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Destination California

Sun and serenity await at these top notch beachfront resorts overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
Emily Sweet

Whether you're looking for a few nights away or a weeklong escapade, these resorts are a game changer. Gather the girls for a bachelorette weekend or slip away with your fiancé because there’s no better setting than the California coast. If you’re hoping to embrace complete relaxation, these destinations feature distinguished spas that offer innovative treatments and beachfront access.

If you’re seeking the ultimate in barefoot luxury, the Alila Marea Beach Resort in Encinitas is the perfect setting for a seaside escape. With a focus on ecological design, this luxury resort’s architecture effortlessly integrates into the natural coastal setting. Personalized hospitality and unprecedented privacy are hallmarks of Alila, and most rooms in this beachfront sanctuary feature outdoor balconies and personal firepits. Contemporary restaurant Vaga creates delectable tributes to San Diego cuisine, using locally sourced and sustainable ingredients, while the Coffee Box offers guests a refreshing stop with custom caffeinated creations. For maximum relaxation, head to Spa Alila for treatments inspired by the healing powers of the ocean or sign up for complimentary beachfront yoga or a nature hike.

Perched atop dramatic cliffs overlooking a protected marine preserve and kelp forest, Terranea Resort offers guests an oceanfront sanctuary. With an astonishing design bridging Mediterranean architecture and ecological considerations, the sprawling 102-acre property leaves guests more than 75 acres of the natural Southern California landscape to explore. Naturalist-led trail walks, as well as activities such as seaside yoga and painting, give guests an opportunity to learn about local flora and fauna. The hotel itself is well equipped for any weekend getaway, with four pools, a spa and salon, a nine-hole golf course, eight dining options, enticing courtyards, outdoor fireplaces and telescopes, bars, a fitness studio and a well-curated boutique. With accommodations that include stylish casitas and villas in addition to guestrooms and suites, you can choose to embrace the lively ambiance of the resort or opt for more privacy. With its gorgeous views and endless activities, Terranea Resort is sure to maximize your mini break.

Tranquility and five-star luxury abound at Nobu Ryokan Malibu, which artfully combines the best of Japanese design and hospitality with California beach life. Nestled on Carbon Beach, the secluded oasis is tucked behind a subtle teak and glass entrance that opens into a lush Japanese garden overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Featuring natural materials, such as teak, bronze and limestone, the calming, minimalist property includes 11 guest rooms and five beachfront bungalows, each uniquely designed in the traditional aesthetic of Japanese ryokan (inns), with elements such as tatami mats, shoji-style closets and limestone walls. Native California plants line the garden paths that lead to a grand outdoor fireplace and the beach. Instructed in the tradition of omotenashi, or Japanese hospitality, the staff treats each guest like a celebrity and will happily arrange for room service, guided hikes, surf lessons, in-room massages, and will even escort you to a restorative experience at Cure, conveniently located across the Pacific Coast Highway. This medically guided wellness club offers everything from Botox and fillers to IV therapy and massages. The ultimate on a therapeutic getaway at Nobu Ryokan Malibu is the custom Cure massage, which incorporates a variety of modalities tailored to the individual. Make the most of your stay by asking for the expansive ocean-view room, known to insiders as the “rock star” room. Perched on the top floor, this stunning room offers sweeping views of the ocean and garden courtyard, and features a teak Japanese soaking tub, the perfect spot to zen out while listening to the lapping waves.*

The journey is as beautiful as the destination when it comes to the Cliffs Hotel and Spa. Right off State Route 1, this Pismo Beach retreat offers the ideal backdrop for a romantic getaway or bachelorette weekend, with beachfront views, hiking, golf courses and wineries just minutes away. The ethereal walk to the beach along rustic wooded paths ends with views of coastal grasses and tide pools, presenting endless Instagram photo ops and memorable moments. The Central Coast hotel is home to a renowned spa offering massages, facials and body treatments, and featuring innovative therapies like CryoStem cell therapy and CBD pain relief. Premier restaurant Marisol creates delicious seaside-inspired dishes and cocktails that perfectly complement the serene ocean views.

*Text written by Lara M. Burnap

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