The Most Romantic Hotels in California for a Dreamy Retreat

From beachside boutique hotels to a luxury dude ranch in wine country, what better way to celebrate love than with an unforgettable overnight stay at a romantic resort?

Nobu Ryokan. 2017 Barbara Kraft

Some of the most idyllic and lavish hotels in the world can be found scattered along the coast of California. From beachside boutique hotels to a luxury dude ranch in wine country, what better way to celebrate love than with an unforgettable overnight stay at a romantic resort? Whether you’re looking to book a couples massage or simply cozy up by the fire with a bottle of wine, these are the most romantic hotels in California for Valentine’s Day and beyond. 

Subscribe to Observer’s Lifestyle Newsletter

Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa. Rancho Valencia

Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa

5921 Valencia Cir, Rancho Santa Fe, CA 92067

Couples seeking a spa-centered Valentine’s Day should look no further than Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa. This exclusive property is located in northern San Diego, and despite its impressive size and breathtaking grounds, it feels like a true hidden gem. The private casitas make it easy to feel right at home, with some highlights being the tall, vaulted ceilings and massive bathrooms. The sunken living rooms lead out to a private patio garden, some of which even have private hot tubs that are perfect for soaking under the stars. Start each morning with fresh-squeezed orange juice delivered to your door before heading to the renowned spa for a day of pampering. The private treatment rooms provide a tranquil space to unwind, and in addition to the spa pool, patrons can also partake in a cold plunge before sweating it out in the sauna. Once you’re ready for a drink, sit down at The Pony Room and sip on the signature Pony Express margarita alongside the hamachi crudo and fresh oysters. 

El Encanto, a Belmond Hotel, Santa Barbara El Encanto Belmond Hotel

El Encanto, a Belmond Hotel, Santa Barbara

800 Alvarado Pl, Santa Barbara, CA 93103

Sitting high on a picturesque hill above the American Riviera is none other than the renowned El Encanto, a Belmond Hotel, Santa Barbara. This elegant property maintains a timeless approach to decor and ambiance, relying on California-chic decor, marble baths and bright, airy rooms to create its signature appeal. In true Santa Barbara fashion, you’ll also notice plenty of Spanish-colonial accents across both the common areas and the 92 bungalow-style suites and guest rooms. If you’re visiting on actual Valentine’s Day, indulge in a six-course tasting menu with elevated options like fresh abalone and filet mignon. Of course, no visit to El Encanto is complete without a trip to the spa, and the customizable couples massage is the ultimate way to show your love for your special someone. 

Nobu Ryokan Malibu Nobu Ryokan

Nobu Ryokan Malibu

22752 Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu, CA 90265

With only 16 rooms in the hotel, Nobu Ryokan Malibu is a Japanese-style inn that sits right on the shore of Malibu’s Carbon Beach. Inspired by traditional Japanese ryokans, most of the ultra-private room features teak soaking tubs, fireplaces and breathtaking patios. Since it’s right next door to Nobu Malibu, guests can simply walk over for dinner on the iconic patio that overlooks the Pacific. Sip on the signature Lychee Martini while indulging in an array of fresh sushi and sashimi before waltzing back over to your room in the evening. In the morning, embark on a peaceful walk along the beach as you admire the Malibu Pier before heading to Cure Spa across the street for customized massages. Guests of the Nobu Ryokan also get access to the members-only Malibu Racquet Club, so take advantage of the opportunity and celebrate your love with a little friendly competition. 

Alisal Ranch Alisal Ranch

Alisal Ranch

1054 Alisal Rd, Solvang, CA 93463

Alisal Ranch is a one-of-a-kind property that puts a western touch on wine country. The cozy cottages are perfect for couples seeking a private and romantic escape and are complete with private patio decks and wood-burning fireplaces. Guests looking to up the ante on Valentine’s Day can book the Romance at the Ranch package which includes breakfast, dinner and in-room amenities such as fresh flowers, sparkling wine and aphrodisiac-inspired chocolates. The package also includes access to activities like wine tasting and cheese pairing classes, dance lessons, horseback riding and more. However, if you’re looking to truly deepen your connection, splurge on the Valentine’s Equus Workshop and experience the magic of horse therapy as you improve your communication and compassion. 

The Peninsula Beverly Hills lobby The Peninsula

The Peninsula Beverly Hills

9882 S Santa Monica Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90212

L.A. locals in need of a romantic staycation will love the timeless elegance of The Peninsula Beverly Hills. Despite being located in the heart of Beverly Hills, the lush gardens that surround the property create a tropical atmosphere that is complemented by French decor and furnishings. Inspired by the classic European brasserie, the Belvedere makes for the ideal Valentine’s Day dinner complete with vintage wines, fresh seafood and a decadent chocolate soufflé for dessert. All 195 rooms have been designed to the nines, but the 38 suites and 17 private villas take luxury accommodations to the next level. If you don’t want to leave the room on Valentine’s Day, the hotel is offering a special in-room Romance Menu that includes everything from Champagne and heart-shaped cakes to rose petals and pink bath salts. 

Montage Healdsburg lobby Montage Healdsburg

Montage Healdsburg

100 Montage Way, Healdsburg, CA 95448

Nestled in the heart of California’s charming wine country, Montage Healdsburg is a romantic retreat surrounded by rolling vineyards and lush greenery. The 130 bungalow-style rooms and suites create a home-away-from-home ambiance that is both intimate and cozy. Since Healdsburg is known for its renowned food and wine scene, it only makes sense to enjoy a special dinner on Valentine’s Day. Thankfully, the on-restaurant, Hazel Hill, is offering a special Valentine’s Day menu that includes six delicious courses alongside perfectly paired local or reserve wines. End your evening with some stargazing by the fire pit on your bungalow deck. 

The Resort at Pelican Hill Pelican Hill

The Resort at Pelican Hill

22701 S Pelican Hill Rd, Newport Coast, CA 92657

Situated along the coast in Newport Beach, The Resort at Pelican Hill’s Italian-inspired ambiance and architecture will have falling in amore. This picturesque property boasts more than 500 acres of space, providing couples with a private oasis that is complete with panoramic Pacific Ocean views, Tuscan-esque landscaping, a sea of olive trees and the famous Coliseum pool. Those seeking extra privacy should book one of the exclusive bungalow suites, which feature limestone fireplaces, marble bathrooms and a fully furnished terrace. Spend your day at the spa before indulging in a sunset steak dinner at Pelican Grill and Bar. 

Bardessono Hotel & Spa Bardessono

Bardessono Hotel & Spa

6526 Yount St, Yountville, CA 94599

Bardessono Hotel & Spa is a five-star hotel located in downtown Yountville. The spacious villas and suites offer couples a calming respite from everyday life, and the decor and furnishings remain warm and inviting despite airing on the modern side of design. Some of the suites offer views of the Mayacamas Mountains, allowing you to unwind on your furnished patio and take in the scenic surroundings while sharing a bottle of wine with your loved one. When it comes to the spa, the limited-time Candlelight and Cabernet couples treatment is worth the splurge. The experience includes a full-body massage before concluding with a nourishing argan scalp massage in a cozy, candlelit room. Couples are also treated to a glass of Heitz Cellar Cabernet Sauvignon and have the option to request an aromatherapy bath in their room.

The Most Romantic Hotels in California for a Dreamy Retreat