Southwest

California Resorts for the Canadian Sun Seeker

Head to the sunshine of California for a vacation filled with relaxation, incredible landscapes and a stay at one of our favourite resorts.

For sunshine throughout the year, California is an easy go-to getaway for snow-weary Canucks. With a strong focus on well-being, you can expect resorts in the Golden State to provide not only plush furnishings and exemplary service, but also a wide-range of outdoor activities for body and soul. That means beach reads and sunrise yoga, horseback gallops through the surf and lazy afternoons in heated pools beneath palm trees.

We’ve rounded up our top resorts in California for rejuvenating in the fresh air of the Pacific: from Laguna Beach to the mighty redwoods of Big Sur, mosaic pools to spas stocked with warmed beach stones, you’ll find them all bathed in that delicious West Coast sunshine.

A California Resort for Recreation, Rest and Art Admiration

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Overlooking the Pacific, the Montage Laguna Beach is a great all-rounder for a Southern California getaway that suits families, couples and groups. It’s all about the ocean here, with sparkling views at every turn. From your private balcony or patio, catch the sunset or sunrise over the nautical horizon, or peer over the waves crashing on the beach below.

Start your first day in the sun with a walk on the beach, or browse the resort’s impressive art collection (Laguna Beach itself plays host to over 90 galleries). After dropping the kids off at Paintbox (the on-site children’s program), feel your tensions float away with the bubbles in the outdoor hot tub. There’s catered pampering to be had at Spa Montage, too: your personal Master Therapist will tailor a treatment program to optimize your recharging time, all perfumed by a bespoke blend of aromatic oils.

Dinner comes with the choice of three on-site restaurants. You can try braised octopus carpaccio and Pacific swordfish for modern French cuisine with some California flair, while vegans and veggie-lovers will find a creative menu made up of seeds, flowers, roots and shoots. On cooler nights, retreat to the flickering light of the fireplace in your bedroom and cozy up on your chaise longue to watch the moon rise.

Montage Laguna Beach

Top rated
9.2 Excellent (736 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9.5 / 10
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Beaches on Your Doorstep at This California Resort

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For a getaway with the beach literally at your feet, you can’t beat the Hotel Surf & Sand Resort‘s spot on 500 feet of powdery Laguna Beach coast. Choose from a beachfront guest room or suite, where you’ll no doubt want to escape with a book and a nap on your private balcony. Wake for a dip in the Pacific or the hotel pool—you’ll find a touch of local craftsmanship in the tile mural, an indicator of the area’s strong artist community.

Top-to-toe pampering awaits at Aquaterra Spa, where treatments include the beachcomber body melt—50 minutes of full-body dry-brush exfoliation followed by an application of warmed beach stones infused with rosemary, citrus and coconut oils. Finish with a cocoon wrap and a stress-busting head, neck and shoulder massage. Bliss!

As for food, you can tempt the taste buds with delectable Californian cuisine peppered with Mediterranean flavours at Splashes restaurant. Enjoy an appetizer of caviar and bubbles, then perhaps an entrée of seared turbot with foraged mushrooms and asparagus salad topped with creamy truffle goat cheese. End your evening with an after-dinner stroll on the beach, shoes in hand.

Hotel Surf & Sand Resort

Top rated
8.8 Excellent (1766 reviews)
Excellent Location 9.3 / 10
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A Hidden L.A. Gem at a California Resort with a Custom Spa

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Perched on the Palos Verdes Peninsula only 20 miles from LAX, Hotel Terranea Resort is L.A.’s best-kept secret on the oceanfront. At 102 acres and home to a private golf course, four pools, pristine beach and a cornucopia of eating and drinking spots, Terranea is a community in itself.

Herd any kids in tow to the children’s Splash Zone and waterslide for fun-soaked afternoons in the sun. For grown-up getaways, there’s the adults-only Cielo Point Pool for a quiet sunbathe and a cocktail. You’ll be spoilt for food choices here too, with eight distinct dining options to suit your appetite. At mar’sel, you’ll find seasonal, gourmet dishes like branzino with smoked beluga lentils, while Catalina Kitchen offers tempting brunch bites like syrupy buttermilk pancakes or spicy chilaquiles and eggs. Be sure to pop in for Sunday brunch to enjoy your meal with a little live music.

You’ll choose from a Mediterranean-inspired room, bungalow, suite, casita or villa—whatever you go for, that brilliant California sun will stream in from your private terrace overlooking the sweeping coastline or gardens. After waking in beach-toned bedding, explore the on-site wellness activities, from seaside yoga and Pilates to decadent treatments at the award-winning spa. You’ll get to design a custom relaxation therapy based on your own circadian rhythms and the timing of your visit.

Hotel Terranea Resort

Top rated
9.0 Excellent (1050 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9.3 / 10
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Peace Among the Redwoods at this Adults-Only California Resort

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Tucked away in 160 acres of ancient redwood forests on a Pacific Coast clifftop, Ventana Big Sur is an inviting retreat in one of California’s most iconic destinations. Leave the kids with grandma and recharge in this most natural of settings. Rustic yet lavish cedar-panelled guest rooms and suites are carefully set around the property for maximum serenity and privacy. Need a closer connection to Mother Earth? Opt for a glamping experience in a safari-style canvas tent, with a custom mattress and fine linens for a blissful sleep after an evening around the campfire.

Breathe in the scent of the pines during outdoor meditation, tai chi or yoga, or spend balmy afternoons taking in the ocean view from the Meadow Pool. If you’re feeling bold (or just into those “au natural” vibes), opt for a dip in the clothing-optional Mountain Pool. A Thai massage will be waiting at Spa Alila afterwards, where you’ll be lulled into a blissful state by eco-lux products prepared by local artisans.

