Discover our selection of the top 9 5-star luxury hotels in California where luxury, comfort and exceptional service will transport you to a world of paradise.
California has it all: gorgeous beaches, rugged coastlines and surfing waves, vineyards and snowy ski resorts. Among American states, California is one of the most diverse!
California is synonymous with wide open spaces, and if you’re looking for spectacular peaks, head to Santa Cruz and Big Sur. State Route 1 runs north-south along most of the Pacific Coast (1,056 kilometers long). It is one of the best routes to take in California and for those who want to explore the west coast of the Golden State. All of California offers exclusive hotels that capture the essence of California life.
Discover our selection of the best luxury hotels in California !
Alila Napa Valley
Alila Napa Valley is a 68-room hotel located in the heart of wine country, surrounded by the vineyards of Beringer Estate Winery. This boutique hotel features the Acacia House restaurant, bar, outdoor pool, Alila Spa and fitness center.
Acacia House offers American cuisine, but uses the finest local, organic and sustainable ingredients from the Napa region. The Alila Spa offers all the treatments you’d expect from a world-class facility. Guests are meticulously massaged and groomed by highly trained beauty therapists.
Napa is home to some of the world’s most famous wineries, including Opus One and Screaming Eagle. No visit to Alila would be complete without a tour – and even a tasting – of a local vineyard. Alila is just a short drive from the town of St. Helena, nicknamed “Napa Valley Main Street,” which is full of delicious restaurants, artisan producers and, of course, wine stores.
Montage Laguna Beach
Laguna Beach, on the coast of Orange County, is an ocean lover’s paradise and a mecca for art lovers with film festivals, art fairs and dance shows.
The 30-acre Montage Laguna Beach features two outdoor pools, a 20,000-square-foot spa and three acclaimed restaurants with breathtaking views of the California coast. The rooms combine coastal influences with contemporary design. Ocean Horizon King rooms have a private balcony, and their location in the main hotel building allows them to be connected to Ocean Horizon King suites or Queen suites for larger families.
The 1,000-square-foot Ocean Coastal Bungalow Suites, near the beach, sleep four people. But the podiums are the three-bedroom Villas Du Couchant, Villa Menton and Villa Du Soleill.
Decorated in coastal style, they offer chic accommodations and stunning ocean views. Dining options include Loft Restaurant with stunning views and creative California cuisine, Mosaic Bar & Grille offering a poolside grill, and Lobby Lounge offering creative cocktails, an extensive wine list and a variety of desserts.
The Montage Spa offers wellness treatments, facials and body treatments.
Auberge du Soleil
For French sophistication with a California twist, head to Auberge du Soleil in Napa Valley. This 33-acre olive grove hillside retreat offers exceptional accommodations, gourmet cuisine and a wine experience. Just 100 kilometers north of San Francisco, you’ll find yourself away from the big smoke and in wine country.
This five-star hotel has 50 rooms and suites. Choose from 29 artistically decorated Maison suites with fireplaces and bathtubs and 19 larger Maison suites with private living rooms, fireplaces and outdoor terraces.
The two-bedroom, 1,800-square-foot Maison Villas are designed for families and feature a living and dining room, a wine cellar and a private terrace with a private bath.
Founded by Claude Ruas, this Relais & Châteaux has a Michelin-starred restaurant, The Rutherford, run by Robert Curry, which uses local ingredients and honors French culinary traditions. A casual terrace bistro serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. The couples’ spa suite offers a cleansing ritual or a yoga class. Stroll through the sculpture garden, take a dip in the pool, or soak in the sun on the terrace. You can also explore the valley in a Mercedes Benz.
Hotel Bardessono is located amidst vineyards in Yountville, along the Napa Valley. It was founded in 1926 by an Italian family that grew grapes, prunes and walnuts. Today, the Bardessono Hotel and Spa is located on five hectares of this land.
Guest accommodations are in the Maple Grove, Flint, Jasper and Quartole villas, which feature stately living rooms, bedrooms with king beds, spa bathrooms and patios, and spacious dining rooms for hosting guests.
The 62 guest rooms and suites are decorated with remarkable artwork, and many have a luxurious in-room spa with massage tables, steam showers, whirlpool baths and organic bath products.
The spa butler offers full body massages, couples treatments, facials, wraps, body scrubs and oil baths with bath salts.
At the spa’s therapeutic center, guests can choose custom blends of oils in the Well Bar, inspired by seven wellness formulas: sleep, energy, balance, love, stress, detox and muscle, or oils with gemstones to balance the chakras. Muscles can be pampered in the rooftop pool and hot tub, followed by a ride in a private Lexus to get closer to Napa’s vineyards.
Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay
On a hill on the oceanfront in San Francisco Bay, 30 minutes from Silicon Valley, sits an idyllic oasis – The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay.
This five-star resort has been a landmark since the 1900s and is inspired by Northern California’s rugged coastline with an emphasis on outdoor activities. This is reflected in outdoor bonfires and opportunities to stroll the beach, play a few rounds of golf, relax in the spa or watch the sunset with a glass of wine.
