15 Stylish Boutique Hotels in Northern California in 2023

bicycles on a a gravel drive way in front of one of the best boutique hotels in Northern California with peaked facade and greenery
Best Boutique Hotels in Northern California | Sea Cove Inn via Booking.com

Are you looking for boutique hotels in Northern California, for a one-of-a-kind stay at one of the most sought-after travel destinations in the United States?

Then you’ve come to the right place. My list compiles the top Northern California boutique hotels for you to choose from.

There are plenty of unique places to stay in Northern California, extending from Carmel-by-the-Sea to Healdsburg in Sonoma Valley.

You can pick from a range of cool hotels in Northern California depending on the area you want to stay, the vibe you want to experience, or the features and amenities that appeal most to you. 

vineyards stretched across rolling green hills close to Northern California boutique hotels
Northern California Vineyards

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For example, the Kenwood Inn & Spa in Kenwood is an adults-only tranquil oasis perfect for honeymooners, girl’s trips, or those looking for some heavy R&R away from the hustle and bustle of life’s stressors. 

Or, at the adults-only Alila Ventura hotel in Big Sur, guests can bask in privacy in the great outdoors with opportunities for an elevated glamping experience in the Redwood Forest.

This list compiles the best of the best for unique hotels in Northern California.

As a guest, you can expect high-class amenities and accommodations paired with appealing architecture, design, and furnishing for an elevated experience.

Best Boutique Hotels in Northern California coastline
Photo Credit: Booking.com

White Water

Rating: 9 / 10 | Reviews: 370+

White Water is the best boutique hotel in Northern California for its oceanfront property in Cambria and trendy lounge

Best boutique hotel in Northern California The Archer Hotel
Photo Credit: Booking.com

Archer Hotel

Rating: 9.1 / 10 | Reviews: 470+

Archer Hotel is the best boutique hotel in Northern California‘s Napa Valley for its central location and intimate rooftop bar

Where to Stay in Northern California

There are many exceptional Northern California boutique hotels scattered across the state and near many of California’s top attractions and favored cities.

San Francisco

Check out The Proper, The LINE, and 1 Hotel in San Francisco for hotels with a view. Or simply check out this hand-picked list of the ultimate San Francisco view hotels.

These San Francisco boutique hotels are the perfect stay for sightseeing within the urban oasis of the big city with opportunities to experience its famous nightlife and food scene, along with other top attractions like bustling Union Square. Here are the best Union Square SF hotels.

Or, check out other amazing places to stay in Northern California, like:

Napa Valley

Experience the world-renowned wine country of Northern California’s Napa Valley, intertwining taste, elegance, refinement, and fabulous wine into one magnificent travel destination for wine lovers and a boozy girl’s trip. 

Sonoma Valley

For a less crowded option, head to Sonoma Valley for sips of premium wine collections and vineyard views on a romantic getaway. The Kenwood Inn & Spa is just the ticket for a couples retreat, one of the top romantic hotels in Northern California. 

Coastal Villages

Outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers can expect to feel at home in Big Sur and Half Moon Bay, where nature, surfing, beaches, and hiking are favorable activities you don’t want to miss out on. 

Or, reserve a stay in Carmel-by-the-Sea, a romantic European cottage-style village with beachside opportunities. 

Oakland & Berkeley

For a more affordable stay than downtown San Francisco, consider a stay in a Berkeley or Oakland boutique hotel with access to the area’s most sought attractions without breaking the bank. You can find some of the coolest hotels in Northern California here!

15 Best Boutique Hotels in Northern California

From the sites and sounds of boutique hotels in San Francisco city center, and the serene outdoor atmosphere of Big Sur, to the charming and romantic Sonoma Valley, I’ve curated the perfect list of the best boutique hotels in Northern California for you to choose from.

Best Boutique Hotels in San Francisco, Northern California

1. The Proper San Francisco

Northern California Area | Downtown San Francisco

Orange comfy couches matched with white table in one of the unique places to stay in Northern California - The Proper San Francisco.
Best Boutique Hotels in Northern California | The Proper San Francisco via Booking.com

Rating: 8 / 10 | Reviews: 110+ | View on Booking.com

Best For | First-time visitors, cocktail fans, foodies, luxury hotel lovers, sightseeing

Location | Presenting a favorable location in downtown San Francisco, one of the best places to visit in Northern California, this luxury boutique hotel is in the Mid-Market district, near all the top local attractions and activities. 

