9 best hotels on the beach
Formerly a cool retreat for hot Hollywood stars and now a sister to Casa del Mar, Shutters has a relaxed but decidedly upscale style. Filled with comfortable sofas, club chairs and prints by modern masters such as David Hockney, the lobby mirrors the beach-cottage ambience of the rooms and suites, which in turn feature lovely, dark hardwood floors and the hotel's signature white shutters. Guests who prefer gentle pampering to the myriad outdoor beach activities can spend a day at the spa or sit poolside sipping wine and taking in the ocean views. The luxury is low-key, but it's luxury all the same.
This meticulously styled boutique lodging literally has steps down to the boardwalk and the ocean, which is pretty neat. Meanwhile inside Hotel Erwin you can relax with a very SoCal bite to eat at Barlo or enjoy drinks on the roof at High Lounge. Each room comes with the usual amenities, plus iPhone docking stations, Byrd hair products and a Whole Foods honor minibar. If you really want to splash out, book the Oceanview King Suite, which comes with a separate living/dining room, massive flat screen and private balcony.
Welcome to Paradise. Situated on an oceanside bluff in posh Rancho Palos Verdes, the picturesque resort is the pinnacle of relaxation and resort life. Accommodations range from the usual rooms and suites to larger, more luxurious bungalows, casitas and villas. The resort boasts a nine-hole golf course, spa, four heated pools (including two adult-only) and nine—count 'em, nine—restaurants, bars and cafés. And if that isn’t enough to keep you busy, there's also paddleboarding, snorkeling and horseback riding excursions nearby. Though most of the coastline is rocky here, you'll find a path to a secluded cove on the property's east end.
Located on the sand, close to Santa Monica's shops and restaurants, this elegant and architecturally significant hotel is a local landmark. Most of the plush rooms and suites offer ocean and coastline views; for a really opulent stay, reserve one of the two-story penthouse suites or the super-deluxe presidential suite. An afternoon at the spa is a vacation in itself; salon services can be enjoyed in one of five Mediterranean-style treatment rooms or, better yet, under a cabana on the fifth-floor pool deck. The bar in the ornate and well-furnished lobby is a popular meeting spot for the bronzed and beautiful locals.
This craftsman-style inn was built in 1911 by Warren Wilson, the owner of the now-defunct Los Angeles Daily Journal. Now on the National Register of Historic Places, it's been faithfully restored and furnished with exceptional antique pieces. Six of the nine rooms are named after characters with ties to the area (Venice founder Abbot Kinney, sometime local Charlie Chaplin) and each has good amenities, though four share a common bath. The more extravagant suites offer an ocean view, fireplace, patio or private entrance.
This sparkling property hasn't been solely responsible for making Manhattan Beach a destination, but its influence has been huge. The 38 stylish guest rooms make great use of the space: multi-purpose tables can be rolled back and forth over the beds for breakfast or for use as a desk, while all rooms have vast spa-baths, free wifi and color-adjustable chromatherapy lighting. It's a downhill hike to the beach from the hotel, but that's about as close as you can get when it comes to South Bay accommodations.
Located on the sand, Malibu Beach Inn is the only hotel on this stretch that has its own beach for exclusive use of guests. Malibu Country Mart is within a mile and the Pier is right next door, where fabulous breaks provide some of the best longboard surfing in Southern California. The inn offers a couple of room types, all of which come with a private balcony and face the water in some fashion. It's not cheap, but that's the price for your own slice of paradise on one of LA's most coveted stretches of beach.
This Art Deco beauty reopened in 2008 after a $30-million makeover and the results are stunning. The streamline modern exterior has been preserved, while inside the rooms have been upgraded with hardwood floors, windows that open (yes, it's a rarity) and modern tech amenities. All offer ocean views and many have balconies and kitchenettes. There's a restaurant, 24-hour fitness center and heated pool to enjoy, plus drinks on the rooftop at the indoor-outdoor Onyx Lounge. If you want to bury your toes in the sand, cross the street and the Pacific Coast Highway pedestrian bridge and you'll find yourself on the beach.
This oceanfront spot proves that staying on the beach doesn't have to come at a premium and saving a few bucks doesn't have to mean slumming it. Rooms are bright, clean and comfortable—which is all you really need when the sand is just a few steps away. Consider reserving one of the hotel's limited number of parking spots, lest you have to trek halfway across Venice to find a spot.