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The Inn Crowd

From the Central Coast to the Southern Border, we dish the deets on SoCal’s most sizzling hotels.

Nature
Nestled between the mountains and the sea, El Encanto, Santa Barbara’s secluded hideaway, is ready for its close-up after a seven-year remodel of its 92 luxurious bungalows.Check in from fall to early spring to experience the colorful migration of monarch butterflies at the nearby Coronado Butterfly Preserve. On the property, the indoor-outdoor restaurant is so locavore, they make their own cheese, plus the hotel’s spa is a whopping 4,500 square feet. From $400 per night, elencanto.com, @elencantohotel

Beach & Sun
Learn to shred like a local in the lap of luxury at The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel. The SoCal Surf Experience (starting at $645 a night) can accommodate guests of all ages and skill levels, and includes room reservations, two hours of curated surf lessons led by local experts, and surf equipment from brands like Billabong. You’ll hit the waves at iconic spots like Trestles, Thalia Street and Salt Creek. From $395 per night, ritzcarlton.com/lagunaniguel, @rclagunaniguel

 

Mind & Body
There are hotel fitness programs, and then there’s the revved-up offerings at Rancho Valencia. The resort’s cycling program is so legit, it lures Tour de France rider Christian Vande Velde and pro rider George Hincapie to instruct guests during top-level clinics. It’s all thanks to owner Jeff Jacobs, an Ironman and dedicated cyclist. Say “om” at the yoga pavilion, where the hotel’s staff instructor, Katie Brauer (a TEDx talk vet), flexes her skills on an infinity-edge perch. Namaste! From $675 per night, ranchovalencia.com, @ranchovalencia

 

Glamour & Culture
The Beverly Hills Hotel is as lavish as ever, thanks to a meticulous restoration by Tihany Design, part of the storied hotel’s 100th anniversary celebration. As one of the city’s most famous landmarks—The Polo Lounge! The awning stripes!—it’s a study in razzle-dazzle Hollywood history. So what better place to stay while surveying the newly unveiled Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County? The museum’s new Becoming Los Angeles exhibition explores the rich history of L.A., dating back to the missions. From $490 per night, beverlyhillshotel.com, @bevhillshotel

Tranquility
Turn vacation mode on at The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe, where you’ll take in the sounds of martinis being shaken at the firelit bar and the buzz of happy hour at the new Morada restaurant. But, on the whole, the rambling property—designed by pioneer Lilian J. Rice—is a realm of serenity. Post its $12 million refresher, many of their cottage suites, which boast secluded patios with Jacuzzis and fireplaces, are adorned in casually sophisticated decor in calming neutral hues. Unwind at the sparkling new spa, where organic French treatments are bliss, and the private cabanas are ideal for mimosa sipping. From $189 per night, theinnatrsf.com

Ambience
Talk about suite success. After three interior designers from the latest HGTV Star redesigned the suites at the Omni Rancho Las Palmas, the desert burg of Rancho Mirage became our No. 1 destination for design-lovers. The trio tapped Palm Springs’ rich Hollywood history for an over-the-top design scheme evident in our fave room, the Valencia suite, where bits of baroque and splashes of color result in a regal, elegant vibe. The sprawling suites (which start at $1,000 a night) are a welcome addition to the family-friendly resort, which also boasts world-class golf. From $349 per night, rancholaspalmas.com, @omnirancholp

Stargazing
Perched between Central Cali’s rugged wilderness and breathtaking coast, it’s no surprise that Big Sur’s Ventana Inn & Spa has become the place where Tinseltown A-listers like Anne Hathaway and Natalie Portman go to satisfy their penchant for the great outdoors—in posh five-star environs. Part of the appeal is its duality: It doubles as a retreat for couples seeking romance and relaxation (try their morning yoga classes), and a destination for adventurers craving action-packed activities (think hiking and horseback riding). From $800 per night, ventanainn.com, @ventanainn

Cuisine
It started in 1940 as just a tranquil Tecate resort, a place to recharge a short hop-skip over the San Diego border, but today, Rancho La Puerta is a bold-faced foodie destination. The culinary center, La Cocina Que Canta, offers hands-on cooking classes and tours of the 6-acre organic farm (the cuisine is all lacto-ovo vegetarian), plus regular visits from top toques who are passionate about the farm-to-table movement. From $2,850 per person per week, rancholapuerta.com, @rancholapuerta