are sometimes obstructed by the pervasive fog that the area is known to many for) and feature floor-to-ceiling windows to better display upon retreat. Rooms also have wood-burning fireplaces, heated floors, outdoor showers or whirlpool tubs, private decks, organic bath products, and linens — but no TVs or alarm clocks as the hotel strives to achieve a peaceful environment. The award-winning spa focuses on rejuvenating services and even has an on-site shaman; the restaurant, Sierra Mar, is one of the best in Big Sur; the hotel’s pools are stunning, and free services (like yoga and stargazing) are plentiful.
3. Fairmont Grand Del Mar
Huge, stately rooms 550 square feet or more
18-hole Grand Golf Club course designed by Tom Fazio
Luxurious first-class spa
The Fitness center is open 24 hours, and room service is also open 24 hours
free car service
15 minutes from the beach by car
Extra fee for valet parking service
The concierge is not available 24 hours
This 249-room Spanish Colonial-style resort in the rolling hills near Del Mar is impressive, from its old-world decor to its oversized rooms and luxurious spa. It has four swimming pools, excellent restaurants, an 18-hole golf course, an Equestrian Center, and free car service in Mercedes or Cadillac Escalade. But since it is Mediterranean, there are no ocean views; consider L’Auberge del Mar if you want to be closer to the sand.
4. The Avalon Hotel
In a central but quiet location across the street from the beach
Rooms are well-equipped with flat-screen TVs, microwaves, and mini-fridges
Relax on the rooftop terrace with panoramic sea and hillside views
Massage room at the sister hotel located a 3-minute walk away
free continental breakfast
Free taxi service from the ferry terminal (not the other way around)
Complimentary water, soft drinks, and coffee in the lobby
Three-night minimum stay on holiday weekends
The Avalon is an upper-middle-range boutique in a quiet, central location across the street from the beach. The property is intimate, with a soft atmosphere and just 15 rooms centered around a quaint shady courtyard. The highlight here is the rooftop terrace, which offers loungers and expansive ocean and hillside views. Rooms are spacious, cozy, and well-equipped, with flat-screen TVs, DVD players, microwaves, and mini-fridges stocked with complimentary bottled water. Prices are a bit steep, but freebies — such as free Wi-Fi, continental breakfast, soft drinks and coffee, and taxi service from the ferry terminal — add value. It is also worth considering the similarly priced Aurora Hotel, which is more upscale.
5. The Inn Above Tide
The tranquil location overlooking Richardson and San Francisco bays
Sophisticated rooms have binoculars, and all have bay views
Most rooms have terraces and fireplaces
Complimentary wine and cheese reception daily
free continental breakfast
Bikes available for loan
Valet parking fee
There is no restaurant in the hotel
A quiet alternative to busy downtown San Francisco hotels, the luxurious Inn Above Tide is within walking distance of the shops, restaurants, and ferry in quaint, ritzy Sausalito (the scenic ferry ride into town takes about 30 minutes). The 31 sophisticated rooms have views of the bay and most come with patios overlooking the water. Unfortunately, while there are a spa, complimentary breakfast, and free wine and cheese receptions, there needs to be a pool and on-site restaurant to put off some visitors.
6. Sea Rock Inn
Quiet location with panoramic views of the ocean and the sound of the waves
Delicious (accessible) breakfast with quiche, fresh bread, and home-baked scones
Ocean-view rooms with private terraces and wood-burning fireplaces
Beautiful garden with wooden benches and chairs for whale watching
afternoon tea and brownies, and a bottle of wine on arrival,
Small spa with massages and sauna
Bike rentals and bike trails are available on-site
Children over 12 years only
No children under 12 years of age
Fee for the use of the sauna
TVs are small and tube-style, not flat screen
The intimate Sea Rock Inn is a luxury bed-and-breakfast with resort touches, offering suites and villas with panoramic ocean views and wood-burning fireplaces. Binoculars are provided for whale watching from private decks or the large lawn, which slopes gently to the edge of the rocky Pacific bluffs. The inn isn’t fancy but charming, with knotty-pine furnishing, lush flowerbeds, and whimsical paintings. Cabana-style rooms have lux beds with sea views.
7. The Lodge at Torrey Pines
Outdoor pool with underwater music and Jacuzzi
Spa with unique treatments and fitness center for basic needs
PGA Tour Ocean View Golf Course
Spacious rooms with quaint craftsman-style décor
Two dining options – one fancy, one casual
Very close to Torrey Pines State Park
Some rooms offer sea views
Free service within a five-mile radius
Some of the rooms feel a bit dark and even a bit bland.
With its proximity to some of San Diego’s most beautiful sites, the 170-room Lodge at Torrey Pines is a haven for nature lovers and golfers who opt for a rustic, laid-back vibe. Rooms and common areas feature Craftsman-style decor and furnishings, and rooms are sweet and spacious, with a unique woodsy touch — though some are a bit dark and even a bit bland. Bathrooms are huge, with bespoke toiletries, and most offer gorgeous soaking tubs. The on-site lodge facilities are on par with a luxury resort — heated outdoor pool with underwater music, a beautiful spa, and a famous golf course that’s a stop on the PGA Tour.
