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Santa Cruz offers the chance to experience the quintessential California beach town. Whether you’re looking for active fun in the sun or relaxation, you’ll find it here and you’re likely to find an ideal hotel to base your stay for enjoying it all too. These hotels, in particular, offer the best of the best when it comes to accommodation in the area.
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The Dream Inn is arguably the most ideally situated property of all, located in the heart of the most popular beachfront area just steps from the Beach Boardwalk and the wharf, with all 165 rooms facing the Pacific. At night you’ll be able to open up your door that leads to a private balcony and fall asleep to the peaceful sounds of the waves. When you need a break from ocean swimming, paddle boarding or all the other activities you can enjoy on the saltwater, you’ll find a heated swimming pool at beachfront too. While rooms feature vibrant retro-chic beach decor they offer plenty of high-end amenities like rain showers, flat-screen TVs and iPod decks. The onsite restaurant, Jack O’Neill Restaurant & Lounge, serves mouthwatering fresh seafood in a casual atmosphere.
The Chaminade Resort & Spa isn’t at beachside, but it does offer magnificent views of the Santa Cruz Mountains from about three miles inland. Booking one of the rooms with a patio will allow you to enjoy the scenery anytime you like. No matter which you book, you’ll find high-end bath products along with colorful decor and a flat-screen TV. You’ll find plenty to keep you busy right on site when you aren’t exploring, including the spa, a pool, hiking trails and tennis courts. There are two restaurants onsite as well, the Sunset Restaurant and Linwood’s Bar & Grill.
The Ocean Echo Inn is a true hidden gem. A former ranch, it features a series of cottages and guest rooms that are nestled on a quiet side street that overlooks a beautiful stretch of Sunny Cove Beach a few miles from the Beach Boardwalk. The top-floor room is the most impressive, featuring a big private balcony with a stunning view of the crashing waves. While couples are sure to enjoy it, the inn is also ideal for families, including those who want to bring their furry best friends along. Most cottages and the multi-room suites include a kitchen and BBQ grill, and the property also hosts a large shared deck with shaded picnic tables and BBQ grills overlooking the beach.
West Cliff Inn sits within a historic mansion atop a hill across from across from Cowell’s Beach and the Beach Boardwalk. A B&B operated by Four Sisters Inns, most rooms include a fireplace and a marble bathroom, and many offer ocean views and over-sized jetted spa tubs. Of course, as a B&B, you can also look forward to a breakfast every morning, buffet style, in addition to afternoon wine and hors d’oeuvres, while delicious cookies await your arrival.
Hotel Paradox is part of the Marriott Autograph Collection and sits about a mile from the ocean as one of the few full-service hotels in town. Designed to bring nature and the outdoors in, the modern earth-toned accommodations feature reclaimed wood with river rock showers, while the reception desk is cut from an 18-foot reclaimed eucalyptus log, lamps look like birds’ nests, tree stumps serve as poolside tables and squirrels can be seen clinging to the walls. Amenities include a heated outdoor swimming pool and hot tub surrounded by lounge chairs, cabanas and fire pits, and a gym with cardio and weight-training equipment. Guests can also use electric skateboards and loaner bikes for exploring nearby attractions like the Beach Boardwalk and the main beach. Beach picnic lunches and surfboard valet service can also be arranged.
The Best Western Plus All Suites Inn may be a chain but it offers a great value with clean, comfortable and spacious suites that include living rooms areas, coffeemakers, microwaves and mini-refrigerators. While there isn’t a restaurant on site, there are several within walking distance and a complimentary breakfast with hot and cold items is served daily. Wi-Fi is free, and guests can also take advantage of the outdoor patio with a hot tub and a fitness room.
The Seascape Beach Resort enjoys a secluded locale in Aptos, just minutes from Santa Cruz on a dramatic coastal bluff that overlooks Monterey Bay. A full-service resort, its multi-room villas and series of studios all include fireplaces, private decks and full kitchens, while golf carts shuttle guests down a path to the sandy beach. The property also hosts three heated pools that are open year-round and a fabulous restaurant with one of the best views in town from the scenic patio. If you ask the concierge, a beach bonfire complete with s’mores can be arranged.
Situated in the heart of Santa Cruz, this B&B property feels as if it’s tucked in secluded woods with its tall trees, tranquil stream and lush gardens. Every room is individually decorated and features artwork from renowned painters and poets as well as a fireplace and feather bed. Most include a private patio too. In the afternoon, you can look forward to enjoying wine, cheese, and freshly baked cookies.
This hotel that sits at cliff-side and offers breathtaking Pacific Ocean views from all of its spacious, homey rooms. It also boasts a convenient location near downtown and the Beach Boardwalk. Look forward to a free continental breakfast each morning as well as wine and cheese in the afternoon.
A four-story hotel located at the northwest end of Santa Cruz, Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Santa Cruz offers a convenient location for those who want to be close to UC Santa Cruz and the beach, without being right in the middle of all the action. Natural Bridges State Beach and West Cliff Drive are just a 10-minute walk away. Rooms are spacious – if you need an extra bed, book a suite which has a pullout sofa. Some rooms include balconies and ocean views, and all have microwaves and refrigerators.