America’s iconic state of California is home to some of the most bizarre, exotic, and beautiful hotels. While they may look like normal establishments from the outside, they hold many secrets, stories, and rich histories in their many rooms. While some of us may enjoy sipping on a cocktail poolside, there are many ways to explore and experience the sunshine state through its unique history. These hotels offer something different. A break from the luxurious life, and a peak into a new twist of a California classy lifestyle.
Of course, many choose to travel to the sunshine state to enjoy the sun, surf, and sand. Many hotels offer beachfront properties exclusive to the hotel, all within walking distance of some of the oldest cities in California. Whether you are looking for a quaint bed and breakfast, an exclusive luxury stay, or an over the top Hollywood inspired hotel, each of these locations are aimed to bring you a totally new experience, wildly out of the ordinary. From the famously exclusive one bedroom hotel, to the historic buildings that still service the white glove hospitality they always have, these hotels are the most exotic hotels in California.
Venice Beach House
Referred to as the oasis of Venice Beach, the Venice Beach House is an exclusive 9 bedroom estate settled on a few miles of empty marshland, giving it privacy and seclusion from the electric Venice Beach. In the early 1900’s, visionary Abbot Kinney envisioned the estate as an escape from the modern life to a quaint getaway on the beach. His friends mocked him and called the project “Kinney’s Folly” expecting him to fail at his dream. He went on to hire thousands of workers who etched out canals to mimic those in Venice and Italy, and built the famous boardwalks that formed the Venice of America seaside resort.
Then came along Waren Wilson, owner of the Los Angeles Daily Journal. He too wanted to build a vacation home getaway for his family. Settling his home on the outskirts of the hustle and bustle of Venice, the craftsman style estate was finally completely in 1911. The two families became extremely intertwined during this time, and now it is rumored that the hotel always smells like fresh baked cookies.
The home was added to the National Register of Historic places in 1986, and is completely covered in Ivy (1). The interior is a gorgeous original craftsman style, carefully maintained and preserved for guests to enjoy after all these years. The home was house the Kinney family at one point, and guests still have the option to stay in the infamous Abbot Kinney room – a room completely covered in plaid wallpaper. The room has a private balcony, gorgeous historic features, and has been remodeled to look modern-cozy while still keeping the original aesthetic of the room alive.
The hotel is only steps away from the beach, and a short distance from Santa Monica, Abbot Kinney Blvd, and of course, the infamous Venice Boardwalk. This exotic hotel not only pulls you back into a beautiful, yet cozy historic estate but it also allows for full privacy, quiet, and relaxation away from city life. It is the perfect spot for a much needed unwind.
The Madonna Inn
Known for its over the top decorations, unique rooms, and mix of theme inspirations, the Madonna Inn stands out as one of the most exotic hotels in California. Located in the historic town of San Luis Obispo, California, this hotel in intricate to say the least (2).
Built by Alex and Phyllis Madonna in 1958, the Madonna Inn is best put to be a Swiss Alps inspired hotel. The Madonna features 110 distinct rooms all ranging in different themes with matching names. Examples include Gypsy Rock, Floral Fantasy, Country Gentleman, and Whispering Hills to name a few. The uniqueness in it is that no two rooms are the same, each decorated in their respective themes with over the top, gaudy decorations.
While we see all colors of the rainbow throughout this hotel, the most notable color of all is pink. When you first walk in, you are met with a pink lobby – pink floors, pink walls, pink furniture – all surrounded with a Swiss Alps inspired heavy rock walls and accents. As you enter into the restaurant dining area, you are met with even more pink. From the floors to the tablecloths, from the booths to the trip, even the sugar on the tables in pink.
Rather than a calm, relaxing weekend getaway, Madonna Inn offers something different. Aside from its uniqueness, it offers many local activities included wine tasting, horseback riding, boutique shopping, live music and dancing, and much more. It also gives you a wildly bizarre ambiance during your stay. So if you are looking for a novelty vacation this year, this is the place for you.
Victoria’s Last Hotel
Victoria’s Last Hotel is on the map for a few reasons. For starters, the hotel is completely off the grid in the small village of Cambria, California (3). Nearby Cambria is full of art galleries, boutique shops, and hole-in-the-wall restaurants. The nearby wine region is a visitor favorite, making it the ideal vacation spot for anyone looking to slow life down, and completely seclude themselves from the outside world.
The hotel is extremely exclusive and books up months in advance for one good reason – they only accept one guest at a time. That’s right, this hotel is so exclusive you will be the only one staying there, making it a tourist favorite. In addition to this, walking into Victoria’s Last Hotel is like walking into a live art piece. Every detail of the hotel is ceiling to floor decorated with special art pieces. From the leopard print floors, mosaic fire place, and a must-see mosaic shower, this hotel fully immerses you in the quaint art culture of Cambria.
The hotel does offer meals, but not in the traditional way you may be used to. Victoria’s Last Hotel is really more of a bed and brunch, with no set time for brunch. Brunch is served to you when you are ready, so don’t worry about rushing out of bed to eat before the bell rings. You also get a fireside four course dinner served to you, and a wide variety of specially tailored treats for your visit. Every detail of the hotel is taken into careful consideration, even the soaps in the bathroom which are handmade.