The Best Boutique Hotels in California, USA

Be like Marilyn Monroe and stay at the Avalon Hotel Beverly Hills
Be like Marilyn Monroe and stay at the Avalon Hotel Beverly Hills | Courtesy of Avalon Hotel Beverly Hills / Expedia
Photo of Kayleigh Roberts
26 November 2020

The most important decision when traveling is picking the right accommodation. In California, the hotel choices will surely change your experience in terms of rest, relaxation and unique on-site amenities. Whether you fancy a stay in a private canyon in Napa Valley or by McAbee Beach in Monterey, the Golden State is never short of options, particularly if you are looking for the quaint and quiet luxury of boutique hotels. Here are 15 of the best.

Petit Ermitage, West Hollywood

Mingle with West Hollywood’s rich and famous at this ultra-hip hotel, hidden away on a residential street. Inside is a bohemian wonderland full of surprises, while the decor has a distinctly Moroccan twist. A saltwater pool, lined with kumquat trees, offers enchanting city views, while the fairy-lit Firedeck hosts Sunday evening movies under the stars with fur blankets, cocktails and popcorn. You can dine among hummingbirds and butterflies in the magical rooftop garden restaurant or join tarot readings, yoga lessons and bedtime-story sessions.

Everything you need to know

At a Glance

Free WiFi
Outdoor pool
Breakfast available (surcharge)
Restaurant
In-room accessibility
Concierge services
24-hour front desk
Fitness facilities
Dry cleaning/laundry service
Multilingual staff
Bar/lounge
Smoke-free property

Avalon Hotel Beverly Hills

Walk in the footsteps of Hollywood icons such as Marilyn Monroe at Avalon Hotel, one of the movie star’s favorite hangouts. It still has a glamorous retro feel with its curved pool, private cabanas and residential Beverly Hills location. Tranquil rooms have floor-to-ceiling windows, an Apple TV, Jambox Bluetooth speakers and a curated minibar for discreet partying. Recover over a Californian brunch of overnight oats and detox green juice at the poolside Viviane restaurant.

Everything you need to know

At a Glance

Outdoor pool
Breakfast available (surcharge)
Restaurant
In-room accessibility
Beach towels
Concierge services
24-hour front desk
Limo or Town Car service available
Dry cleaning/laundry service
Multilingual staff
Bar/lounge
Smoke-free property

Tuck Hotel, Downtown LA

Small but perfectly formed, this tiny hotel has just 14 rooms for those looking for brooding LA intimacy. They have monochrome furniture, custom-made artwork and Marshall radios for added rock-star points, while dimly lit cocktail bar Night Night is made for clandestine after-show parties. Feast on stacked-high sandwiches from Italian-American Uncle Paulie’s Deli downstairs, or wander to nearby restaurants, including trendy Italian Terroni and fashionable coffee shop il caffè.
Everything you need to know

At a Glance

Free WiFi
Concierge services
Multilingual staff
Smoke-free property

Casa Madrona Hotel and Spa, Sausalito

Craving a complete Californian overhaul? Book one of the wellness rooms at this airy Victorian hotel, built into a hillside in the resort town of Sausalito, overlooking San Francisco Bay. They come with a smart mattress to track sleep, a meditation headband to monitor brain activity, AI personal training, personalized meal plans and detoxing juices, with an on-site spa for pampering. Regular guests will still enjoy the hotel’s contemporary opulence, serene harbor views and independently owned trattoria.

Everything you need to know

At a Glance

Free WiFi
Restaurant
In-room accessibility
Full-service spa
Express check-out
Conference space
Concierge services
24-hour front desk
Fitness facilities
Dry cleaning/laundry service
Multilingual staff
Smoke-free property

Phoenix Hotel, San Francisco

Party like a rock star at this 1950s motor lodge in the heart of San Francisco’s gritty Tenderloin district. Close to the city’s many music venues, it has been a favorite with touring musicians since the ’80s, welcoming the likes of Neil Young, Debbie Harry and Kurt Cobain. Here, you can mingle with passing musicians at the outdoor heated pool or on-site restaurant, Chambers, where walls are lined with vinyl records.

Everything you need to know

At a Glance

Free WiFi
Outdoor pool
Restaurant
In-room accessibility
Wheelchair accessible (may have limitations)
Concierge services
24-hour front desk
Dry cleaning/laundry service
Bar/lounge
Smoke-free property

Post Ranch Inn, Big Sur

Big Sur is the perfect destination for travelers seeking tranquility. The area is home to unforgettable landscapes, world-class hiking trails and Instagrammable landmarks, such as the Bixby Creek Bridge. For those seeking luxury and immersion in nature, the Post Ranch Inn is a favorite, with rooms featuring ocean or mountain views.
Everything you need to know

At a Glance

Free WiFi
Restaurant
Full-service spa
Wheelchair accessible (may have limitations)
Express check-out
Concierge services
24-hour front desk
Dry cleaning/laundry service
Bar/lounge
Smoke-free property

Bardessono Hotel and Spa, Yountville

The Bardessono Hotel and Spa is a perfect getaway for the eco-conscious traveler. Partially powered by solar panels, it boasts a LEED Platinum certification but doesn’t skimp on luxury in the slightest. Each guest room is designed for private in-room spa services, and the hotel restaurant features a menu highlighting delicious local ingredients.
Everything you need to know

