Southern California

7 Best Hotels in Huntington Beach | SoCal's Coolest Coastal City

From laid-back beachfront motels with hip surfer vibes to sleek resorts with rooftop bars and poolside cabanas, here are some of the best hotels in Huntington Beach.

The dawn sky has barely begun to brighten as the first surfers zip up their wetsuits and jog towards the Pacific Ocean. They pad barefoot across the soft, biscuit-hued sand and paddle, bellies on boards, towards the cresting waves.

From my hotel room balcony, where I sit with hands clutched around a mug of freshly brewed coffee, they look like wriggling, long-limbed beetles or slick seals. I’m not the only one watching. Dog walkers (and dogs) stand and stare, while others line the edges of the long, skinny pier, leaning against the rails or sitting with their legs dangling over the water.

The sky, a slowly lightening cornflower blue, billows with candy-floss clouds, adds a delicate drama to the scene, and hints at another near-perfect day in Huntington Beach. This is Surf City USA, a spot that draws wave-seekers of all levels from beginner to pro. It’s also a pretty perfect place for those who prefer to watch from the dry, warm sand, kayakers who paddle around the stilts of the pier, and anyone who believes year-round sun and fun equals a good time.

In short, this is classic Southern California, embodying everything that’s so timelessly appealing about the coastal, SoCal lifestyle. It’s sunglasses on and shoes off (unless they’re flip-flops). The best hotels in Huntington Beach reflect this laid-back vibe, whether you prefer to immerse yourself in breezy luxury or simply want somewhere breezy and comfortable to lay your head (and store your surfboard).

A Chic, Upscale Resort Where Surfing is King

You won’t hear many people talk about boardrooms in Huntington Beach. (If you do, you’re probably hanging out in the wrong places.) You may, however, overhear conversations about “board rooms”–that is, dedicated rooms for surfboard storage.

At Kimpton Shorebreak Resort, that’s just one of many ways you–and your gear–are given the VIP treatment. There’s also a surf ambassador, who can tell you the best spots to catch a wave, book lessons, or just hang out après-surf, while a daily surf report keeps guests up to date with weather conditions.

For those who, like me, prefer to spend more time on the sand than in the surf, the hotel’s beach gear rental–from beach towels and toys to cruiser bikes–will help you get fully into the SoCal spirit. As do the rooms, equipped with yoga mats and decked out in breezy blues and surf-inspired art.

The common spaces make the most of the beachfront setting and ocean breezes, too. Dine on zingy, colorful Asian and Latin American fusion dishes at Pacific Hideaway, whose tables spill out onto a patio with clear views of Huntington Beach Pier, which stretches 1,850 feet into the ocean. Or grab a seat by the outdoor fire pits, where complimentary s’mores are offered nightly.

Kimpton Shorebreak Huntington Beach Resort, an IHG Hotel

Top rated
Huntington Beach
9.3 Excellent (2320 reviews)

A Retro Charmer Steps from the Sand

Only a road separates the Sun n Sands Motel from the city’s beaches, which stretch for seven sandy, sunny miles. The Pacific feels even closer from one of the ocean view suites, whose windows frame spindly palm trees and horizontal stripes of pale honey sand, teal water, and powder-blue sky.

This chilled-out inn isn’t so sleek as some of the luxury resorts that sprawl languidly along the oceanfront, but it is packed with retro charm. The colorful pylon sign and chintzy decor–from busy floral bedspreads to stenciled palm trees and turtles on the walls–are reminiscent of old-fashioned roadside motels.

The spacious rooms open directly to the outside (which is where you’ll most long to be when staying in Huntington Beach), making the surf and sand feel that much closer. Take advantage of the free-to-borrow beach toys, available from reception, or stroll to the pier, where people cast fishing lines from the rails (you don’t need a license) or simply gaze at the sunset. Or the surfers.

Sun n Sands Motel

Huntington Beach
7.4(15 reviews)

Beach Luxury and Rooftop Cocktails at this Breezy Hotel

A certain brand of luxury characterizes Huntington Beach’s best resorts. Buttoned-up formality has no place here. Think flip-flops rather than heels and, when temperatures cool come the evening, cozy cardigans rather than blazers.

It’s this style of breezy, “beachy” chic that makes the area so special, and The Waterfront Beach Resort, a Hilton Hotel embodies it perfectly. Rooms and suites, some with balconies and ocean views, capture the colors of the landscape, from the blues of the Pacific to the sandy gray of driftwood.

At open-air rooftop bar Offshore 9, bartenders shake, stir, and swizzle up concoctions with bold and bright regional flavors, and the cocktails happen to pair perfectly with the impeccably prepared sharing plates and open ocean views.

