Tray of breakfast on a bed at a boutique hotel on Central Coast in California
Central Coast

15 Best Boutique Hotels On Central Coast In California

There’s nothing like a luxurious stay in a boutique hotel while traveling. As California locals, we always look forward to staying in unique hotels when exploring different parts of the Golden State. Luckily, there are plenty of gorgeous boutique hotels on Central Coast in California!

Smaller boutique hotels often offer excellent amenities, outstanding food, spa services, cozy lounges, and many thoughtful touches for a memorable stay. In this post, we have vetted 15 of the best boutique hotels from Malibu to San Francisco so you can have a relaxing experience near the ocean.

If you’re planning a trip to the Central Coast, here are 15 cool hotels in California along the coast that are sure to wow you!

Some of the links used in this blog may be affiliate links. At no extra cost to you, may I earn a small commission when you book through these links for which I am very thankful!

15 Best Boutique Hotels On Central Coast California:

1. Ojai Valley Inn

Ojai Valley Inn is a hidden gem tucked away in the small town of Ojai between Ventura and Santa Barbara. This charming, eclectic town is known for having some of the best boutique hotels in California along with art galleries, wine tasting, spas, and cozy eateries.

The Ojai Valley Inn is situated in a dreamy setting surrounded by rolling hills and lush oak trees. This historic hotel features luxurious rooms with fireplaces along with outstanding amenities.

During your visit, book a pamper session at the full health spa where you can treat yourself to a variety of massages, wraps, and facials. The inn also has multiple restaurants serving dishes made of local ingredients.

The property boasts a championship golf course and four pools including a large outdoor swimming pool. If you plan to travel with your family, kids activities include tennis lessons, nightly s’mores roasting, arts & crafts, and other fun programs.

Check Ojai Valley Inn rates and availability here!

2. White Water

White Water is a gorgeous accommodation on Central Coast (photo by White Water).

White Water is one of the top California boutique hotels for design lovers! Not only does it offer sweeping Pacific Ocean views, but the atmosphere is just stunning.

White Water is located in the sleepy Cambria beach town right across from the Moonstone Beach Boardwalk. Hotel guests can easily go on a walk along the coastline or grab hotel bikes to explore the area.

The property has modern rooms decorated with beautiful furniture pieces. The spacious rooms come with ocean and mountain views, and select accommodations include a relaxing spa bath. 

The hotel serves daily continental breakfast along with coffee and croissants that are delivered to the room in the mornings. In the afternoon, you can head to the lobby lounge to enjoy local wines, beers, ciders, and small plates.

Downtown Cambria restaurants and wine-tasting rooms can be reached within a few minutes’ drive of the hotel.

Check White Water rates and availability here!

3. The Surfrider Malibu

The Surfrider is a beautiful California hotel just steps from the beach (photos by The Surfrider Malibu).

The Surfrider Malibu is the ultimate getaway destination for those living in Los Angeles. Located just off Highway 1 in Malibu, this is one of the best luxury boutique hotels in California that’s situated right across the ocean.

This award-winning hotel features 20 rooms for a peaceful experience just steps from the Surfrider Beach and the Malibu Pier. Many of the guest rooms overlook the Pacific Ocean. You can also head to the rooftop bar to enjoy drinks and local coastal dishes with a view. 

In your free time, grab complimentary surfboards and standup paddle boards for some fun in the water. Wet suits are also available for rental if needed.

If you’d rather spend a day lounging in the sand getting a tan, the hotel offers beach gear like umbrellas, baskets, towels, and sunscreen so you don’t have to worry about packing anything extra on your trip.

After a day at the beach, rinse off in the heated outdoor shower before heading out to dinner. Top-rated Malibu restaurants can be reached within a short drive of the hotel.

Check The Surfrider Malibu rates and availability here!

4. Alila Ventana Big Sur

Photo by Alila Ventana Big Sur, one of the best hotels on California Central Coast.

Alila Ventana Big Sur is one of the most luxurious hotels in California. This gorgeous adults-only resort is tucked away in a remote part of Big Sur surrounded by pristine nature and ancient redwoods.

Alila Ventana Big Sur offers an unforgettable experience for couples celebrating special occasions. It is the perfect place to unwind while soaking in incredible views of the Pacific Ocean and the rugged Big Sur coastline.

Guests can relax in a variety of spaces including two heated pools, an infinity hot tub, private cabanas, and Japanese hot baths. Some rooms also come with hot tubs and fireplaces if you’re seeking more privacy.

During your stay, you can enjoy all-inclusive meals on the outdoor terrace with breathtaking views all around. Alila Ventana Big Sur is one of the best resorts on California Coast that offers an unmatched level of luxury with world-class amenities.

Check Alila Ventana Big Sur rates and availability here!

