Vacation in California: Top 6 destinations, from Beverly Hills to desert retreats

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New Delhi | Updated: October 28, 2015 5:07 PM

If vacations are on your mind, or you are travelling on business to the US, especially California or its neighbourhood, then here we list some destinations there that you have to check out. The choices range from desert retreats to an endless ocean. Toss in top golf and spas and you may wish never to leave.

four seasons baltimoreAt the Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore, it’s ultimate five-star service a seashell toss from the ocean. This luxury lodging feels the most like a see-and-be-seen destination—albeit in one where arriving for brunch in a chauffeured Bentley seems oh so normal.

If vacations are on your mind, or you are travelling on business to the US, especially California or its neighbourhood, then here we list some destinations there that you have to check out. The choices range from desert retreats to an endless ocean. Toss in top golf and spas and you may wish never to leave.

1. BEVERLY HILLS, Los Angeles County
Opulent estates, Palm-lined Rodeo Drive, Lavish hotels and stretch limousines, look around Beverly Hills, and it’s no wonder this city gets its reputation as an international symbol of the ultimate in luxury.

Beverly Hills offers some of the finest hotels in the world, providing luxurious accommodations and unparalleled service set within a glamorous enclave in the center of Los Angeles. Beverly Hills boasts one of the largest concentrations of Forbes Five Star and AAA Five Diamond properties in the United States. Hotels in this beautiful city cater to movie stars, monarchs, studio moguls and visitors alike, offering first-class amenities and service. When it comes to finding a home away from home, Beverly Hills hotels offer the ultimate in luxury for every taste.

2. SANTA BARBARA’S LUXURY RESORTS, Santa Barbara
Indulge, rejuvenate, and relax. Treat yourself to a luxurious stay in fabulous hotels, resorts or spas in Santa Barbara. Santa Barbara makes sure you’ve got plenty of ways to make sure you’re happily spoiled. Lodgings here specialize in laid-back luxury, with settings ranging from hilltop areas, to secret bungalows, to edge-of-the-sea dazzlers. The fantastic Belmond El Encanto, with terraced gardens and sweeping views of the Pacific perched in the hills above town, it feels like a private enclave that doesn’t draw attention or flash—just pure relaxation and sigh-worthy settings. Pull on a fluffy robe from the closet of your classic bungalow to dip into the pool or get a treatment at the onsite spa.

Natural beauty meets classic luxury and romance at San Ysidro Ranch, nestled in the Montecito foothills. This stunning retreat has a storied past sprinkled with celebrities: Vivien Leigh and Sir Laurence Olivier exchanged vows here and it made a perfect honeymoon retreat for then-Senator John F. Kennedy and his beautiful bride Jackie.

At the Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore, it’s ultimate five-star service a seashell toss from the ocean. This luxury lodging feels the most like a see-and-be-seen destination—albeit in one where arriving for brunch in a chauffeured Bentley seems oh so normal. The waterfront property has onsite tennis courts and provides access to nearby golf courses. Guests can also use the Coral Casino Beach and Cabana Club, across the street at secluded Butterfly Beach.

3. AHWAHNEE HOTEL, Yosemite National Park

It costs a bundle to spend the night, but there’s no charge for wandering inside, taking in the splendor of this 1920s-era hotel. This National Historic Landmark in Yosemite Valley has several “public rooms” where visitors can soak up its 1927 architecture, designed by Gilbert Stanley Underwood.

Everything in the Ahwahnee is built on a grand scale, from the massive hand-stenciled timber beams to sandstone fireplaces so large you could hold a tea party inside. Adorning this hefty structure are colorful stained-glass windows, Native American tapestries and baskets, Turkish kilim rugs, and Yosemite-inspired 19th-century paintings depicting the park’s waterfalls and giant sequoia trees.

