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The Surfrider Hotel
Photograph: Courtesy Nicole FranzenRooftop at the Surfrider Hotel

The best hotels in Malibu

Stay at the best Malibu hotels including ritzy seaside inns, boutique hideaways and even a Japanese-style ryoken

Written by
Danielle DiMeglio
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When you think of Malibu, you think of sun-kissed surfers shredding the waves (and possibly a celebrity sighting or two), but there’s plenty more to lure visitors both near and far. Over the past few years, we’ve seen a crop of new restaurants and shops making their way into the Mali-bubble. Think popular eateries like Broad Street Oyster Company, Lucy’s Steakhouse and Malibu Farm. There’s also a tempting lineup of posh favorites with a view of the Pacific like the Sunset Restaurant, Nobu Malibu and Mastro’s Ocean Club to strike your fancy. Between the serene beaches and a high-end dining scene, many Angelenos make the trek up Pacific Coast Highway for a slice of coastal bliss and turn it into a weekend staycation.

While the surfer-clad beach town stretches for just 21 miles of coastline, you’ll find a small but mighty range of hotel options to satisfy your budget. From luxurious waterfront suites and rustic bungalows to boutique inns and even a Japanese-style ryokan, the best hotels in Malibu make a tempting case for an overnight stay. Find well-appointed rooms, lavish spas, fitness centers, ocean views, rooftop bars and other enticing hotel features. During your stay, be sure to check out the waves at some of L.A.’s best beaches, dine at oceanfront restaurants, hike to waterfalls, sip wine at local tasting rooms and soak up all that “the ’Bu” has to offer. For the early risers, be sure to catch the morning surf for some of the best waves on the West Coast.

The 7 best Malibu hotels

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  • Malibu
  • price 3 of 4

Located on the picturesque Carbon Beach, the waterfront Malibu Beach Inn features private beach access for exclusive use of hotel guests. Book a stay in one of 47 well-appointed rooms, all of which come with a private balcony and face the water in some fashion. Outdoor, high-end shopping and dining destination, Malibu Country Mart, is within a mile, and the Malibu Pier is right next door, where fabulous breaks provide some of the best longboard surfing in Southern California. The high-end getaway isn’t cheap, but that’s the price you pay for your own slice of paradise on one of L.A.’s most coveted stretches of beach. 

  • Hotels
  • Boutique hotels
  • Malibu
  • price 3 of 4

A former roadside motel turned stylish, beachy retreat, the Surfrider has the best—and most exclusive—rooftop in Malibu. The beachy, uncluttered and refined rooms are fit for a magazine spread without ever feeling too precious. This is a space equipped to handle the water and sand you’ll track in from across the street, with a comfy bed you’ll sink into after a day in the sun. While the street noise won’t creep much into your room, it may keep you off your private balcony, but no matter: Most of your time on property is likely to be spent on the hotel’s rooftop terrace anyway, which serves breakfast, lunch and dinner exclusively for hotel guests. Make sure to take advantage of the surfboards on loan, as well as hybrid Minis to cruise about town.

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  • Hotels
  • Boutique hotels
  • Malibu
  • price 4 of 4

Inspired by the traditional Japanese ryokan (inn), the oceanfront Nobu Ryokan Malibu offers 16 intimate, luxurious rooms complete with teak soaking tubs, indoor and outdoor fireplaces, beachfront decks and stunning, minimalist design. The tranquil retreat is located on the exclusive Carbon Beach—and for sushi fans, it’s just steps away from high-end Japanese restaurant Nobu Malibu. But luxury amenities and well-appointed rooms come at a pretty price. There is a two-night minimum stay with rates starting at a jaw-dropping $2,000 per night. 

  • Hotels
  • Santa Monica Mountains
  • price 3 of 4

Hidden in the Santa Monica Mountains, the rustic yet elegant hotel rests on longtime, family-owned property, Calamigos Ranch. The dreamy, 200-acre location—often used as a prime California wedding destination—is home to 70 private cottages, bungalows and estate rooms. During your stay, head to the property's trendy outdoor restaurant, Malibu Cafe, go wine tasting in the vineyards, surf the waves at the nearby beach, or horseback ride through the surrounding mountains. It has the makings of a dream vacation.

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  • Hotels
  • Boutique hotels
  • Malibu
  • price 2 of 4

Sure, there are frillier spots and it’s located right next to buzzy PCH, but if you’re looking for lodging that’s just a short walk from the ocean, the M Malibu is a fine choice. Located near plenty of restaurants, shops, beaches and dining options (including a takeout menu from the nearby Nicolas Eatery), the M Malibu (renovated in 2016 along with a more recent refresh) offers minimal, retro-style rooms with free Wi-Fi and parking, air conditioning, beach towels and balconies with partial ocean views.

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  • Malibu
  • price 3 of 4

Perched atop a beachside bluff in the famed beach town, the rustic Malibu Country Inn boasts sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean and a prime location. Each of the 16 quaint rooms includes your standard fridge, coffee maker and TV, while spacious suites offer a fireplace, Jacuzzi bathtub and breathtaking ocean views. The charming inn also offers free wireless Internet and free self-parking for added convenience. Dine at the on-site restaurant which overlooks the property’s gardens and Zuma Beach in the distance, take a dip in the heated pool, catch a wave at the beach or drive down to the nearby Malibu Country Mart to peruse the local boutiques and eateries.

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  • Hotels
  • Malibu
  • price 3 of 4

The Native Hotel is currently closed due to damages sustained from the Woolsey Fire. The hotel is set to reopen summer 2021.

Previously known as the Malibu Riviera, the Native Hotel is a contemporary spot on the Pacific Coast Highway. Originally constructed in 1947, the rooms at the hotel have fresh, beachy decor and minimal (but curated) furnishings which provide a laid-back energy that is far removed from the busy road outside. In fact, it’s a world away—the hotel has a surfer-esque, no-frills vibe and is much more affordable than other Malibu boutiques. 

 

Discover more of L.A.’s coastal retreats

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With miles of pictureque coastline from Malibu to the South Bay, the best beaches in L.A. are aplenty for outdoor enthusiasts, surfers, families, sun worshippers and beach bunnies. From Venice and Santa Monica to Manhattan Beach and Playa Vista, here are the best beaches in L.A. to sunbathe, surf and play.

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