5. Palihouse Santa Barbara

If you’re looking for one of the best hotels on the California Coast, it doesn’t get better than the Palihouse Hotel Santa Barbara! Palihouse is one of my favorite hotel collections to stay in when traveling for its unique ambiance.

This gorgeous 4-star hotel is located at the center of downtown Santa Barbara close to top-rated restaurants and the beach. Palihouse Santa Barbara does offer free private parking which is very convenient for this busy area.

The property features 24 elegant guest rooms decorated with thoughtful vintage touches. Some rooms come with a kitchenette including a fridge and a minibar.

Beautiful outdoor pool area at the Palihouse Santa Barbara.

On hot summer days, take a dip in the outdoor swimming pool or take a rest break under the sun umbrellas. When hunger strikes, you can call room service or head to the onsite café, bar, and lobby lounge that serve drinks and small plates until 3 p.m.

Santa Barbara is also very close to the Santa Ynez wine country. During your visit, we highly recommend taking a Santa Barbara wine-tasting tour of the local boutique wineries!

Check Palihouse Santa Barbara rates and availability here!

6. Carmel Valley Ranch

Carmel Valley Ranch is surrounded by 500 acres of lush gardens and nature (photo by Carmel Valley Ranch).

Carmel Valley Ranch is located in Carmel Valley between the Big Sur mountains and Monterey Bay. This countryside resort is set on a sprawling property that feels incredibly private and remote. The hotel is in an ideal location for outdoor lovers surrounded by pristine wilderness and hiking trails.

This is one of the top luxury hotels on California’s Central Coast for family getaways. The resort includes many excellent amenities to keep the entire family entertained including a golf course, on-site spa, tennis courts, and two outdoor swimming pools.

During your stay, there is so much to see and do on the property! The hotel offers lots of ranch-focused activities like lavender workshops, honey tastings, beekeeping, and bird watching along with fitness programs.

Check Carmel Valley Ranch rates and availability here!

7. San Luis Creek Lodge

Wondering where to stay in Central Coast California? Book San Luis Creek Lodge here!

This modern San Luis Obispo boutique hotel is filled with modern farmhouse décor at the heart of the Central California Coast. Within a short drive, you can reach the beach and some of the best hiking trails in San Luis Obispo County.

Couples can book a King room that comes with a romantic fireplace. If you plan to travel with your family, San Luis Creek Lodge also has family-style Queen rooms with two beds. Each of the guest rooms is decorated with stylish mid-century modern pieces.

Guests are treated to luxury toiletries by Aesop (my personal favorite) as well as a lovely breakfast complete with coffee and fresh pastries.

During your stay, you can also enjoy taking complimentary bike rentals for a spin around San Luis Obispo town.

Check San Luis Creek Lodge rates and availability here!

8. Hotel San Luis Obispo

Hotel San Luis Obispo in downtown San Luis Obispo
This is a gorgeous hotel in downtown San Luis Obispo (photo by Hotel San Luis Obispo).

Hotel San Luis Obispo is one of the best hotels on the Central Coast in California for those who are looking to have some fun in the city. From the moment you step through the lobby doors, you’ll be amazed by the hotel’s friendly and inviting atmosphere that matches the luxurious upscale ambiance.

Located at the center of San Luis Obispo, this urban resort offers everything you may need for a great stay! The hotel stands out for its exceptional service, beautiful rooms, and the Sol Spa which offers massages, facials, and other spa treatments.

Onsite dining choices include a lobby bar, a rooftop bar, a steakhouse, and the Piadina on-site restaurant which serves delicious coastal-inspired dishes.

For a fun time, you can grab the free bikes to explore downtown SLO. If you enjoy the outdoors, head to Irish Hills Natural Reserve for an afternoon of hiking in the fresh air.

Check Hotel San Luis Obispo rates and availability here!

9. Hideaway Santa Barbara

Hideaway Santa Barbara is one of the most beautiful luxury hotels in Central Coast California. The hotel is situated near the beach, Funk Zone restaurants, State Street shops, and local Santa Barbara breweries.

The Hideaway Santa Barbara is decorated with a bright and inviting coastal theme. Some of the rooms at this 4-star hotel feature balconies and a fireplace. Hotel guests are also treated to freshly baked cookies and a hot vegetarian breakfast in the mornings.

With a close location to the ocean, Santa Barbar is the ideal place for enjoying water activities. During your visit, you can take a variety of Santa Barbara water tours including kayaking, surfing, paddle boarding, and parasailing.

Check Hideaway Santa Barbara rates and availability here!

10. Dream Inn Santa Cruz

Dream Inn is one of the top Central Coast hotels on the beach (photo by Dream Inn Santa Cruz).