The only way to get closer to the sand is to be on it, ideally with a private beach bonfire at sunset, with chairs, hot chocolate, and s’mores all laid on as part of the package

The Waterfront Beach Resort, A Hilton Hotel

Top rated
Huntington Beach
8.6 Excellent (2307 reviews)

An All-Suite Property with Midcentury Style

Sometimes space is the top priority, and SpringHill Suites Huntington Beach Orange County offers it in spades. Every room is a suite, with sleek, mid-century modern inspired furnishings and a breezy, ocean-inspired color palette. Bigger studio suites have private outdoor space and separate living areas with kitchenettes and sofa beds.

This, and the property’s pretty perfect location between the beach and theme parks Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm, make it one of the area’s best options for families planning to split the days between the waves and the rides.

Grab a craft beer or glass of Californian wine from the hotel’s lobby bar before strolling across the street to Bella Terra, a hip shopping center with pocket gardens and local-favorite restaurants tucked among the boutiques and souvenir stores. Try the smoke-infused tacos (cooked on a wood-fired grill) at Solita, or grab a Hawaiian burger at Islands.

SpringHill Suites by Marriott Huntington Beach Orange County

Top rated
Huntington Beach
9.0 Excellent (950 reviews)

The Classic SoCal Beach Experience, Upgraded

On pretty much any given evening, the beaches that make up this surf city are dotted with flickering orange flames. Families, couples, and groups of friends gather for that most classic of California beach experiences: the beach bonfire. There are around 500 concrete rings, free to use on a first-come, first-served basis. Picnics, s’mores, and happy chatter are de rigueur.

Guests staying at the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort, however, can raise the experience a few notches by booking one of the beach bonfire packages. You’ll get a reserved fire pit (beating the crowds, which is invaluable in summer), all lit and ready to toast marshmallows, plus bespoke extras like chairs, blankets, hot chocolate, and s’mores kits.

Yes, you could light it yourself–but doesn’t it feel that extra bit special when someone else has done the hard work for you? That’s the general vibe of this chic, Spanish-style hotel, whose rooms are fresh and vibrant in shades of white and gray. The rest of the hotel is imbued with the same breezy chic, from surfboards on the wall to the large courtyard area, strung with lights and gazing towards the palm-tree-lined oceanfront.

Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort and Spa

Top rated
Huntington Beach
9.1 Excellent (2633 reviews)

A Homely Stay a Short Walk from the Ocean and Downtown

This classic Californian city happens to be right in the path of the most classic of Californian road trips: the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH), or Highway 1. The ocean-hugging road slices right by Surf City’s stretch of gilded sand, which is so inviting that it’s impossible not to stop, even if you didn’t plan to.

Laid-back Huntington Beach Inn was made for road-trippers. It’s right on the PCH, which means it may as well be right on the beach: the sand-trimmed ocean is just across the road. Rooms have cloud-like beds decked in silky, high-thread-count sheets, while some have balconies for horizon-gazing.

Its location really couldn’t be better. Stroll in any direction and you’ll soon reach the fun. Aside from the beach, the pier is a short walk away, as are the cute shops and restaurants of downtown.

Follow your nose (and rumbling belly) to Pacific City, a cluster of beachfront bungalows a 10-minute walk from the hotel. This hub of shops, restaurants, an artisan market, and boardwalk-inspired steps (perfect for people-watching) is the kind of place you’ll find yourself returning to, again and again. Much like Huntington Beach itself, really.

Huntington Beach Inn

Huntington Beach
7.3(2095 reviews)

A Sleek Spa Getaway Right by the Ocean

From the beach butlers who’ll pedal you to the sand on a pedicab to the craft cocktails served in the chic rooftop bar, Pasea Hotel & Spa embodies the hippest elements of Huntington Beach.

All the rooms are fabulous, with plush beds and crisp decor in bright white and blue. For the ultimate oceanfront retreat, though, book an oceanfront room or suite, with balconies jutting over the sand and windows framing nature’s palette of soft blues and beiges.

It’s the details that make this a standout property: coffee makers that actually make good coffee, curved lounge chairs by the windows, spa-worthy toiletries, and cozy, hooded sweatshirt robes to take the edge off any early morning and evening chills.

The same granular attention to detail has been applied outside the rooms, from the cabanas and fire pits by the pool to the heady fragrances that waft throughout the Balinese-inspired spa.

Paséa Hotel & Spa

Top rated
Huntington Beach
8.8 Excellent (2016 reviews)