If you didn’t know already I recently visited Southern California and I have to say It was the best trip of my life so far and you can watch my vlog of the entire trip here or read my previous post ‘9 Things to do in Southern California’ here. Today I’m writing about the places that we stayed in, simply because they were so awesome that they deserved a whole post to themselves. So if you’re planning to visit Southern California or looking for some inspiration to go, I hope that you’ll find it here.
The Ranch – Laguna Beach
Our first stop in Southern California was The Ranch at Laguna beach, surrounded by a peaceful Canyon nestled within a golf course I definitely felt the true spirit of the Laguna lifestyle, casual, laid back and unpretentious. Having not been open for long I expected our stay to be a little different but everything was perfect. The staff were knowledgable of the local area, the pool was relaxing and the food was unbelievable. We had breakfast at the Harvest Patio Restaurant, an outside area with breathtaking views – I would highly recommend the smoked bourbon bacon cinnamon roll and the chicken and waffles. (pictured below).
The Ranch has various modes of transportation to ferry you around the property like golf carts and this classic Chevrolet. I think what makes the Ranch so special is the attention to detail, not only in it’s beautiful surroundings, extensive activities list (including meditation and surfing) but also in its approach to you as a guest. Small things that the staff were willing to do to make your stay as smooth as possible, like bringing a UK plug adaptor to my room late at night, poolside bar service and just an all round positive attitude towards everything. It really is a special place that’s incredibly relaxing and makes you feel included.
you can book a stay at The Ranch here.
The Paséa – Huntington Beach
Next on our list we visited Huntington Beach otherwise known as Surf City USA. You could tell the change in atmosphere almost instantly from the chilled out vibes of Laguna Beach to the buzzing youth of Huntington. Surf culture is huge in Huntington with stores like Hurley, Rip Curl and Volcom nestled in the downtown shopping area and what looks like a never ending beach it’s the perfect place to ride the waves. The Paséa Hotel only opened just over a month ago, boasting incredible sea views, ultra modern interiors and a pool filled with this seasons summer accessory – the swan float.
The room itself is clean and minimal tying together the feel of the hotel and the atmosphere of the area with blue accents throughout the hallways and rooms to emphasise the water theme. Not only is the hotel itself a work of art – the hotel restaurant and rooftop bar ‘Tanners’ is a must even if you’re just passing through Huntington. The treehouse lounge is the one of the only sea view rooftop bars in Huntington, boasting incredible views of the pacific ocean whilst serving a mix of adventurous cocktails. We dined at Tanners in the evening and even though they’re still developing their menu the food was excellent – I recommend the flatbread with a HellaCali cocktail (the main ingredient is Avocado?!).
you can book a stay at the Paséa here.
El Encanto – Santa Barbara
If you’re after luxury, privacy and an all round laid back vibe then the El Encanto is the place for you. One of the most iconic hotels in Santa Barbara the property is an enchanting getaway sitting high in the hills with views of both the town and ocean. It’s the areas only Forbes Five Star accommodation which just proves how special this place is. The hotel has fantastic amenities like a swimming pool, gardens and a fitness studio so you’ll always have something to do. The interior design is on another level, with huge pieces of amethyst dotted around, succulents adorning most surfaces and a black marble fireplace the whole place was an Instagram dream.
I think one of my favourite things about the hotel (apart from the food and the room of course) was the amount of wildlife. We saw rabbits, possums and turtles just strolling around the hotel grounds which makes you feel like you’re in a fairytale. I must say the attention to detail again just like the other hotels was incredible. I definitely recommend the El Encanto if you’re planning on visiting Santa Barbara.
you can book a stay at the El Encanto here.
The Landsby – Solvang
And last but not least is the Landsby, right in the heart of Solvang the Landsby was perhaps one of my favourite hotels on the trip in terms of interior design. Solvang is a traditional Danish town but what’s interesting about the Landsby is that it reflects Copenhagen in the now – minimalistic, clean Scandinavian design with a hint of the laid back Southern Californian lifestyle. The colour palette and cozy spaces do an excellent job of staying true to the traditional Danish design elements but giving them an updated contemporary aesthetic. The hotel is in a fantastic location to explore Solvang and it’s many activities including wine tasting, scenic bike rides or visiting parks/museums.
I think the images speak for themselves really but I must say a highlight of the stay was dining at the hotels restaurant MAD&VIN – an eclectic and non traditional menu where all the dishes were highly appealing so even if you’re just passing through Solvang then I would say to stop and have a bite to eat because you won’t regret it.
book a stay at the Landsby here.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this post, if you do have any questions or want some recommendations for Southern California then get in touch and I just want to say thank you to all the hotels who hosted us during the trip and a big thank you to Visit California (here) and Air NewZealand (here) for giving me this opportunity.