Last Updated on May 20, 2024 by Katrina

Photo credit: Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel

The Southern Californian town of Laguna Beach offers a few distinct kinds of beauty. Imagine a scalloped shoreline with cove-like beaches, plus a walkable downtown lined with art galleries, restaurants, and shops. Laguna Beach is also home to an array of excellent (and typically upscale) hotels, from big luxury resorts to mellow boutique properties. Note that even the most high-end resorts in this part of Southern California often sit atop ocean bluffs, so you may have to take a short walk or shuttle down to the beach. Here are five great hotels that offer access to both the sand and the charming town itself. Here are the best hotels in Laguna Beach.

Montage Laguna Beach (30801 S Coast Hwy.; 866-271-6953) Laguna Beach

Condé Nast Traveler calls the this Craftsman-style Montage resort on 30 blufftop acres “beautiful — perhaps the loveliest waterfront site in California. All rooms have dark-wood furnishings, a muted color scheme, and Early California artwork.” One Tripadvisor user raves about the “best service I have had this year. Even among the Four Seasons and other Montages I have stayed at, this was at a higher level.” Don’t miss the restaurant The Loft, with a wood-burning rotisserie and produce from the resort’s garden.    >> Book this hotel for less

Surf & Sand Resort (1555 S Coast Hwy.; 888-579-8544) Laguna Beach

“Amazing rooms, with the ocean waves crashing at your footstep,” says one Google reviewer of this 167-room resort that also has a spa and pool. Another loves that the beach is “right outside the back of the resort. Access to the beach definitely makes the stay a whole lot pleasant.” Rooms have sleek décor with earth tones, and huge windows with big ocean views. “Expect tranquil coastal colors, private balconies, and slumber-worthy beds within earshot of the ocean,” writes Forbes.    >> Book this hotel for less

Hotel Joaquin (985 N Coast Hwy.; 949-494-5294) Laguna Beach

This adults-only boutique hotel, which opened in 2018, “pairs downtown cool with coastal elegance,” writes Afar. “Once a roadside motel, Joaquin now blends elements of St. Bart’s, the Mediterranean, and mid-century SoCal beach culture for an exclusive yet relaxed feel, with curated artwork and vintage finds around every corner.” A Google reviewer liked it but points out that it’s not for everyone. “Rooms are on the smaller side, most of the alcohol selections are non-branded items … and there are no TVs in the entire facility nor rooms.” But others call it “quaint” with a “very good location, within walking distance of Laguna Beach shopping district and one block away from beach.”    >> Book this hotel for less

The Ranch at Laguna Beach (31106 Coast Highway; 949-499-2271) Laguna Beach

This laidback, 97-room resort with a 9-hole golf course sits in a canyon, across the street from the beach, so “you’ll trade beachfront views for sunsets behind the California canyons,” writes Travel+Leisure. “But the off-the-beaten-path location is ideal for the active lifestyle you’ll find at the resort.” Hike neighboring trails, play a round on the Ben Brown course, or take the shuttle to the beach. A Yelp user calls it “a hidden gem. If you want a big luxury hotel with everyone catering to your ego, this isn’t it, but, if you want a quiet getaway retreat at a boutique resort, this place is worth it.” >> Book this hotel for less

Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel (One Ritz Carlton Dr.; 949-240-2000) Dana Point

This 396-room Ritz-Carlton with two saltwater pools, a spa, and an Eco-Adventure Centersits just outside Laguna Beach itself, butexceeds the level of paradise you’d expect from a beachfront property,” writes Travel+Leisure, thanks to its “expansive” feeling with “a breathtaking vista no matter where you go.” Like a lot of beachfront properties in this area, the hotel sit on bluffs, so you take a shuttle down to the beach. A Tripadvisor user likes the hotel’s “beautiful setting,” and advises guests to “pay extra for a bottom floor room with a fire place. Comes with a water view and s’mores in the room, a nice touch.”    >> Book this hotel for less