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With sandy beaches and wild stretches of coastline where azure waves crash against dramatic cliffs, dazzling lakes, wine country, and cities with a wealth of attractions, California offers many enticing destinations for a romantic escape. No matter what kind of couples’ getaway you’re seeking, relaxed, adventurous, or a little bit of both, you’ll find some fabulous hotels that make for an ideal base throughout the Golden State. Some are even worthy of being the destinations themselves. From a remote Victorian village in Northern California to sun-soaked cities in SoCal, book any one of these properties sure to ignite or reignite the flame in your relationship.
Frequently ranked among the most romantic properties in the country, Post Ranch Inn is located on the Central California coast, nestled on a high ridge overlooking the ocean in Big Sur. An adults-only hotel, it also hosts one of the best view restaurants in the state, the exclusive Sierra Mar, an award-winning spa, and clifftop pools. The spacious, eco-friendly rooms boast ocean or mountain views, many from floor-to-ceiling windows. The Pacific Suite is one of the best, with views of the ocean from every vantage point. Standard amenities include soaking tubs big enough for two, wood-burning fireplaces, radiant floor heating, and private decks with hot tubs or outdoor showers.
Stunning views from floor-to-ceiling windows
A top-rated restaurant on-site with ocean-view dining
There is a long list of romantic things to do in San Francisco, from sunset cruises and ocean-view dining to strolls across the Golden Gate Bridge. Elevate your stay by booking the world-class Palace Hotel, which offers the glamour of a bygone era complete with high tea under the gorgeous stained-glass dome in the Garden Court and live jazz at the Pied Piper Bar. It also boasts one of the most stunning indoor pools in the city while the luxurious suites feature opulent traditional furnishings, original architectural details, floor-to-ceiling views, and all the modern comforts.
A Southern France-inspired hotel in the heart of Califonia wine country, Auberge du Soleil is an adults-only property tucked among rolling hills and vineyards. One of the best 5-star hotels in Napa Valley, it’s the perfect base for romantic excursions like sunrise hot-air balloon rides, wine-tasting tours, bicycling, and picnic lunches. Afterward, you can enjoy the panoramic pool, indulge in decadent treatments at the spa, and dine on French/Mediterranean dishes with a California twist featuring the area’s best local ingredients paired with carefully procured wines. Accommodation is in Mediterranean-style villas with wood-burning fireplaces and private verandas that overlook olive groves.
Ojai offers an oasis of tranquility just 80 miles northwest of Los Angeles and the Ojai Valley Inn makes the perfect base. You and your other half will be treated to gorgeous views of the Topatopa Mountains from nearly every vintage point. Inspired by Spanish haciendas, the rooms and suites are jam-packed with luxurious amenities, including many that have private balconies, fireplaces, and whirlpool baths. Guests can also enjoy complimentary yoga sessions, meditation, and fitness walks, along with outstanding dining venues.
Spectacular mountain views
Complimentary fitness walks, yoga, and meditation
Luxe rooms with private balconies, whirlpool baths, and fireplaces
One of the country’s best beachfront hotels, Hotel del Coronado offers historic character, luxurious amenities, and a spectacular stretch of sand that sparkles like gold dust under the frequent California sunshine. There is a wide range of things to do, including romantic walks on the beach, swimming, paddleboarding, surfing, and bonfires. Plus, championship golf and the Silver Strand Bike Path is just steps away. The award-winning spa is the perfect place to go after a day of activities, and there are three heated pools too.
With over 70 miles of magnificent shoreline in both California and Nevada, Lake Tahoe is an ideal destination for romance-seeking couples who want to enjoy lots of outdoor activities, from lake cruises, kayaking, and paddleboarding to hiking and skiing. The Landing Resort & Spa is consistently rated one of the best in the area, located on the California side in South Lake Tahoe. It has an award-winning spa for pampering and an outstanding restaurant that serves California and Greek fare, while the luxurious accommodations include private patios or balconies with gorgeous lake views, granite stone fireplaces, and marble bathrooms with heated floors and toilet seats. Some come with steam showers, aromatherapy, and light therapy too.
