The Best Resorts in California for Every Style
As domestic travel becomes the norm these days, there’s one state that has a whole lot to offer in terms of accommodation options.
California is a resort destination and whether you’re looking for a wellness retreat, party weekend, or relaxing time away, they have some of the world’s best places to visit.
What are the best resorts in California?
Among some of California’s top-rated resorts are Rancho Valecia Resort and Spa, Fairmont Grand Del Mar, Auburge de Soleil, and The Lodge at Torrey Pines.
All of California’s best resorts aim to deliver guests everything they need in place, and there are lots of types to choose from including wellness-centered and kid-friendly locations.
If you’re looking for a domestic vacation that can offer just as much an international destination, there are plenty of resorts to visit in California.
The Golden State has resorts that cater to all kinds of holiday goers, so check out our list of their best offerings.
11 of The Best Resorts in California
A resort is an ultimate destination for any type of vacation, as it gives you everything you could ever ask for in one place.
Whether you’re into partying or meditating, we’ve got a list of the best resorts in California that can help you holiday the way you want to, and without ever having to leave the country.
#1 Rancho Valencia
As one of California’s most famous resorts, it’s no wonder this one made the list.
Rancho Valencia has some of the biggest rooms of any resort so you have plenty of space, and they’re all decorated in a Mediterranean style with hardwood floors, deep tubs, and a private balcony in everyone.
You can bring your kids along if you really want, but it could disrupt the serenity of this picturesque location, so we advise coming along so you can truly enjoy it.
This resort doesn’t come cheap though, and they charge an expensive daily resort fee on top of it, which is higher than most.
However, you’re so far away from the world and being pampered round the clock that the cost doesn’t matter.
On-site amenities include a luxury spa, wellness therapies, restaurant, tennis courts, and curated experiences that allow you to do whatever it is you dream of.
#2 Brewery Gulch Inn
If your idea of a vacation is more than just relaxing, you’ll want to check out the spectacular Brewery Gulch Inn, located in Northern California in close proximity to Anderson Valley’s vineyards and the Mendocino National Forest.
A usual stay here will see you exploring the forest for mushroom foraging, attending wine tours, and enjoying a touch of forest bathing, so it’s not your usual holiday.
The Brewery Gulch Inn is a little more expensive because of its beautiful position and unique selection of things to do, but guests continue to return.
For premium food, delicious drinks, loads of special outings, and a setting that is magical, this rates as one of our favorites in California by far.
#3 Omni Rancho Las Palmas
For a family-friendly resort with plenty to keep your kids entertained and you relaxed, the Omni Rancho Las Palmas Resort and Spa is one of our favorites.
Among some of the cooler activities that will keep your children busy are mermaid classes and movie nights where you watch from one of the resort’s pools.
For the adults, there’s a spa, loads of dining options, a barside pool, and more, plus the popular Sunnylands Center and Gardens is nearby for the whole family to visit and spend the day exploring.
Not only is there plenty to do, but it’s reasonably priced for a resort, so if you’re hoping for a family getaway that’s a little fancier than most you can still get one for a more affordable nightly fee.
#4 Beach Retreat and Lodge
If you’re traveling with a party who’s looking to party, something like the Beach Retreat and Lodge might be more up your alley.
This resort is popular with bachelor dos, girls trips, and those looking to let off a little steam, and its exquisite South Lake Tahoe location means you get a lakefront view and access to all of the fun you can ask for.
A stay at Beach Retreat and Lodge is good for all seasons, and in winter you can go skiing, with water activities available during the summer.
There are lots of nearby dining and drinking options, plus everything you could ask for in the resort, with a reasonable price that would be ideal for singles, groups, and those wanting to have some fun.
#5 Farmhouse Inn
The Farmhouse Inn in Sonoma is a quaint and elegant resort that caters to those who prefer the finer things in life, and have the money to afford them.
If your idea of a good vacation isn’t lounging by the pool with a cocktail, but heading on a sommelier-led wine tour or staying in your room and enjoying a taste of the curated wine fridge that resort staff has personally selected, you’ll want to check it out.
As expected, prices are a little higher than most but it’s because of the attention to finer detail and prestigious rooms and location.
This resort is better suited to couples and small groups, as it doesn’t really have a lot of kid-friendly amenities.
With a Michelin star restaurant, fluffy feather beds, and farm-to-table-themed spa on-site, there’s no shortage of pampering to enjoy, which makes the Farmhouse Inn one to check out.
#6 Meadowood Napa Valley
For many people, the idea of a good getaway is being surrounded by nature, but if you want a luxurious touch on top of it, a resort-like Meadowood Napa Valley would be ideal.
The sprawling grounds contain three pools, a tennis court, and the famous Meadowood Spa where you get your very own treatment suite to be pampered in.
