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Top 10 Resorts in California – Budget Friendly and Luxurious

With more than 163,000 square miles of scenic coastal and urban beauty to explore, California might just be the ultimate vacation destination. This vast state is home to a wide variety of vacation experiences. from guided hikes through the wild and wonderful adults only Ventana Big Sur on the Pacific Coast Highway to Tai Chi to luxury beach experiences like Rosewood Miramar Beach and best resorts in California.

These destination resorts also attract a wide variety of tourists. Couples on a romantic getaway can enjoy the luxury retreat of Belmond El Encanto in the Santa Barbara Hills, while families may never want to leave the Omni Rancho Las Palmas resort outside Palm Springs.

Resorts in California

Plan your next vacation in the Golden State with our list of the best resorts in California.

1. Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa

Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa

Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa is located on 45 acres of olive trees and flowers on the Santa Fe Ranch, about 30 minutes’ drive from San Diego, and is a wonderful luxury getaway for those seeking romance and relaxation. Serve with delicious food. Rustic, opulent manor-style rooms feature colorful design elements, deep soaking tubs, and delightfully comfy beds. Beautiful Mediterranean weather throughout.

Away from the room, a pampering spa offers a range of treatments, including herbal infused body wraps, as well as two heated swimming pools and hot tubs; a gymnasium with daily lessons; There are tennis, petanque and croquet facilities and two restaurants.

2. Post Ranch Inn

Post Ranch Inn Resort

Located on the edge of a cliff overlooking the surf on Big Sur Beach, the Post Ranch Inn is a true masterpiece of design and style. Using natural woods and materials, this luxury boutique eco-resort remains one of the most beautiful in California, both architecturally and environmentally.

Located on the top floors of the hotel, its restaurant, Sierra Mar, offers guests stunning ocean views and an incredible selection of locally sourced, organic cuisine with a seasonally changing menu. Post Ranch Spa is top-notch, offering a unique menu of treatment options, many of which use locally sourced produce. The rooms have neither TVs nor alarm clocks and are an incredible example of modern design and retro style. They range from luxury beachfront villas with large patio balconies to treehouses to freestanding structures nearly 20 meters high in the sequoia forest. The hotel is less than three hour’s drive south of San Francisco.

3. The Resort at Pelican Hill

Located in the popular Southern California town of Newport Beach, Pelican Hill Resort spans more than 500 acres and is built on a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The hotel does not have direct access to the beach, but there is a luxury minibus that takes guests to Crystal Cove State Park Beach every hour. Beach chairs and umbrellas are available for guest use.

The rooms and suites at this five-star resort are luxurious, many with stunning ocean views. There is also a really impressive swimming pool on site. It is round and decorated with over a million glass mosaic tiles at the base. Villa guests have their own private pool and a third children’s pool. If you’re hungry, the Pelican Grill serves upscale California cuisine in a relaxed atmosphere. There is also a nice Italian restaurant. Need some pampering? Book a treatment at the spa.

4. Belmond El Encanto

This luxury resort is located in the Santa Barbara Mountains, about 100 miles north of Los Angeles. Choose from rooms, suites or bungalows for accommodation. All rooms are beautifully decorated with a mix of Californian artisanal and Spanish colonial styles. The room also displays the work of local artist Charles Arnoldi. Some suites have a private patio with a fireplace.

On-site amenities include a large infinity pool with ocean views and a small spa with a variety of treatment options. First opened in the early 20th century, this historic hotel also features a popular restaurant with panoramic seaside views. There is also a sea-facing terrace for al fresco dining. The menu is coastal California and changes with the seasons, creating beautiful local dishes.

Guests can also take advantage of a limousine service to and from downtown Santa Barbara attractions, about 10 minutes away. The property is also an ideal base from which to explore the surrounding California Central Coast region.

5. Fairmont Grand del Mar

Fairmont Grand del Mar is set on 400 acres in a spectacular coastal canyon area just 8 miles from the ocean and not far from downtown San Diego. The resort is charming and perfectly captures the chic vibe of a former Mediterranean estate in its architecture and five-star service.

