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As someone who travels for my passion of design, I’m always keeping my eye out for the newest hotels that are opening. California has had quite a few over this last year, so I wanted to round up my top choices. This list also includes a few that are ones I have been itching to visit for a while.

California has a wide range of hotels, from boutique coastal stays to city hotels. My favorites personally are more intimate hotels that have a strong focus on aesthetics. Whether it’s a chic room with minimal features or a beautiful lobby that grabs you when you walk in, design is at the core of every hotel booking I make.

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This is my personal list of the coolest design hotels in California that I love, have been to, and will be visiting hopefully soon.

Take a look at these beautiful hotels in California for your next trip. You may even find yourself planning an entire trip around a hotel itself which is totally something I do!

Short on Time? Here Are My Top Picks for the Best Design Hotels in California:

  1. Hotel Carmel, for the best village hotel
  2. The Surfrider Hotel, for the best oceanview hotel
  3. Hotel Joaquin, for the best new hotel
  4. The Geneseo Inn, for the best winery hotel

The Coolest Design Hotels in California


Southern California

1. The Line Hotel (Los Angeles)

The Coolest Design Hotels in California
Image via Expedia.com

For those looking to be in DTLA, The Line Hotel is a fan-favorite for its minimalist design and cozy rooms. Their mid-century-designed hotel was originally built in 1964, today it has been transformed into a traveler’s dream stay. Book the best rates here.

Address: 3515 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90005

2. Hotel Joaquin (Laguna Beach)

The Coolest Design Hotels in California
Image via Expedia.com

One of the most photographed lobbies south of LA is found at Hotel Joaquin. But much more than that, Hotel Joaquin is a coastal boutique escape located within walking distance of Laguna Beach. It is a very private stay for those looking for a more intimate and refined Southern California beach getaway. Book the best rates here.

Address: 985 N Coast Hwy, Laguna Beach, CA 92651

3. The Surfrider Hotel (Malibu)

The Coolest Design Hotels in California
Image via Expedia.com

The Surfrider Hotel is a chic, 20-room hotel in Malibu that offers an ideal holiday spot for travelers. Listed frequently on Conde Naste Gold List, it’s an upscale yet approachable hotel along the Pacific Ocean. Book the best rates here.

Address: 23033 Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu, CA 90265

4. Santa Monica Proper Hotel (Santa Monica)

The Coolest Design Hotels in California
Image via Expedia.com

The newest addition to the range of hip hotels in the LA area, the Santa Monica Proper Hotel promises one incredibly designed hotel. Spearheaded by Kelly Wearstler, the suites and common spaces are an architectural beauty in themselves. Book the best rates here.

Address: 700 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401

5. Hotel Covell (Los Angeles)

The Coolest Design Hotels in California
Image via Hotel Covell

Located in the Los Feliz area, Hotel Covell has picked up a ton of coverage recently for its chic rooms and design. Each room comes with a bottle of their Covell Pinot Noir, putting a wonderful touch on a stay in LA. Book the best rates here.

Address: 4626 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027

6. Surfhouse Boutique Hotel (Encinitas)

The Coolest Design Hotels in California
Image via Expedia.com

For those looking for chic digs to be close to the breaks in Encinitas, book a room at Surfhouse. They have extensive knowledge and offer all of the gear to go catch a wave, even a lesson from an expert. Book the best rates here.

Address: 960 N Coast Hwy 101, Encinitas, CA 92024

7. Korakia Pensione (Palm Springs)

The Coolest Design Hotels in California

Quite possibly one of the best-designed hotels in Palm Springs, the Korakia Pensione is lover’s paradise. A blend of Moroccan and Mediterranean design creates an intimate space to retreat to for a weekend away. Book the best rates here.

Address: 257 S Patencio Rd, Palm Springs, CA 92262

8. Hotel Californian (Santa Barbara)

The Coolest Design Hotels in California
Image via Expedia.com

Next to the Pacific Ocean in the hip city of Santa Barbara, the Hotel Californian is a historic and restored 1925 hotel that is a first choice for the area. It is a Spanish Colonial revived building and the beautiful guest rooms transport you through tasteful decor. Book the best rates here.

Address: 36 State St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101

9. The Capri Hotel (Ojai)

In the getaway city of Ojai, chill poolside at this mid-century modern lodge. The Capri Hotel has a pool to lounge by plus it is pet-friendly. Book the best rates here.

Address: 1180 E Ojai Ave, Ojai, CA 93023


Central California

10. AutoCamp Yosemite (Midpines)

The Coolest Design Hotels in California
Image via Expedia.com

If you’re bound for Yosemite National Park, AutoCamp Yosemite is it. From Airstreams to private cabin rentals, it’s the hippest choice near the park. Be sure to enjoy their outdoor fire pits at night! Book the best rates here.

Address: 6323 CA-140, Midpines, CA 95345

11. San Luis Creek Lodge (San Luis Obispo)

The newest design hotel to land in San Luis Obispo is San Luis Creek Lodge. Bohemian and farmhouse aesthetics combined, the design was led by designer Nina Freudenberger of Haus Interior. It’s a hip central coast getaway. Book the best rates here.

Address: 1941 Monterey St, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

12. White Water (Cambria)

Another beauty designed and renovated this summer by Nina Freudenberger of Haus Interior, White Water revealed its effortlessly cool coastal lodge this last summer. I’d highly recommend two nights here to soak it all in. Book the best rates here.

Address: 6736 Moonstone Beach Dr, Cambria, CA 93428

13. Cambria Beach Lodge (Cambria)

The Coolest Design Hotels in California
Image via Expedia.com

Cambria Beach Lodge offers a wonderful take on a coastal lodge in Cambria, steps from Moonstone Beach. Book the best rates here.

