entrance to hotel with red carpet and brown and pink striped ceiling
Indagare Adored

Beverly Hills Hotel & Bungalows

This legendary “Pink Palace,” its bungalows, Polo Lounge and restaurant have been hot spots for Hollywood royalty and a beacon of glamour.

Editors' Picks
Indagare Plus
Large garden of the hotel has many different flowers and trees and bushes. You can see hotel buildings in the background. Mountains are in the distance
Indagare Adored

San Ysidro Ranch

A discreet location famous for romantic encounters, San Ysidro Ranch epitomizes the idea of the American Riviera.

Editors' Picks
Indagare Plus
Front driveway and entrance of the hotel. The building is large and white and a worker opens a car door of a Rolls Royce
Indagare Adored

The Peninsula Beverly Hills

An exclusive Indagare Travel hotel review of The Peninsula Beverly Hills in Los Angeles, California—a five-star urban luxury oasis.

Editors' Picks
Indagare Plus

1801 First Inn

Napa Valley locals direct friends to this tiny bed and breakfast, outfitted with just five suites, two cottages and one private carriage house. Deep-red, cherry-wood panels line the Amica Dolcetto suite (the largest), while the upstairs Noble Noir has buttery interiors and a large skylight in its sloped ceiling.

hotel on the bluffs by the ocean

Alila Marea Beach Resort Encinitas

Set atop the dramatic bluffs of the Encinitas coastline, the Alila Marea is the perfect getaway for those seeking a serene oceanside retreat.

Indagare Plus
Unknown image

Alila Ventana Big Sur

Ventana Big Sur sits in the heart of Big Sur, just off the cliffside Highway 1. The inn’s low cedar structures, connected by beautifully landscaped pathways, blend into the surrounding acres of meadows and woodlands. As with Big Sur itself, scenery takes center stage here and guests of the resort, which sits over 1,000 feet above the ocean, are constantly drawn outdoors by the views.

An iconic hideaway for the Hollywood set since the 1970s, Ventana completed a multi-million dollar renovation in 2017 that transformed its 59 rooms and suites with modern furnishings. The redesign is both luxurious and refined, incorporating natural elements at every opportunity. The accommodations are spacious and sophisticated, offering high ceilings, fireplaces (in most rooms) and warm textures and earth tones. For more intrepid travelers, Ventana Big Sur offers a glamping experience in the Redwoods, where they have 15 platform tents with daily housekeeping service and run activities like garden tours, meditation and tai chi classes, wine and cheese hour and more.

Amenity-wise, Ventana now has an array of inviting public spaces such as the Library & Music Room, Game Room and Bar Room, each of which fosters a cozy-chic vibe. The hotel also has an Alila spa with two pools and Japanese-style (clothing optional) hot baths. Just in case the abundant opportunities for hiking, mountain biking, swimming and outdoor pursuits aren't enough, the property provides a gorgeous fitness facility as well.

Indagare Plus
Lounge at Andaz San Diego, San Diego, California - Photo Courtesy Red Square, Inc.

Andaz San Diego

The Andaz’s central location in the Gaslamp Quarter provides easy access to neighborhood restaurants, lounges and clubs. The 159 guest rooms are sleek and modern, featuring designer lighting, local art and, in some rooms, glass-walled bathrooms.

The hotel offers a good value, including for its modern boutique accommodations, amenities and services, like poolside massages. The rooftop fitness center as well as restaurant and bar boast beautiful views of the area.

Indagare Plus
Unknown image


As one of the newest hotels in the Palm Springs lineup, Arrive is a hip, low-key, casual retreat. Read Indagare's review.
Editors' Picks
Dinning Area at Auberge du Soleil, Napa Valley, California

Auberge du Soleil

Epitomizing laid-back luxury and romance, Auberge du Soleil resort offers the ultimate experience in California wine country relaxation.

Editors' Picks
Indagare Plus
Bedroom at Belmond El Encanto, Santa Barbara, California

Belmond El Encanto

With barely a sign indicating the way to the El Encanto, it is a wonder guests find their way to this Belmond-managed property, set amidst the homes and estates that dot the hills above downtown Santa Barbara, overlooking the Pacific coast. One of the most anticipated hotel openings of 2013, El Encanto is finally back and turning heads in Santa Barbara after a painstaking restoration and reconstruction. As much as could be retained of its original structure was kept intact. All of the white clapboard bungalows date back to their foundation between 1914 and 1918, while thirty new structures were based on its Spanish Colonial Revival phase in the late 1920’s.