8. Ventana Big Sur, an Alila Resort
Picturesque setting with beautiful views
Upscale, streamlined rooms featuring flat-screen TVs, DVD players, and iPod docks
Slate bathrooms with separate showers and tubs
Large spa with extensive treatment options, two Japanese baths, a sauna, and two pools
Top-notch restaurant with an extensive wine list
Lots of freebies — breakfast, free Wi-Fi, free nature walks and yoga classes, and free afternoon reception
Daily fee to cover so-called “gifts.”
The clothing-optional pool may not be to everyone’s taste
In general, the resort is not suitable for families
Situated on more than 200 acres of picturesque oceanfront land, Ventana Inn & Spa resembles a rustic cabin in the woods. Yet it features 62 deluxe, streamlined rooms with wood accents, refreshing pops of color, and modern conveniences such as flat-screen TVs, iPod docks, and free Wi-Fi. Many rooms have fireplaces, creating a cozy retreat atmosphere to fit in with their surroundings – glass doors and large windows keep the rooms feeling airy and light. Not a place for families, the overall goal of the hotel is to create a zen, holistic retreat with offerings such as yoga classes, hikes, wine and cheese in the afternoon, Japanese baths, and two pools (one of which is clothing optional). But access to these “freebies” isn’t technically free—they’re included in your daily resort fee.
9. Aurora Hotel
Quiet location a short walk from Avalon’s main strip
Stylish rooms with flat-screen TVs, microwaves, and mini-fridges
Ocean view from some rooms
Tranquil rooftop terrace with lovely sea views and sun loungers
Massage room with exclusive treatments
free continental breakfast
Free weekly cheese and wine hour
Standard Rooms are on the small side, with small bathrooms
No full restaurant and no pool
Steep (but short) walk from downtown Avalon
Three-night minimum stay on holiday weekends
The Aurora Hotel is an elegant 18-room B&B located just steps from Avalon’s main drag. Rooms are small (with even smaller bathrooms), but they have stylish contemporary decor and great amenities, including Tempurpedic mattresses, flat-screen TVs, DVD players, microwaves, mini-fridges, and Keurig coffeemakers. There’s a chic rooftop terrace with ocean views, and a massage room offers an extensive menu of treatments — but no full restaurant or pool. Prices are steep for a limited range of on-site features, but freebies like a weekly wine and cheese hour, Wi-Fi, and continental breakfast add value.
10. Cypress Inn on Miramar Beach
Stunning location right on the Pacific Ocean with magnificent views
Romantic, elegant, feature fireplaces and flat-screen TVs
Complimentary breakfast will be served in the Great Room or delivered to your room
free wine and cheese
Coffee, tea, fruit, and ice water are available in the lobby throughout the day.
Some rooms offer direct views of the Pacific Ocean from lovely balconies.
The resident massage therapist is available for treatments in the massage studio or rooms.
Free Wi-Fi and free on-site parking
Breakfast is the only meal served on site
Soundproofing can be weak in some areas
No gym or business center
The 18-room Cypress Inn on Miramar Beach is a mid-range boutique in a quiet residential area along the Pacific Ocean. The rooms are comfortable and romantic and have a California coastal style that matches the setting. Some rooms have balconies with spectacular sea views. Fireplaces in all rooms and two-person whirlpool tubs in some add romantic touches. The complimentary breakfast and wine reception with homemade desserts are appreciated perks, as is the resident masseuse. Access to a pretty coastal path is right on the property’s doorstep. Wi-Fi and on-site parking are free, but there’s little else in the way of facilities.
11. West Cliff Inn, a Four Sisters Inn
Privileged location in Santa Cruz in front of the beach
Bed and breakfast in a historic building
Porch with views of Monterey Bay
Many rooms have fireplaces and marble bathrooms
Water, coffee, and tea throughout the day
Free afternoon wine and appetizers
free hot breakfast
WiFi and parking
Gritty neighboring area
Small first-floor rooms can get noise from above
Fee for additional guests beyond two per room
The staff come out at night
West Cliff Inn is a historic mansion on a hill facing a Santa Cruz beach. A bed-and-breakfast operated by the California-based Four Sisters Pensions, it has small rooms, but most have fireplaces and modern marble bathrooms. The neighborhood has changed around the Victorian building of late and now borders a mobile home park and has seen a growing homeless population. There are the neighboring Santa Cruz Dream Inn and Mar y Arena Inn for the most affordable rates. They lack the historic character of West Cliff, but both are on the beach.
