Resort surrounded by palm trees and mountains in Santa Barbara Central California Coast
Central Coast

15 Best Central California Coast Resorts To Book In 2024

Planning a vacation along the California Coast? From luxurious 5-star resorts to boutique beachfront getaways, I cover all the best Central California Coast resorts for an unforgettable stay!

As a California local, I love a beachy holiday where I can pamper myself at a health spa, sip on a glass of wine overlooking the Pacific Ocean, and dine at top-rated seafood restaurants.

Whether you are planning a romantic getaway for two, a family vacation, or a fun trip with close friends, there are so many incredible resorts along the Central California Coast to choose from! To make your trip planning easier, I have compiled a list of all the top ones – so you can find the perfect place to stay on your vacation.

These 15 Central Coast resorts offer exceptional service, outstanding amenities, and unparalleled ocean views for the ultimate beach escape!


15 Best Central Coast Resorts In California:

1. Alila Ventana Big Sur

Outdoor pool and a building with trees and mountains in the background at Alila Ventana Big Sur, one of the best hotels on California Central Coast
Alila Ventana Resort is one of the top luxury hotels on the Central Coast in California.

If you’re seeking a romantic, quiet experience, book a stay at the Alila Ventana Adults-Only Resort in Big Sur. Situated along the rugged Big Sur coastline with access to stunning beaches and endless activities, this is the perfect destination for adventurous couples and honeymooners.

At Alila Ventana, it’s all about connecting with nature and getting away from the busy city life. Here you can spend a few days in a serene location surrounded by a 160-acre forest.

The place is magical and unique! We feel like in a bubble of wellness and happiness in the middle of this sublime nature!”

-Jules (read more guest reviews here)

During your stay, you can relax in the heated outdoor pools or go for a soak in the Japanese hot baths. The guest rooms feel very secluded and include private balconies for enjoying the beautiful setting.

If you want to really pamper yourself, book a spa service at the onsite Alila Spa which offers facials, massages, and body renewal rituals.

Check Alila Ventana Big Sur rates & availability here!

2. El Canto, A Belmond Hotel, Santa Barbara

The beautiful outdoor pool at El Canto Hotel.

Situated in Santa Barbara, El Canto, A Belmond Hotel is one of the best resorts on the California Coast. With a choice of specialty suites, quaint cottages, and Spanish-style bungalows, you’ll feel like you’ve found the perfect home away from home at this coastal paradise!

Tucked away on seven acres of lush gardens overlooking Santa Barbara, you can have an incredible stay here without ever leaving the hotel. Lounge by the infinity-style outdoor pool, enjoy a hilltop picnic, or head on a Santa Barbara wine-tasting tour to try out delicious wines at local boutique wineries.

“Everything! From the hospitality, to the personalized services, El Encanto had exceeded our expectations! We look forward to staying there in the future.”

-Scott (read more guest reviews here)

For those who have four-legged family members, bring along your furry friends to this pet-friendly hotel! The resort offers its own curated canine menu with items such as organic chicken, salmon, and beef burgers made with veterinarian-approved ingredients.

Check El Canto rates & availability here!

3. Carmel Valley Ranch

Carmel Valley Ranch is one of the top California Coast resorts for those who want to escape into nature.

Carmel Valley Ranch is a sophisticated hotel where you can disconnect from the world. This four-star hotel is situated on a sprawling 500-acre property in Carmel Valley near Monterey.

Carmel Valley Ranch is an all-suite countryside hotel that is managed by Hyatt. This is one of the best Central California resorts for families, couples, and traveling friends who are seeking a sanctuary away from busy cities. The suites include a fireplace, soaking tubs, and a private deck for enjoying nature views.

The location views were so beautiful. It never feels crowded. Carmel Valley is the best place to relax and find much needed respite from everyday stressors.”

-Rosalyn (read more guest reviews here)

The resort boasts an incredible outdoor complex complete with 9 tennis courts, two swimming pools, hot tubs, and a fitness centre. There are also numerous nearby hiking trails for those who enjoy outdoor activities.

Check Carmel Valley Ranch rates & availability here!

4. Ojai Valley Inn

A large oak tree outside the Ojai Valley Inn in Ojai
Ojai Valley Inn is one of the most charming places to stay in Ojai.

