As local travel experts, we know what travelers are looking for when it comes to finding the perfect accommodations for their next trip. To compile our lists, we scour the internet to find properties with excellent ratings and reviews, desirable amenities, nearby attractions, and that something special that makes a destination worthy of traveling for.

There are so many wonderful places to explore in this world, but there are some that are especially iconic- places that you’ve likely seen in movies, or simply heard about and always dreamed of visiting. Southern California is definitely such a place. For years, this region has been world-renowned for many reasons. It’s true: California’s Pacific ocean is the place where you can experience some of the best surfing ever, enjoy beautiful weather, explore the mountains, see historical Hollywood filming locations in person, experience a legendary music scene, and so much more. Whether you’re planning to visit the Golden Coast from out of state, or you’re a local looking to further explore or have a staycation, these are some of the very best hotel options we could find in Socal.

Best Unique Hotels to Stay in Southern California

If there’s any part of the U.S. that is especially unique, it’s SoCal. From the vast, historical, and diverse city of Los Angeles to the surrounding counties in this region, the opportunities for one-of-a-kind sights and experiences are endless. If you’re looking for a place to stay that isn’t so ordinary, we think that these two hotels are excellent options.

This incredible hotel is one of the most unique accommodations in California, and you’ll have an unforgettable experience if you stay here. The Spanish-inspired architecture of the Mission Inn defines the entire resort, which includes six restaurants, an outdoor pool, a chapel, and a cupcake shop. The guest rooms here are amazing, offering modern amenities in addition to stained-glass windows, vaulted ceilings, and private balconies. It’s very close to other nearby attractions, such as the Riverside Art Museum, but you could easily spend most of your time enjoying all that the hotel offers on-site.

Located in San Luis Obispo near Pismo Beach, the Madonna Inn is the perfect unique getaway for all ages. The whimsical theming will enchant you from the moment you check in at this cottage-inspired hotel, and you’ll love the restaurant and lounge, cafe, bakery, beautiful swimming pool, tennis courts, and various other on-site features. The guest rooms here are especially fun, with each room decorated in a kitschy style and offering unique amenities. The Madonna Inn is perfect for any occasion and is one of the most memorable experiences you can have in SoCal.

Best Hotel Pools in Southern California

In Southern California’s Mediterranean climate, you can actually swim throughout most of the year! And in the winter, there are often days that are warm enough to take a dip in a heated pool. Many of the hotels in SoCal have awesome pools, but these two are particularly amazing.

In coastal Orange County, Montage Laguna Beach is a remarkable resort set on an oceanfront cliff. This hotel is a luxe experience, offering spa treatments, on-site fine dining options, a fine-art collection, and stores. Guest rooms include modern amenities, while also featuring marble bathrooms and private balconies with incredible ocean views. The pool, however, is especially great. There are actually three pools, but one is an oceanfront mosaic pool with cabanas. Be sure to also check out the bungalows you can reserve on-site as well.

If you’re visiting LA in the summer, a stay at The London West Hollywood at Beverly Hills will give you the quintessential experience. This hotel is very close to everything in Beverly Hills and Hollywood, so you’ll be near some great food, nightlife, and of course, all the touristy stuff. The guest rooms feature luxurious bathrooms with hand-cut tiles, and some rooms have incredible views where you can overlook the mountains and city. The heated rooftop pool offers even greater views and is right next to an upscale eatery that features a menu by Gordon Ramsey! The location and the vibes of this hotel pool are what make it stand out as one of the best in Southern California. And if you’re missing the beach, fear not; while this hotel isn’t within walking distance from the sand, you won’t be too far away from Santa Monica or Malibu by car.

Best Luxury Hotels in Southern California

There are many luxury hotels in Southern California that’ll have you feeling super fancy, and each one offers something special to make your stay even more magnificent. And with so much natural beauty to serve as a backdrop, some resorts seem absolutely paradisiacal. But we feel that these two hotels in particular offer an opulent experience that is distinct from other luxury resorts in SoCal and beyond.

Another thing Southern California is known for is its amusement parks- particularly, the Happiest Place on Earth! Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa is an amazing lodge-style resort that is both luxurious and family-friendly. You’ll immediately notice the impressive six-foot-story lobby, as well as the immaculate attention to detail as you explore the theming of the hotel. The Grand Californian offers three outdoor pools with a poolside restaurant, hot tub, and water slide as well as a spa and wellness center where you can book a massage or a nail appointment. There are various kinds of guest rooms to choose from when you book, as well as suites that offer more elegant features. There are several on-site restaurants, gift shops, family activities, and a private entrance into Disney’s California Adventure Park.

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The Beverly Hills Hotel is both luxurious and iconic. Built in 1912, this historic stay is not only one of the most famous stays in California; it’s well-known throughout the entire country. Since its opening, this pastel pink hotel has seen many Hollywood legends, such as Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, John Lennon, and many others. Today (for a steep price), you can enjoy the hotel’s many incredible features, such as an elegant restaurant, a vintage soda fountain, an outdoor eatery, and a lovely pool area. It’s also closeby to the famed Rodeo Drive, as well as other worthwhile LA activities. Guest rooms are as glamorous as you’d imagine they’d be in this 91201 icon.