The ninety-two accommodations are scattered over terraced grounds, consisting of manicured lawns and lush gardens abundant with fragrant and colorful flowers. Interiors are an eclectic blend of California Coastal-meets-Spanish Colonial, with some offering a more contemporary aesthetic than others and even introducing Asian-inspired fabrics and wall art. Fireplaces, outdoor spaces and views are sprinkled throughout and highly coveted. All accommodations have in common uniquely large bathrooms with rainfall showers and separate soaking tubs, plush beds and bedding, and individualized, monogrammed pillowcases (a nice touch).

The pool and main restaurant have the best vantage point from which to see the countryside and coast, offering panoramic views throughout the day and dramatic sunsets at night. Both spots are full of action, particularly the restaurant, a large, mostly outdoor space that serves French Californian fare and remains full of both guests and locals throughout the day and into the late evening. Entrenched within the Santa Barbara community, the El Encanto starts a new chapter in its history.

Indagare Plus
Spa Lobby at Bernardus Lodge & Spa, Carmel & Monterey, California

Bernardus Lodge & Spa

Tucked into the rolling hills of Carmel Valley, Bernardus Lodge & Spa is situated just minutes from the area’s attractions, but feels a world away. Twenty-eight acres of lavender fields, orchards and vineyards provide a pastoral backdrop to the elevated ranch-style main lodge and rooms. The lodge, which originally opened in 1999, was fully renovated and reopened in 2015 with a sleeker aesthetic and a gorgeous new spa.

The 57 guestrooms and suites are warm and inviting, featuring fireplaces, French oak floors, eclectic furnishings and lavish king-sized featherbeds. The bathrooms are fitted with deep soaking tubs and heated marble floors. Off of each room sits a spacious private patio or balcony, most of which face the croquet lawn and bocce court. The patios are not designed for privacy, but rather inspire guests to get to know each other (to assist in this socializing effort, all rooms are stocked with complimentary Bernardus wines). Those who enjoy more active pursuits will appreciate the property’s two tennis courts, the lap-length pool overlooking the mountains and fitness center.

The fabulous restaurant, Lucia, which is worth a visit even for those not staying on property, offers an acclaimed, vegetable-driven menu featuring ingredients from the onsite organic gardens. The terrace is a lovely setting for lunch or dinner, and occasionally features live music.

Indagare Plus
Exterior at Cal-a-Vie Health Spa, California

Cal-a-Vie Health Spa

An exceptional spa retreat in the California mountains near San Diego, Cal-a-Vie offers top-notch service, excellent classes and superb food in an elegant, intimate setting. With a delightfully warm ambiance, guests are encouraged to push their limits in a safe, supportive atmosphere.
Editors' Picks
Bedroom at Mr. C Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, California

Cameo Beverly Hills

Mr. C’s (C is short for Cipriani) makes no effort to distance itself from its Italian roots, and guests will be pleasantly surprised at how seamlessly Venetian luxury fuses with West-Coast ease. The property was opened by fourth-generation members of the Cipriani family, whose patriarch founded Harry’s Bar in Venice in 1931 (and mixed up the first-ever Bellini). It welcomes guests with high quality-service. These nods to the past are countered by contemporary design, resulting in a rather whimsical atmosphere. Vintage black-and-white photographs adorn guest rooms that are accented by retro chesterfield sofas (who knew leather looked so good beachside?). But the real highlight is the views. All accommodations have private balconies with sweeping panoramas, and the ones facing Beverly Hills cannot be beat. There’s a fabulous guest-only pool; with orange and white cabanas and excellent poolside service.

Indagare Plus
Large cottage looking exterior shot of the hotel. Made of stone

Canyon Ranch Woodside

Canyon Ranch Woodside is a Spiritual Wellness Retreat that focuses on the integration of body, mind, heart and spirit.