Many famous people have slept in the Ahwahnee, including John F. Kennedy, Greta Garbo, Queen Elizabeth II, and Winston Churchill. It’s a worthy splurge to stay in one of its 123 rooms, suites, or cottages, but even if you don’t, you can still book a table for the sumptuous Sunday brunch at the Ahwahnee Dining Room, or simply sit by the fireplace in the Great Lounge, look up at the wrought-iron chandeliers dropping from the dining room’s 34-foot, richly painted ceilings, or enjoy a cocktail at the bar. Free one-hour guided tours of the Ahwahnee are offered throughout the year.

4. Spoil-yourself lodgings in the wine country – Napa and Sonoma

With surroundings as blissful as the Napa Valley and Sonoma County wine country, it was only a matter of time before blissful lodgings followed suit. In the 1980s, St. Helena’s Auberge du Soleil started seriously pampering visitors, offering tucked-away rooms with wood-burning fireplaces and French doors leading to private verandas, and a peaceful pool with romantic valley views.

At country-club-like Meadowood, on Napa’s Silverado Trail, guest can swing a golf club, thwack a tennis ball, play croquet, or relax in an exclusive spa, then primp for dinner at three-Michelin-starred The Restaurant at Meadowood. (The multi-course Chef’s Tasting Menu is a dazzler.)

Sonoma Mission Inn—now a Fairmont property—focused on healing waters and lush surroundings, and visitors still enjoy the silky mineral pools in lap-of-luxury surroundings. In Yountville, relax on the swanky rooftop pool at ultra-modern Bardessono, built from salvaged stone and reclaimed wood.

At Calistoga Ranch, 50 freestanding guest lodges are nestled among oak trees and babbling brooks, and fire pits warm outdoor living rooms.
If you think all this indulgence is for couples, think again. Solage Calistoga may be as high-end, but it’s also got nice family-friendly touches, liked a children’s pool and free bikes.

5. Orange County’s Luxury Resorts

While choosing for your honeymoon getaway one can also look for resort destinations too. With spas, elegant dining, posh lodgings, and impeccable service—plus endless ocean views—these lodgings set the bar for coastal luxury.
Relax on your own private oceanfront balcony at the Mediterranean-inspired Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel. Nearby, relax in contemporary suites, play golf on the Robert Trent Jones, Jr.-designed course, or cool off in the enormous, main ocean pool at St. Regis Monarch Beach.

(There’s a private beach too, where you can sign up for a surf lesson.) The oceanfront Montage Laguna Beach is set on an oceanfront bluff with Craftsman-style design, and celebrates the town’s rich artistic history by displaying plein air works by notable California artists in the lobby and reception area (non-guests are welcome to visit the lobby to see a sampling).

Just north in posh Newport Beach, The Resort at Pelican Hill wraps you in Tuscan luxury, with over-the-top amenities such as villas with butler service and a private clubhouse. Golfers will beeline to the two Tom Fazio courses, known for nonstop ocean views.

Now wait for another twist all leading resorts offer spa services, open to guests and nonguests, so even if you are not spending the night, you can get rejuvenated.

6. Luxury in the Deserts

California is a one stop destination not only for its opulent landscapes but also for its desert resorts. You’ll find resorts in all styles–from lavish opulence to sleek modernism–with many lodgings reflecting the era they were built. The Parker Palm Springs, the former ranch of singing cowboy Gene Autry, has the sleek, low-slung coolness of Mid-century Modern design.

The flower-filled courtyards and red-tiled adobe casitas at the expansive La Quinta Resort & Club, opened in 1926, hint at romance under a desert moon. At The Willows historic Palm Springs inn, once a millionaire’s private retreat, terraced gardens beckon. And everything old is new again at the styled-to-the-roughing-it-nines at Sparrows Lodge, where vaulted wood ceilings, stone details, and restored horse troughs for bathtubs give a relaxed ranch feel–though no luxury is spared.

There’s all-out luxury too. At Ritz-Carlton Rancho Mirage, settle into a suite with contemporary furnishings and mountain views, and then play a round of golf before enjoying a body treatment featuring desert herbs and minerals.

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