The USA's most populated state bordering the Pacific Ocean coast has much to offer. Both when it comes to bustling cities and natural wonders. This of the Sierra Nevada, where you will find one of the most iconic national parks, the Yosemite National Park, and Lake Tahoe with its dazzling blue color.
Or Southern California, where you can spot celebrities in Hollywood and go for some fun rides in Disneyland.
But California is home to a vast desert with boiling temperatures and a magical coastline where the rich and famous have their homes on a cliff over the ocean.
It's hard to organize an itinerary around California, let alone choose the right accommodation. So below, you will find a little help, where I list unique hotels in California. Places which, unlike a random roadside Motel 6, you will remember.
Highway 1 is one of the most spectacular roads in the world, and it passes through the vast wilderness of Big Sur, stretching 90 miles along the rugged Pacific Ocean.
The area is home to several state parks and the Los Padres National Forest. It's a perfect outdoorsy destination with various breathtaking hiking trails.
You can dine at The Sur House at the Alila Ventana Big Sur resort. Here you can enjoy sumptuous food from chef Paul Corsentino's great menu and a scenic ocean view.
Ventana's rooms are nothing ordinary either. Would you fancy a bath in their freestanding copper tub overlooking the lush forest?
Check out the spa department of the luxury hotel Ventana. They offer tailor-made wellness packages in beautiful natural surroundings. Or how about a dip in their Japanese hot baths?
The color-coded vintage trailers are spread around a charming lake in Paso Robles Wine Country. The glamping site has five hippie trailers from the 50s and 60s.
There is a cozy outdoor space with fireplaces, where you can enjoy the colorful sunsets in the company of a fine Californian glass of wine. The floating platform on the lake is set up for glamorous sunbathing.
The trailer's interiors are set up for a cozy stay for two. The happy space is colorful and inviting, and when you decide it's enough of napping, you step outside to a lakeside wonder surrounded by vineyards.
Palm Springs hotel is a true rainbow explosion. In the heart of Palm Springs, The Saguaro is a hotel with sugary colors, a lovely pool, and tall palm trees in true California style.
With inflatable swans and flamingos, rainbow towels, palm trees, and an overload of color, you will immediately feel the urge to put on your trendy bathing suit and jump to the large central pool of Saguaro.
The trendy district of Silver Lake in Los Angeles is a great spot to start your discovery of the famous Californian city.
Unlike most parts of LA, here you can drop off your car and go to some of the hippest art exhibitions, bars, and restaurants on foot that the city offers.
Silver Lake is where you can blend in with locals and pretend to be living a glamorous life - especially if you stay at the Silver Lake Pool & Inn. The boutique resort's sleek and minimalist exterior is crowned by the elevated pool deck dotted with tropical umbrellas.
The heartwarmingly beautiful rooms have plenty of California sunlight coming in through their large windows, yet the best spot to enjoy all the bright let is by the hip poolside bar.
A road trip on Highway 1 from Los Angeles to scenic Big Sur is an old classic for a good reason. California State Route 1, better known as Highway 1 or the Pacific Coast Highway, stretches well over 1,000 kilometers along the coast of California.
The drive is considered the most beautiful in the USA and is ideally located between the two metropolises of Los Angeles and San Francisco. The area is known for its long beaches, famous redwood forests, dramatic cliff scenery, vineyards, and rows of charming small towns.
The former family ranch has been converted into a hotel and is considered one of Big Sur's most beautiful facilities. Stay in one of the famous wooden houses with a sea view.
The Sierra Mar restaurant at the Post Ranch Inn is on top of the cliffs, with floor-to-ceiling windows, and has a 3 to 5-course menu for lunch and dinner. Here you get the feeling of floating over the Pacific Ocean.
On the menu, you can find the lunch favorite Sierra Mar burger, topped with smoked and sun-dried tomato and Monterey Jack cheese, and a four-course dinner with, among other things, a juicy, grilled king salmon.
The Old West Temecula is a picture-perfect Western film set where you can pretend to be the sheriff, a saloon owner, or even a banker.
