When it comes to coastal paradises, San Diego at the southern tip of California is top tier. With a perfect combination of laid-back beaches and taco shops, natural wonders and urban sophistication, San Diego provides the SoCal surfer culture and a dynamic energy. So, whether you want a beachfront stay or something a little more remote, we’ve listed the best of the best. Each of these hotels are perfectly for enjoying the year-round sunshine, and are dually some of our favorite luxury, wellness or romantic stays as well.
Featured Photo: The Green Room
Hotel del Coronado
The legendary 1888 Victorian resort with its red turret roofs and white wedding cake trim is truly a seaside gem, modernized while still retaining its old world charm. On site you’ll discover historic touches like the original 1905 Windsor Cottage and crown chandeliers designed by L. Frank Baum, creator of Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz. In addition to the main hotel, Beach Village at The Del offers an enclave luxury oceanfront cottages and villas with VIP concierge services, plunge pools and fire pits. The Del has its own private, cabana-lined beach club, stunning pools, myriad ocean view eateries and water sports galore.
La Jolla’s newest arrival, Cormorant, is walking distance to La Jolla Cove. Each of the 26 chic guestrooms features coastal-inspired design, art deco touches and ocean view balconies. Their intimate Birdseye rooftop bar calls for craft cocktails, small plates and panoramic views. Curated coastal picnics available, too.
The Lodge at Torrey Pines
This stunning Craftsman-style hotel, an architectural homage to the Gamble and Blacker houses of Pasadena, overlooks famed golf course. Kilted doormen, oversized fireplaces, stained glass, Tiffany-style lamps, and a sprawling croquet lawn add to the early 20th Century splendor. From the Lodge at Torrey Pines, watch the paragliders while lounging by the pool or enjoy white tablecloth farm fresh dining at A.R. Valentin. The Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve is a short walk away.
Southern California’s only Relais & Chateaux property enchants as a hacienda-style property set on 45 acres of olive groves and gardens with 49 Spanish-style casitas. It’s hard to find an un-photogenic corner of the Rancho Valencia, which offers its guests plenty to do — from yoga by a reflecting pool and tennis, to a day at their glorious spa or beauty session at the new salon. ranchovalencia.com
If you want to win parent of the year, check into either of the theme park’s kid-centric hotels. Pirates and ninjas may prefer the California Resort Hotel while princess and dragon fans should opt for the Castle Hotel. These fantasy wonderlands have smoke-breathing dragons, spectacular Lego models, kid-friendly buffets, disco-ball-dance-party elevators and Lego palm tree-lined pools.
The Green Room
Surfers and singles may enjoy a stay at this newly converted 1950s motel, now a bungalow-style boutique hotel in Oceanside with mid-century furnishings, cute kitchenettes, and grab-and-go surfboards and beach cruisers. Enjoy the hot tub, fire pit, and curated playlists during your post-surf sesh in the backyard communal area. The Green Room Hotel.
Mission Pacific Hotel + The Seabird Resort
These art-forward and affordable oceanfront hotels are steps from the sea and pier in Oceanside and offer great culinary and toes-in-the-sand experiences. Mission Pacific has a lounge-y rooftop bar for sunset libations, DJs by the pool, and a renowned Baja chef, while the family friendly Sea Bird has a splashy worthy pool, kids’ club and beach concierge. Adults will dig the sunset champagne sabering ritual and creative craft cocktails at The Shore Room bar. Mission Pacific Hotel; The Sea Bird Resort
Pendry San Diego
For anyone who likes adventure by day and urban escapades at night, The Pendry puts you in the thick of San Diego’s booming nightlife and close to the culinary scene in Little Italy. The Pool House, their rooftop lounge scene, is an idyllic perch for sunset and cityscape views. A partnership with Adventures IO teams you with renowned athletes so you can pedal through San Diego with a pro cyclist or deep sea fish and surf with a World Surf League legend. Pendry, San Diego
Inn at Moonlight Beach
This progressive boutique hotel in Encinitas is the world’s first Well-Certified Platinum hotel with a focus on health and sustainability. The five-suite “conscious destination” has a Zen vibe and myriad thoughtful touches including an urban biodynamic garden, meditation deck, a Wellness Lab for soap and candle making, organic teas and herbal pouches for healing baths, Moonlight massages, locally source artisan treats, succulent box classes and more. The Inn at Moonlight Beach.
Alila Marea Resort
Leucadia’s latest coastal boutique hotel is an eco-friendly retreat with ocean views, refined service and beachside fun. The property embraces local surf, beach culture with its Surfin Fire surf school, Electra Go! Bikes, oceanfront yoga, lagoon hikes, and Aaron Chang ocean photography. Set on the cliff above Ponto Beach, Alila Marea sports a perfect sunset perch for craft cocktails and cuisine at VAGA whose menu reflects the flavors of San Diego’s cultural mix and locally sourced ingredients. Alila Marea Resort.