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Here’s What ‘Condé Nast Traveler’ Readers Chose as the Best in California

Here’s What ‘Condé Nast Traveler’ Readers Chose as the Best in California

See which California resort claimed the country’s top spot—and which little cities are about to go big time

Posted 4 years agoby Jessica Sebor

The votes—nearly half a million!—are in, the results have been tallied, and the annual Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards are here. The awards honor the standouts in travel—everything from the top resorts in the country to the best airlines. This year, the publication’s editors noted trends of comfort and understated finery. “It’s also been a year of self-care,” the editors wrote. “Five spa resorts ranked higher than ever.”

California hotels and resorts were given high rankings across multiple categories, including the coveted No. 1 resort in the United States, which went to L’Horizon Hotel and Spa in Palm Springs. The resort, which opened in 2015, sits on the footprint of the historic William F. Cody and offers a fresh but thoroughly Palm Springs perspective. Guests can relax in mid-century modern luxury, complete with award-winning restaurant So-Pa and a glamorous zero-edge pool. Santa Clara County escape Rosewood CordeValle and The Lodge at Pebble Beach earned spots five and seven, respectively.

As for hotels, the Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills made the top 10 in the nation thanks to “spacious room[s]” and “one of the best views in L.A.” The awards lend regional distinctions for all types of properties; scroll down for the best hotels in Northern California, Southern California, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, as well as the top resorts in the Northern and Southern areas of the state.



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When it comes to “Best Cities in the U.S.,” an overwhelming number of responses lead to a split in the list: small cities with a population of under 1 million and large cities with populations of 1 million-plus. If you needed another reason to visit San Francisco, the city claimed number four in the big-city ranking. “There’s a quirkiness to this place—you can feel it in the unlikely proximity of Haight-Ashbury’s peace-sign-graffitied cafés to Nob Hill’s old money social clubs and South of Market’s tech alley startups, all against a backdrop of candy-colored Victorians,” writes Condé Nast Traveler contributor Andrea Wittle. “When it comes to eating here, however, there’s nothing provincial about it. San Francisco is the O.G. mecca for new American cuisine.”

If there was ever a time to visit Monterey, Napa, Palm Springs, or Santa Barbara, it’s now. Trends show that these small cities (all in the top 20 to visit) will become increasingly popular in the coming years.

Need more inspiration for your vacation bucket list? Check out the top California regional rankings below. Full listings can be found on the Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards page.

Top Resorts in Northern California
1. Rosewood CordeValle, San Martin
2. The Lodge at Pebble Beach
3. Solage, An Auberge Resort, Calistoga
4. Carmel Valley Ranch
5. Calistoga Ranch
6. Allegretto Vineyard Resort, Paso Robles
7. Ventana Big Sur, An Alila Resort
8. Carneros Resort & Spa, Napa
9. Meadowood Napa Valley, St Helena
10. Timber Cove Resort, Jenner
11. Bernardus Lodge & Spa, Carmel Valley
12. The Landing Resort & Spa, South Lake Tahoe
13. Silverado Resort & Spa, Napa
14. Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite, Fish Camp
15. The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay
16. The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe
17. The Resort at Squaw Creek, Lake Tahoe
18. The Ahwahnee Hotel, Yosemite Valley
19. The Meritage Resort & Spa, Napa
20. Quail Lodge & Golf Club, Carmel-by-the-Sea

Top Resorts in Southern California
1. L’Horizon Resort and Spa, Palm Springs
2. Cal-a-Vie, Vista
3. Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa, Rancho Santa Fe
4. Rancho Bernardo Inn, San Diego
5. The Resort at Pelican Hill, Newport Coast
6. The Ranch Malibu
7. The Lodge at Torrey Pines, La Jolla
8. Ojai Valley Inn
9. Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach Resort & Club, Dana Point
10. La Quinta Resort & Club, A Waldorf Astoria Resort
11. Terranea Resort, Rancho Palos Verdes
12. The Ranch at Laguna Beach
13. Surf & Sand Resort, Laguna Beach
14. Park Hyatt Aviara Resort, Golf Club, & Spa, Carlsbad
15. Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort & Spa
16. Miramonte Indian Wells Resort & Spa, Curio Collection by Hilton, Huntington Beach
17. The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel, Dana Point
18. Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore, Santa Barbara
19. Paradise Point Resort & Spa, San Diego
20. Parker Palm Springs
21. The Ritz-Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara
22. Hotel Del Coronado, Curio Collection by Hilton
23. The Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage
24. Harrah’s Resort Southern California, Valley Center
25. The Sheraton Carlsbad Resort & Spa

Top Hotels in Northern California
1. North Block Hotel, Yountville
2. Brewery Gulch Inn, Mendocino
3. Auberge Du Soleil, Rutherford
4. Vintage House, Yountville
5. Rosewood Sand Hill, Menlo Park
6. Hotel Healdsburg
7. L’Auberge Carmel
8. La Playa Carmel
9. Hotel Carmel
10. Tickle Pink Inn, Carmel-by-the-Sea

Top Hotels in Southern California
1. The Kimpton Rowan Palm Springs
2. The Kimpton Solamar Hotel, San Diego
3. The Kimpton Shorebreak, Huntington Beach
4. L’Auberge Del Mar
5. The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa, Riverside
6. Hotel Californian, Santa Barbara
7. The Four Seasons Hotel, Westlake Village
8. Hotel Cheval, Paso Robles
9. The Scripps Inn, La Jolla
10. Colony Palms Hotel, Palm Springs

Top Hotels in San Francisco
1. The Inn at the Presidio
2. Stanford Court
3. Omni San Francisco Hotel
4. The Marker
5. Kimpton Sir Francis Drake
6. Proper Hotel San Francisco
7. The Axiom San Francisco
8. The Argonaut Hotel
9. The Fairmont San Francisco
10. Hotel Nikko San Francisco

Top Hotels in Los Angeles
1. The Waldorf Astoria, Beverly Hills
2. The SLS Hotel, A Luxury Collection Hotel, Beverly Hills
3. The Andaz West Hollywood
4. The London West Hollywood
5. The Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows
6. Hotel Casa Del Mar
7. Shutters on the Beach
8. Viceroy Santa Monica
9. The Garland
10. The Hollywood Roosevelt

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