End the day with gourmet dining overlooking the ocean sunset at Sur House, the resort’s signature restaurant. You’ll tuck into gourmet dishes made with fresh, local ingredients like California opah and potato-crusted ling cod, topped off with a slice of classic banoffee pie.

Hotel Ventana Big Sur

Top rated
9.0 Excellent (769 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9.4 / 10
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A Hacienda-Style California Resort Famous for Tequila

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Step into a Mediterranean hideaway of flourishing gardens and olive groves at Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa, just a half-hour drive from San Diego airport. Your luxury pet-friendly casita, villa or hacienda sits among charming courtyards cooled by flowing fountains. Breeze past rustic furnishings straight to your private patio with views of the surrounding San Diego canyons—an ideal spot for watching the rocks redden beneath an epic SoCal sunset.

Begin your morning on a soothing note with an Elemental Massage, followed by a refreshing dip in the palm-lined pool. If spending the day under the hot Cali sun is your idea of a dream vacation, we recommend reserving your poolside cabana with the concierge. Come evening, grab your partner and steal away for fine dining by candlelight at Veladora, where you’ll feast on grilled octopus and Iberico pork. Alternatively, go casual at the Pony Room, with skirt steak carne asada tacos and more than 100 varieties of tequila.

You’ll find signature activities available every day of the week—discover the spa’s hydrotherapy wellness circuit on Monday, get your pulse pumping with tennis on Tuesday and take a guided nature walk on Wednesday. And don’t forget about the tequila and champagne-tasting days. There’s really something for everyone; life-size Jenga on Sunday, perhaps?

Rancho Valencia Resort And Spa

San Diego, 29.1 km to Balboa Park
Excellent Cleanliness 8.6 / 10
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Hilltop Views of Newport Beach From This California Resort

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From its hilltop perch over the Pacific, the Resort at Pelican Hill sits on an impressive 504 acres of prime Newport Beach coastline. Two designer golf courses and a mammoth circular swimming pool crown the landscape here, which you can take in from your bungalow and sun-soaked terrace. Big visiting groups can spread across four bedrooms in a spacious villa and order up a food spread on arrival from your own private staff and clubhouse.

Kids under 12 will be entertained at Camp Pelican while you head off for a round of golf or a pampering session at the full-service salon. For an extra special memory, sign up for the resort’s Crystal Cove Beach Experience: a return coach service will deliver you to the three-mile stretch of immaculate beach for a day of swimming and surfing, your towels, chairs and umbrellas all prepped for you.

Gather your group together for a meal in one of the six on-site restaurants, all with panoramic ocean views. Choose Andrea for handmade pasta or barrel-aged acquerello risotto, served tableside on an enormous cheese wheel. After a generous scoop of one of the 12 seasonal flavours of gelato made in-house every day, you’ll be ready for a fireside bath and a stately snooze beneath vaulted timber ceilings in your elegant room.

Hotel The Resort at Pelican Hill

Top rated
9.2 Excellent (1914 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9.5 / 10
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A California Resort in Santa Monica With a Cape Cod Feeling

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Shutters on the Beach certainly lives up to the name, with Santa Monica sands stretching as far as the eye can see just beyond the door. The resort channels iconic Cape Cod architecture, with classic white shutters opening onto ocean-view balconies. Run a luxurious bath in your gleaming en-suite while light pours over your bedroom’s soothing palette of seaside pastels. What better place to have Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and Sea on your bedside table?

After a late-morning jog on the beach, stop at Coast—the resort’s beachside café—for casual fare like the Coast wagyu burger, Shutters Caesar or a tasty chicken club on a toasted sourdough bun. At 1 Pico, you’ll find inventive coastal menu items like lamb chops with smashed fingerling potatoes, braised Tuscan kale and almond salsa verde.

You’ll want to slot in at least one trip to ONE spa for a relaxing massage or invigorating facial while you’re here. If beach-centric self-love is more your style, get bendy with a yoga session on the sand or just sprawl out on a chaise lounger under the sun. Should you want a wander, it’s a half-mile stroll to the famous Santa Monica Pier and its taste of colourful California life. And just beyond? The City of Angels awaits.

Shutters On the Beach

Top rated
Santa Monica, 1.4 km to 3rd Street Promenade
8.6 Excellent (713 reviews)
Excellent Location 9.3 / 10
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A High-End California Resort With Its Own Equestrian Centre

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With sprinkling fountains flanked by cypress trees, the Fairmont Grand Del Mar has the feel of an Italian villa. Five miles from the Pacific, this elegant golf resort and spa dominates 400 acres of San Diego coastal canyons. Drop your clubs and spa slippers in your balcony room, where richly draped fabrics, marble bathrooms and bright gold finishes add to that traditional Tuscan vibe.

The attention to detail continues in the culinary creations made by Grand Chef William Bradley at the resort’s six restaurants. Sample French flavours at Addison, where you’ll find mouthwatering multi-course menus of calotte de boeuf with escargot à la dijonnaise and mushroom gratin. Or for an indulgence of a different kind, opt for a warm mud body wrap at the on-site spa.

Clear afternoons are best spent with a book by one of the resort’s four pools—they’re heated so you can bask in that California sun no matter the temperature outside. Or to get your heart rate up, you can take the family on a hiking adventure to nearby canyons and waterfalls. Golfers can hit the rolling greens of the premier Tom Fazio-designed golf course, and the resort’s own equestrian centre is open to riders of all levels. Saddle up your steed for a sunset gallop, or sign the kids up for fun-filled days getting to know their four-legged friends at the equestrian day camp.

Fairmont Grand Del Mar

Top rated
San Diego, 23.4 km to Balboa Park
9.8 Excellent (2950 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9.7 / 10
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