A fresh crop of new and freshly renovated California hotels gave us cushy, cozy places to rest our heads in 2022.
We checked into a Wine Country resort, a boutique stay in Santa Barbara, and a coastal hideaway in Marin. We slept soundly in a hip desert Airstream and on the third floor of a historic mansion in Healdsburg. We woke to views of the Bay Bridge in San Francisco and Oakland.
And when checkout rolled around, we plotted when we could get back to the nine California hotels we loved most in 2022.
The Madrona in Healdsburg
Elegant with her soaring gables and sweeping porches, stunning in her Victorian details, The Madrona is every bit a sophisticated grande dame. The mansion’s recent $6 million renovation is a study in playful decadence in which 250 pieces of the hotel’s pre-existing furniture and antiques were carefully blended with boldly patterned wallpapers, sculptural light fixtures, and bright colors. With its gardens, carriage house, and wide lawn, the property’s exterior is just as lovely as its Jay Jeffers–designed interior. Even if you can’t swing a stay, stop by for a cocktail at Hannah’s Bar or dinner on the Palm Terrace to see the stunning evolution of the 141-year old estate.
// 1001 Westside Rd (Healdsburg), themadronahotel.com
Line San Francisco
Depending on who you ask, the best thing about the new 236-room Line SF is its style—the way it seems to seamlessly integrate natural elements like rough stone and vegetal matter with modern art and industrial design. Or maybe it's Rise Over Run, the greenhouse-encased rooftop bar that opens onto plant-lined pathways freckled with cafe tables and fire pits. Or maybe Tenderheart, chef Joe Hou’s Chinese-American outfit (and one of our favorite new restaurants of the year). No matter how you slice it, this hotel on the edge of Union Square is one of the city’s best new stays.
// 33 Turk St. (Tenderloin), thelinehotel.com
AutoCamp in Joshua Tree
If you’ve never been to an AutoCamp or dipped your toes into Airstream life, you can expect a blurring of the line between camping and a limited-service hotel at the new 25-acre Joshua Tree location. All 47 Airstreams (plus some luxury suites and tents) have a comfy queen bed, a kitchenette stocked with basics, and a bathroom. The property’s clubhouse was built to resemble a WWII-era Quonset hut and kitted out with midcentury modern–style furniture, hand-woven textiles, and pieces crafted by local artisans. As day turns to night, grab a glass of vino from your personal stash or AutoCamp's general store, break out that s’mores kit, and cozy up by the fire for the show. Depending on when you visit, you might even catch a local live band on the clubhouse patio.
// 62209 Vervena Rd. (Joshua Tree), autocamp.com
Stanly Ranch in Napa
(Courtesy of Stanly Ranch)
In case you missed it, Napa Valley received its third Auberge Collection resort this year with the April opening of Stanly Ranch, a project nearly two decades in the making. The decor throughout could best be described as contemporary-organic, in gentle tones of oatmeal and soothing gray. Plush furnishings add softness to the more sturdy elements of wood, concrete and glass, and all the guest rooms are equipped with high-tech features as well as outdoor fire pits (many also have outdoor showers). But as tempting as it would be to luxuriate in your room forever, don’t miss the bold adventures and wellness opportunities available on site including mountain lion tracking, wine tasting, and tours in a vintage motorcycle sidecar.
// 200 Stanly Crossroad (Napa), aubergeresorts.com/stanlyranch
Kissel Hotel in Oakland
An urbane new hotel with a highly anticipated restaurant is changing the Oakland staycation game. The Kissel is a boutique stay within walking distance of Uptown Oakland's scene-making eateries, bars, shops, and concert venues. The seven-floor property has striking interiors, like the tropical vibe at the vibrant lobby bar Otto’s, and its rooms—168 of them, plus 10 suites—are sleek and modern. On the ground floor, Oakland star chef Paul Canales’ Occitania, whose menu is full of southern French–style dishes and beautiful cocktails, is a delight.
// 2455 Broadway (Oakland), kisseloakland.com
Palihouse in Santa Barbara
(Courtesy of Palihouse Santa Barbara)
From the second you walk through the door of Palihouse, the Historic Presidio neighborhood’s new boutique stay, you'll be transported back in time to summering on the Riviera in Grace Kelly fashion. The enchanting, palm-enclosed Spanish hideaway has just 24 rooms that are cozy and a little bit eclectic with fun and purposefully mismatched colors, patterns (there's a lot of preppy plaids), and midcentury modern furnishings. Grab a drink from the bar to enjoy lazily in the courtyard or by the pool, or snag a complimentary bike for adventuring out. The pet-friendly Pawlisociety package includes organic treats, plush dog beds, toys, and more.
// 915 Garden St. (Santa Barbara), palisociety.com
The Stavrand in Guerneville
(Emma K. Morris)
Crisp white Mission-style architecture dominates The Stavrand, which feels cheerful and breezy thanks to Mexican pottery and colorful Talavera tiles, cobalt blue window trim, and Adirondack chairs positioned around two main fire pits in a central courtyard. Artsy decor prevails in the property’s three buildings, but each feels distinct. The Belden rooms are intimate, with intricate wallpaper and European B&B vibes; rooms in the Cazadero building have vaulted ceilings, window seats, and outdoor cedar hot tubs; and those in the Armstrong building are large, with vintage pottery and deep blue hues. Chef Jeremy Clemens’ nightly prix-fixe dinner menu is partially sourced from the chef's garden and heirloom fruit orchard. Be sure to take time to stroll them, and the rest of the bucolic property, including the small arbor with sweeping views at the top of the hill.
// 13555 Highway 116 (Guerneville), thestavrand.com
1 Hotel in San Francisco
With plants seeming to grow from absolutely everywhere, the new 1 Hotel SF feels like a hushed secret garden in the heart of the city. Potted plants, lush green walls, and reclaimed wood hint at the hotel group's strategy of respecting humans' relationship to the natural environment and celebrating all things local. But don't think all this environmental wokeness translates to a crunchy-granola experience: The rooms and amenities here don't skimp on luxury. Downstairs, the restaurant Terrene serves up ingredients sourced both from the chef’s rooftop garden and regional producers, and the hotel’s cocktail program is admirably zero-waste.
// 8 Mission St. (Embarcadero), 1hotels.com/san-francisco
The Citizen Hotel in Sacramento
(Courtesy of The Citizen Hotel)
The Citizen Hotel stands sentinel over the state capitol building at the heart of Sacramento. Inside its 14 stories, a multi-million dollar renovation has transformed the hotel into a canvas of editorial cartoons, historical quotes, and stately sophistication. In the guest rooms, indulge in chic velvety seating, colorful throw pillows, and an all-white tile bath with luxe amenities. On the ground floor, Michelin-recognized restaurant Grange, which kicked Sacramento’s farm-to-table movement into high gear when it opened in the late aughts, remains at the top of the city’s culinary terrain.
// 926 J St. (Sacramento), thecitizenhotel.com