If you’ve been feeling a bit ho-hum about your in-state travel options, we have good news: there’s a bevy of brand-new (and upcoming) hotels ready for your consideration from San Francisco to San Diego and several points in between. While size, vibe and location vary — from the desert to the coast, from the historic to the cutting-edge — they all share a heavy emphasis on luxury (including one wellness-focused option developed by a tech mogul.) Consider your next several weekend trips booked solid.
Below, you’ll find our superlatives for the biggest and best new California hotels.
Best Beach Vibes: Shore House at The Del — Coronado (San Diego)
As far as historic California hotels go, it’s hard to top Hotel del Coronado. Opened in 1888, the iconic, red-roofed beach hotel drew sun-starved travelers from across the country (seven days by train from the East Coast) and welcomed numerous presidents and celebrities in the decades following. Now, 134 years later, you too have good reason to sojourn here, if you haven’t already, thanks to Shore House at The Del. Only newly opened on the southernmost point of the Hotel del Coronado property, with its own dedicated entrance and check-in, Shore House at The Del will offer 75 one-, two- and three-bedroom residential-style accommodations — we’re talking full kitchens, in-unit washer/dryer and roomy verandas. Basically, it’s your new beach condo. Common areas include a zero-edge pool surrounded by daybeds and cabanas, a 360-degree outdoor bar and a beachside sundeck complete with lounge areas and fire pits. Yes, you will watch the sunset here, cocktail in hand.
Most Luxurious: Sensei Porcupine Creek — Rancho Mirage
Founded by tech billionaire Larry Ellison and New York Times best-selling author and physician Dr. David Agus, Sensei Porcupine Creek will bring its cutting-edge, data-driven wellness retreats to SoCal when it debuts in the desert on Nov. 1. Exclusive and intimate, this once-private 230-acre estate will offer just 22 accommodations and mark the brand’s second location (its first was a collaboration with Four Seasons Lanai). Retreat packages include an array of offerings, from an introductory two-night stay to the 30-day Sensei Sabbatical Experience and one-on-one, pro-led golf and tennis programs utilizing the property’s world-class, 18-hole course and tennis facilities. When it’s time to refuel, you’ll also find an outpost of Sensei’s signature restaurant, Sensei by Nobu — a collaboration between legendary chef Nobu Matsuhisa and Agus. The entire resort, restaurant included, will be open only to guests, meaning you won’t need to jostle for a tee time on the golf course or think twice about snagging a dinner reservation.
The Best Hotels in the Bay Area With Fewer Than 15 RoomsGet privacy plus a concierge, at these five super-boutique properties
Best Sample of NorCal City Life: 1 Hotel San Francisco — San Francisco
If you’re not yet familiar with sustainability-centric brand 1 Hotels, you soon will be. With a handful of hotels now open and several more in the pipeline (Kauai, Paris, London and Austin, to name a few), the company has been attracting a loyal following thanks to its environmental ethos, laid-back sense of luxury and organic-chic design. Their most recent offering, 1 Hotel San Francisco, which opened in June, boasts a desirable location along the city’s waterfront, 186 guest rooms, 14 suites and an indoor/outdoor restaurant featuring sustainably sourced, local ingredients. Other highlights include a rooftop chef’s garden and beehives, e-bikes for local exploration, a robust wellness spa and a fleet of electric Audis for complimentary rides within a two-mile radius. Bottom line: it’s bound to become a San Francisco go-to.
Most Instagrammable: The Inn At Mattei’s Tavern, Auberge Resorts Collection — Los Olivos
Auberge Resorts Collection is best known in California for their luxury hotels in the state’s most famous wine region, Napa Valley. But early next year, the global brand is bringing their credibility and five-star service south, with the opening of the Santa Ynez Valley’s The Inn at Mattei’s Tavern. While the region is home to a handful of worthy boutique hotels, The Inn at Mattei’s Tavern will mark the first luxe hotel brand to put down roots here in Santa Barbara Wine Country — a move sure to call in travelers who previously overlooked the destination. The property, a top-to-bottom overhaul of a storied stagecoach stop dating back to Gold Rush times, will feature a new pool with cabanas, a spa, an open-air restaurant and 67 guest rooms (including standalone cottages). Plus, with a location right in the cowboy-meets-vintner town of Los Olivos, you’ll be within walking distance to numerous wine tasting rooms and within a short drive to more vineyards than you’ll be able to visit in one stay…so I guess book two.
Best Small Town Charm: Farmhouse — Paso Robles
Nomada Hotel Group are the maestros of California motel renovation. Specialists in “rescuing forgotten spaces and reinventing them as creative gathering places for the modern traveler,” Nomada began in 2012 with Granada Hotel & Bistro in San Luis Obispo. Since then, they’ve brought us instant hits like Santa Barbara Wine Country’s Skyview Los Alamos and Hotel Ynez [see our review here] — and now, they’ve set their sights on the Golden State’s next wine country to the north, Paso Robles. Opening in February, Farmhouse will feature 26 separate cottages and a location within easy walking distance to Paso’s perfect downtown. You’ll also be centrally located to the region’s hundreds of wineries. While few details on the property are currently available, and there’s no website just yet, Nomada’s track record can assure you that it’ll be worth the wait.
Best New Boutique Hotel: The Richland — City of Orange
The City of Orange is a charming town in Orange County best known as the home of Chapman University and for its quaint, movie-set-like downtown. It’s also home to a multitude of antique stores — meaning if you live in SoCal and want to furnish your pad with wholly original finds, this is the place to come. And now, thanks to boutique hotel The Richland, you’ll have a stylish spot to spend the night after a day exploring. Opening in late September in a fully restored house with a 100-year history, The Richland will offer just 12 well-appointed guest rooms and suites, including a tucked-away suite in the attic and a standalone two-bedroom cottage. You’ll also find a communal living room lounge, bar and indoor/outdoor event spaces suited for relaxing with a few (or a few hundred) friends. With daily continental breakfast included and a downtown location within walking distance to all the best shops, bars and restaurants, there’s no reason not to visit.
Best Sample of SoCal City Life: Conrad Los Angeles — Downtown LA
The past few years have seen new hotels pop up like weeds in Downtown Los Angeles. Beautiful, luxury weeds, that is. The latest, greatest and splashiest opening in recent memory, though, is the Conrad Los Angeles. Opened in July, it’s housed within the brand new, Frank Gehry-designed The Grand LA, an impressive, multi-use development of shopping, dining and apartments. With 305 rooms spread over 25 floors, the property boasts common spaces and guest rooms with head-on views of the world famous Walt Disney Concert Hall (another Gehry creation) and a location that will put you within steps of DTLA’s top arts and culture destinations (think: The Broad for modern art and the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion for theater). But the long list of show-stopping details doesn’t end there. The property also features two restaurant concepts from world-renowned chef José Andrés, a 16,000-square-foot rooftop lounge with pool overlooking all of LA and an expansive, next-gen spa and wellness center.
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