The Golden State has a lot to offer travelers: towering redwoods, 840 miles of coastline, the country’s most famous wine region, and 10 national parks, for starters. If you need a place to stay while enjoying California’s natural bounty, the choices are nearly as wonderful and varied, from oceanfront resorts to vineyard inns.
Every year for our World’s Best Awards survey, T+L asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe—to share their opinions on the top hotels, resorts, cities, islands, cruise lines, spas, airlines, and more. Readers rated hotels on their rooms and facilities, location, service, food and drink, and overall value. Properties were categorized as city or resort based on their locations.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, wine-country properties proved tough to beat. You may be able to smell the ocean from the terrace of Montage Laguna Beach, which ranked seventh on our list. The Brewery Gulch Inn, an upscale-rustic property perched on a bluff on the Mendocino coast, made it to No. 5. And three of the top 10 resort hotels in California are in Napa and Sonoma counties.
Meadowood Napa Valley, in St. Helena, offers an impressive range of activities, including golf, tennis, and croquet, while Bardessono, in the middle of the Napa Valley town of Yountville, offers personalized wine tours and in-room spa treatments. “Very luxurious without being stuffy,” was how one T+L reader described the hotel. “The rooms are state of the art, and the outdoor shower can't be beat.”
Read on for the full list.