12. Viceroy L’Ermitage Beverly Hills
Elegant and luxurious all-suite hotel popular with the celebrity set
Out of the way and Beverly Hills, it’s a five-minute drive to Rodeo Drive
Spacious and elegantly finished suites with marble bathrooms
Amenities include in-room bars, Nespresso coffeemakers, and bathroom TVs
All suites have separate changing rooms and balconies
Heated rooftop pool with loungers and panoramic views
The wellness center has a Zen-inspired spa and fitness room
High-end restaurant serving Mediterranean food
Free local car services and concierge
Family-friendly features like complimentary strollers and toys, plus babysitting (for a fee)
Pets are allowed for a daily fee; Among the pet, services available
Free standard Wi-Fi in common areas and the
A high-speed Wi-Fi connection comes with a fee unless you are a member of a loyalty club
streetside rooms prone to traffic noise
The rooftop terrace lacks polish compared to the rest of the h.otel
The Viceroy L’Ermitage Beverly Hills is an all-suite luxury hotel in a relatively secluded spot in upscale Beverly Hills. A regular haven for a list registrant (especially during Oscar season), the 114 suites are understated, elegant, and spacious, with glam touches like walk-in closets, marble bathrooms, and Italian furnishings. A snap, bistro-style restaurant serves excellent food and exceptional room service. While pleasant, the terrace and pool feel less polished; the Zen-inspired spa has a simple workout room with a selection of modern cardio and weight-training machines. Perks like free local car services and a concierge round out the luxury offering. While good enough for Hollywood celebrities, this isn’t an ideal place for party seekers who should try the Beverly Hills SIXTIES.
13. Horse Point
Great location under the Golden Gate Bridge in a state park
Gorgeous views from the entire property of San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge
Fascinating history: The hotel was a military base in the late 1800s
Charming rooms feature gas fireplaces and floor-to-ceiling windows
The spacious spa has a pool and fire pits
A high-end restaurant, Murray Circle, serves Northern California cuisine.
The highly acclaimed on-site cooking school
Great outdoor activities like free morning yoga and hiking trails
Free shuttle to San Francisco and Sausalito Ferry Terminal
Dog-friendly: Guests may bring up to two dogs for a one-time, non-refundable fee
LEED Gold Certified Hotel
Heavy fog in San Francisco Bay can obstruct views, and fog horns can disrupt sleep (the hotel provides earplugs)
No gym (but outdoor activities are numerous)
This historic building under the Golden Gate Bridge offers expansive views of the San Francisco Bay skyline. Situated in a state park in Sausalito on the San Francisco Bay, Cavallo Point feels removed from the city’s hustle and bustle. However, it’s still walkable — the hotel operates a free shuttle to the ferry terminal. Originally built as an army base in the late 1800s, the hotel has retained many charming historical details in its two main buildings and its historic rooms, which were all former official residences. Contemporary rooms, by contrast, were built into the hillside and had great views, gas fireplaces, and floor-to-ceiling windows. The hotel also features an acclaimed spa with a pool and fire pits, a swanky restaurant serving regional cuisine, an on-site cooking school, and plenty of outdoor activities like morning yoga and hiking. But heavy fog can block the views. Cavallo Point is best known for persistent fog horns, which have prompted the hotel to include earplugs in every room.
14. The Beverly Hills Hotel
Beautiful property located on 12 prime garden acres in Beverly Hills
Easy access to Rodeo Drive and The Beverly Center
Distinctively decorated rooms, suites, and bungalows with luxury finishes and some balconies.
Exclusive indoor and outdoor dining at Polo Lounge, a well-known celebrity favorite
Fountain Coffee Room offers diner-style dining at a vintage counter
Poolside cabana for salads and light meals, plus cocktails
Chic outdoor pool and cabanas for rent
Full spa for facials, massages, and nail services.
Modern gym with updated equipment.
Complimentary car service to Rodeo Drive and other nearby points of interest
The chic boutique sells Beverly Hills Hotel-related items and gifts
Pet-friendly property (fee)
Weekly outdoor yoga class (for a fee)
Expensive valet parking fees (typical for Los Angeles)
Little of tourist interest in the immediate neighborhood.
Los Angeles is full of luxury hotels, but few are as iconic to old-school Hollywood as the subtly pink Beverly Hills Hotel. Spread across 12 beautifully landscaped acres in prime areas of Beverly Hills, the hotel is used as a sort of clubhouse by celebrities and wealthy locals. But anyone with a credit card can rent one of the 210 rooms, suites, and bungalows, each decorated to incorporate classic Hollywood glamour. Restaurants are equally well known: the luxurious Polo Lounge, the vintage-inspired Fountain Coffee Room, the poolside Cabana Cafe, and the elegant Bar Nineteen12 are open throughout. Only guests are allowed in the stylish outdoor pool, and luxurious cabanas are available for rent. A full spa, renovated fitness center and chic boutique round out the features. Check rates at the sister property, Hotel Bel-Air, for something other than a tourist attraction.