These 13 idyllic retreats, representing some of the finest romantic hotels in Southern California, promise to rejuvenate the spark in your relationship, ensuring your bond remains unbreakable.
As we journeyed along the Pacific Coast Highway, the hustle and bustle of city life gradually became a mere memory in our rearview. Ahead of us, the endless coastline beckoned, silhouetted against a horizon painted in hues of orange and pink. We veered off the path, meandering over to the silky sands, and settled beside each other to witness the sun’s descent, giving way to a dreamy dusk.
Southern California’s inherent beauty provides the perfect backdrop for a romantic escapade with your beloved. But there are certain spots that truly elevate the experience. Whether your heart yearns for the rhythmic dance of waves, the refreshing embrace of mountain breezes, or the invigorating warmth of the desert, consider these Southern California retreats. A fresh page in your romantic tale is ready to be written.
|Korakia Pensione||Palm Springs|
|Paradise Point Resort and Spa||San Diego (Mission Bay)|
|Shea-D Pines Home||Idyllwild|
|Calamigos Guest Ranch||Malibu|
|The Resort at Pelican Hill||Corona del Mar|
|The Beverly Hills Hotel||Los Angeles|
|Ojai Valley Inn||Ojai|
|Belmond El Encanto||Santa Barbara|
|Hotel Bel-Air||Los Angeles|
|Casa Del Mar||Santa Monica|
|Fess Parker Wine Country Inn||Los Olivos|
|Montage Laguna Beach||Laguna Beach|
|Fairmont Grand Del Mar||San Diego|
Korakia Pensione, Palm Springs
Journeying further along the Palms to Pines Scenic Byway reveals a captivating shift in climate and landscape, transitioning from the San Jacinto Mountains’ cool heights to Palm Springs’ warm desert embrace. The foundation of the first hotel in Palm Springs in 1886 marked the beginning of a legacy. Ever since, people have been drawn to this sunlit haven for its azure skies and unyielding sunshine. Storied establishments like the El Mirador Hotel became a second abode for luminaries during Hollywood’s golden era, solidifying Palm Springs’ reputation as a playground for the elite.
While the vibrant mid-century hotels of Palm Springs, renowned for their lively summer pool gatherings, might steal the spotlight, the understated elegance of Korakia Pensione beckons the discerning traveler. Crossing the hotel’s unique keyhole-shaped entrance transports you to a mesmerizing Moroccan sanctuary, reminiscent of a bygone era.
The allure of Korakia Pensione lies in its dualistic charm: one side showcases a Moorish-inspired villa, while its counterpart across the lane echoes Mediterranean grandeur. Each side boasts stunning saltwater pools ensconced by villas, exuding a blend of rustic elegance and modern allure.
Begin your day with a sumptuous breakfast in the enchanting Moroccan courtyard, partake in a complimentary yoga session, or simply bask under the sun on a plush poolside lounger. For an added touch of luxury, book a couple’s massage, and later immerse yourself in a captivating read from the library lounge’s curated collection.
Paradise Point Resort and Spa, San Diego
Many coastal towns along California’s sun-kissed shores boast a relaxed surfer aura, but amidst renowned spots like Huntington Beach and Malibu, San Diego takes relaxation to a whole new dimension.
For a true immersion into the SoCal ambiance, consider reserving a lavish one-bedroom bungalow by Mission Bay at the Paradise Point Resort and Spa. Nestled on its very own island, this resort sprawls over 44 acres of tropical haven, perfect for enchanting strolls amidst verdant landscapes and soothing late-night Jacuzzi sessions.
Plan a twilight dinner at Tidal’s patio, indulging in their exquisite offerings of oysters, fish, and scallops. As you dine, watch the elegant egrets gracefully fly by, all while the horizon immerses itself in a radiant hue of pink. Forego dessert momentarily and swing by the resort’s convenience store to collect firewood and a s’mores kit. Once the evening sky is adorned with stars and a cool breeze sets in, claim a fire pit close to your bungalow on the beach. Nestle under blankets and recline in deck chairs, serenaded by the gentle whisper of the bay’s waves and the comforting sounds of your crackling fire.
Shea-D Pines Home, Idyllwild
To truly bond, sometimes it’s essential to unplug. Venture into the serene San Jacinto Mountains via the Palms to Pines Scenic Byway and embrace the tranquil charm of Idyllwild. Historically dubbed Strawberry Valley, this quaint mountain enclave got its name from the wild strawberries flourishing amidst its cedar and pine trees.
Settle into your personal mountain sanctuary, the Shea-D Pines Home, which is cocooned amidst majestic trees, offering an intimate retreat. Meander along the Strawberry Creek trail leading to the town center, and start your day with a rejuvenating brew at Higher Grounds. Delight in the local artistry and antiques, and treat your taste buds at the town’s culinary gem, Café Aroma. As the day winds down, retreat to your mountain abode’s expansive deck. Inhale the crisp mountain scents, bask in the glow of the outdoor fireplace, or indulge in a rejuvenating soak in the hot tub.