The rooms and suites are elegant and luxurious, equipped with all modern amenities, and there is plenty to do away from the room. On-site amenities include a Tom Fazio-designed golf course, a high-end spa, yoga and fitness classes, four swimming pools, and a kids’ adventure club. There are also several dining options, including the very elegant Addison, the only five-star and five-diamond restaurant in San Diego.

6. Meadowwood Napa Valley

Meadowood Napa Valley is perfect for romance. Set among 250 acres of hilly oak forest, this luxury hotel offers a secluded and comfortable setting. Accommodations include a variety of rooms, suites, and cottages, all with California king-size beds with premium linens, outdoor patios or patios, and fireplaces. Away from the room, the grounds of this destination resort include hiking four miles of trails, playing nine-hole golf, attending a game of croquet, swimming in one of the two pools or simply Relax Spa, plus a steam room, sauna, and mineral bath.

7. Montage Laguna Beach

Montage Laguna Beach is an enviable destination getaway. This five-star hotel is built on a 50-metre cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The hotel offers its guests a variety of rooms, suites and beach bungalows. All rooms are spacious and beautifully decorated with local artwork, super comfortable beds with feather upholstery, high-quality linens, and marble bathrooms.

Facilities here are plentiful. On the grounds, you will find three restaurants. The studio serves modern Californian beach cuisine and also has a chef’s table suitable for private gatherings. A loft is another option. It cooks modern American cuisine in a more relaxed ocean view setting. If you need a little pampering, head to the large spa, which includes a dry mahogany sauna, an eucalyptus steam room, and full treatments. The hotel is family-friendly and has a children’s playground on site. Swimming pool, hot tub and fitness center are more benefits.

8. Ojai Valley Inn

About a 45-minute drive from Santa Barbara, the town of Olympian is located in a beautiful valley. First opened in the 1930s, the Ojai Valley Inn is a vacation destination for Hollywood’s elite. A beautiful 220-acre resort offering almost endless activities. There are five restaurants, five different outdoor swimming pools, and a large full-service spa. There are many programs for children, including a children’s camp.

Children and adults can participate in golf, tennis, candle making, beekeeping (and honey tasting), art classes, biking, fishing, canoeing and more. There are communal events such as movie nights (with free blankets and popcorn on display under the stars), and the resort offers a variety of accommodations, from historic cottages to stylish rooms in more modern buildings.

9. Ventana Big Sur, An Ailla Resort

The Ventana Big Sur is an adults-only hotel located in the wildest Big Sur. Set on 160 acres, it has just undergone extensive renovations and all elegant, rustic-chic accommodations have been renovated and now include private balconies or patios with mountain or ocean views. They have wooden and leather furniture and lace wall hangings. The resort is also opening a new glamping site, giving guests seeking a close-to-nature sleeping experience the option to book one of the safari-style tents set up around the hotel.

Guests leaving the room can enjoy free breakfast, guided walks, tai chi and yoga classes. There is also a clothes-ready pool, dry sauna, spa and gym. A farm-to-table restaurant completes the picture.

10. The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe

If you’re planning to splurge on your vacation with your family or significant other, The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers easy and private access to some of the best ski resorts in the country. It is located in the middle of the mountain in the North Star Ski Area and offers guests real ski in and out access. No need to go back to crowded locker rooms or rental spaces, the Ritz-Carlton’s ski concierge takes care of every detail.

Most rooms and suites offer stunning mountain views, but those on a budget can book one of the luxury hotel’s windowless or viewless rooms for less. There’s a full-service spa, a sloped hot tub for the ultimate post-ski experience, and multiple dining options.

The hotel’s Ritz Kids program offers younger guests a range of amenities and activities, including a full-day camp-like experience that allows parents to spend some alone time. They even offer free morel to children in the hotel garden every night. Summer activities don’t stop there, the hotel’s lakeside club has a private pier and beach for various water sports. There is also a restaurant and changing facilities by the lake.

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