Ojai is a small town just a short drive north of Ventura that is best known for boutique hotels, spas, wine tasting, and the art scene. As a Ventura County local, I love visiting Ojai for its charming ambiance and relaxing atmosphere.

Ojai Valley Inn is a beautiful resort set at the center of Ojai that offers world-class service and amenities. Surrounded by scenic hills and lush oak trees, this historic Spanish-style resort offers the perfect escape for couples seeking a romantic getaway.

What a magical place! I can’t wait to come back here. The service is amazing – everyone was very helpful – from the spa, to the pool, to the restaurant, valet, and front desk.”

Deborah (read more guest reviews here)

Ojai Valley Inn has an amazing full health spa featuring massages and various treatments. There is also a championship golf course, multiple on-site restaurants, and a large outdoor swimming pool where you can go for a refreshing swim.

Check Ojai Valley Inn rates & availability here!

5. Sanctuary Beach Resort

Sanctuary Beach Resort is one of the most unique places to stay on the Central Coast in California.

Nestled on the stunning shores of Monterey Bay, Sanctuary Beach Resort invites guests to experience seaside tranquility at its finest. At this oceanfront resort, you can wake up to the sounds of ocean waves, step out onto the golden shoreline for a walk, and breathe in the crisp, salty air.

With a full-service spa, an outdoor swimming pool, a hot tub, and beachfront firepits you are guaranteed a peaceful retreat from the bustling outside world. When hunger strikes, head to the Salt Wood Kitchen & Oysterette Restaurant which has an oyster bar and live-fire open kitchen.

The property was beautifully situated right on the beach with stunning views of the bay. The staff went above and beyond to make our stay memorable and special.”

Heather (read more guest reviews here)

Accommodations at Sanctuary Beach Resort are thoughtfully designed in a modern farmhouse look and feature state-of-the-art facilities. The best part – this resort is very pet friendly and your four-legged friend will be spoiled with their own welcome treats upon arrival!

Check Sanctuary Beach Resort rates & availability here!

6. Palihouse Santa Barbara

Outdoor swimming pool area at the Palihouse Santa Barbara
The beautiful outdoor pool at Palihouse Santa Barbara.

Palihouse Santa Barbara is a gorgeous Central California coast hotel that is brimming with upscale amenities! This boutique hotel is situated at the heart of Santa Barbara within a short walk of State Street, The Funk Zone, and Stearns Wharf.

Palihouse is one of my favorite hotel collections to stay in when traveling in the Golden State. Palihouse Santa Barbara is a one-of-a-kind 4-star hotel that’s ideal for those who are seeking a unique, elevated experience.

Beautiful property—everything I want in a 1st class boutique hotel. From accommodations to entire staff, it was exceptional.”

Elizabeth (read more guest reviews here)

This swanky vintage-meets-modern hotel features 24 spacious Mediterranean-inspired rooms. The accommodations come with private balconies, fireplaces, and deep soaking tubs for the ultimate relaxation.

During the day, you can soak up the sun by the outdoor pool area that offers food and beverage services. The hotel also features a garden café, lobby lounge, and a cocktail bar where you can try out interesting craft drinks.

Check Palihouse Santa Barbara rates & availability here!

7. InterContinental The Clement Monterey, an IHG Hotel

InterContinental The Clement is an elegant beachfront hotel in Central California.

Nestled in the heart of Cannery Row, this contemporary hotel captures the essence of California’s breathtaking coastline. InterContinental The Clement Monterey features modern oceanfront rooms with front-seat views of the picturesque Monterey Bay.

InterContinental The Clement Monterey is in a great location close to Monterey Bay Aquarium, Old Fisherman’s Wharf, and Lovers Point Park. Offering a variety of services from a children’s club to modern amenities and an onsite spa, this waterfront hotel is great for family vacations, romantic getaways, and special occasions.

Beautiful Bayfront hotel within walking distance to so many restaurants shopping & attractions.”

Mary (read more guest reviews here)

After a full day of exploration, you can find yourself back at The Clement’s open terrace, enjoying a drink al fresco warmed by cozy firepits. The hotel’s C Restaurant + Bar offers an oceanfront dining experience serving seafood in an upscale setting.

Check InterContinental The Clement Monterey rates & availability here!

