Best Resorts in California

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U.S. News ranks the best resorts by taking into account reputation among professional travel experts, guest reviews and hotel class ratings. Use the filters and settings below to help find the best resort for you.

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Popular destinations in California

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  • #1
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    Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa
    Rancho Santa Fe, CA
    #1 in Best Resorts in California
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 363 reviewsTripAdvisor (363)
    Free Parking
    Free WiFi

    About a 30-minute drive north of San Diego, Rancho Valencia is a little off the beaten path. But that's why people love it. This Relais & Châteaux property brims with carefully manicured greenery on top of plenty of amenities and activities to woo any type of traveler. Visitors are complimentary of the respectful, thoughtful staff while guest rooms stun for their aesthetic. Accommodations here exude a Mediterranean ambiance with hacienda-style architecture, hardwood furnishings and colorful design accents, as well as deep-soaking tubs and private balconies or patios. For pampering, Rancho Valencia's spa offers indulgences such as herb-infused body wraps and a variety of massage therapies. The delicious cuisine served at the on-site Veladora restaurant complements the serene environment.

    Rancho Santa Fe, CA
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 363 reviewsTripAdvisor (363)
    5.0-star Hotel Class
    Excellent Critic Rating
    Free Parking
    Free WiFi
  • #2
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    Fairmont Grand Del Mar
    San Diego, CA
    #2 in Best Resorts in California
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 2014 reviewsTripAdvisor (2014)
    Free Breakfast
    Free Parking
    Free WiFi

    About 20 miles north of central San Diego in Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve, the Fairmont Grand Del Mar offers coastal California visitors a hearty helping of luxury from the moment they enter the lobby. Guests rave about the incredibly spacious guest rooms, saying that the deep-soaking tubs, Nespresso coffee makers and rich Tuscan decor makes for a relaxing stay. And if that isn't enough, there's also a five-star spa, swimming pools and a Tom Fazio-designed golf course. The Grand Del Mar also receives high marks for its cuisine; the hotel's Addison and Amaya restaurants serve award-winning French and Mediterranean fare coupled with regional wines. Add to that the hotel's consistently friendly customer service, and it's easy to see why guests frequently refer to their stays here as five-star experiences. As a member of the AccorHotels portfolio, this hotel allows guests to earn and redeem Le Club AccorHotels perks.

    San Diego, CA
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 2014 reviewsTripAdvisor (2014)
    5.0-star Hotel Class
    Excellent Critic Rating
    Free Breakfast
    Free Parking
    Free WiFi
  • #3
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    The Resort at Pelican Hill
    Newport Coast, CA
    #3 in Best Resorts in California
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5 based on 1753 reviewsTripAdvisor (1753)
    Free Parking
    Free WiFi

    Overlooking several golf courses and the Pacific Ocean, The Resort at Pelican Hill earns praise for its relaxed ambiance and luxurious amenities, as does the impressive circular Coliseum Pool. Here, you'll have your choice of bungalow or villa accommodations – villas are more spacious with separate living quarters, making them a good choice for families. No matter which type of room you choose, you will be greeted with warm neutral tones, exposed wood-beam ceilings and Italian limestone fireplaces, not to mention views of the ocean or the fairways from private terraces. Families particularly enjoy The Resort at Pelican Hill thanks to its abundant outdoor activities for teens and the Camp Pelican program and clubhouse, which offers games for kids of all ages. Adults also have opportunities for fun on the spectacular golf course, at The Spa at Pelican Hill or at one of the on-site eateries. You can find this hotel just south of Balboa Island along Highway 1.

    Newport Coast, CA
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5 based on 1753 reviewsTripAdvisor (1753)
    5.0-star Hotel Class
    Excellent Critic Rating
    Free Parking
    Free WiFi
  • #4
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    The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe
    Truckee, CA
    #4 in Best Resorts in California
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5 based on 1157 reviewsTripAdvisor (1157)
    Free WiFi

    Sweeping mountain vistas and rustic furnishings are just two of the many reasons why guests are drawn to The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe. Others include fantastic customer service, great food and a sumptuous atmosphere. With a ski-in/ski-out location near the shores of Lake Tahoe, California, this Ritz allows visitors prime access to the slopes and two nearby championship golf courses. As for the hotel itself, on-site amenities include a tranquil spa and several gourmet restaurants. As far as lodging goes, recent guests raved about the large rooms, comfy beds and beautiful setting. Rooms and suites adopt a mountain lodge feel with stone fireplaces, wood trim and beautiful views. Guests generally loved their stay here, however, some visitors lamented the resort fee, especially given the hotel's high room rates. Marriott Bonvoy members can use points to keep costs down, though.