At a Glance

Free WiFi
Outdoor pool
Breakfast available (surcharge)
Restaurant
In-room accessibility
Full-service spa
Express check-out
Conference space
Concierge services
24-hour front desk
Fitness facilities
Dry cleaning/laundry service
Multilingual staff
Terrace
Bar/lounge
Smoke-free property

Hotel Kabuki, San Francisco

The Japanese-themed Hotel Kabuki, a Joie de Vivre boutique hotel, lies in Japantown, San Francisco. It boasts 218 rooms, a captivating modern design, a Zen garden and a koi pond. To start your morning off right, you can take advantage of the complimentary coffee and tea in the lobby. What’s more, the hotel is pet-friendly.
Everything you need to know

At a Glance

Free WiFi
Breakfast available (surcharge)
Restaurant
In-room accessibility
Express check-out
Conference space
Concierge services
24-hour front desk
Limo or Town Car service available
Dry cleaning/laundry service
Multilingual staff
Bar/lounge
Smoke-free property

Spindrift Inn, Monterey

The Spindrift Inn lies on Cannery Row, right on the shores of McAbee Beach in Monterey. As a guest, you’ll have a complimentary breakfast served to your room – on a silver platter, no less – every morning. The hotel also hosts various social gatherings, including a gourmet wine and cheese reception and coffee and tea every afternoon in the lobby.
Everything you need to know

At a Glance

Free WiFi
Concierge services
24-hour front desk
Dry cleaning/laundry service
Smoke-free property

Tower23 Hotel, San Diego

Named after a lifeguard tower on Pacific Beach, this boutique hotel offers a perfect blend of chic style and relaxing vibes. As gorgeous as the hotel is itself, the real beauty at Tower23 is the sprawling views of the Pacific Ocean from each guest room. Dinner at the on-site, oceanfront restaurant, JRDN, is a must.
Everything you need to know

At a Glance

Free WiFi
Breakfast available (surcharge)
Restaurant
In-room accessibility
Express check-out
Concierge services
24-hour front desk
Limo or Town Car service available
Dry cleaning/laundry service
Multilingual staff
Bar/lounge

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  • Ventana Big Sur, an Alila Resort

    The Ventana Big Sur offers rustic luxury like no other. In addition to its flagship resort, the hotel also has glamping packages, allowing you to experience “outdoor splendor, with a luxury twist.” From hiking trails with stunning views of Big Sur for the outdoor enthusiast to a world-class spa for those seeking R&R, this resort has something for everyone.
    Everything you need to know

    At a Glance

    Free WiFi
    Breakfast available (surcharge)
    Restaurant
    In-room accessibility
    Full-service spa
    Wheelchair accessible (may have limitations)
    Concierge services
    24-hour front desk
    Fitness facilities
    Dry cleaning/laundry service
    Terrace
    Bar/lounge
    Smoke-free property

    Malibu Beach Inn, Malibu

    Malibu Beach Inn is a luxury boutique hotel on Carbon Beach on the Pacific Coast Highway. Each room comes with a private balcony, allowing you to catch the magical view of the Malibu sunset in all its glory. The on-site Cure Daily Spa offers everything from facials to yoga classes, and for those seeking experiences outside the hotel, its reception team will help you plan adventures in Santa Monica, Beverly Hills and even DTLA.
    Everything you need to know

    At a Glance

    Free WiFi
    Outdoor pool
    24-hour front desk
    Dry cleaning/laundry service
    Bar/lounge

    Rancho Valencia Resort and Spa, Rancho Santa Fe

    Rancho Valencia Resort and Spa has 49 spacious casitas or hacienda-style suites, with each one featuring a private patio and Natura Bissé toiletries. The resort offers a wellness program with year-round activities such as bicycling, yoga and pilates, making it a perfect destination for the active traveler.
    Everything you need to know

    At a Glance

    Free WiFi
    Breakfast available (surcharge)
    In-room accessibility
    Full-service spa
    Conference space
    Concierge services
    24-hour front desk
    Fitness facilities
    Dry cleaning/laundry service
    Multilingual staff
    Terrace
    Bar/lounge
    Smoke-free property

    Auberge du Soleil, Rutherford

    The French-inspired Auberge du Soleil is an adults-only luxury inn, complete with a Michelin-star restaurant that offers delicious food and incredible views of Napa Valley. Other amenities at the upscale resort include a spa, an outdoor pool, a gym, a yoga pavilion and even a sculpture garden.
    Everything you need to know

    At a Glance

    Free WiFi
    Outdoor pool
    In-room accessibility
    Full-service spa
    Conference space
    Concierge services
    24-hour front desk
    Dry cleaning/laundry service
    Terrace
    Bar/lounge
    Smoke-free property

    The Inn Above Tide, Sausalito

    Boutique Hotel
    Map View
    California Sausalito The Inn Above Tide Hotel on waterfront
    © Stephen Saks Photography / Alamy Stock Photo
    The rooms and suites at the Inn Above Tide boast unparalleled views of the bay. Its location in Sausalito puts it in proximity to many of San Francisco’s best attractions – the Golden Gate Bridge is just five minutes away – and a ferry is nearby. However, if you don’t want to venture far from the hotel, amenities such as complimentary bicycles will keep you happily occupied.

    Siobhan Grogan contributed additional reporting to this article.

    These recommendations were updated on November 26, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.