All rooms include private balconies or patios with lake views
On-site restaurant serving California and Greek fare
The Ritz-Carlton at Half Moon Bay is just 30 minutes south of San Francisco along the coast, nestled on a bluff overlooking the Pacific. Guests enjoy a welcome glass of wine and endless panoramic ocean views. A short list of the facilities includes a massive spa with saunas, steam rooms, and an extensive menu of treatments, as well as a swimming pool, a golf course, multiple restaurants, and a wine bar. All rooms come with marble bathrooms that include rainfall showers and soaking tubs, and some have ocean views.
Located along the Northern California coast about three hours north of San Francisco, the Brewery Gulch Inn provides a romantic base for exploring the town’s Victorian buildings and saltbox cottages, many of which house galleries, antique shops, fine dining restaurants, cafes, and unique boutiques. At this popular luxury resort in the U.S., you’ll have easy access to hikes through the redwoods and strolls on the beach while being able to come back and cozy up to a roaring fire in the common area. When it’s time to turn in, your elegant room features a feather bed, gas fireplace, and a spectacular ocean view. Made-to-order breakfasts and evening wine and hors d’oeuvres are included too.
One of the most highly rated hotels in Newport Beach, Balboa Bay Resort boasts a beautiful waterside setting while offering a full-scale resort experience. Oozing glamor throughout, it includes a lavish spa, a magnificent pool area, a modern fitness center, and top-notch dining that can be enjoyed on the terrace at A+O Restaurant and Bar with enchanting bay views. A trendy gastropub with a patio and two fire pits is available too, while rooms boast private balconies with pool or bay views.
A waterside location
Luxe spa on-site
Multiple dining options, including A+O Restaurant and Bar with a bay-view terrace
The Ahwahnee is located in Yosemite National Park, nestled among its famous granite cliffs and cascading waterfalls. You’ll be close to many of the park’s top sites in Yosemite Valley, in fact, you might even have a view of Half Dome right from your room. Hiking trails are just steps away. On-site amenities include a dining room where delicious meals are served, a bar, stone fireplaces, a solarium, an afternoon tea service, and a year-round heated outdoor pool.
Malibu is known as a home to the rich and famous, something you’ll immediately notice when gazing up at the mansions in the mountains and along the oceanfront. While it isn’t just for celebrities and other VIPs, with 21 miles of beautiful sands that attract locals and visitors alike, you’ll probably feel like one if you book a room at the Malibu Beach Inn. Perfect for a romantic retreat, all of its luxurious rooms have full glass doors that open to private balconies that overlook the Pacific. You can even let the sounds of the waves lull you to sleep. The property also has an oceanfront spa, a highly acclaimed restaurant, and a private stretch of beach.
Perched on a cliff overlooking the Pacific just a short walk from the famous Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, the Sea & Sand Inn is one of the most romantic hotels in the city. An intimate boutique property, all of its spacious rooms offer ocean views, and some come with fireplaces and Jacuzzi tubs. Book a suite for a private deck with a hot tub where you can soak while watching the waves. Guests also enjoy a free continental breakfast every morning and wine and cheese in the afternoon.
Rooms with ocean views, romantic suites with private outdoor hot tubs
Complimentary continental breakfast + afternoon wine and cheese
Sacred Sands is a one-of-a-kind property near the west entrance to Joshua Tree National Park. It’s also a popular wedding venue, so you know it’s going to be romantic. An upscale B&B, it’s surrounded by enchanting desert views and hosts just two chic rooms with luxurious beds and ultra-posh bathrooms that include river rock floors. They each have private terraces with an additional shower, soaking tubs, and a meditation platform. After dark, the stargazing is unbeatable.
Rooms with private terraces and soaking tubs
Desert views near the west entrance of Joshua Tree National Park
Cavallo Point Lodge is located in Sausalito State Park, just across the Golden Gate Bridge, offering views of the famous bridge and the bay. An army base in the 19th century, it still includes many period details in the main building and the Historic Rooms, which once served as the officers’ residences. The Contemporary Rooms are tucked into the hillside and come with floor-to-ceiling windows showcasing breathtaking views and cozy gas fireplaces. Guests can also enjoy a spa with a swimming pool and fire pits, an on-site restaurant with a menu of delicious regional dishes, and access to classes at the property’s cooking school.