Weekend Vacation Carlsbad
Credit: Briley Pizzelanti

11 Boutique Hotels in California That’ll Have You Swooning

From La Jolla to Downtown LA, Unpack Your Bags at These Small but Mighty Hotels

Whether the idea of a getaway has been on your mind or you’re just now ready to run away, we’ve got you covered. Southern California has vacation vibes written all over it, with its countless boutique hotels that rest near the beach, in the mountains and even in the desert. From coastal hues to ocean views and beyond, our guide to boutique hotels in SoCal will quickly become a go-to for your bucket list. You’re welcome.


Beach Terrace

The Vibe: A small but mighty Carlsbad hotel that invites travelers to slow down and stick their toes in the sand.

YouTube video

Credit: Kimberly Motos

Wake up to the sound of rolling waves when you relax at this quirky California hotel. Beach Terrace is notable: it’s the only hotel in Carlsbad that sits directly on the sand, making it the ideal spot for a breezy seaside getaway. Built in the 1960s, this historic property supplies beach chairs, umbrellas, boogie boards and more—a promise for full immersion into this serene coastal setting. Choose from rooms where you can step outside and settle your toes in the sand or rooms with views of the pretty pool terrace. The hotel offers yoga on its very own private beach and even offers a “Breakfast on the Balcony” experience for those slow, serene mornings. And don’t forget to take advantage of their Great Easter Rate Hunt, where you can save big on seasonal room rates! Hidden in their booking calendar on Easter morning will be rooms for either $1 or $99, good for arrivals anytime between April and December 2024. This is our kind of Easter egg hunt!

Location: Carlsbad


Hotel Joaquin

The Vibe: A midcentury modern beach motel, enhanced with French sophistication.

Lather yourself in luxurious views of Laguna Beach when you recharge in one of Hotel Joaquin’s art-infused rooms—think Juliette balconies, vaulted ceilings, even a record player in every room. A boutique stay that’s polished with thoughtfully curated, vintage finds, this spot is one for the books. Hotel Joaquin makes it a point to make you feel at home. They even deliver coffee to your room each morning and offer amenities that’ll keep you on your toes, like bicycles, body boards and beach games.

Location: Laguna Beach


The Surfrider Malibu

The Vibe: A reimagined 1950s icon that combines Malibu’s surf culture with coastal-chic amenities.

Bestowed with dreamy views of the Malibu coast, The Surfrider Malibu is a 20-room beach house that smacks of California surf culture. Feel like a local when you stay here, where you can wake early for a proper swell or relax on a private hammock until you’re ready to face the day.  Among features of the hotel include McTavish surfboards, customized for the hotel and on offer to guests. Grab a board and head to the sea, whether you’ve been ripping waves since you were four or you’re embarking on your first lesson. You’ll also be invited to dine at their guest-only restaurant, Roof Deck, which features coastal cuisine and views of the Pacific Ocean.

Location: Malibu



Sands Hotel & Spa

The Vibe: An 18-and-up resort where Moroccan arches meet midcentury modern stylings.

Photography By: Sands Hotel and Spa

Step into an Indian Wells dream when you stay at the Sands Hotel & Spa. This exotic hotel boasts a Moroccan-inspired aesthetic with a touch of midcentury modern elements. Available amenities include a luxurious spa that features naturally-sourced Moroccan ingredients, as well as a playfully decorated restaurant called The Pink Cabana, which takes design cues from ’50s and ’60s tennis and racquet clubs. Indulge in a true break when you visit this adults-only resort.

Location: Indian Wells



Orli La Jolla

The Vibe: An elevated stay that honors modern minimalism amid French decor.

Credit: Orli La Jolla

Explore the town as if it were home when you stay at Orli La Jolla—a deco-meets-modernism boutique hotel with a homestay format. Originally built as a family home, this hideaway was designated as a historical landmark in 1983, later opened as a renovated bed and breakfast and came into the Orli owners’ vision in 2020. Contactless, on-demand service allows you to maximize time for recouping from your busy life, and the design aesthetic attracts guests from all walks of life. Small touches bring this hotel to life, like arriving to fresh flowers (available for pre-order) or receiving margs on-demand from the local taco shop. Unplug under the olive trees in the courtyard, while you soak up the sun like a La Jolla local.

