Travel

California Hotels

Hotel city
Avalon Hotel
9400 W. Olympic Blvd., Beverly Hills
Originally called the Beverly Carlton when it opened its doors back in 1949, the Avalon was recently remodeled by LA designer Kelly Wearstler to become the ultimate staycation spot in Beverly Hills. (Visitors should consider staying here, too, but it’s the locals who are especially psyched for somewhere fun to escape for a night or two.) The mid-century modern décor takes you back to a time when Marilyn Monroe called this boutique hotel her home. The pool and cabanas are a great place to relax with a mimosa in hand—even the guest rooms feel light and airy. Because of the emphasis on outdoor space, it may be best to plan your stay during the warmer spring or summer season.
Bardessono Hotel
6526 Yount St., Yountville
Just a short walk from downtown Yountville and its bevy of great restaurants, Bardessono definitely boasts one of the best locations in the valley. With sleek, streamlined décor, excellent tech in room, and the almost impossible-to-accomplish LEED platinum rating, the vibe here is decidedly modern without sacrificing luxury. The grounds are incredibly lush, with the addition of a few well-placed water features, giving you the sense of an outdoor experience despite the relatively compact property.
Belmond El Encanto
800 Alvarado Place, Mission Canyon
Perched on an olive tree-studded hillside overlooking the Pacific ocean, the Belmond El Encanto is more than deserving of its Forbes five-star accolades. The ninety-two room hotel (consisting of Craftsman-style suites and freestanding bungalows) re-opened in 2013 after undergoing a comprehensive renovation, which added a pool and tricked-out fitness studio to the grounds. Thankfully, the historic property’s architectural integrity and immaculate gardens were kept intact. Complete relaxation is the name of the game at the full-service spa where guests and day-trippers are pampered by way of water therapies, steam rooms, and local ingredient-inspired, seasonal treatments. When planning his California-coastal menu, Executive Chef Leo Andres Ayala takes full advantage of Santa Barbara’s bountiful produce offerings—including herbs from Ayala’s on-site herb garden and cheese made from the milk of the Belmond’s resident dairy cow, Ellie.
Calistoga Ranch
580 Lommel Rd., Calistoga
This hotel has its own cabernet-producing vineyard, so you get the full Napa Valley experience without even leaving the property. There's plenty else to do on site, from walking the stunning grounds and hanging out at the pool, to gathering eggs from their deluxe new coop. Should you book a stay in the early fall, you can join the pruning, harvesting, and crushing of the grapes. Each of the fifty rooms has a fireplace and a private deck, and occupies its own, secluded lodge, which guarantees plenty of privacy. While Calistoga Ranch makes for a great romantic holiday, it’s kid-friendly too, with a new family pool and a lunchbox menu just for little ones. Should you want to go out (it is Napa, after all) you can borrow one of the ranch's cars.
Cavallo Point
601 Murray Circle, Sausalito
Nestled at the foot of the Golden Gate bridge, Fort Baker is spread out over acres of prime Sausalito real estate, which up until recently has been left at the mercy of the elements. Then in 2008 a hospitality group stepped in and teamed up with the National Park Service to completely restore and preserve the area. The resulting 142-room lodge, healing arts center, and spa, are spread out over a cluster of Colonial buildings that meet and exceed all of LEED's sustainability requirement.
Charlie Hotel
819 N. Sweetzer Ave., West Hollywood
Though it's just steps from the neon-lit Sunset Strip, the quaint, hidden Charlie Hotel is a refreshing break from the hustle and bustle of the city; it blends into the neighborhood, so it's largely unknown, even to locals. The cozy spot is low on amenities—you won't find a pool or spa—but what it lacks in extravagance it more than makes up for in charm. The hotel itself is made up of 14 West Hollywood bungalows, each outfitted with a full kitchen (several have multiple bedrooms), painstakingly restored and tastefully decorated by loving hotelier Menachem Treivush, who rescued the site from demolition in 2002. Cottages are named after some of the Hollywood luminaries who lived in them in the early Hollywood days—the hotel itself is named after Charlie Chaplin, who lived here back in the '20s when it originally opened.
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