8. Hyatt Vacation Club At Highlands Inn

Hyatt Vacation Club is one of the best Central California Coast resorts for visiting Big Sur and Carmel.

If Big Sur has been on your bucket list, it doesn’t get better than staying at the Hyatt Vacation Club at Highlands Inn!

Perched on top of a cliff overlooking the coastline, this is one of the best oceanfront resorts in California. Conveniently situated along Highway 1, you’ll be just a short drive from popular Big Sur attractions like Point Lobos State Natural Reserve, Garrapata State Park, and Bixby Creek Bridge.

The most beautiful hotel we have ever stayed in. Incredible amenities, views and food!”

Lindsay (read more guest reviews here)

This stunning property features well-appointed rooms with a choice of ocean or garden views. During the stay, you can enjoy a swim in the outdoor pool, go for a relaxing soak in a hot tub, and lounge by the outdoor fire pit.

For a bit of outdoor fun, be sure to grab the complimentary mountain bikes and hit the nearby trails. If you’d rather do something a bit more relaxing, the hotel does offer yoga and spa services.

Check Hyatt Vacation Club rates & availability here!

9. The Ritz-Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara

Ritz-Carlton Bacara is set on the Santa Barbara coastline.

This gorgeous California Coast resort is a sanctuary situated at the center of Santa Barbara! The Ritz-Carlton Bacara is a dream come true for those who want to enjoy a relaxing vacation just steps from the beach.

This five-star hotel has one of the largest spas in California so you can pamper yourself with a variety of treatments. There are also multiple dining options onsite from upscale steak and seafood restaurants to a casual bistro, wine tasting room, poolside bar, and a cigar lounge.

“I absolutely love the architecture, setting along the coastline. The hotel is lush with trees, plants, colorful flowers making it feel dreamlike – the perfect getaway.”

Nancy (read more guest reviews here)

Featuring Mediterranean-inspired décor, this resort feels like a luxurious European getaway at the center of Santa Barbara County. The rooms come with private patios where you can enjoy the ocean breeze and stunning views.

Guests can relax at the adults-only pool or rent a private cabana for more privacy. There is a fitness center, tennis court, and a golf course nearby for those who like to stay active.

Check The Ritz-Carlton Bacara rates & availability here!

10. Seascape Beach Resort

Seascape Beach Resort in Aptos, California

Seascape Beach Resort is an excellent resort on the California Coast for family vacations. Situated in Aptos, this hotel is just a short drive from Santa Cruz and The Forest of Nisene Marks Redwoods State Park.

This mid-range resort has everything to make your family vacation as comfortable and fun as possible, including three outdoor swimming pools, hot tubs, a children’s playground, and spacious rooms that come with a kitchen or kitchenette.

Beach access and views were spectacular. Staff were ALL helpful, friendly, professional.”

Marisa (read more guest reviews here)

For accommodations, you have the option to choose from villas, studios, or suites. All rooms come with a patio or balcony so you’re sure to be treated with excellent views!

For a bit of fun, head to the full bar that specializes in wines and tequilas. During your stay, you can also enjoy oceanfront fine dining and spa services for the ultimate relaxation!

Check Seascape Beach Resort rates & availability here!

11. Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort

Beautiful lobby at Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort.

Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort is one of the top oceanfront hotels on the Central Coast in California. Located just steps from East Beach, this 24-acre resort is in an ideal location for exploring all the best of Santa Barbara County including the nearby Funk Zone.

Guests can enjoy the year-round outdoor swimming pool, and beachfront yoga, or rent bikes to explore the city. During your stay, you can also book a Santa Barbara water tour for a bit of fun in the sun!

“The rooms are comfortable and well maintained. Excellent location by the beach and nearby downtown.”

Zaki (read more guest reviews here)

If you’d rather spend your time at the hotel grounds, there are plenty of onsite games to keep you occupied including croquet, life-size checkers, chess, cornhole, and ping pong. The resort also has a fire pit where you can cozy up and make s’mores during sunset.

Check Hilton Santa Barbara rates & availability here!

12. Chaminade Resort & Spa

Chaminade Resort & Spa is one of the best resorts on Central California Coast for nature lovers.

If you’re looking for the ultimate mountaintop getaway in Central California, then Chaminade Resort & Spa is where you’ll want to go!

