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Best hotels in California 2023: From beach resorts to ski chalets

Best hotels in California 2023: From beach resorts to ski chalets

California is one of the USA’s classic travel destinations, with stunning hotels and resorts going back more than a century. California even lays claim to the world’s first roadside motel, the Milestone Mo-Tel Inn, which opened in San Luis Obispo in 1925 (now closed), starting a trend that would shape the American travel industry.

Countless Hollywood starlets have come and gone through the hallowed rooms of the grand hotels of Beverly Hills. Today, many visitors come to revel in the sea and sun at the beach or take in the magic of a Disney resort. You can still sidle up to the bar in one of Hollywood’s glittering haunts, but you’re equally able to book a room in an eco-chic boutique hotel constructed from salvaged materials, or chill out in a sublime surf chalet along the Pacific Coast Highway.

The only trouble is having too much choice when it comes to deciding where you’ll rest your head at the end of the day, but we’ve got you covered with our pick of the Golden State’s best places to stay.

Neighbourhood: Los Angeles

(The Beverly Hills Hotel)

Want to stay at the real “Hotel California”? This sprawling Beverly Hills luxury pile, established in May 1912, is said to have inspired the love-it-or-hate-it Eagles song – the hotel’s exterior even features on the album cover. The Polo Lounge inside was a haunt for everyone from Frank Sinatra to Marlene Dietrich and Elizabeth Taylor. Fred Astaire was often seen reading by the pool in the 1930s and Princess Margaret stayed here during her royal visits in the 1960s. The hotel was first painted the now-famous salmon and pine colours in 1948, giving rise to its nickname: “the Pink Palace”.

Now operated by the Dorchester Collection, there are 208 guest rooms and 23 bungalows, all retaining classic Art Deco features, such as lacquered furniture and mohair throws. However, they’ve all now been updated with embroidered bedding, Bang & Olufsen TVs, and marble bathrooms.