Write Your OOO Response Email Now—We Found the 10 Best Resorts in California

Updated 05/05/19
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Although it's a classic song, we can't really get behind the travel sensibilities of Hotel California. Even with the cool breeze in our hair, pulling up to an outpost off a dark desert highway isn't how we picture a relaxing getaway. In fact, that's probably why there's plenty of room at the tune's namesake destination—because these days, people know that the Golden State has more than its fair share of luxe accommodations to live it up somewhere else.

To prove our point, we've found the 10 best resorts in California that span the cliffs of Big Sur and the hills of San Francisco to the sprawl of Los Angeles and the beaches of San Diego. Thanks to the recommendations of sun-drenched travelers on TripAdvisor, Oyster, and Hotels.com, you can cruise the Pacific Coast Highway knowing that these options will welcome you with modern features and classic style. You can check out any time you'd like, but at least at these resorts, we know it'll be hard to leave.

best resorts in california
Jessica Wright

Fairmont Grand Del Mar

best resorts in california
Courtesy of the Fairmont Grand Del Mar

Set on a sprawling property overlooking the rolling fairways of an exclusive golf course, the Fairmont Grand Del Mar in San Diego is near the city's famed beaches, although you may not spend too much time there. Thanks to six different restaurants, a Renaissance-inspired spa, and four pools, this resort is the best reviewed luxury hotel on TripAdvisor for the sheer number of amenities available to guests.

Guest Approved: "The property is immaculately clean, set in peaceful grounds with swimming pools and a well equipped gym — even here, the attention to detail is impressive, with each piece of cardio equipment having a bottle of water and towel already set out for the next user." — Jbro1979 on TripAdvisor

Ojai Valley Inn and Spa

best resorts in california
Courtesy of Ojai Valley Inn

There's a reason this Spanish resort, which opened in 1923, still attracts travelers looking for an easy escape from Los Angeles less than two hours away. The Ojai Valley Inn's grounds are quiet, and the views of the surrounding mountains offer the type of serenity that the area is known for. And although there's a recently opened adult pool and beautifully renovated guest rooms, most people come here for the perennially lauded spa.

Guest Approved: "Wow, what a gorgeous resort. Everywhere you look, the grounds are so beautiful with majestic oak trees among the background of amazing mountains. We took advantage of the complimentary bikes and took the bike path into their quaint town. The swimming pool area was so relaxing with wonderful lounge sofas and chairs. We watched the sun set, experiencing the breathtaking 'pink moment' when the light reflects pink onto the mountains." — yzagala1 on TripAdvisor

Meadowood Napa Valley

best resorts in california
Courtesy of Meadowood Napa Valley

Nestled on a 250-acre estate in Napa, Meadowood Napa Valley has long defined what it means to experience the best of wine country. Every room on the property has views of the forest—whether from private cottages or suites—and guests are welcome to play traditional games like croquet in their best attire. For those who are looking to taste the area's best wines, there are daily tastings and tours, too.

Guest Approved: "Our room was beautiful with no detail overlooked. Every employee greeted us with a smile or a wave no matter where we were on the property. They were all so helpful, too, whether it was offering to make a restaurant recommendation or wine tasting reservations or having a cold water bottle ready to hand to us after one of our hikes. We had a fabulous stay and are already looking to go back." — U.S. Traveler on Hotels.com

Calistoga Ranch

best resorts in california
Courtesy of Calistoga Ranch

Although this resort is shaded by the same outstretched oaks as the previous mention, Calistoga Ranch is a more modern take on Napa's natural beauty. It has just 50 rooms, including two-bedroom lodges with indoor-outdoor fireplaces, which all feel secluded because of the property's setting in a peaceful canyon. Wine tours and spa treatments are available, but it may be equally relaxing to simply take a stroll around the private lake.

Guest Approved: "This property stands out as one of the most remarkable not just in Napa Valley but in the entire country." — A review on Oyster.com

The Beverly Hills Hotel

best resorts in california
Courtesy of the Beverly Hills Hotel

You don't have to be a celebrity to know that the Beverly Hills Hotel is one of the best resorts in California. In fact, you barely have to be a current guest to recognize its iconic pink walls, green accents, and bougainvillea blossoms. This resort's timeless grasp of Hollywood glamour, which is noticeable everywhere from the bungalows to the tropical gardens, is irresistible on its own, but its prime L.A. location makes it a place that's understandably coveted.