There is an authentic building for each role, so if you want to play the sheriff and lock up outlaws, there is an actual jail cell.
The 5-acre ranch offers plenty of fun for adventure seekers and roleplay lovers. And if you want to rent the whole play, it's possible. The cowboy town is all yours!
The Pinecone treehouse was a Minneapolis College of Art project that manifested into one of the most exciting accommodations you will find in California.
Deep inside the red forests of Bonny Doon, California, the geodesic treehouses were made of steel and cladded in Douglas fir and glass. The pinecone-shaped treehouses hang 20 feet (6 meters) above the ground, attached to the tall and beautiful redwood trees.
The treehouse cabins offer space for two and endless photo ops to show off to your friends and followers this cool place you found!
The 345 California Center in San Francisco's financial district would be nothing out of the ordinary if it were not for its top 11 floors. In 1986 Mandarin Oriental opened a luxury hotel on one of the tallest points of the city.
After several transactions between hotel industry giants, Four Seasons group got a hold of the building and started a major renovation in 2019.
It emerged as a brand new star in the luxury hotel segment of San Francisco in 2021 under a new name, Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco at Embarcadero.
The Golden Gate View Corner Suite is a descriptive way to name an accommodation because it is what it is. A suite with a two-sided panoramic view of the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco's skyline.
Its bathroom has a bathtub fixed at the large windows where you can enjoy the same panorama, but with some bubbles and champagne.
Yet, the most unique is the Golden Gate Terrace Suite - which, as you have guessed, has a private balcony overlooking the Golden Gate and Bay Bridge, Alcatraz, and the emblematic Coit Tower.
Madonna Inn is golden, just like its namesake pop diva. It opened to guests in 1958 along US Route 101 and quickly became a Californian landmark.
San Luis Obispo, where Madonna Inn is located, is known for its remarkable hospitality, great wines, and historic architecture.
Madonna Inn became so popular that it has expanded to four buildings during its long years and even has its own petrol station.
Madonna Inn's pseudo-Alpine exterior hides an even bolder interior. The lavish design is not shy of different shades of pink, gold & copper decorations, richly ornamented wallpapers, vintage furniture, and extravagant chandeliers.
The 110 guest rooms and suites are decorated according to their themes, such as "Just Heaven", "Caveman," and "Love Nest". The motel's male urinal is so famous people stop to see the rock waterfall-shaped bathroom, an artwork by Hollywood set designer Harvey Allen Warren.
While Hicksville Trailer Palace gained popularity during the Johnny Depp and Amber Heard fiasco, the unique camping ground deserves praise without any celebrity affiliation.
The hippie camping is an adult's playground packed with games, so you would never get bored. There is ping pong, darts, mini golf, shuffleboard, pinball, pool table, and arcade games, and you can shoot bb guns or try archery.
And before you jump to Hicksville's kidney-shaped little pool, note that it contains salt water.
All trailers are unique inside and outside. For example, there is a vardo gypsy caravan, a 40-foot (12 meters) original 1950s trailer, a carnival train car, a pirate boat that ran aground, and various other unique accommodations you can choose from.
This unique Wild West adventure lies between two touristy destinations in California; Palm Springs and Joshua Tree in the dry Morongo Valley. If you get excited by the word "ranch" and imagine yourself as a cowboy or cowgirl, then Genuine Draft Ranch is a must-have on your itinerary.
The authenticity is remarkable. The Western-themed salon's bar stools are made of actual saddles. And if you step outside, donkeys and horses await your instructions.
Northern California's wine country is home to a quirky bed and breakfast. The nine vintage train caboose. These caringly restored railway cars won't go anywhere anymore. Instead, you can experience life in a caboose without the rhythmic train-wheel squealing and shaking of the cabins.
The vintage train cars have kept some of their most interesting details intact, such as the clawfoot bathtubs or the pull-chain toilets. The La Loose Caboose even has a burgundy Jacuzzi tub overlooking Clear Lake.
And if you get bored of all the railway themes, you can try some of the 30 wineries and see the 10,000 acres of grapes in the area.