    Truckee, CA
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5 based on 1157 reviewsTripAdvisor (1157)
    5.0-star Hotel Class
    Excellent Critic Rating
    Free WiFi
  • #5
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    The Lodge at Torrey Pines
    La Jolla, CA
    #5 in Best Resorts in California
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5 based on 1447 reviewsTripAdvisor (1447)
    Free WiFi

    If you like hiking, golfing, swimming and sunning, you might be interested in booking a stay at The Lodge at Torrey Pines. Here you'll have the state park to the north and the La Jolla beaches to the south. You can enjoy the woodsy, rustic ambiance of coastal California all throughout the hotel. Guest rooms feature hardwood furnishings and overlook the beautiful Torrey Pines Golf Course, and cozy fireplaces can be found in the hotel's common areas. The Lodge also features an outdoor pool and hot tub, as well as a fitness center. Visitors loved the unique touches here, including the kilt-wearing doormen and the delicious California cuisine at A.R. Valentien restaurant. Guests will also have access to the spa and the adjacent Torrey Pines Golf Course. The hotel does charge a $35 daily fee, which covers an array of amenities like property-wide Wi-Fi access and balls for use on putting greens.

    La Jolla, CA
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5 based on 1447 reviewsTripAdvisor (1447)
    5.0-star Hotel Class
    Excellent Critic Rating
    Free WiFi
  • #6
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    Ventana Big Sur, an Alila Resort
    Big Sur, CA
    #6 in Best Resorts in California
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5 based on 356 reviewsTripAdvisor (356)
    Free Parking
    Free WiFi

    Impeccable service and beautiful grounds are what people expect at Ventana, and, according to recent travelers, guests get those luxuries with a whole lot more. Guests have opportunities to work up a sweat while hiking or taking an outdoor yoga class before cooling off at the spa or in one of two on-site pools (one of which is clothing-optional). Recent diners also rave about the delicious cuisine served at The Sur House, which features a menu composed of locally sourced ingredients prepared in creative ways and served alongside the restaurant's fine wine list. And, although the accommodations vary in size from approximately 414 to nearly 1,200 square feet, all of the rooms feature comfortable beds, artisan-curated minibars and private decks offering breathtaking views of Big Sur's scenery. Ventana Inn & Spa is located about 30 miles south of Monterey along Highway 1.

    Big Sur, CA
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5 based on 356 reviewsTripAdvisor (356)
    4.5-star Hotel Class
    Excellent Critic Rating
    Free Parking
    Free WiFi
  • #7
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    Meadowood Napa Valley
    St. Helena, CA
    #7 in Best Resorts in California
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5 based on 2094 reviewsTripAdvisor (2094)
    Free Parking
    Free WiFi

    Sitting on 250 acres in quaint St. Helena, California, Meadowood Napa Valley resort automatically wins guests over with its serene landscape and isolation. The guest room decor embodies a rustic elegance, with cottage-like beamed ceilings, private terraces and, in most rooms, fireplaces. Although the cost of a stay here is admittedly steep, many travelers feel the exceptional service and on-site activities, such as croquet, tennis and golf, make the expense worthwhile. Guests will also find several pools and an extensive fitness center here. Meanwhile, those who splurged on a treatment at the on-site spa certainly didn't regret it, nor did they have second thoughts about repeat meals at The Restaurant. Should you stay at the Meadowood, you'll be close to the Castello di Amorosa Winery and Schramsberg Vineyards, both of which offer exceptional tours and tastings.

    St. Helena, CA
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5 based on 2094 reviewsTripAdvisor (2094)
    5.0-star Hotel Class
    Excellent Critic Rating
    Free Parking
    Free WiFi
  • #8
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    Montage Laguna Beach
    Laguna Beach, CA
    #8 in Best Resorts in California
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5 based on 1477 reviewsTripAdvisor (1477)
    Free WiFi

    The Montage Laguna Beach epitomizes the relaxed class and beauty for which Southern California is known. The property's location (right along the shore just south of downtown Laguna Beach) is a particularly popular perk among guests. Accommodations at the hotel also include feather-top beds and marble bathrooms, not to mention beautiful turn-of-the-century decor and private terraces or balconies that overlook the ocean. But don't plan on spending too much time in your room. In addition to enjoying the large beach area, you can lounge poolside, shop at the in-house boutiques, receive spa treatments and eat gourmet meals at one of three on-site restaurants. If you happen to be here for date night, recent guests say that the intimate atmosphere and the locally sourced California cuisine at Studio will set the tone for a romantic evening. There are also family programs for children, though previous visitors say that the upscale environment at Montage Laguna Beach is better suited for couples.