Guest Approved: "This hotel really deserves its nickname The Pink Palace as you are treated like royalty. Everyone is friendly and courteous. The rooms are well appointed and spotless. For dining, the Polo Lounge is legendary and deserves its reputation for excellent cuisine. The extensive wine list, which includes the best of local and international wines, is up to date and has the listed wines available. I treated myself to a spa treatment, which was really relaxing and enjoyable. This is my favorite hotel in the world." — Margrit Anne W.

Terranea Resort

best resorts in california
Courtesy of Terranea

Perhaps the best thing about Terranea, which is directly on the Southern California coast, is that it isn't all that far from the center of Los Angeles. Although it's less than an hour from the crowds of downtown, Terranea's spot above the Pacific and sprawling grounds make it feel happily removed from the bustle. Guests can swim in two ocean-view pools (which can have the same view from their rooms) and its fine dining restaurant Mar'sel is often listed as one of the best in the city. 

Guest Approved: "It was one of the best vacations of our life. The resort is absolutely beautiful, and you feel pampered from the minute you step on to the property. We will definitely come back." — Cindy on Hotels.com

The London West Hollywood

best resorts in california
Courtesy of the London West Hollywood

The London West Hollywood has held its luxurious reputation for years, but it's become even more desirable since it unveiled a renovation earlier this year. Guests are especially drawn to the property's rooftop pool, which features views of the surrounding Hollywood Hills as well as a modern bar that provides some of the highbrow details of its eponymous city.

Guest Approved: "I was only staying in L.A. for one night, but the London ended up being the perfect solution. As I was arriving early in the morning from Australia, I had reached out in advance to ask if there was any chance of an early check-in. The team was very helpful and agreed to note my arrival time in the reservation so they could prioritize rooms accordingly. As a result, when I arrived at the hotel at 9:30 in the morning, the room was already ready for me to check in: fantastic service!

And what a room it was: absolutely huge with a lounge area, kitchenette, outdoor courtyard, big bed, and a massive bathroom. Talk about luxury experience!" — Acb540 on TripAdvisor

The Ritz-Carlton San Francisco

best resorts in california
Courtesy of the Ritz-Carlton San Francisco

Set in a wedding cake–like building built in 1909, the Ritz-Carlton San Francisco is one of the state's best resorts because of its classic style and prime location. Cable cars can be heard ringing their bells outside the marble lobby, and rooms overlook the city's hills from wide windows. The top service alone makes it worth the stay, but the room amenities— rain shower heads and plush sheets—don't hurt, either.

Guest Approved: "The hotel was a perfect blend of contemporary and classic. The staff was incredible, attentive, and friendly. They really made it feel like home away from home. Can't wait for my next stay!" — Audrey on Hotels.com

Ventana Big Sur

best resorts in california
Courtesy of Ventana Big Sur

Ventana Big Sur happens to embrace the best of California's personality with signature effortlessness. It's laidback—as popularly showcased on Instagram by its picturesque glamping sites—but it's also stylish. Guests of the main resort can indulge in coastal views and sign up for spa treatments within sight of redwoods. Our vote goes to the forest shower suite, which sets that amenity outdoors for the perfect escape.

Guest Approved: "Many rooms have fireplaces, creating a cozy retreat vibe to fit with its surroundings — though glass doors and large windows keep the rooms feeling bright and airy. Not a place for families; the overall goal of the hotel is to create a zen, holistic retreat with such offerings as yoga classes, discovery walks, afternoon wine and cheese, Japanese baths, and two pools (one of which is clothing-optional)." — A review on Oyster.com

The Ritz-Carlton Bacara

best resorts in california
Courtesy of the Ritz-Carlton Bacara, SantaBarbara

Set on nearly 80 acres overlooking the Pacific Ocean, the Ritz-Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara seems to do everything it can to showcase the beauty of the so-called "American Riviera." Not only does the hotel boast its own wine tasting room, which is the ideal place to sip from its collection of 12,000 bottles, but it also has three pools and access to two beaches. You can even take a surfing lesson while you're here. 

Guest Approved: "The grounds are simply superb. Great beauty all around with stunning views, a gorgeous pool, world-class spa, and lovely trail for morning walks. The service was great." — Trave4Lyfe12 on TripAdvisor

Ed Note: Reviews have been edited for clarity. 

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