This relaxing getaway is better suited to adults and not children, and you can have just as much fun traveling alone or with someone you live with.
Being close by to many of the region’s wineries, you can also attend tours, or just enjoy everything that beautiful Meadowood has to offer.
#7 Portola Hotel and Spa
A family-friendly resort that combines activities for both kids and adults is on the cards for many people, and Portola Hotel and Spa is the place to get it without feeling like you’re too crowded with other families.
At Portola Hotel and Spa in Monterey is positioned right on the water for spectacular views from every room, and it’s mid-range in price so you get a good mixture of luxury and affordability.
The adults can enjoy sampling the local craft beers at the on-site brewery and the kids can join the children’s loyalty program for a never-ending timetable of fun.
In addition, there’s pet-friendly accommodation to bring your pooch along, a large outdoor pool, and an on-site spa, plus all of the rooms have been freshly renovated.
#8 Sparrow’s Lodge
Sparrow’s Lodge in Palm Springs was originally built and known as Castles Red Barn that used to be the go-to place for Hollywood stars in the 1950s and 60s.
Today, it’s known as Sparrow’s Lodge and still holds all of its rustic retro charms, with russet red walls, exposed beams on the ceiling, and pebbled concrete floors.
This is the place to go when you want to escape, so we’d advise leaving the kids at home.
You’ll get to fully appreciate the beautiful grounds and amenities, like a fire pit, vegetable garden, communal barn, and fine art collection.
There are 20 rooms to choose from and it’s considered higher priced than most, so save some money because this resort is worth seeing for the classic Hollywood charm itself.
#9 San Ysidro Ranch
To seclude yourself from the stresses of daily life, a trip to the San Ysidro Ranch in the foothills of Montecito is just what the doctor ordered.
This exclusive ranch-style resort has had a guest list of famous names including Groucho Marx and Winston Churchill and is an icon in California when it comes to luxury accommodation.
Although there are lots of activities nearby, the San Ysidro Ranch is most famed for its location and cottages.
There are 38 in total to stay at, and all of them are covered with sprawling vines and tucked away among their landscaped gardens which feature sycamores, oaks, olive trees, citrus groves, and wildflowers.
Leave the kids at home to experience the seclusion and peace that this resort has to offer.
#10 Dolphin Bay Resort and Spa
This extravagant resort is also coined as family-friendly, so whether you have kids or not you can enjoy living in the lap of luxury.
As one of the more expensive options on our list, it might not be for everyone, but those lucky enough to visit the Pismo Beach resort will enjoy roomy stays in their one and two-bedroom suites that feature a kitchen, patio, living, and dining room.
Dolphin Bay Resort and Spa has plenty to do on-site with The Spa, Lido Restaurant and Bar, and daily activities, plus being located at Pismo Beach means you can walk and explore so much more.
Every room has a sweeping ocean view and there’s plenty to keep kids and adults busy and relaxed, even if it is a little costlier than most.
#11 Nobu Ryokan
We’ve left the best till last with Nobu Ryokan, an exclusive $2,000 per night resort that is worth every penny.
This exclusive resort has only 16 accommodation options consisting of 11 rooms and five bungalows, and it’s one of the most modern resorts in Malibu, let alone the world.
A visit to Nobu Ryokan will commonly include soaking in teak tubs, wearing custom yukatas, and feasting at the famous Nobu restaurant or enjoying a meal in bed with room service.
To really treat yourself, you’ll want to check out the Cure spa, and if you want to relax to the maximum they can even come to your room to perform various beauty and pampering services.
This resort is serene, neutral, sleek, and modern in its aesthetic and for those lucky enough to afford it, you’ll never want to leave.
California is home to some of the world’s best resorts, and there are loads of different activities and services you can enjoy in one location when you visit them.
To find out more about what a resort-style vacation truly means, we’ve answered some FAQs that’ll give you the basics.
What Is Meant By All-Inclusive Resort?
An all-inclusive resort is one that includes all of the standard costs like food, drinks, entertainment, amenities, and accommodation, for the one price.
These resorts allow you to budget for a vacation without any hidden or unexpected costs and there are many of them around the US that offer this type of service.
What Does a Resort Include?
A resort refers to a type of accommodation destination that provides their guests without everything they need, so they don’t have to leave the resort grounds if they don’t want to.
Inside of a standard resort, you’ll find options for dining, entertainment, shopping, outdoor activities, beauty, and spa treatments, and they sometimes offer external activities and tours provided by the resort.
How Much Do You Tip Resort Housekeeping Staff?
According to the American Hotel and Lodging Association, a respectful tip for resort staff would be between $1 and $5 for each night you stay.
If you’re paying this to the housekeeping staff, including a note thanking them so that they’re aware the tip has been left for them and that it’s okay to take.