Lounge at Carmel Valley Ranch, Carmel & Monterey, California

Carmel Valley Ranch

The 500-acre resort, nestled in the Santa Lucia mountains, lies two hours south of San Francisco (in its former incarnation, it was a golf and tennis resort). Today the family property has ancient oaks, fields of lavender, a vineyard, an organic kitchen garden, a great spa, multiple pools, an 18-hole Pete Dye-designed golf course and a sports center with a 25-meter pool, basketball and bocce courts and fitness and tennis centers. And while the wooden swings that dangle from ancient tree branches may evoke traditional family resorts, progressive thinking has given a modern twist to the offerings. (The gift shop sells the wooden swings that you see around the property. If you don’t see them for sale, ask to be put on the wait-list.)

Being an hour south of Silicon Valley and two from San Francisco, the property offers some cutting-edge programming and draws lots of tech geniuses looking to recharge. You can spend a day full of learning disguised as pure amusement. From honey-harvesting with the bee-keeper to attending one of Carmel’s cultural events, the activities range from the quirky to the cerebral with lots of outdoor options in between. (Among my favorite activities on a visit: honey harvesting, hiking, the Monterey Bay Aquarium and an amazing massage at the spa.)

But as action-packed as your time can be at the Ranch-part of its magic is how the place inspires you to enjoy simplicity. The swings that hang from ancient tree branches are impossible to resist as is making s’mores around the fire pit. The Lodge building itself, where sun floods through skylights and fires crackle in stone fireplaces, feels more like a home than a hotel, despite its size. It’s anti-fancy but inviting. In the main dining room the menu focuses on fresh local ingredients. Salads come straight from the Ranch organic garden; grilled artichokes from nearby Castroville; and sea bass and scallops from the fishing boats in Monterey.

In keeping with the rest of the resort, the guest rooms, like the menu, feature the right balance of California nature and sophistication. Each room feels like a cabin tucked into the woods with the comforts of a great hotel room, including a fireplace that flares at the flick of a switch and flat-screen TVs but with the laid-back vibe of summer camp with wood floors, stone fireplaces and broad porches off of the bedrooms. The bathrooms are spacious but not glitzy and the living areas not over-decorated but cosseting.

Indagare Plus
Suite at Carneros Inn, Napa Valley, California

Carneros Resort and Spa

This 86-cottage inn, part of the PlumpJack group of hotels and restaurants, adds a modern, Californian touch to the valley’s lodging options. Located in the southern end of the Napa Valley, the inn is just under 50 miles from San Francisco. Set on 27 acres and surrounded by vineyards, farmland and apple orchards, this is what a tech billionaire's gentlemanly farm would feel like. Everything is top-of-the-line but so casual that a coat and tie may never have been seen here. The cottages have fireplaces, flat-screen TVs and gorgeous bathrooms with adjacent outdoor showers. The family suite has adjoining cottages with an extra-large backyard. There’s a children’s pool with changing rooms and a snack bar and the farm restaurant draws a trendy evening crowd.

Indagare Plus
Bedroom at Casa del Mar, Los Angeles, California

Casa del Mar

Shutters on the Beach and Casa del Mar, managed by the same family, are located side by side along a choice stretch of Santa Monica State Beach. The historic Santa Monica Pier, with an arcade and a 1916 carousel by master amusement-ride builder Charles I.D. Looff, is only a short walk away. Guests have signing privileges at both hotels and can use both pools.

The more opulent, Renaissance Revival–style Casa del Mar was built in 1926 as a grand beach club and hotel but was converted into a military hotel during World War II, then put to various uses until it reopened as a hotel, in 1999. The large lobby maintains its '20s look, featuring leather club chairs and an inviting bar, and the small pool on the fifth-floor terrace offers a panoramic ocean view. The 145 rooms and suites, all of which were updated in 2016, are comfortable, with a sense of place and ocean-inspired accents, and the ocean-view rooms are particularly impressive. Catch, the hotel restaurant and NYC transport, offers fresh seafood and a sushi bar. The small, attractive spa, with sea-grass walls and chintz-covered chairs, offers treatments that use products by Dr. Howard Murad, who runs the Murad Medical Spa, in nearby El Segundo.

Indagare Plus
Unknown image

Casa Palmero

The boutique hotel Casa Palmero at Pebble Beach Resort in Big Sur, California is housed in a lovely Spanish style former estate nestled between the first hole of the legendary course and the resort’s spa.