This luxurious hotel is set on a 300-acre wooded property with several miles of hiking trails. Within a short drive, you can also reach Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park, Santa Cruz Beach, and top-rated golf courses.

“Beautiful and peaceful scenery! I would definitely recommend this resort.”

Deena (read more guest reviews here)

This California Central Coast resort has a full-service spa, two heated outdoor pools, and free Wi-Fi throughout the property. Guests can enjoy a friendly game of tennis or pickleball at the onsite courts.

In the evenings enjoy a glass of wine on the outdoor patio that has individual fire pits. If you like to travel with your furry four-legged friends, you’ll be happy to know that this pet-friendly resort has its own pet menu!

Check Chaminade Resort & Spa rates & availability here!

13. Allegretto Vineyard Resort Paso Robles

Outdoor swimming pool and cabanas at Allegretto Vineyard Paso Robles.

Allegretto Vineyard Paso Robles is one of the best resorts along California’s Central Coast for wine enthusiasts. The property is decorated in a Mediterranean style with European countryside vibes.

Surrounded by lush gardens, orchards, and vineyards, this peaceful retreat offers excellent amenities and unmatched service. For relaxation, you can book a treatment at the spa or reserve a private cabana at the outdoor pool.

We love to stay here when visiting California. The rooms are nice but the grounds ( chapel, piazza, restaurant, on site wine tasting and more) are perfection.

Sheri (read more guest reviews here)

Guests can enjoy a variety of activities including weekend yoga, art tours, vineyard tours, and olive oil tastings. Wine lovers will appreciate the onsite wine tasting room where you can try a variety of local wines including the Allegretto’s own private-label wine.

Check Allegretto Vineyard Resort rates & availability here!

Home to over 250 wineries, Paso Robles is the perfect place to spend a day wine-tasting! Book this all-inclusive Paso Robles wine tour to visit some of the best local wineries and enjoy a gourmet picnic lunch in the countryside.

14. Oceano Hotel and Spa Half Moon Bay Harbor

Oceano Hotel and Spa is a luxurious hotel in Half Moon Bay.

Situated in Half Moon Bay, the Oceano Hotel and Spa is one of the most luxurious oceanfront hotels on the Central California Coast. This is an ideal place to stay for Bay Area locals seeking a picturesque escape on the water. 

A stay here is nothing short of a seaside dream! The rooms and suites come with elegant furnishings, a fireplace, and a terrace or balcony so you can wake up to the sounds of the ocean. If you’re looking for a rejuvenating experience, be sure to book a treatment at the Oceano Coastal Spa.

The view from our patio was beatiful. The staff is always wonderful. The weather was great. So many great restaurants within walking distance.

Andrea (read more guest reviews here)

Step outside the hotel, and you’ll be at the center of a quaint marina filled with little shops, fresh seafood spots, and local breweries. A few of my favorites are the La Costanera Peruvian restaurant and Half Moon Bay Brewing Company.

Check Oceano Hotel and Spa rates & availability here!

15. Vespera Resort On Pismo Beach, Autograph Collection

Looking for resorts on Central Coast with beach views? Book Vespera Resort On Pismo Beach and stay just steps from the shoreline!

If you’re looking to stay in a place where the surf meets sand, it doesn’t get better than Vespera Resort On Pismo Beach. Situated at the center of Pismo Beach, this comfy and inviting resort is an ideal location for a coastal vacation.

The rooms are decorated in a modern, nautical theme offering the perfect place to retreat after a full day in the sun. I especially love the outdoor space that has a pool, fire pits, and lounge chairs – perfect for watching sunsets in the evenings.

“The property location is adjacent to a walking pier and the Pismo Beach Public Square. Great central location with an assortment of restaurants nearby.”

James (read more guest reviews here)

From the hotel, you can easily walk along the wooden boardwalk or take a stroll along the beach.

While the resort does offer dining choices on-site, be sure to venture out for some of the meals. Pismo Beach has a lot of great seafood restaurants including Oyster Loft, Wooly’s, and Cracked Crab.

Check Vespera Resort rates & availability here!


I hope these gorgeous Central California Coast resorts have inspired you to pack your bags and head on a relaxing beach vacation! Let me know in the comments below which of these resorts were your favorite ones.

Looking for more Central California Coast travel inspiration? Be sure to check out these popular posts next:

This post is written by Laura Sausina. 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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