    Laguna Beach, CA
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5 based on 1477 reviewsTripAdvisor (1477)
    5.0-star Hotel Class
    Excellent Critic Rating
    Free WiFi
  • #9
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    Park Hyatt Aviara Resort, Golf Club & Spa
    Carlsbad, CA
    #9 in Best Resorts in California
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5 based on 2332 reviewsTripAdvisor (2332)
    Free WiFi

    South of downtown Carlsbad, California, on the Batiquitos Lagoon, the Park Hyatt Aviara Resort, Golf Club & Spa wows guests with its palatial size and romantic ambiance. The Spanish colonial architecture houses spacious rooms, all dressed in plush furniture, marble bathrooms and separate living areas. The property also houses four eateries and the 15,000-square-foot Aviara Spa. Golfers are particularly smitten with the esteemed Kip Puterbaugh's Aviara Golf Academy and Club. But what epitomizes this Park Hyatt's commitment to providing luxury is everything extra it offers guests. Need umbrellas, towels and chairs to take to the beach? The hotel has you covered. Want to learn how to hang 10? Schedule a session with the hotel's Surf Concierge for lessons on how to navigate waves on a surfboard. Need another reason to stay here? Members of the World of Hyatt program can use or accrue reward points for additional perks, like free nights.

    Carlsbad, CA
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5 based on 2332 reviewsTripAdvisor (2332)
    5.0-star Hotel Class
    Excellent Critic Rating
    Free WiFi
  • #10
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    Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara
    Santa Barbara, CA
    #10 in Best Resorts in California
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5 based on 2320 reviewsTripAdvisor (2320)
    Free WiFi

    With stunning views of the Pacific Ocean from its shorefront perch east of downtown Santa Barbara, the Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara is consistently lauded by guests for its friendly staff and stunning decor. The Spanish Colonial Revival structure houses 207 spacious guest rooms and suites that feel bright and airy and feature large windows and views of the 22-acre property, and visitors say that the down bedding adds an extra dose of luxury. Recent guests also praised the in-house spa for its extensive list of treatments, but should you desire some rest and relaxation without the additional cost, a day spent by the outdoor pool should do just fine. If you're traveling with kids, let the resort's certified staff provide them with a host of supervised activities while you enjoy a romantic meal at Tydes (if you like seafood) or Bella Vista (if you prefer your Californian cuisine infused with some Italian flair).

    Santa Barbara, CA
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5 based on 2320 reviewsTripAdvisor (2320)
    5.0-star Hotel Class
    Great Critic Rating
    Free WiFi
  • #11
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    Solage, Auberge Resorts Collection
    Calistoga, CA
    #11 in Best Resorts in California
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5 based on 1096 reviewsTripAdvisor (1096)
    Free Parking
    Free WiFi

    Solage hardly misses a step when it comes to pleasing guests. This Auberge Resorts outpost's 89 suites and studios are set on 22 acres of beautifully landscaped property and come equipped with amenities such as LCD televisions, iPod docking stations and high-speed internet access. And recent lodgers praise the quality of the beds and the extra large bathrooms. Guests also rave about the complimentary cruiser bikes that give personality to the resort. And the lodging decor –composed of neutral hues, expansive windows and fairly simple accents – makes for a relaxing respite. Meanwhile, the Michelin-starred Solbar restaurant garners rave reviews for its outdoor dining space and inventive "California soul food." The Spa Solage is also unique for its "mud bar" and on-site geothermal pools. You'll find this hotel on the northern fringes of Calistoga in northern Napa Valley.