Indagare Plus
Exterior View - Cavallo Point, San Francisco, California

Cavallo Point

Families looking for a resort-style property within striking distance of downtown San Francisco flock to Cavallo Point, which is located in Fort Baker, part of the Golden Gate National Park. This former army base has expansive grounds that stretch down to the San Francisco Bay, allowing for wonderful walks to the water’s edge as well as easy access to the city via ferry or a short drive.

Rooms are divided into two categories: contemporary and historic. Both styles include modern amenities, from flat-screen televisions and large bathrooms with soaking tubs to organic linens, but the 68 historic rooms are housed in wonderfully restored officers' quarters and have more personality.

Each building, arranged in a semi-circle around the main parade ground, features unique touches such as expansive foyers, spacious front porches with rocking chairs, authentic tin ceilings and fireplaces. The 74 newly built Contemporary Rooms are located on the resort’s higher ground, offering truly breathtaking views. Built within a strict environmental code, the rooms are of sustainable design and construction using solar power, radiant heat, renewable materials, organic bedding and linens.

While many guests use Cavallo Point as a base for exploring San Francisco, there are also plenty of activities in the area. Kayaking, biking and hiking the Marin Headlands are first-time musts, as are walking tours of Fort Baker and beach excursions. There are also great kid-related activities including the outstanding Bay Area Discovery Museum, which is located in the Fort Baker property and ideal for young children.

Indagare Plus
Lobby Lounge from Courtyard at Château La Chenevière, Normandy, France

Chateau Marmont

Definitely not for everyone, the Chateau Marmont has its own distinct cool, casual style. The sixty-three rooms, including four bungalows (two with two floors), each uniquely decorated, seem to have been furnished courtesy of the Rose Bowl Flea Market, right down to the vintage O’Keefe & Merritt stoves in everything from junior suites on up. Bathrooms aren’t the marble palaces you may have come to expect; most are outfitted in the building’s original tiles and have clean white cotton curtains across the showers. Nevertheless, the Loire-style Chateau is quintessential Los Angeles, a local legend that began as an apartment house in the '20s and whose inhabitants have included Jean Harlow, Clark Gable, Jim Morrison, Helmut Newton and John Belushi, who spent his last night here. Most admirably, the property is a holdout against plastic surgery of any sort, if you don’t include new elevators. The place reeks of time-stopped-here Old Hollywood charm and is another feather in hotelier André Balazs’s cap.

Most guests are repeat customers: generally the young international set who read the covers of Variety and Billboard posted daily in the elevators. There’s no spa, and the seventh-floor gym is strictly dungeon-like, with one TV. For exercise, follow the lushly planted stone paths to the Ping-Pong table and the lovely pool, framed by a lemon tree. It’s hard to believe that the Sunset Strip is just outside the gate. If you don’t check in, be sure to at least dine in the garden restaurant, which is alongside a Gothic colonnade and is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Your view may very well include the sight of a smoking, tattoo-covered rock and roller drinking Badoit and red wine with his smoked salmon and bagel. Chef Carolynn Spence, from New York’s Spotted Pig, serves fare loaded with seasonal produce, plus oxtail bruschetta and organic eggs any style. She also cooks at the perennially hip and extremely funky Bar Marmont, next door. Dinner reservations are a must.

Indagare Plus
Unknown image

Colony Palms Hotel

The 57-room Colony Palms is a desert version of the Beverly Hills Hotel, but more serene, with a turquoise-blue pool and lush landscaping.

Editors' Picks
The Downtown LA Proper lobby

Downtown L.A. Proper

Indagare Travel reviews the Downtown L.A. Proper Hotel in Los Angeles, a boho-chic boutique design hotel by AD100 designer Kelly Wearstler.

Indagare Plus
hotel pool in desert with 2 story building and mountains behind

Drift Palm Springs

The 39-key Drift Palm Springs is a lower-cost option for independent travelers not wanting to sacrifice style for a lower price point.
Outdoor Bedroom at El Blok, Vieques, Caribbean

El Capitan Canyon

For nature lovers who also love their creature comforts, a special campsite twenty miles north of downtown Santa Barbara offers safari tents and cedar cabins for a camp-out experience that comes with fully made beds. Located on 300-plus acres on a stunning oceanfront property, El Capitan Canyon has 108 cedar cabins with mini kitchens and 26 safari tents. Built on permanent wood decks and furnished with willow beds, electric lights and Western-style throw rugs, the tents are apt to thrill the kids, while parents are more likely to appreciate the cabins’ extra facilities. All of the cabins come with attached bathrooms; otherwise, facilities are a short walk. And there’s no room service, but all accommodations have grills, and meals can also be purchased on-site at the Canyon Market & Deli. Hiking trails traverse the 2,500-acre canyon, and docent-led hikes are offered. From May through October, the resort has Saturday-night barbecues, along with blues, jazz and bluegrass concerts. Be sure to reserve way in advance; up to a year is suggested.