Calamigos Guest Ranch, Malibu
Journeying down the Pacific Coast Highway through Malibu offers a mesmerizing blend of scenic beauty – the vast expanse of the Pacific on one side and majestic mountains on the other. Calamigos Guest Ranch embraces this duality. While its private cottages, bungalows, and estate rooms nestle within the vast Santa Monica Mountains’ ranch, the allure of the ocean remains within reach, thanks to the resort’s shuttle to its exclusive beach club merely a short drive away.
Established in 1937, the Calamigos Guest Ranch has been a sanctuary for those seeking solace in its serene, rustic embrace. Situated in Malibu’s Wine Country, guests can indulge in an intimate wine-tasting session, embark on a picturesque horseback adventure through the undulating terrain, or join a guided nature exploration.
For those drawn to the sea’s allure, the beach club offers complimentary equipment for surfing and paddle boarding. Alternatively, maximize your stay by unwinding at one of the ranch’s exquisite pools or indulging in the therapeutic offerings of Spa Calamigos on the premises.
The Resort at Pelican Hill, Corona del Mar
For those envisioning a Southern Californian romantic escape with picturesque Tuscan villas set amidst verdant landscapes, delectable cuisine, and perpetually pleasant weather, The Resort at Pelican Hill is your dream destination. Stepping onto its expansive 504-acre property, you’d be forgiven for thinking you’ve been transported to Italy, but with the delightful twist of panoramic ocean vistas.
Located in Corona del Mar, The Resort at Pelican Hill emanates a seamless blend of opulence and elegance. Nearly every accommodation, be it a room or villa, boasts a fireplace, a sumptuous marble bathtub, and enchanting views of the Pacific. A visit would be incomplete without indulging in an afternoon at the renowned Coliseum pool, ideally from the comfort of a personal cabana. Renowned as the world’s largest circular pool, its base radiantly shimmers in brilliant blue, courtesy of over a million glass mosaic tiles.
Pelican Hill’s Rotunda is, without doubt, my choice for Southern California’s most romantic locale. Its majestic columns, crowned with a dome, evoke the grandeur of ancient Roman temples, with surroundings that make you feel ethereal, as if floating among the clouds. For those considering a life-altering commitment, the Rotunda is the quintessential spot for that pivotal proposal or heartfelt “I do”.
The Beverly Hills Hotel, Los Angeles
Not everything that shines is golden; the iconic Beverly Hills Hotel dazzles in shades of pastel pink and deep green. This esteemed establishment, with a guest registry resembling a roll call from Hollywood’s golden era, has roots predating the city itself, rightfully earning its title as Beverly Hills’ genesis.
Stepping onto the hotel’s plush red carpet prepares you for the A-list experience that awaits. The hotel prides itself on unmatched hospitality, staying true to its founding ethos that guests deserve only the best, irrespective of expense.
Your rendezvous at the ‘Pink Palace’ would be amiss without dining at the celebrated Polo Lounge, where you might find yourself seated where Hollywood’s legendary duos once were. If tranquility is on your agenda, the poolside or your secluded bungalow offers a serene escape.
Ojai Valley Inn, Ojai
Ojai is renowned as a mystical enclave believed to refresh the spirit and body. The Native American Chumash tribe held this region in high reverence, christening the valley ‘Ojai’, inspired by their term for “crescent moon.” Many hold the conviction that Ojai is positioned over a spiritual vortex, drawing individuals and couples to its purported healing aura. Regardless of one’s beliefs about its energies, the tranquility of this quaint town is undeniable.
The Ojai Valley Inn has, for years, served as a haven for weary souls seeking a tranquil respite. Nestled amidst sprawling lands shaded by grand oak trees, this mission-style sanctuary boasts a premier spa, a top-tier golf course, tennis courts, pools, and cycling trails leading to the town’s heart.
Indulge in a therapeutic couple’s massage and later relax in a specially designed spa chamber, complete with a fireplace, whirlpool, and secluded terrace. The resort’s unique Artist Cottage & Apothecary invites guests to engage their creative side with activities like candle creation, paper marbling, and pottery decoration during open studio sessions. Alternatively, participate in group workshops helmed by local artisans.
Belmond El Encanto, Santa Barbara
Amidst the vast expanses of the U.S. coastline, the Santa Barbara region stands out as an emblematic jewel, often referred to as the American Riviera. Much like the famed French Riviera, it captivates with azure waters, dramatic mountain silhouettes, and charming lanes adorned with sun-bleached buildings boasting red-tiled roofs. These streets house a myriad of museums, galleries, eclectic boutiques, and culinary havens.
Nestled among Santa Barbara’s hills, the Belmond El Encanto is less a conventional hotel and more an enchanting hamlet. Winding brick walkways, age-old eucalyptus trees, and cascading wisteria vines frame its independent bungalows, each echoing the architectural finesse of California Craftsman and Spanish Colonial styles. The Belmond El Encanto encapsulates five-star luxury, from its horizon-edge pool offering panoramic ocean vistas, flourishing gardens, to commodious accommodations complemented by private terraces for an immersive tranquility.
