Best Quaint Hotels California
Credit: Mammoth Mountain Tamarack Lodge

7 Quaint Hotels for a Cozy Mountain Escape in California

From Hipster-Cool Cabins to a Revamped 1960s-Era Motel, These Mountain Retreats Are Perfect for Winter

When planning the perfect mountain getaway, snowy adventures, snuggling up fireside and toasting s’mores often tops wishlists, but immersing yourself in the great outdoors doesn’t mean compromising on creature comforts—we’re talking wood-burning saunas, private soaking tubs and plush beds made up with luxe linens and fluffy pillows. Whether you’re planning a romantic getaway for two in Big Bear or a friend group trip to Lake Tahoe, we’ve narrowed down the best cozy mountain hotels across California for a weekend getaway this winter. Think everything from historic cabins and the option to ski-in/ski-out at classic lakeside retreat Tamarack Lodge in Mammoth Lakes to The Kingsley Hotel, a sophisticated 10-bed boutique stay in Lake Arrowhead.

 

Noble + Proper

Best Quaint Hotels California
Credit: Jenny Siegwart

Nestled in the heart of the San Bernardino National Forest, Noble + Proper is a boutique all-cabin stay moments from Snow Summit and Bear Mountain ski resorts. An irresistible choice for travelers seeking a slightly secluded hideaway, the aesthetic leans modern-mountain with plenty of cozy communal spaces and Instagram-worthy nooks to unwind after a day on the slopes. Each of the eight standalone and superbly decorated cabins are named after the owner’s grandparents and feature nice-to-haves like complimentary coffee and Parachute Home linens. Kitchenettes are perfect for making drinks and simple snacks, but the lake and village are just minutes away by car for supplies and more substantial meals. 

Location: Big Bear

 

Desolation Hotel

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Best Quaint Hotels California
Credit: Brad Scott

Perfect for friend groups and couples—there’s a bridal suite, for those dreaming of a winter wedding—this pet-friendly micro-resort within walking distance of all the action in South Tahoe boasts sustainability initiatives, including 27 EV charging stations. Japandi-inspired suites and townhomes feature in-room fireplaces and king-size beds with Frette linens, some petite kitchens with Bertazzoni gas ranges and private balconies with soaking tubs. In the spa-like bathrooms, you’ll find natural products by Grown Alchemist. Shop the general store, sweat it out in the wood-burning sauna, and dine at signature restaurant Maggie’s, whose seasonal menu and extensive wine list make it one of the hottest reservations in town. 

Location: South Lake Tahoe

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Coachman Hotel

Located blocks from the beach and Heavenly Mountain, this reimagined 1960s-era motel has it all: Insta-friendly interiors, mod cons, plus free parking and a mini gym with Pelotons. Rooms range from one-bedroom suites to a honeymoon king (with a vintage heart-shaped tub) and come kitted out with Apple TVs and mini fridges. Some are pet-friendly too. The reception area doubles as a coffee/hot chocolate bar and happy hour spot, and while there’s a small complimentary breakfast menu (pro tip: order the waffles), there are plenty of places to eat within walking distance. There’s also a hot tub and fire pits to get cozy while toasting s’mores and meeting fellow guests.

Location: South Lake Tahoe

 

Colorado Lodge

Best Quaint Hotels California
Credit: Allegra Rose Berger

An ongoing experimental project in construction and design by a group of LA architects that explores how we spend time in nature, you can sleep among towering pine trees at Colorado Lodge, which is located in a quiet neighborhood that’s a 10-minute walk from both Snow Summit and Big Bear Village. The collection has six renovated Nordic-style cabins, including cozy one-bedroom Nocturnal Beauty and The Place Beyond The Pines (perfect for two), each featuring minimalist Baltic Birch lined interiors. The newest addition, C4, has a full modern kitchen and a clawfoot soaking tub in the primary suite. Amenities are basic (no bar or restaurant), although there is a communal hot tub.

Location: Big Bear

 

The Kingsley Hotel

Less than three hours from Los Angeles, the pretty resort community of Lake Arrowhead in the San Bernardino Mountains is known for its charming Alpine-style architecture and lodging options, including boutique 10-bed charmer The Kingsley Hotel. Just a five-minute walk to Lake Arrowhead Village but surrounded by pine trees, it’s a peaceful and relaxing getaway. Book it as a private all-room buyout, and the communal Clubhouse can host movie/game nights, family meals and special celebrations. Fans of quiet luxury will love the interiors, which skew sophisticated California with plenty of natural materials and mod cons, including modern gas fireplaces, alarm clocks with Qi wireless charging trays, and smart TVs.

Location: Lake Arrowhead

 

Marina Riviera

After a top-to-toe redesign by Casetta Group (the hospitality peeps behind The Pearl in San Diego and Casa Cody in Palm Springs), this landmark lakefront lodge now leans Scandinavian ski chalet chic. The views are stellar—whether watching the sunrise or evening alpenglow—but across the street, six standalone cabins with well-equipped kitchens and separate living areas are perfect for friend groups and couples. The boutique bedrooms upstairs even have cute vintage-looking gas fireplaces. A bar and restaurant concept is coming soon (Winter 2024), but there are plentiful options for dining in The Village at Big Bear Lake, which is just a five-minute stroll away.

Location: Big Bear

 

Tamarack Lodge

Established as a fishing retreat in 1924, Mammoth’s most secluded resort has since become a coveted and super cozy winter getaway spot. Close to the Mammoth Mountain Ski Area and surrounded by over 19 miles of groomed snowshoeing and Nordic ski trails, it’s popular among snow sports enthusiasts. The quiet Twin Lakes setting, however, makes it a favorite for loved-up couples too. Lodge rooms are cute, but if it’s kitchens and fireplaces you seek, go with one of the historic California craftsman-style cabins that range from a studio to three-bedrooms. Special occasions should be celebrated at The Lakefront Restaurant over dishes like lobster ravioli and a nice bottle of wine.

Location: Mammoth Lakes

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Keri Bridgwater is a freelance writer covering travel and lifestyle. Her work has been featured in Fodor’s Travel, Marie Claire, Matador Network and InsideHook, among other outlets and publications.

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