The beauty of Long Beach, California, is in its cultural variety. It’s rich in maritime history and home to Snoop Dogg, world-famous street art and the acclaimed Aquarium of the Pacific – not to mention sandy beaches, beautiful parks and gardens and top-class restaurants. Art lovers will make a beeline for the East Village, the city’s arts district, while fans of naval history will love the Queen Mary, a hotel and museum. The diverse offerings of this SoCal city are reflected in its hotels – here’s our pick of the best.
A towering glass landmark at the western end of Long Beach, the Hyatt Regency, as is so often the case with this brand, sets the bar for high-end hotels in the city. The contemporary guest rooms look out over the harbor, and the outdoor pool makes a refreshing alternative to the beach. Meanwhile, the poolside firepit is perfect for keeping toasty warm in the evening. Within walking distance is the Aquarium of the Pacific, home to some 11,000 marine critters from 500 species.
A stylishly modern hotel a couple of blocks back from the ocean, the Renaissance is perfect for exploring the cultural attractions of Downtown Long Beach. Be sure to check out the Museum of Latin American Art – the only museum in the United States dedicated to contemporary Latino art – and the tree-lined walking trails of Cesar E Chavez Park. Spend the evening at the SIP Bar + Lounge, famed for its ever-rotating “secret” cocktail menu – clues to which are available in your room.
Named after the circus performer Dolly Varden, whose name still adorns its neon sign, this hotel has been a local institution since the 1920s. The unpretentious rooms have a minimalist style, though the mirrored lights above the sinks are a subtle tribute to the hotel’s showbiz connections. Its welcoming atmosphere extends to free wine-tasting sessions each evening, accompanied by light snacks – a great way to get to know your fellow guests.
The Hotel Current proves that you don’t have to choose between style and eco-credentials during your stay in Long Beach. Colorful abstract artworks adorn the walls courtesy of local artists, while the sleek furnishings are made from sustainable materials. Spend the day exploring the serene koi ponds and footbridges of the Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden nearby, or enjoy a round at the Recreation Park Golf Course 18 just next door.
An unforgettable stay is ensured onboard this gorgeous restored ocean liner, built in Scotland in the 1930s during the golden age of transatlantic ship travel. The bygone elegance of that age is preserved in the art deco cabins, all wood-paneled, plushly carpeted and featuring original artworks. Learn more about the ship’s supposedly haunted history on paranormal ghost walks and Dining with the Spirits evenings at Sir Winston’s Restaurant.
The Hotel Royal dates back to the 1920s, and its rooms embody the art deco stylings of the age while being updated to modern standards of comfort. The apartment-style suites with kitchens feel like a true home away from home, while the hotel’s setting is perfect for exploring the East Village, famous for its galleries and the colorful murals that decorate the exteriors of buildings.
A traditional hotel in the Sunrise neighborhood – noted for its Craftsman architecture – the Cove offers spacious rooms and suites with clawfoot tubs in the bathrooms. The heart of hotel life is the large outdoor pool, with a firepit and cabanas where you can put your feet up. The giant chess board in the courtyard is a hit with guests of all ages.
With a prime location on the eastern end of the beach, the Belmont Shore Inn offers unfussy but stylish rooms overlooking the ocean. Pay your respects at the Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier just a few steps away, which offers lovely sunset views over the city, and take a dip in the Belmont Plaza Pool if you’re looking for a change of scene from the beach. Nearby, the Belmont Brewing Company serves a fantastic range of home-brewed craft beers.