The Asian Art Museum and City Hall are only a 5-minute walk away from The Proper, and the Golden Gate Theater, hosting Broadway shows throughout the year, is less than a five minutes stroll from the hotel. 

Union Square is only a leisurely 14-minute walk away.

Features & Facilities | This flatiron-designed hotel is the best place to visit in Northern California. It personifies masterfully designed interiors by award-winning American designer Kelly Wearstler in an inspiring setting packed with accommodating features, including impeccable rooftop scenery of San Francisco’s downtown. 

Guests can indulge their appetite with a private romantic meal at Gilda’s Salon Dinners for chef-driven menus, delicious craft cocktails paired with tapas at La Bande, or bask in the award-winning pre-Modernist design of Villon welcomed by stunning art, refinement, and sensual eats.

Rooms | The Proper San Francisco’s 131 rooms make it one of the top hotels in Northern California. Selections vary from rooms to suites, though every one of these stunning choices boasts spectacular natural lighting and awesome views of San Francisco.

Get a “Proper” night’s rest in one of the hotel’s California-made mattresses fitted in smooth Italian bed linens. Enjoy downtime in the walk-in showers paired with Aesop bath indulgences, sinking into your favorite music played over the Vifa Bluetooth speakers. 

Snag a midnight treat at the minibar stocked with locally-sourced snacks and refreshing bottled cocktails to end the perfect day in San Francisco. This is one of my favourite San Francisco boutique hotels.

2. 1 Hotel San Francisco

Northern California Area | Downtown San Francisco

Wide room with multiple windows with cozy bed in one of the luxury hotels in Northern California
Best Boutique Hotels in Northern California | 1 Hotel San Francisco via Booking.com

Rating: 8.8 / 10 | Reviews: 70+ | View on Booking.com

Best For | Pet owners, sustainability pursuers, short stays, sightseeing

Location | If you’re searching for the best stay with views of San Francisco Bay, then this sustainable, pet-friendly hotel is it! 

There’s no better place than 1 Hotel to bask in the glory of Northern California than in San Francisco’s Financial District, where guests can easily access the Golden Gate

Ferry Terminal to see the iconic Golden Gate Bridge up close to bask in awe of its Art Deco-style and superb design.

Features & Facilities | One of the best spa hotels in Northern California, prepare to unwind and relax at this boutique hotel’s Bamford Spa, where guests receive a $100 credit to the spa during their stay. 

Using sustainable practices, the spa incorporates premium calming essential oils to enhance rejuvenation. During your stay, each guest will receive a silk sleep mask by Slip and a Bamford pillow mist to make falling asleep each night that much easier.

Collaborating with Fair Harbor, a sustainable coastal lifestyle brand, guests have access to the exclusive collection of men’s swimwear made from recycled plastic bottles. 

Or, consider purchasing other signature branded apparel and products made from sustainably sourced and natural elements.

Rooms | Embrace sustainability the best way possible in rooms at 1 Hotel San Francisco are equipped with smart heating and cooling and low-energy LED light bulbs. 

This eco-friendly hotel is one for every traveler looking to travel wisely, having purchased carbon offsets to reduce its operational footprint.

A majority of the materials within the hotel are made from reclaimed and regional materials, such as the redwood lumber of the elevator landing, which was sourced from the Old San Francisco Bridge. 

Every room is developed with water filtration systems for enhanced hydration paired with in-room carafes and cups assembled from recycled wine bottles. And the beds are made from non-toxic, eco-friendly, sustainably-sourced bed linens and mattresses.

