8 Hotels in Southern California That Feel Like a World Away

Take a Trip Back in Time or Across the Globe With a Staycation at One of These Local Resorts

Southern California is no stranger to luxurious five-star hotels and resorts. From gorgeous beachfront favorites to exquisite mountainside lodges, The Golden State’s surplus of stellar stays is a marvel in its own right. But an even rarer gem, even on the west coast, is a hotel that can truly transport its guests, evoking memories and visions of divine destinations from all over the world. Whether it’s carefully chosen decor, extravagant eats or an enticing ambiance, these six SoCal stays all harness the unique ability to help guests truly escape and embark on adventure in a city far away. Coolest Hotels Southern California


Miramonte Indian Wells Resort & Spa

Transports you to: Tuscany, Italy

Credit: Miramonte Resort & Spa

Breathtaking, elegant, romantic and intimate are just a few words that describe this majestic desert oasis. Nestled within the cove of the Santa Rosa Mountains, the Miramonte Indian Wells Resort & Spa offers travelers a Mediterranean escape like no other. The property itself is a peaceful haven with a world-class spa, multiple pools, lush citrus gardens and an alluring olive grove. Soak up the sun and spend a day poolside or visit The WELL Spa for a therapeutic massage, body scrub or facial. Then, retreat to your Tuscan-inspired guest room and enjoy a glass of wine on your private balcony as you take in views of the rugged mountains and ethereal gardens below. And for those who prefer to stay active, spend some time on the green at the adjacent Indian Wells Golf Resort. This Palm Springs golf complex is home to two courses ranked in the Top 25 “Best Municipal Courses in the United States.” Your Tuscany staycation awaits at Miramonte Indian Wells Resort & Spa.

Location: Indian Wells, CA



Margaritaville Resort Palm Springs

Transports you to: Tahiti

It turns out you don’t need a pricey plane ticket to experience an island state of mind. The all-new Margaritaville Resort Palm Springs is a desert oasis fit for any traveler in search of a tropical escape. Set on 16 lush acres just minutes from Downtown Palm Springs, this beachy retreat is making a splash in the desert after a months-long renovation. The property thoughtfully combines mid-century design elements we all know and love with a casual island feel. “Part of our mantra is escapism, which is perfect for Palm Springs,” says Jeff Ouradnik, director of sales and marketing for Margaritaville Resort Palm Springs

Photography By: Julie Soefer Photography

Laid out like spokes on a wheel, the resort’s six guest buildings jut out from the central hub, which comprises the 5 o’Clock Somewhere pool and bar, fire pits, lounge chairs and cabanas. Off the back of the property, there are even more amenities like event spaces, meeting rooms and a second pool. Guests can also visit the on-site 11,000 square-foot spa, St. Somewhere Spa (the largest resort spa in Palm Springs), which is located right near the main pool and offers facials, massages, pedicures and access to a zen lounge. And as for dining, you’ll want to reserve a table at JWB Grill (the namesake eatery of James (Jimmy) William Buffett) for a fine-dining experience featuring coastal cravings, prime steaks and live music!

Local Insight: Save big with the resort’s Welcome to Margaritaville offer, which includes 20% off your guest room.
Location: Palm Springs, CA


The Westin Carlsbad

Transports you to: Wailea, HI


California and the aloha state have more in common than their glittering coastlines, and The Westin Carlsbad proves it. This hilltop hideaway sits atop over fifty acres of rolling, grassy hills, and features lush palms and sweeping, panoramic coastal views, evoking visions of Maui’s green, idyllic mountains and dazzling hillsides. Lush living greenery walls and wooden accents embellish the hotel’s elegant interior while natural light fills and illuminates the space with a gentle glow, bestowing the tropical charm of the Wailea beachfront onto this Carlsbad classic. Spend an afternoon at the Ocean Pearl Spa and indulge in a sea-to-spa treatment, or soak up the sun poolside and grab a bite or cocktail from the resort’s 7 Mile Kitchen. For a truly special meal, reserve a table at 20|Twenty, The Westin’s signature restaurant, and enjoy globally-inspired cuisine made with locally sourced, seasonal ingredients. All Westin guests also have access to amenities at the Sheraton Carlsbad Resort & Spa located next door. And while The Westin Carlsbad is a great place for adults or couples looking to relax in peace, the property also offers a variety of kid-friendly activities and promotions, including a waterslide and a private entrance to LEGOLAND. To check out The Westin’s current offers click here

Location: Carlsbad, CA

Coolest Hotels Southern California

Ace Hotel & Swim Club

Transports you to: Berlin, Germany

Berlin: a city known for its elegant blend of historical charm and blooming, cutting-edge nightlife. No California hotel captures this unique blend of antiquity and modernity better than the retro-chic Ace Hotel & Swim Club in Palm Springs. Boasting a soothing, minimalist aesthetic atop a 179-room mid-century classic, this Palm Springs staple has taken a timeless treasure and turned it into a modern masterpiece.

Location: Palm Springs, CA 



The Lodge at Torrey Pines

Transports you to: The Oregon Coast

If it’s a brief escape to the pristine, pine-soaked bluffs of the Oregon Coast that you seek, look no further than The Lodge at Torrey Pines. With a luxurious cabin aesthetic and a view of the Pacific Ocean that mirrors the beauty of its northern counterpart, The Lodge at Torrey Pines is the ultimate woodsy getaway, despite being located just a few minutes from the coast.

Location: La Jolla, CA

Coolest Hotels Southern California

Hotel Casa Del Mar

Transports you to: Valencia, Spain

Vibrant stucco, authentic terracotta tiling and sweeping, sky-blue coastlines are three breathtaking anecdotes often used to describe two iconic places: the grand scenery of Valencia, Spain and the equally gorgeous Hotel Casa Del Mar in Santa Monica, CA. Perched on the water’s edge, this Spanish escape embraces its foreign counterpart to a tee, boasting intriguing architecture, decadent dining and recreation that all pays homage to the beautiful Spanish coast. Whether you’re delving into authentic tapas or taking a stroll along the sun-soaked sand, this hotel will have you feeling like a Spanish local in no time.

Location: Santa Monica, CA


Cara Hotel

Transports you to: Morocco

Modeled after the culturally and architecturally rich Marrakesh skyline, the Cara Hotel in Los Angeles, CA embraces the spirit of Morocco by offering up one of the most visually striking hotels in Southern California. Pristine, sun-bleached stucco archways catch the sun and reflect it onto the dazzling tile mosaics as you enter an equally pearly pool deck, embellished with enticing gold accents, making the Cara Hotel feel otherworldly in its charm.

Location: Los Angeles, CA 

Coolest Hotels Southern California

The Ranch Laguna Beach

Transports you to: Porto, Portugal

A wine lover’s escape unlike any other: The Ranch Laguna Beach’s capacity to embrace both land and sea while also featuring lovely baroque decor are among some of the many counterparts that have led to it being compared to acclaimed cities around the world, such as the ever-enchanting Porto, Portugal. With acres upon acres of coastal canyon wilderness and a collection of quaint, cobble arrayed cafes and restaurants, this Laguna Beach favorite will undoubtedly impress.

Location: Laguna Beach, CA

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