Hotels in California

Seven years and $134 million in the making, Belmond's takeover of the storied El Encanto (the brand's first West Coast resort) is reinventing a genteel slice of California history.

Zoom up 32 stories in one of the glass-walled elevator cars for one of the best views in the city—you can even spot Alcatraz Island.

The contemporary Standard Hollywood is set on L.A.’ s famed Sunset Boulevard, with spare, retro-chic rooms similar to its Downtown sister. Features include art installations, mood lighting, free WiFi, flat-screen TVs, iPod docks, minibars, and floor-to-ceiling windows.

Located near the beach in downtown Santa Monica, this motel is an alternative to larger, higher-priced neighbors like Shutters on the Beach or the Loews Hotel. The ivy covered, two-story building has California touches like palm trees and surfboards mounted on its cream exterior.

A 1950s hotel with a modern makeover, the Flamingo holds onto some of its old-time glamour: look to the rounded entryway awning and entry sign pole with retro neon lettering.

Originally established by Detroit mobster Al Wertheimer in 1936, this Spanish-Moroccan hotel has a former guest list that includes Frank Sinatra, Ronald Reagan, and Elizabeth Taylor. In 2007, the hotel reopened after a $16 million renovation led by renowned designer Martyn Lawrence-Bullard.

Staying in the 19 Spanish revival casitas or 44 poolside rooms at the Borrego Ranch Resort, with its 42 acres of gardens and fountains, is like staying at a spa. Play the 18-hole Tom Fazio signature course or lounge on the rooftop deck at Morado Spa.