1 Hotel is at the top of my list of the best San Francisco hotels with a view. And you can see why!

3. The LINE San Francisco

Northern California Area | Union Square, San Francisco

A modern style single couch with black and white pattern in the corner of one of the Northern California boutique hotels.
Best Boutique Hotels in Northern California | The LINE San Francisco via Booking.com

Rating: 8.4 / 10 | Reviews: 90+ | View on Booking.com

Best For | Honeymooners, girls’ trip, business travelers

Location | This modern stay is in the heart of the Theater District, where entertainment is funky, lively and upscale. It is located just off Market Street’s Mid-Market, where guests can expect to take their pick of unique hotels and shops while walking amongst enigmatic architecture. 

While staying at The LINE in the Theater District, don’t miss out on performances at nearby renowned theaters such as Golden Gate, Orpheum, and Curran.

Features & Facilities | Featured on the top of The LINE’s rooftop is the trendy New American restaurant and rooftop bar, Rise Over Sun.

Begin – or end – the night with cocktails crafted by local legend Danny Louie, with views of San Francisco stretching out before you for an outstanding experience at this top-notch boutique hotel. 

Hop on one of the Peloton bikes in the gym to burn some calories. Or, reserve an in-room spa treatment customized to your needs, from the long, circular strokes of a Swedish massage to a Theragun percussive therapy treatment.

Rooms | When it’s time to hit the hay, pick from a selection of rooms, studios, or suites at The LINE.

Every room is intrinsically conceived with modern comfort, local art, and impeccable views of San Francisco. 

No matter the selection, guests can simmer in quality, creativity, and luxury with walk-in showers, bathrobes, Cowshed bath products, slippers, a fully stocked minibar, and a Grind coffee machine to savor during your stay. The LINE makes it to the top of my list of recommended Union Square San Francisco boutique hotels.

Best Boutique Hotels in Napa Valley, Northern California

4. Archer Hotel

Northern California Area | Downtown Napa

A small tree in the middle of the extravagant lobby with vintage accents in Archer Hotel - one of the unique hotels in Northern California.
Best Boutique Hotels in Northern California | Archer Hotel via Booking.com

Rating: 9.1 / 10 | Reviews: 470+ | View on Booking.com

Best For | First-time visitors, sightseeing, girls’ trip, wine lovers

Location | If you’re looking for boutique hotels in wine country California, look no further!

Perfectly settled in downtown Napa, this upscale boutique hotel is one of the most famous boutique hotels in Napa Valley, California, only a 12-minute walk from the renowned Napa Valley Wine Train

Choose from Napa Valley’s nearby top attractions, like shopping at the prosperous riverside Oxbow Public Market selling local produce and products, only a ten-minute stroll from Archer Hotel.

Features & Facilities | Bask in the refined elegance of Napa Valley atop the Sky & Vine Rooftop Bar with astounding overlooking views of downtown

Savor romantic intimacy at the reservation-only Whiskey Bar on the rooftop of Archer Hotel, featuring a stone fireplace, Sonoma redwood Adirondack chairs, and rare whiskeys.

Sink into relaxation at the Rooftop Spa for the ultimate retreat from the hustle and bustle of life. The spa offers signature massages and facials for everyone, with premium treatments and products to refine the spirit, mind, and body.

Rooms | At Archer’s Napa Hotel, one of the elite boutique hotels in California wine country, expect to be inspired by stunning design palettes that blend luxury, elegance, relaxation, and inspiration.

Guests can choose from a variety of rooms at Archer Hotel. From sprawling suites, comfortable guest rooms, or exclusive balconies with breathtaking views of downtown Napa. 

Stays in the selection of chic rooms can expect a fully stocked mini-bar, Nespresso coffee, in-room dining, and a walk-in shower to establish complete refinement in the grandeur of Napa Valley. 

Beds are lined with five-star bedding and backed by Austrian-crystal-studded headboards with plush bedside carpets to sink your toes into when starting the day.

5. The Francis House

Northern California Area | Calistoga, Napa Valley

Bricked building with black gate with vintage fountain - one of the best hotels in Northern California - The Francis Hotel.
Best Boutique Hotels in Northern California | The Francis House via Booking.com

Rating: 9.8 / 10 | Reviews: 10+ | View on Booking.com

Best For | First-time visitors, honeymooners, short stays, sightseeing

Location | Wonderfully placed in Calistoga, The Francis House is one of the best romantic getaways in Northern California. The stay is surrounded by the serenity of Napa Valley’s sprawling vineyards and hot air balloons that speckle the sky of the famous wine country.