Guests can choose from accommodations ranging from the two-bedroom, 186-square-foot Ritz Carlton suites with a fireplace and oceanfront balcony to small signature suites overlooking the golf course. Inside is a spacious living/dining room.
The luxurious fireplace is perfect for long California evenings roasting marshmallows. Navio Restaurant serves seafood throughout the week and brunch on weekends. The beach house-inspired Conservatory Restaurant serves California cuisine accompanied by cocktails. The Ocean Terrace Restaurant offers unparalleled views of the Pacific Ocean at sunset, California beers and wines, and the opportunity to toast your feet by the roaring fire.
Hotel del Coronado
Located just minutes from downtown San Diego, Hotel del Coronado offers panoramic views of the California coastline and culturally diverse accommodations. The Victoria Hotel features Queen Anne-style architecture, slender red towers and conical roofs rising out of the sand. You can choose from a single room with an ocean view or a 600-foot suite for three people. You can also choose a cabana – beachfront rooms – with a terrace and fire pit or a poolside room. Another option is the gated Beach Village, where a “horizon cottage” room has a large balcony overlooking the ocean and an open-air tub for watching the sunset.
At the southern end of the resort is the three-bedroom Shore House complex, allowing guests to own their own beachfront property. For lunch, stop by Serẽa, where Chef Jojo Ruiz serves fresh local seafood grilled to perfection, paired with craft cocktails, local beers and an eclectic wine selection. If you’re craving glamour, head to Babcock & Story Bar or grab a signature cocktail at Mahogany Bar. Fans of the 1959 blockbuster Some Like It Hot – Marilyn Monroe, Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis – will recognize this hotel from the film.
San Ysidro Ranch
Tucked away in the foothills of Santa Barbara is the town of Montecito, where Prince Harry and Meghan Markle live. But long before the Sussexes arrived, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill spent his summers at Forbes’ five-star San Ysidro Ranch resort. Founded in 1893, the resort hosted the wedding of Laurence Olivier and Vivian Lee, and the Kennedys honeymooned in the ocean-view cottage that now bears their name. It’s one of 38 exclusive private bungalow-style cottages set in manicured gardens surrounded by tall plane trees and intergrown oaks for absolute privacy. Inside, timeless elegance reigns supreme.
Each cottage is decorated with antiques and original artwork, Persian rugs, stone fireplaces and four-poster beds. On Ty Warner’s estate, you can choose from excellent dining options ranging from Stonehouse, a 19th-century citrus-packing house with a fireplace and outdoor terrace, to Carriage House with French doors leading to a secluded courtyard. You can also treat yourself to a private dinner at Old Adobe Restaurant, which dates back to 1825.
The Rosewood Miramar Beach Hotel stretches along Montecito’s sandy coastline. Miramar means “looking out to sea,” which perfectly describes this resort overlooking the sparkling Pacific Ocean. Inspired by the majestic Montecito mansions and estates, Manor House, the hotel’s flagship, has a majestic curved staircase and Cabana pool, whose serpentine edge was designed by the late Paul Williams. The 160 ultra-luxurious bedrooms and 36 suites are spread over 16 acres. The hotel also boasts 26 suites, studios and guest rooms overlooking the sand, the most notable of which are the Miramar Ocean View Suite and the Ambassador Ocean View Suite. Bright and spacious, they feature patios, large walk-in closets, luxurious bathrooms and breathtaking views of the garden, ocean or mountains.
Among the Massimo Falsini’s restaurants is Caruso’s, an Italian oceanfront restaurant. The Miramar Beach Bar is an open-air oasis by the ocean, and the Manor Bar features live music. You can also sip refreshing cocktails in the Cabana Bar and enjoy local cuisine in the Revere Room while overlooking Miramar Beach. At Sense, a Rosewood spa, guests can pamper themselves with signature treatments, steam rooms and saunas.
Belmond El Encanto
If you want a sense of timeless Hollywood charm in an idyllic location, check out the Belmond Encanto Hotel near Santa Barbara. This hotel, built in 1918, exudes old-fashioned chic and charms all who visit. The first-class terrace suite has a king-size bed and a living room with a central fireplace and French windows overlooking a private patio overlooking the hills. The suite with a sofa bed can accommodate up to three people, and the one-bedroom suite has a bathtub and sitting area.
These bungalows offer luxurious comfort with an average size of 600 square meters. The garden bungalows are a true west coast retreat with an open-plan living room, fireplace, king-size bed and patio. Spanish colonial architecture blends with California craftsmanship in the first king-size rooms, which offer 625 square feet of luxury accommodations for three people. First Class Terrace Rooms feature charming fireplaces to serve as backdrops for evening conversations and furnished patios with tranquil views. Enjoy a romantic dinner under the stars on the terrace featuring contemporary California coastal cuisine, or enjoy a light lunch or afternoon tea in the Riviera Lounge and Bar.