Address: 6180 Moonstone Beach Dr, Cambria, CA 93428

14. The Geneseo Inn (Paso Robles)

If you’ve ever dreamed of staying at a winery, look no further. The Geneseo Inn’s stand-alone rooms are perched over Cass Winery in Paso Robles and a bucket list stay. Sip nearby and simply walk back to your room designed with a shipping crate. Book the best rates here.

Address: 7350 Linne Rd, Paso Robles, CA 93446

15. The Hotel Carmel (Carmel-by-the-Sea)

The Coolest Design Hotels in California

Modern rooms and bright interiors make The Hotel Carmel my favorite stay in the Carmel area. Its location is tough to beat and it has a wonderful patio area to enjoy the fire-pit and jacuzzi. Book the best rates here.

Address: 4th &, San Carlos St, Carmel-By-The-Sea, CA 93921


Northern California

16. The San Francisco Proper (San Francisco)

The Coolest Design Hotels in California
Image via Expedia.com

Designed by Kelly Wearstler, The Proper is San Francisco’s best design hotel. Pops of color, funky accents, and stunning materials are representative of the city itself. Don’t miss its rooftop bar too. Book the best rates here.

Address: Hotel Entrance is at, 1100 Market Street, 45 McAllister St, San Francisco, CA 94102

17. Boon Hotel and Spa (Guerneville)

The Coolest Design Hotels in California
Image via Boon Hotel

One of those tucked-away gems in Sonoma, Boon Hotel offers glamping and beautifully-designed hotel rooms. Book the best rates here.

Address: 14711 Armstrong Woods Rd, Guerneville, CA 95446

18. Farmhouse Inn (Forestville, Sonoma County)

Farmhouse design done so tastefully well paired with the Sonoma Valley charm I personally love. Farmhouse Inn is one of those places we recommend to everyone for a chic getaway in wine country. Book the best rates here.

Address: 7871 River Rd, Forestville, CA 95436

19. Bardessono Hotel and Spa (Yountville)

The Coolest Design Hotels in California
Image via Expedia.com

Modern and sophisticated, the Bardessono Hotel and Spa is fan-favorite for Napa Valley. Right in the heart of Yountville, you won’t be disappointed here. Book the best rates here.

Address: 6526 Yount St, Yountville, CA 94599

20. The Gaige House (Sonoma)

It’s hard to describe how incredible the Ryokan-style inn is in Glen Ellen. The Gaige House is just memorable. Both intimate and unique, their zen ryokan suites transport you to Japan and offer the retreat we all need. Book the best rates here.

Address: 13540 Arnold Dr, Glen Ellen, CA 95442

21. Nick’s Cove (Marshall, Marin County)

Private bungalows set along Marin’s coast and near Point Reyes, Nick’s Cove is a hidden local gem. Book the best rates here.

Address: 23240 CA-1, Marshall, CA 94940

22. The Olema House (Point Reyes)

Named the best Northern California Hotel, the recently renovated Olema House provides beautiful rooms with access to trailheads right in Marin County. Book the best rates here.

Address: 10021 Coastal Highway #1, Olema, CA 94950

23. Timber Cove (Jenner)

The Coolest Design Hotels in California

As you work your way up the Sonoma Coast, Timber Cove is a destination itself. Perched above the ocean, its modern yet cozy rooms are luxurious. Built in the 1960’s, this hotel was reimagined a few years back and is a wonderful weekend escape. Book the best rates here.

Address: 21780 North Coast Highway 1, Jenner, CA 95450

24. Harmon Guest House (Healdsburg)

The Coolest Design Hotels in California
Image via Expedia.com

Set in the heart of downtown Healdsburg, you’ll want to book this wonderfully designed hotel. The Harmon Guest House‘s Japanese design meets Scandinavian aesthetics. Book the best rates here.

Address: 227 Healdsburg Ave, Healdsburg, CA 95448

25. Mendocino Grove (Mendocino)

The Coolest Design Hotels in California

Who knew glamping could be so elevated? Well, Mendocino Grove does it in a way that is just near hard to beat. Book a night in one of their luxurious safari tents and be closely located to Mendocino. Book the best rates here.

Address: 9500, 9601 CA-1, Mendocino, CA 95460

26. Humboldt Bay Social Club (Humboldt Area)

The Coolest Design Hotels in California

One of those off-the-beaten-path finds, Humboldt Bay Social Club is not too far from Eureka and just south of Arcata. They offer suites in the hotel itself or stand-alone homes which are really epic. Book the best rates here.

Address: 900 New Navy Base Rd, Samoa, CA 95564

27. The Coachman Hotel (Lake Tahoe)

The Coolest Design Hotels in California
Image via Expedia.com

When it comes to modern and hip digs near Lake Tahoe, The Coachman is my first choice. Book the best rates here.

Address: 4100 Pine Blvd, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150


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PS — Are You Booking a Trip Soon? Use My Booking Checklist!

These are the sites I use most to book my own trips. Using the links below is a great way to support Bon Traveler’s travel journalism at no extra cost to you. If you need help organizing your itinerary, get my free travel itinerary template here.

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Use Booking.com for hotels and guest houses. They have the biggest inventory and consistently offer the best rates.

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Xx,
Jessica

1 Comment

  1. Rachel Insel Reply

    This is a FABULOUS list. Thank you! We have referenced it many times for really outstanding stays throughout California. Well done! Trying to work my way through them all. 🙂 The only spot you’re missing is Gold-Diggers Hotel in East Hollywood…ugh, it’s gorgeous. And so damn cool with the venue and recording studio on-site too.

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