The East Brother lighthouse was built in 1874 at the tip of the Point San Pablo marina in the San Francisco Bay. It was constructed on a tiny island made of rock before they detonated it to make way for the building.
After its long service as a safeguard to ships, the light station became part of the National Register of Historic Places in 1971.
The landmark lighthouse was taken over by a non-profit company in the 70s to initiate a long-awaited renovation of the neglected building. Eventually, all the beautiful wooden structure of the East Brother Island Light Station was meticulously restored.
Today, the Victorian lighthouse operates as a bed and breakfast, and the tiny island on a clear they offer an amazing panorama of the San Francisco skyline.
The remoteness adds to the uniqueness of the lighthouse. You need to take a ten-minute boat ride to arrive at the island. So, the lighthouse offers a peaceful escape if you need to take a break from San Francisco's busy city life.
This hotel is a jaw-droppingly beautiful oceanfront villa in Santa Monica. Originally, the Casa del Mar used to be an iconic club. Two brothers opened it in 1926, hoping to allure a wealthy, fun-loving crowd.
Club Casa del Mar became the most successful private beach club in Southern California, attracting the crème de la crème and some of the most famous celebrities.
During world war 2, the party stopped, and the building served as an army recruitment center. In the following years, it became a treatment center for drug addicts and then a healthcare facility.
Finally, after an extensive renovation by the new owners, a beautiful five-story luxury hotel was born in 1999. The hotel's original 1920s Italian Renaissance Revival-style architecture was preserved inside and outside.
Casa del Mar's grand lobby is so breathtakingly impressive with its Mediterranean theme and art deco details that you feel like you are an extra in the Great Gatsby movie.
The remodeling of the 129 guest rooms and suites is the work of the renowned designer Michael S. Smith, who also worked on the White House.
AutoCamp's concept takes the traditional camping experience to a luxury level. So, no more queuing to mediocre bathrooms or overlooking your neighbor parking on the same stretch of ugly asphalt.
The glamping site is located north of San Francisco, in a picturesque region surrounded by Sonoma redwoods.
The AutoCamp's accommodation options include vintage Airstreamers retrofitted with beautiful modern interiors and plush double beds. There are cute but tiny sleeping campers, too, as well as luxury tents and wooden huts for the more conservative guests.
AutoCamp is for outdoorsy people with high demands, and they deliver on all important aspects. The communal bathrooms are like in boutique hotels - the vintage Airstreamers have private, spa-inspired bathrooms.
There are hammocks and cozy night lights along the majestic redwood trees and a large communal firepit with comfy seating around it.
The unique Argonaut Hotel is housed in the historic Haslett Warehouse building in San Francisco's Fisherman's Wharf, where Pier 39 is located, along with many great waterfront restaurants.
However, the attractive neighborhood is not the only great thing about Argonaut.
When you enter the hotel, the lounge awaits you with a floor-to-ceiling sailing boat model, a carpet with fish silhouettes, a vintage maritime wheel on the wall, and plenty of other creative details to remind you of the seaborne trade.
The 252 luxurious rooms and suites with exposed brick walls and Douglas Fir beams have a maritime theme.
Through the beautiful navy blue-framed windows, you can see some of the biggest attractions of San Francisco; Alcatraz, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the whole bay area.
The rustic grand build of the Ahwahnee Hotel sits in the world-famous Yosemite National Park. Ahwahnee's massive rock and timber facade was designed to reflect the natural surrounding's beauty.
After the hotel's completion in 1927, it quickly gained popularity as Yosemite park's crown jewel. In 1987, the building got listed as a National Historic Landmark.
Apart from the impressive exterior, The Grand Dining Room of the Ahwahnee Hotel is its most remarkable feature. The high ceilings, medieval-style chandeliers, and the fireplaces on either end of the room made from cut sandstone make it look like a royal dining room from the Game of Thrones series.
Other parts of the building, like the lobby and elevators, were used in the Shining movie by Kubrick for the Overlook Hotel's interior shots.