Best Boutique Hotels in Southern California

You can totally have a California dream vacation without staying at a massive luxury resort. In fact, some of the boutique hotels in SoCal may offer something a little more special and off the beaten path. These two boutique hotels are sure to provide a very pleasant getaway that you’ll remember for years to come.

Just ten miles North of beautiful Montecito, the Kimpton Canary Hotel is the perfect boutique hotel for a picture-perfect weekend in Santa Barbara. Guest rooms feature four-poster beds with Italian linens, and suites offer soaking tubs in addition to a comfortable sitting area. The hotel provides a rooftop pool and lounge, a restaurant, a fitness center, complimentary loaner bikes, and a wine hour in the evenings. You’ll also be close to Stearns Wharf, the Santa Barbara Zoo, and of course, the beach!

If you aren’t from Southern California, it may come as a surprise to learn that there are many different climate zones in the state. And when planning a SoCal vacation, chances are you’re thinking of experiencing some of our beautiful beaches. But don’t forget: Southern California is also home to forests, mountains, and deserts! Les Cactus adults-only hotel is a great place to explore the desert golf course city of Palm Springs. Bohemium-themed rooms feature wicker furniture and comfortable, stylish amenities, and upgrades are available if you’re looking for a nicer bathroom. There’s an outdoor pool area with hammocks and fire pits, as well as a garden and hot tub area. Breakfast is available here, and pets are welcome! Beyond the hotel, you’ll love to explore the Palm Springs area- there’s great shopping, dining, golf clubs, and museums to experience.

Best Beach Resorts in Southern California

With roughly 150 miles of unbelievably beautiful coastline, it makes sense that some of the best beachfront hotels in the U.S. can be found in Southern California. If you’re searching for a dreamlike resort to stay at while you enjoy the legendary West Coast, one of these four hotels might be just what you’re looking for.

If you’re picturing a classic Californian beach vacation, the Hotel del Coronado (Curio Collection by Hilton) is unmatched. This charming, 65,000-square-foot Victorian property was built in 1888 and was actually designated as a National Historical Landmark in the 1970s. Today, guests can choose from a variety of guest rooms- all of which are light, airy, and modern while maintaining that archetypal beach resort feel. This beachfront resort has so much to experience, such as a spa with an infinity pool, two pools, a hot tub, multiple beachfront eateries, live music, shops, and yoga classes. You can even become a member of the hotel’s beach club, (The Club at The Del) if you want to continue to enjoy all that the hotel has to offer. And just five miles away, guests can continue to explore the wonderful city of San Diego.

Closer to Long Beach, the beautiful Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes sits on roughly 100 acres of coastline. This Mediterranean-style resort is truly one of the nicest beachfront accommodations in Southern California and offers so much to do for guests of all ages. There’s a total of four pools, a golf course, yoga classes, eight restaurants, and an adults-only spa. All guest rooms include private balconies and ocean views, but you can upgrade to stay in a larger space with a fireplace and more living space. What makes this resort stand out overall, however, is its remarkable setting.

Just before you hit San Diego, you’ll pass through the city of Oceanside: home of the largest wooden pier on the West Coast. The Seabird Resort is the best place to stay here, for many reasons: it’s right on the beach, offers incredible views throughout the property, and features a great restaurant, two bars, a luxe spa, and an oceanfront pool. The rooms are upscale but comfortable, with some providing ocean views and free-standing tubs. If you’re wanting a California beach vacation that’s a little more cost-effective, this resort definitely shouldn’t be overlooked. The Oceanside and Carlsbad area is a great location, and the hotel is right off the I-5, which is perfect if you decide to drive up to LA or down to San Diego.

Last we have a modest, family-owned hotel that isn’t as upscale as others on this list but offers one of the dreamiest locations in all of Southern California. Sitting right off of the iconic 101 freeway, the Cliffhouose Inn on the Ocean in Ventura is the perfect place to escape and take in the wondrous beauty of the California Coast. The comfortable rooms have the basic amenities, the hotel offers a restaurant, as well as complimentary breakfast. The outdoor pool is steps away from a private beach, and behind the property are breathtaking coastal mountains that look as though they were taken straight from a postcard. While this hotel is no Four Seasons Hotel or the Ritz-Carlton, it’s located in an area of SoCal that’s truly a hidden gem. The beaches of Ventura and Carpinteria are so beautiful that it’s hard to believe, and when you visit, you’ll see that they offer some of the best waters for surfing and swimming. The laidback small towns here are also very enjoyable- be sure to check out this option for something a little different!

That concludes our list of the 12 best hotels in Southern California! Have you ever been to any of these resorts? Are there any hotels that you would add to this list? Let us know in the comments, and be sure to check out this list of things to see and do in SoCal when you visit.

Related: These 10 Haunted Hotels In Southern California Will Make Your Stay A Nightmare

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