From Beachside Boutiques to Seaside Spas, These Are Our Favorite Coastal Retreats
Enjoy the surf, sand, and more at these hotels and resorts.
Every year the Sunset Travel Awards honor the best in travel in the West. This year we had over 600 entries across all categories (a record number!). These hotels are the 2023 winners of the Where to Stay: Best Coastal Gems category. Check out the complete list of winners here. For our definitive directory to travel in the West, click here.
Best Coastal Gems
With recently restored cozy cottages over the water, a restaurant serving dishes made with ingredients sourced from the Marin countryside and Tomales Bay, and serene sunsets, this century-old property is possibly the dreamiest chic-meets-quaint coastal getaway in California.
Built for the 1962 World’s Fair, this is the only over-water hotel in Seattle. Channeling its rock-and-roll past (the Beatles and Nirvana stayed here), with amazing views of Elliot Bay, and the excellent Six Seven restaurant offering bayside dining, it’s the quintessential seaside Seattle hotel.
One of the most refined and elegant hotels in the West, this 100-year-old property exudes elegance and refinement. Luxurious yet understated rooms offer indulgent bedding, marble bathrooms, and private porches, all set on a graciously rambling property perched high in the hills above Santa Barbara. The view from the pool is among the best coastal panoramas in California.
Zachari Dunes on Mandalay Beach
This hacienda-style all-suite resort in super-chill Oxnard, in Ventura County, just might be the biggest bang for buck beachside resort getaway in Southern California. With 250 rooms, an Airstream snack shack, and easy access to the central coast, it’s the newest uncrowded beach escape for Angelenos.
This 1925 property was given a Moorish interior update and now stands among the most dramatic hotel renovations in Santa Barbara. With a Turkish spa, a rooftop pool with stunning views of the coast, and multiple restaurants and bars offering craft cocktails and Cal-Med food, this is the SB spot to book.
The Cape, a Thompson Hotel
This slick, modern Cabo San Lucas hotel is a showstopper from the moment you set foot into the lobby, where you’re greeted with dramatic vistas of ancient granite formations that make up one of the West’s greatest surf breaks. For those who would rather stay on shore, the infinity pool and luxe rooftop bar do not disappoint.
Timber Cove Resort
Perched on a Pacific Ocean bluff on 25 acres of breathtaking Sonoma coastline, this legendary boho-luxe resort boasts 1960s architecture, rooms with throwback mid-mod furniture and turntables, restaurants serving food and wines from the surrounding Sonoma countryside, and spectacular views.
The Shore House at The Del
The historic 130-year-old Hotel Del Coronado in San Diego has upgraded its southern end with a brand-new luxury residential-style resort experience: 75 seaside villas, an oceanfront pool, private cabanas, and a grand common space create a next-level exclusive enclave.
The Rosewood Miramar Beach
A true coastal gem, this sprawling 16-acre luxury resort offers guests an immersive taste of Montecito living with seven restaurants and bars (including the Michelin-starred Caruso’s), top-notch fitness studio and stunning spa, cabana-lined pools, and cosseting beach service.
Access to the stunning, guests-only rooftop bar overlooking the PCH and Malibu’s Surfrider Beach is enough of a reason to book, but the current coastal design, free surf and SUP boards, and incredible coconut margaritas really make this intimate, 20-room hotel feel like your own private beach house.
This retro-chic beachy property is the perfect pit stop along your trip up Highway 1, complete with a sizable pool, pet-friendly rooms, and a restaurant that serves some of the best margs in town.
The only things more iconic than the turquoise façade of this 1933 Art Deco building in Santa Monica are the guests who have stayed over the years, including Charlie Chaplin, Clark Gable, and Marilyn Monroe. A top-to-bottom renovation draws inspiration from that era of Hollywood glam, adding luxe touches like golden-hued arched headboards, the softest Italian bedding, and an ornate lobby entrance worthy of a Wes Anderson film.
Malibu Beach Inn
It doesn’t get more quintessentially Californian than this oceanfront hotel situated on Carbon Beach, just a quick skip to the Getty Villa and incredible hiking in the Santa Monica Mountains. If the sound of the waves weren’t enough to lull you to sleep, the master suites are outfitted with Sleep Number mattresses that track sleep pattern, heart rate, and breathing, making for a truly rejuvenating night’s rest.
This new boutique lifestyle property is outfitted with supremely adorable surf-y decor that authentically nods to the diverse local tapestry of Honolulu. Plus there’s a restaurant from the island’s iconic poke grocer, Foodland.
Drift Santa Barbara
With properties in Palm Springs and Cabo, the Drift group has mastered Western minimalism, which carries through to this recently redone 1920s building in downtown Santa Barbara that includes multiple eateries and Mediterranean touches that nod to the area’s Spanish rancho history.