Indagare Tip: Ask for a cabin with a creek or a canyon view. The new Canyon Loft Cabins are ideal for small families, as they come with a living room and a bedroom downstairs as well as a sleeping loft.

Pool at Estancia La Jolla, San Diego, California

Estancia La Jolla

Just north of the Torrey Pines State Reserve in the beach community of La Jolla, this former equestrian estate is set on 10 verdant acres with 210 rooms, and still manages to feel intimate and relaxed. From its red-tile roofs and hand-plastered walls to its hundreds of citrus, olive, fig, eucalyptus and pomegranate trees, the property looks very much like a Spanish Mission-style ranch with its own botanical gardens including a separate rose garden.

Swathed in shades of caramel and cream, rooms feature white-tiled baths and either patios or balconies overlooking the lush courtyard spa is complete with a saltwater whirlpool and Asian influenced therapies including a cherry blossom and rice powder body scrub and massage.

The weekend breakfast buffet at Adobe restaurant is very popular, while hacienda-style Mustangs & Burros offers fine dining matched with incredible tequilas. The awarding winning Trinitas Cellars Wine Bar offers wine by the glass or flights.

Indagare Plus
Facade at Fairmont Grand Del Mar, San Diego, California

Fairmont Grand Del Mar

Taking design cues from American resort architect Addison Mizner, who drew inspiration from Europe’s palaces and coastal retreats, this sprawling 249-room property has old-world charm to spare. Channeling colonial Spain and France, in-room details include hand-stenciled ceilings and marble baths. The hotel’s scale is indeed impressive: it sits on 380 acres in the posh northern San Diego community of Del Mar, with an 18-hole Tom Fazio-designed golf course, a 20,000-square foot spa, four swimming pools and access to the 4,000-acre Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve for hiking, biking and horseback riding. The spacious rooms have views of either the golf course or preserve and feature traditional—if dated—décor, with silk-upholstered curtains, tartan-printed textiles and striped beige wallpaper.

The property’s six dining venues and their creative chefs offer guests a wide array of options. Tuck into Jidori chicken and lobster and crab pappardelle at the property’s all-day restaurant, Amaya. For a special occasion, the 10-course tasting menu at sophisticated Addison, located up the resort's hill and helmed by chef William Bradley, is a must. Other dining options include some grab-and-go cafés as well as a lovely afternoon tea served in the library.

Indagare Plus
Balcony External view at Fairmont Miramar, Los Angeles, California

Fairmont Miramar

The buzzy Fairmont Miramar offers a bucolic slice of beachside living in Los Angeles. Especially ideal for families, thanks to spacious bungalows, the Santa Monica property is located a bit farther from the beach than Shutters, but closer to Malibu.

The Fairmont has comfortable rooms and a deservedly popular restaurant on premises that draws a happening crowd nightly. Most of the guest rooms are in the main high-rise building but the best ones are in the bungalows that surround the pool. In fact, the duplex bungalows with Pacific Ocean views and a Malibu beach house décor almost feel like private cottages. The two-story bungalows have upstairs living rooms with views of the beach. They feel like private beach bungalows and have been decked out with all of the elements to invoke coastal calm such as you would find in a Nantucket beach house.

On-property amenities include a beautiful Exhale spa and gym, complete with Exhale's workout classes, the latest fitness equipment and Peloton bikes. There is also a seasonal beach club that is open during the summer and offers complimentary rides to the beach, as well as food and drink service once there.

Indagare Plus


Indagare employees walking up stiars

Enjoy 30 Days On Us!

Start your Self Planner
membership trial today.

Unlock access to 2,000+ first-hand hotel reviews, 300+ Destination Guides and the most up-to-date travel news and inspiration.

Already a member?

Welcome back,
log in to Indagare

Not a member?

Forgot Password

Enter your email and we’ll send you a link to reset your password.

Type the first 3 letters to begin