Your stay at the Francis House is within walking distance of town to socialize and experience Calistoga like a local. 

A few of Napa Valley’s top wineries are nearby, including the Chateau Montelena Winery, Charles Krug, and the Schramsberg Vineyards.

Features & Facilities | The newest small luxury hotel in Calistoga, the Francis House, has established itself in a building on the National Register of Historic Places

Guests at The Francis House will be welcomed by a contemporary French-inspired design and French Second Empire architecture with the fresh scents of citrus trees and the tended herb garden on the grounds in what is without a doubt one of the best hotels in Northern California.

Bask in the sun’s rays and cool off poolside with fresh espresso. Replenish the senses in the salt room and infrared sauna. Grab a book from the library for a read surrounded by the countryside in this picturesque hotel.

Rooms | Experience polished Parisian refinement in rooms decorated with antique desks, chandeliers, and brass luggage racks. 

Savor the Aesop bathroom amenities, Toto heated toilets, Dyson hair dryers, heated floors, and plenty more in your selection of a room at this enigmatic stay.

Best Boutique Hotels in Sonoma Valley, Northern California

6. MacArthur Place Inn & Spa

Northern California Area | Sonoma

Yellow pillows on white arm chairs in front of a wooden sculpture display and a fireplace with a double bed in the background in one of the MacArthur Place's rooms.
Best Boutique Hotels in Northern California | MacArthur Place Inn & Spa via Booking.com

Rating: 9.2 / 10 | Reviews: 130+ | View on Booking.com

Best For | First-time visitors, short stays, sightseeing, girls’ trip

Location | One of the top boutique hotels in Sonoma California and only a mile from Sonoma State Historic Park, the MacArthur Place Inn & Spa is one of the most unique places to stay Northern California. 

The stay is an upscale boutique hotel in an 1850s manor. Landscaped gardens hug the historic manor, with masterful sculptures penetrating the grounds with impactful creativity perfect for reminiscing about on an afternoon stroll through the gardens.

Features & Facilities | Guests can experience three unique culinary experiences depending on mood and appetite. Layla Restaurant is a three-meal dining occasion with Sonoma and Mediterranean inspirations for cuisine using fresh, locally sourced ingredients. 

The Bar at MacArthur serves up American cocktails and craft beers paired with a quality menu for delicious eats surrounded by wood and custom-crafted furnishings. 

The Porch intertwines grab-and-go options and pairs with fresh coffee, organic soft-serve ice cream, and pressed paninis for a delicious treat.

Rooms | One of the top unique stays in Northern California, expect the crème de la crème from MacArthur Place Inn & Spa. Pick from this award-winning Sonoma hotel‘s selection of guest rooms, suites, and premium suites!

Relax into the nostalgic feel of this historic abode surrounded by premium accommodations to enhance comfort.

Access rejuvenation in the European walk-in shower, or take a refreshing stroll through the semi-private garden surrounded by hidden nooks and thriving plant life. 
Pick from the specially selected amenities, food, and wine list for a one-of-a-kind stay at this historic residence.

7. The Madrona

Northern California Area | Healdsburg, Sonoma Valley

The Madrona building with white paint and gray roof.
Best Boutique Hotels in Northern California | The Madrona via Booking.com

Rating: 9.7 / 10 | Reviews: 10+ | View on Booking.com

Best For | First-time visitors, singles, short stays

Location | The best town in Northern California for an exceptional stay, Healdsburg is also home to The Madrona – a memorable boutique hotel. 

Only a mile from US-101, this historic Second-Empire manor hotel on a picturesque 8-acre estate is surrounded by orchards and woods. 

Some locally favored wine spots are a short drive from the estate, including BACA Wines, DaVero Farms & Winery, and Bacchus Landing.

Features & Facilities | Go for an intimate dining experience at The Restaurant & Bar, the hotel’s creative and delightful culinary experience. Many ingredients on the menu are sourced from the garden, grown with dedication and heart on the estate’s grounds so that the hotel’s guests can savor freshness in each bite. 

