Southern California

6 Best Malibu Beach Hotels | Hidden Mountain Ranches to Private Beach Townhouses

From chic oceanfront dining to outdoor massages at serene mountain ranches, here are some of the best Malibu beach hotels along the Pacific Coast Highway.

With a glass of signature spicy margarita (on the rocks with a salted rim) in hand, I make my way to a highly coveted table at the far end of the Surfrider’s effortlessly chic rooftop deck. The wind gradually picks up, bringing with it a salty ocean breeze and the enthusiastic sounds of beachgoers below.

It’s surf season in Malibu and the waves are teeming with surfers, novices and pros alike, all hoping to ride the area’s acclaimed waves. Its century-old pier attracts visitors no matter the time of year, while stretches of the beach city’s unending coastline offer up striking daily sunsets and notably epic breaks.

From seasonal swells and pristine white sand beaches to freshly caught seafood and coastal California fare, the diversity that exists in coastal towns along the Pacific Coast Highway is unmatched. Malibu is no exception. Here are six of the best Malibu beach hotels and vacation rentals to consider for your next sunshine-fueled getaway.

Contemporary Chic Malibu Beach Hotel with Oceanfront Dining

Primely located along California’s renowned ever-winding Pacific Coast Highway, the Malibu Beach Inn is so much more than just a beachfront property, especially after its 2016 renovation by Los Angeles-based interior designer Walter Fernandez.

Decked out in calming hues of blue and grey, the property’s chic rooms and suites evoke the soothing sound of the ocean waves as they rhythmically crash on the sandy shores of Carbon Beach, which can be witnessed firsthand while cozying up next to the in-room fireplace or out on the private, ocean-facing balcony.

The on-site restaurant, Carbon Beach Club, is a favorite among both locals and Hollywood celebrities—Neil Young, Daryl Hannah and the Hadid sisters are all frequent diners—who come for its New American seafood menu and fresh, locally-sourced ingredients. Sip on glasses of wine from Napa while exploring the seasonal menu—favorites include a whole grilled branzino with shaved fennel, sun-dried tomatoes and charred lemon, as well as the local cioppino made with Baja shrimp, black mussels, baby squid and fish in a tomato-herb broth—all while watching the sunset over Malibu Pier from the restaurant’s oceanfront terrace.

Malibu Beach Inn

Top rated
8.5 Excellent (316 reviews)

Cozy Malibu Beach Hotel Five Minutes from Zuma Beach

Whether you require some sunshine—Zuma Beach is only a five-minute walk away—or a day spent hiking in Escondido Canyon Park, Malibu Country Inn is your cozy getaway, with its year-round heated outdoor pool and lush gardens overlooking both the Santa Monica mountain range and the Pacific Ocean.

Casual rooms offer mini-fridges and coffeemakers and many come with private patios, while a pair of spacious suites provide hot tubs, in-room fireplaces and living areas. For those in need of privacy, a secluded cottage offers a separate living room with mountain views.

Malibu Country Inn

7.6 Good (1526 reviews)

Experience California Beach House Vibes at this Surfer-Chic Malibu Beach Hotel

Once a former motel from the 1950s, the Surfrider Malibu is now a surfer-chic property designed to resemble an effortlessly cool California beach house that you’d never want to leave. From being situated along its namesake, Surfrider Beach, to its intimate upstairs library, the hotel does everything it can to appease its very appropriately coined motto, “make yourself at home.”

The property’s 20 airy rooms and suites all offer balconies with views of the water, plus hammocks to lounge in for those located on the upper floor. Custom surfboards by local surf company, Wax Surf Co, come in shades of yellow and light blue pastels and are complimentary for guests looking to catch some of the best-known waves at First Point.

The plush rooftop bar and restaurant, accessible only to hotel guests, comes complete with a fire pit and serene Pacific Ocean views. Sip on wine from neighboring vineyards while dining on all-local California fare, with favorites including seared tuna tacos with freshly made tortillas, and organic Earth Bowls made with quinoa, hummus, pickled cranberries, avocado and shaved Brussel sprouts.

The Surfrider Malibu

9.4 Excellent (519 reviews)

A 250-acre Hideaway Nestled in the Quiet Santa Monica Mountains

Quietly tucked into the Santa Monica mountains, the Calamigos Guest Ranch sits on a sprawling 250-acre estate. It comes complete with a five-acre stretch of pristine coastline, where its mid-century modern beach club and restaurant sit along the scenic Pacific Coast Highway.

While the luxe estate rooms all open up to their own private pool—there are a total of three swimming pools on the property — guests looking for an incredibly private weekend to unwind should book either a cottage or bungalow. These airy accommodations offer separate living areas, high-vaulted wood ceilings and indulgent soaking tubs.

Relax with the spa’s signature offerings like the Malibu glow facial or the energy-cleansing chakra massage, which is commonly offered outdoors on the property. On the weekends, head down to Leo’s Lodge Bar for a session of live music, along with refreshing glasses of Agua Fresca and other expertly-crafted seasonal cocktails.

Calamigos Guest Ranch

9.4 Excellent (780 reviews)

Relaxed Malibu Vacation Rentals with Direct Beach Access

Looking for a Malibu vacation rental that feels more like your beachfront home away from home? Then the Malibu Beach Paradise Apartments is your go-to getaway choice, with its functional kitchens, separate dining areas and living rooms.

While this casual 5-apartment property also comes with daily housekeeping, free parking and access to BBQs, its primary appeal is its golden location overlooking the Pacific Ocean: all of the rental’s balconies or patios boast envy-inducing views.

During low-tide, a relaxed six-minute walk east along the beach below takes you to Malibu Pier, a landmark monument dating back to 1905 that was originally built by Frederick Hastings Rindge, the founder of present-day Malibu. Today, the pier is best for experiencing California’s prominent surf culture—Surfrider Beach, where surfers from all around the world flock to try their hand at its famous three-point break, lies directly to the east.

Malibu Beach Paradise Apartments

8.4 Very good (450 reviews)

Oceanfront Malibu Townhouse with Private Beach

This spacious three-bedroom townhouse offers guests the ultimate Malibu experience: renting an ideally located million-dollar property at a very affordable price. Sitting along a quiet stretch of private beach, this Malibu hideout is perfect for those looking to escape the frenetic pace of typical city life.

A floor-to-ceiling glass wall offers uninhibited ocean views from the bright living room and master bedroom, while private balconies and an outdoor deck with a BBQ look directly out to the azure blue waters below.

A casual bike ride brings you to the plethora of shopping and dining options around Malibu Pier. An 8.5-mile ride brings you to El Matador Beach—notably one of Malibu’s most-sought-after spots for wedding photo-shoots—to watch the sunset behind the beach’s colossal sea stacks.

Oceanfront Malibu Townhouse On Quiet Road

9.6 Excellent (228 reviews)