The dining ethos of California’s central coast is deeply rooted in the farm-to-table philosophy. Upholding this tradition, the Belmond El Encanto’s dining area, under the culinary leadership of Executive Chef Johan Denizot, promises a gastronomic experience. Relish an al fresco meal on the hotel’s patio, savoring dishes crafted from locally curated ingredients, be it fresh marine catch or herbs plucked from the onsite garden. Opt for a cheese platter, and you might just savor a morsel produced from Ellie, the resident dairy cow’s milk.
Hotel Bel-Air, Los Angeles
Tucked away in the hills of Bel-Air, Hotel Bel-Air is the quintessential place for romance and privacy. The serene environment combined with low-key elegance draws in guests who return time and again. Hotel Bel-Air is a famed retreat for a discerning clientele, including some of Hollywood’s most recognizable names.
Guests at Hotel Bel-Air can relax and indulge high above Los Angeles in a 12-acre mountain paradise. Over 4,000 types of plants line the hotel’s paths and walkways, creating a secret garden. The romantic setting immediately puts guests at ease, where they can unwind and connect. Dinner is another treat at Hotel Bel-Air. Enjoy a fabulous dinner at the stylish and charming Wolfgang Puck restaurant.
Live like true Hollywood royalty and book a stay at Hotel Bel-Air’s iconic Presidential Suite, where you can enjoy the epitome of California’s indoor-outdoor living. The Presidential Suite is a spectacular retreat offering the ultimate secluded hideaway with a private infinity pool!
Casa Del Mar, Santa Monica
Casa Del Mar, perched on the oceanfront, offers breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean and infuses the romantic ambiance of a Mediterranean resort into the heart of Los Angeles. Its timeless charm sets the stage for understated luxury, inviting you to escape into a world of coastal enchantment.
Just steps from the beach, guests can bask in the sun all day or find relaxation by the pool in a private cabana. To elevate your luxury and romance, indulge in a spa appointment and savor in-room dining within the confines of your own coastal sanctuary.
Casa Del Mar’s privileged beachfront location invites you to embark on beachside bike rides or leisurely walks. For an added touch of romance, consider arranging a picturesque picnic with the hotel to take along on your coastal bike adventure.
Fess Parker Wine Country Inn, Los Olivos
A stay at the boutique Fess Parker Wine Country Inn brings a sense of understated country elegance perfect for romance. The warm and inviting rooms, each with a cozy fireplace, instantly set the mood. The Fess Parker Wine Country Inn is conveniently located in town and within walking distance to several wine tasting rooms and delicious restaurants.
Whether you stay in town or venture out, you are sure to have a romantic getaway at Fess Parker Wine Country Inn. If you are interested in a little adventure, try taking a hot air balloon ride! I did! The views from high above provide an enchanting and romantic setting.
Montage Laguna Beach, Laguna Beach
Nestled on a coastal bluff, Montage Laguna Beach presents an unrivaled setting that epitomizes the pinnacle of coastal luxury. This beachfront haven offers spectacular vistas of the Southern California coastline, making it the perfect backdrop for romantic moments, especially when strolling along the beach with your toes in the sand while witnessing the sun’s serene descent over the ocean.
Situated in the artistic enclave of Laguna Beach, Montage provides guests with the opportunity to explore nearby galleries and boutiques, adding a touch of cultural flair to your romantic getaway. With impeccable service, Montage ensures that every romantic detail is meticulously attended to, allowing you to focus entirely on creating cherished memories with your loved one.
Fairmont Grand Del Mar, San Diego
The Fairmont Grand Del Mar Golf Resort and Spa invites you to indulge in a world of luxury and romance in the heart of San Diego. Here, at the Grand Del Mar, you have the opportunity to unwind, rejuvenate, and dine in the comfort of your own private and tranquil sanctuary.
Take advantage of the freedom to sleep in and savor the delight of ordering room service, or bask in the Southern California sun at the adult pool. For a cozy evening, don’t miss the new Fireside Lounge, complete with private cabanas and inviting firepits, where you can share a bottle of wine, savor light bites, and roast s’mores over the flickering flames.
With a Tom Fazio-designed golf course at your disposal and access to San Diego’s premier spa, your options are limitless. Your extraordinary and romantic experience awaits you at the Grand Del Mar, where every moment promises to be a treasured memory.
In the heart of Southern California, a world of romance and luxury awaits at these enchanting hotels. From the mesmerizing Moroccan allure of Korakia Pensione in Palm Springs to the secluded island paradise of Paradise Point Resort and Spa in San Diego, each destination offers a unique and unforgettable experience. Whether you seek rustic elegance amidst the mountains or coastal opulence overlooking the Pacific, these havens promise moments of pure romance and relaxation. Whether you’re stargazing by a mountain cabin’s outdoor fireplace, dining by the ocean’s edge, or indulging in spa treatments, Southern California’s most romantic hotels provide the perfect backdrop for cherished memories with your loved one.