Location: La Jolla



Silverlake Pool & Inn 

The Vibe: An intimate inn designed to woo you with artful touches and the neighborhood’s vibrant culture.

Southern California Boutique Hotels
Credit: Silverlake Pool & Inn

Nestled in the heart of Silverlake, this inn is the perfect spot for a long weekend in LA. Oversized rooms, each filled with sunlight and lush touches, are further accessorized with high-speed Wi-Fi, 55-inch HDTVs and fully stocked minibars with locally sourced products. For the luxe loungers, head to the elevated pool deck where you’ll receive priority access as a guest. Taste some of the best local food, whether at Marco Polo, the onsite Italian trattoria or other neighborhood dining destinations, where you’ll find cuisine from all over the world. While you’re out and about, make sure to pop into the plethora of local shops, galleries and cafés on Silverlake Boulevard.

Location: Silverlake


The Hoxton, Downtown LA

The Vibe: Where a rooftop pool and two lauded restaurants catch the Broadway buzz.

Located in a grand historic building, The Hoxton in Downtown LA embraces beachy California feels while not losing touch with its East London roots.. Each hotel from this hospitality group rehabs an old car park or a historic building, preserving tasteful elements while making way for the new. At this LA outpost, you can rest in the sun at the rooftop pool before  enjoying the hotel’s amazing restaurants—choose from Peruvian cuisine at Cabra or comfort food at Moonlark’s Dinette.

Location: DTLA


Capri Hotel, Ojai

The Vibe: A modern roadside desert retreat reimagined by makers and artists.

Roll up to this Ojai Valley respite and settle in for a stay that promises tranquility at every turn.    Capri Hotel brought together architects, designers and artists to re-invent this roadside retreat in 2020. Boasting a beautiful pool with cabanas and firepits, as well as an expansive lawn area for outdoor activities, this boutique hotel is equal parts posh and kitsch. Choose from a variety of rooms, each one uniquely designed with midcentury modern touches, like button reading lights and bamboo wall paneling. With a central location in downtown Ojai, this property is perfect for weddings, photo shoots and special events. You can even buyout the entire hotel! 

Location: Ojai


Palihotel San Diego

The Vibe: A nautical-inspired urban lodge in the center of it all with a French-American bistro.

Credit: Palihotel San Diego

Point a compass due west until you arrive at unique coordinates where preppy and nautical coexist:, Palihotel San Diego. This sailor’s lodge is located in the heart of the Gaslamp Quarter, where a wonderful selection of restaurants, theaters and nightlife entertainment exist around every corner. Inside the hotel, you’ll find custom bespoke furniture, plush robes and a Nespresso machine in every room. Treat yourself to a city sunset on the guest-exclusive roof deck, where you can enjoy a full bar before heading downstairs to dine at Saint James French Diner.

Location: Downtown San Diego


Life House, Palm Springs

The Vibe: A Palm Springs oasis that marries the glitz of Hollywood glamor with laidback desert living.

Credit: Life House

Celebrities often gravitate toward the sun and solitude of Palm Springs, and it was with this serene attitude that Life House came to be. This desert hideaway—replete with a pool house, bar and restaurant—was inspired by starlets yet designed with everyone in mind. Life House is a restful getaway full of modernist details that tie Old Hollywood to the beauty of the Coachella Valley. A blend of two worlds, this hotel features a beautiful pool bar and restaurant and a desert garden club house that beckons travelers to come from near and far.

Location: Palm Springs


Yara Hotel

The Vibe: A Spanish-style desert retreat featuring a poolside bar.

Southern California Boutique Hotels
Credit: Laura DeGomez

Yara Hotel is a boutique destination made intimate by its size (only 10 rooms!) and location. Set against the backdrop of the San Jacinto mountains in Palm Springs, this hotel is highlighted by light desert tones and rooms that are every bit as restful as they are beautiful. The Spanish architecture and quaint pool area make it the perfect location for your restorative vacation or rejuvenating retreat. Don’t forget to stop by the Club House Pool Bar for an afternoon dip in the seasonally heated pool and a taste of their natural wines and specialty cocktails.

Location: Palm Springs

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