    Calistoga, CA
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5 based on 1096 reviewsTripAdvisor (1096)
    4.5-star Hotel Class
    Excellent Critic Rating
    Free Parking
    Free WiFi
  • #12
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    The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel
    Dana Point, CA
    #12 in Best Resorts in California
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5 based on 2624 reviewsTripAdvisor (2624)
    Free WiFi

    When booking a room at The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel, guests expect to receive superb service. And that's what they get. On top of that, they get a breathtaking ocean view and gorgeous grounds just northwest of Dana Point Marina. If you need any help reaching inner peace, the well-reviewed spa is happy to accommodate you. And this is no ordinary Ritz: In addition to the standard pool-tennis-fitness center combination, this property has access to several area golf courses and some excellent surfing waves. Plus, guests can explore the local environment with expert naturalists on eco-adventures organized by the hotel. As for dining, you can satiate your appetite at one of several on-site eateries. And when it comes time to call it a day, you won't be disappointed with the accommodations. Previous visitors love the serene pastel blue and cream decor in the guest rooms, as well as the private balconies and technology such as flat-screen TVs and internet access (included in the $50 daily resort fee). Plus, this hotel particpates in the Marriott Bonvoy program, so members can earn and use points by staying here.

    Dana Point, CA
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5 based on 2624 reviewsTripAdvisor (2624)
    5.0-star Hotel Class
    Great Critic Rating
    Free WiFi
  • #13
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    Terranea Resort, A Destination Hotel
    Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
    #13 in Best Resorts in California
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5 based on 4395 reviewsTripAdvisor (4395)
    Free WiFi

    About 32 miles south of downtown Los Angeles, Terranea Resort is a palatial resort in the city's backyard. Many rooms look out onto the Pacific Ocean from balconies and come equipped with a long list of luxury amenities, including flat-screen TVs, four-fixture stone bathrooms and Wi-Fi access. (Covered by the $40 daily resort fee.) But most guests appreciate what's outside their quarters, particularly the fitness center and multiple pools. The hotel also houses a noteworthy spa, and visitors are in awe of the expansive, manicured grounds  all 102 acres. This family- and pet-friendly resort has eight delectable eateries and watering holes. Of those, Catalina Kitchen is the true standout with its breakfast and patio setting.

    Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5 based on 4395 reviewsTripAdvisor (4395)
    5.0-star Hotel Class
    Great Critic Rating
    Free WiFi
  • #14
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    Bernardus Lodge & Spa
    Carmel Valley, CA
    #14 in Best Resorts in California
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 485 reviewsTripAdvisor (485)
    Free Parking
    Free WiFi

    Unlike many of its Monterey Peninsula competitors, the Bernardus Lodge is situated away from the beach in the rugged hills and vineyards of Carmel Valley, California. With Nespresso coffee makers and a complimentary wine bar stocked with Bernardus wines, the guest rooms at this property aspire to a homey atmosphere that encourages you to indulge. Guests also appreciate the large tubs and the private balconies or terraces overlooking the property's gardens and the nearby mountains. The boutique resort's romantic side can be found at its restaurant and in the spa, which offers couples treatments. And despite the availability of wireless internet, guests find this the perfect place to disconnect from the outside world. Lastly, guests should not neglect exploring the Bernardus Winery, which offers daily tastings. Though this hotel charges a daily resort fee, it includes free parking and a 24-hour concierge service, among other amenities. 

    Carmel Valley, CA
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 485 reviewsTripAdvisor (485)
    4.5-star Hotel Class
    Great Critic Rating
    Free Parking
    Free WiFi
  • #15
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    Casa Palmero
    Pebble Beach, CA
    #15 in Best Resorts in California
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 69 reviewsTripAdvisor (69)
    Free Breakfast
    Free Parking
    Free WiFi

    The smallest and most intimate of the Pebble Beach Resorts, Casa Palmero is an exquisite, 24-room property along the fairways of Pebble Beach Golf Links. The attention to detail is evident throughout this Italian villa-inspired property: Guests claim that staff members bend over backward to make guests comfortable, including delivering breakfast baskets to your room each morning and replenishing flowers in your room daily. Not to mention, there are complimentary cocktails served at the hotel every evening. Should you want to explore beyond the premises, guests are allowed access to the Pebble Beach resort's Beach & Tennis Club, as well as the spa. Keep in mind that you need to stay at least two nights here, at The Inn at Spanish Bay or at The Lodge at Pebble Beach to get a reserved tee time on the course. And be sure to book the tee time when you reserve your room to ensure your spot. As a member of the Preferred portfolio, iPrefer members can earn and use points here.

    Pebble Beach, CA
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 69 reviewsTripAdvisor (69)
    5.0-star Hotel Class
    Good Critic Rating
    Free Breakfast
    Free Parking
    Free WiFi