Romantic California Resorts

by Cathleen Calkins
California's wine regions are romantic destinations.

California's wine regions are romantic destinations.

vineyard image by Tomasz Pawlowski from

California offers visitors every style of romantic vacation possible: From adventure-packed mountain towns to artsy desert environments and laid-back beach cities to internationally respected wine regions. Just as varied as its terrain, California activities lend themselves well for romantic getaways, such as strolling secluded beaches, hiking to mountain hot springs or taking a dip in a desert oasis. Some of the world's most romantic resorts call California home.

L'Auberge Del Mar

Southern California beach resorts are not all alike. The L’Auberge Del Mar, a private coastal estate in northern San Diego County, is known for its surfing, beaches and rare Torrey pine trees. The Resort offers village, garden and coastal views while the pool provides a number of private cabanas. A short trail delivers guests beachside. According to “American Spa” magazine, the onsite 5,000-square-foot spa has a strong local following and features an open-air co-ed relaxation area complete with fire pit. Romance-inspired suites provide couples with private treatment tables, outdoor showers, a shell-shaped tub and lush gardens.

The Carneros Inn

The Carneros Inn ranked first on's Top 10 Wine Country Inns Worldwide and it made Conde Naste’s “Traveler” 2010 Gold List. Sitting on 27 scenic acres of orchards and vineyards, the Inn offers guests the privacy expected in the countryside and all the modern conveniences associated with luxury hotels. Each of the 86 rooms is a cottage complete with a private patio and garden. French doors flood the cottage with natural light, and guests have the option to shower inside or out (or, as the inn refers to it, alfresco). Along with the Inn’s award-winning spa, guests enjoy onsite dining and wine tasting, playing a round of croquet or taking a stroll through the Carneros' fruit orchards.

The Griffin House Inn

Northern California’s Mendocino coast is home to Victorian-inspired towns and the romantic Griffin House Inn. In kind with the history of the coastal towns, some of the Inn's individually decorated cottages are inspired by the region’s early settlers. While the cottages are best described as comfortable and cozy rather than luxurious, “Sunset” magazine included the Griffin House in its “Top 10 Hidden Getaways.” Wood-burning stoves are a feature in seven of the eight cottages and most have ocean and cove views. Guests enjoy European-inspired breakfasts delivered daily to their rooms.

Lake Arrowhead Resort and Spa

Lake Arrowhead Resort and Spa in Southern California’s San Bernardino Mountains underwent a $17 million renovation in 2006 and was awarded AAA Four Diamond designation in 2010. While the hotel rooms are traditional with amenities typical of an upscale resort, the property features its own fitness and yoga studio. Couples have easy access to Lake Arrowhead’s lively arts and cultural scene, luxury outlet shopping and a range of mountain activities.

La Qunita Resort & Club

The Santa Rosa Mountains are a striking backdrop to historic La Quinta Resort and Club. Set on 45 acres, the Resort is a mixed-use property, offering guests and residents Spanish-inspired hotel rooms, villas and private homes. The Resort’s rich history has ties to Hollywood’s early stars, including Ginger Rogers. “Destination Weddings & Honeymoons” magazine recognized the Resort as one of America’s Most Romantic Golf Resorts based on access to five PGA West Golf courses but mainly because Ginger Rogers was married on the property. Golf isn’t the only activity. La Quinta’s spa offers outdoor treatments including open-air massages and garden baths.

About the Author

Cathleen Calkins specializes in writing about travel, adventure, lifestyle, health, fitness and brand identity. She is a regular contributor to and her work has appeared in "Backcountry," "Telemark Skier," "The Rotarian," "LA Weekly" and "Las Vegas Review Journal" as well as on a number of online adventure travel websites. She holds a Bachelor of Science in hospitality management from Rochester Institute of Technology.

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