This California-cool Hotel Is Hiding in an Under-the-radar Surf Town

The Green Room Hotel is right on the Pacific Coast Highway in South Oceanside, California.

The exterior of a room at The Green Room Hotel
Photo: Oliver Paterson/Courtesy of The Green Room Hotel

When Stephen Poovey and his wife, Brett, were out for a date night in Oceanside, California, they stumbled upon a forgotten 1940s motel right on the Pacific Coast Highway. Instead of seeing it for what it was, they saw the possibilities and transformed it into a modern boutique hotel, The Green Room Hotel, melding together its historic bungalow architecture with a modern yet laidback surf vibe the area has today.

"We've biked, walked, and driven by the original building hundreds of times on our way to the beach, a workout, coffee, dinner, or shopping," Mr. Poovey tells Travel + Leisure of the property that opened in July 2021 and is located just a 10-minute walk from the beach. "We jumped at the chance to share and preserve the feeling of South Oceanside while highlighting the funk and originality that makes it so special."

Interior decor at The Green Room Hotel
Oliver Paterson/Courtesy of The Green Room Hotel

They're curating the old-meets-new Oceanside vibe by preserving many of the building's original design elements, including adobe-style bricks, exposed wood beams, large windows, and shiplap accents. "It all just resonated somehow," he adds. "We didn't move a wall, but spent a lot of time on the design and the outdoor spaces."

A fire pit outside of The Green Room Hotel
Oliver Paterson/Courtesy of The Green Room Hotel

The hotel has a cedar-style hot tub and fire pit, along with picnic tables for guests to sit around and socialize, whether they're fueling up on complimentary morning coffee (along with doughnuts and pastries from local shops on the weekends) or are just looking to relax in the sun.

The interior space doubles down on the California-cool aesthetic with pieces from local artists, curated by designers Jessica Tingle and Leigh Jendrusina. Those eclectic elements include midcentury modern furniture, Moroccan rugs, and playful tiling spread out through the six studios, five one-bedrooms suites, and one two-bedroom suite.

Interior of a bedroom at The Green Room Hotel
Charlotte Lea/Courtesy of The Green Room Hotel
A bedroom at The Green Room Hotel
Charlotte Lea/Courtesy of The Green Room Hotel

The other major draw is its location in the burgeoning neighborhood, within a mile of the Michelin-starred French restaurant Jeune et Jolie and just down the road from the popular southeastern Asian hotspot Dija Mara. Situated between Carlsbad and Oceanside proper, it's also about a 10-minute drive to Legoland California and a 40-minute drive to both San Diego Zoo Safari Park and Old Town San Diego.

"There are so many makers and creators offering unique experiences right outside your door at The Green Room," Poovey adds. "We hope guests will immerse themselves in the local community."

And even though the property channels some of the elements of his favorite places to visit — from Montauk, New York to Valle de Guadalupe, Mexico — what he loves best is its "quintessential Southern California vibe" which he hopes will help "guests gather to connect and share their stories from adventures during the day below the backdrop of the palm tree lined Pacific Coast Highway."

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