Dream Inn Santa Cruz is set in an ideal location across from Santa Cruz Wharf and the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. As it’s located next to the ocean, this hotel is the perfect place to stay for beach lovers!

The inn features a surf-inspired décor with modern upgrades and retro accents. The guest rooms come with ocean views and private balconies where you can relax at the end of the day. 

The highlight of this hotel is the oceanfront Jack O’Neill Restaurant where you can enjoy meals made of fresh seafood and local produce. If you’d rather soak up the sun, head to the outdoor swimming pool for poolside dining and drinks in a private cabana.

Whether you’re planning a weekend getaway, or looking for where to stay on a road trip from Los Angeles to San Francisco, this is one of the best hotels along California Coast!

Check Dream Inn Santa Cruz rates and availability here!

11. The Capri Hotel

The Capri is a lovely hotel in Central California (photo by The Capri).

The Capri Hotel is a gorgeous hotel nestled in downtown Ojai in a tranquil setting. The hotel has been recently renovated in a mid-century modern theme and is simply stunning!

The hotel offers luxurious amenities, onsite massages, and an outdoor pool with a jacuzzi. During your stay, you can grab complimentary bikes to visit local Ojai art galleries, boutique shops, cozy eateries, and wine-tasting rooms.

This is one of the coolest hotels in California for those who enjoy something a bit different. The Capri Hotel is also pet-friendly so you can bring your four-legged friend along!

Check The Capri Hotel rates and availability here!

12. Palihotel San Francisco

This is one of the most popular Central Coast boutique hotels for those visiting San Francisco (photo by Palihotel).

If you’re looking for unique hotels on the California Coast, put Palihotel San Francisco on top of your list! This boutique San Francisco hotel has a lot of character, a welcoming atmosphere, and an excellent location near Union Square.

Palihotel San Francisco is where we stayed on our most recent trip to San Francisco. From the hotel, you can easily access all the major attractions like the Ferry Building Marketplace, Pier 33, Fisherman’s Wharf, and Chinatown.

The hotel is known for its exceptional service and beautiful, contemporary rooms with restored brick walls. In the mornings we enjoyed grabbing a freshly brewed coffee and a small bite to eat at the onsite Fisher Loft before heading out to explore the city for the day.

Check Palihotel San Francisco rates and availability here!

13. The Pacific Motel

This newly restored property is located in the small town of Cayucos near the beach and Cayucos Pier. The hotel offers a variety of accommodation choices including standard rooms, bungalows, and pet-friendly rooms (up to 40 lbs).

The Pacific Motel is owned by locals who have gone above and beyond to provide everything you may need for a beach getaway. Some of the room amenities include gas fireplaces, beautiful linens, a curated mini fridge, and local artwork.

Cayucos is a wonderful place to stay and unwind away from busy city crowds. Overall, this is one of the best hotels on Central Coast California for couples and families on a quiet getaway.

Check The Pacific Motel rates and availability here!

14. Waypoint Ventura

Waypoint Ventura is one of the most unique hotels in California.

If you enjoy glamping, you’ll love staying at Waypoint Ventura! As Ventura County locals, this is our preferred accommodation choice for group trips and fun weekend getaways.

Waypoint Ventura has a campground-like setting with renovated vintage trailers. The trailers come equipped with luxurious amenities including showers, toiletries, free wifi, and a flat-screen TV, so you don’t need to worry about ‘rouging it’ during your vacation.

The hotel is located near San Buenaventura State Beach, the Ventura Beach bike path, and the historic downtown. You can use one of the bikes provided by the property to visit the nearby beaches, renowned surf spots, scenic Ventura hiking trails, and local Ventura breweries.

Check Waypoint Ventura rates and availability here!

15. Shell Beach Inn

This hotel is close to Pismo Beach and Avila Beach (photo by Shell Beach Inn).

Shell Beach Inn is one of the best boutique hotels on the California Coast for those visiting Pismo Beach. The inn is located near Dinosaur Caves Park and Margo Dodd Park where you can observe ocean wildlife and do a bit of bird watching.

The hotel’s location is perfect for those who want to be near Pismo Beach activities, yet stay in a quiet area away from the crowds. The inn only has 10 guest rooms guaranteeing excellent customer service from the helpful staff.

After a day exploring the Central Coast, you can head for a refreshing swim in the heated outdoor pool. Decorated in a modern farmhouse look, the cozy rooms are a welcoming sight for tired travelers. Other property amenities include private patios, free Wi-Fi, and free private parking.

Check Shell Beach Inn rates and availability here!

Looking for more information on where to stay on the Central California Coast? Be sure to check out these posts next:

This post is written by Laura. Hi, I’m a California local and the founder of the California Wanderland travel blog. I currently live in Ventura County and help 30,000 readers a month discover things to do in Central California! Read more about me here.

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