We’ve got the skinny on where to crash out after riding the waves in Surf City, with a selection of Southern California’s finest motels and oceanfront inns in Huntington Beach.
Known as Surf City, USA, Huntington Beach draws wave-loving travelers from around the world for a dose of Southern California sunshine and board culture. While the 8.5mi (13.5km) beach, lapped by some of SoCal’s best surf, is the main attraction, there’s so much to see and do here. Visit the International Surfing Museum, dedicated to founder of modern surfing Duke Kahanamoku, or check out Main Street’s lively mix of bars and restaurants. Top hotels also ride the wave from big-name brands to modest motels and laid-back oceanfront inns.
The design of this Spanish-influenced Hyatt Regency gives guests a taste of indoor-outdoor living. All rooms have patios or terraces with nice views of either the beach or the landscaped resort’s lagoon-style pool and palm trees. Ground-floor king rooms have fire pits and furnished patios, while oceanfront rooms have balconies. The decor is appropriately beachy: white shutters, light-gray headboards and sand-yellow striped pillows. The beach is a short hop over a pedestrian bridge and guests are greeted with complimentary towels, beach chairs and umbrellas. The hotel can also arrange beach bonfires with blankets, hot chocolate and s’mores.
This surfer-inspired getaway puts visitors in the center of Huntington Beach’s action. It’s a block away from Surf City’s Main Street, one mile from Huntington Beach Pier – which hosts the World Surf League’s US Open every summer – and 100ft (30m) from the beach where waves often peel perfectly towards the shore. “Just bring your swimsuit – we’ve got the rest covered,” state’s the Kimpton website – and accordingly, the hotel offers surfboard storage, beach cruisers, custom ice chests, beach chairs, towels, umbrellas, children’s beach toys and volleyballs. There’s even a surf ambassador who points guests to prime breaks and the best local haunts from sunrise to sunset.
For a bit of pampering, check into Paséa Hotel & Spa. The Balinese-style Aarna spa has eight treatment rooms and a garden with a water feature and wooden cabanas. Signature treatments include the sea-stone massage that relaxes muscles and soothes aches away. In-room spa kits are also available, like the DIY Facial or a Rise & Shine restful sleep kit with nighttime tea, lavender CBD roll-on and a satin sleep mask. Duly refreshed, sip a margarita in the treehouse-inspired rooftop lounge with a swinging chair and panoramic ocean view.
This grand family-friendly resort has two swimming pools with waterslides, contemporary, beach-inspired decor and custom-made furnishings. With accommodations in two towers, all rooms and suites have at least a partial view of the ocean. Six restaurants and bars hit every taste and price point, from a swanky wine bar to a casual grab-and-go market.
This modest motel has an old-school California vibe and an unbeatable location four blocks north of the pier and across the street from the beach. Guest rooms are sparkling clean and good value, with patterned bedspreads and palm-tree and turtle motifs on the walls. Rooms have microwaves and refrigerators, and guests are treated to free coffee and pastries each morning.
With just 30 rooms and a discreet location in Sunset Beach, Ocean Surf Inn & Suites is a wise choice for travelers who prefer quiet beach time to a scene. The hotel, a few miles north of Huntington Beach, has a 2mi (3km) stretch of sand with waves for surfers of all levels and the lobby is stocked with boogie boards, beach chairs and toys for guests to take. The ocean temperature, day’s highs and lows, sunrise and sunset times are all scribed on a surfboard each day by staff.
Professional surfers and extreme-sports athletes are often guests at this nine-room inn, which feels like the ultimate beach house. The hip hotel’s beachside deck is one of the prime places for surfers to check out the waves, sit in the sun and sink into a cold beer. The international crowd loves the uniquely designed rooms from the rock’n’roll-themed Rock Queens to the Surfer King with a wave wall painting. Nearby restaurant, Duke’s Huntington Beach, is also a popular surfer hang out for fish tacos, ahi bowls and Hawaiian-style Kalua pork sandwiches. Don’t miss key-lime pie or pineapple upside-down cake for dessert.