The Madrona is a wonderland of beauty and grace for art enthusiasts, history buffs, and architecture enthusiasts. The historic home personifies an enriching atmosphere worthy of relishing during your stay. 

Peer at the Madrona’s vibrant art collection located throughout the hotel. The collection was magnificently curated by Dolby Chadwick Gallery, with some pieces available for purchase to memorialize the trip.

Rooms |  Every room and suite at The Madrona has been specially and intimately placed in the original estate’s 1881 mansion and carriage house of this historic hotel.

Guests can choose from studio suites in the original Carriage House or rooms in the Mansion, which sit above the estate’s lounge areas and restaurant

Or, for guests desiring a more secluded stay, there are the unique, secluded bungalows speckled along the estate’s property. These historic structures hosted guests back in the day who visited The Madrona.

8. Harmon Guest House

Northern California Area | Healdsburg, Sonoma Valley

Harmon Guest House with wood walls and wood grills.
Best Boutique Hotels in Northern California | Harmon Guest House via Booking.com

Rating: 9.0 / 10 | Reviews: 190+ | View on Booking.com

Best For | Sightseeing, girls’ trip, wine lovers

Location | A modern hotel surrounded by dense trees and shaded sidewalks, the Harmon Guest House is situated in downtown Healdsburg

Only two miles from Fitch Mountain and a six-minute walk from Healdsburg Museum, guests can expect quick access to many of the area’s top activities with a chance of basking in the naturous green downtown of Healdsburg.

Features & Facilities | Absorb the breathtaking scenery of Fitch Mountain, downtown, and Sonoma Valley from atop The Rooftop’s terrace. Socialize over food, wine, and crafted drinks around the firepit. 

Photograph the sunset to remember the trip by while basking in the lively ambiance of the hotel’s rooftop bar and restaurant.

Ponder over the rotating art installations established by famous Sonoma County artists scattered throughout Harmon Guest House. Guests can experience local artists’ stunning elements, stories, and imaginations for a lifetime of momentous impact.

Rooms | One of the best retreats in Northern California, the chic modern Harmon Guest House is a home away from home with only 39 rooms and plenty of space to settle into after a long date exploring Northern California.

A selection of the Harmon Kings grants gloriously spacious window seats to sink into with a book or cup of coffee. The Founder’s Suites and Double Queens are available for conjoining into private wings for a girl’s trip to socialize, get ready together, you name it! 

Each room is paired with a patio or balcony to simmer in the scenery of the interior courtyard, mountains, or creekside deck.

9. Kenwood Inn & Spa

Northern California Area | Kenwood, Sonoma Valley

White room with brick design ceiling in one of the rooms in Kenwood Inn & Spa.
Best Boutique Hotels in Northern California | Kenwood Inn & Spa via Booking.com

Rating: 9.1 / 10 | Reviews: 90+ | View on Booking.com

Best For | First-time visitors, honeymooners, spa getaways, short stays, girls’ trip, adults only

Location | Gloriously planted on serene, landscaped grounds the Kenwood Inn & Spa embodies elegant and welcoming tranquility perfect for R&R as one of the best romantic getaways in Northern California.

A short driving distance from the hotel are popular attractions for guests to take part in while visiting, it is by far the best place to go in Northern California. 

Only three miles away is the spectacular Quarryhill Botanical Garden, and five miles out is the Jack London State Historic Park, both attractions wonderful activities to sink into the depths of nature.

Features & Facilities | Enjoy the peaceful oasis of the Spa at Kenwood. The spa’s customized approach dedicates a personalized, luxurious experience to relax the mind, body, and soul. 

Couples and individuals are welcome to explore the spa’s catered options, redesigned lounge spaces, and private poolside cabanas. Simmer under the masterful soothing techniques of the Valley of the Moon Massage, blending aromatherapy oils for unrivaled relaxation.

Every afternoon, guests experience Kenwood’s wine + cheese hour with delectable cheese, crunchy crackers, and a glass of local wine for a rejuvenating pick-me-up. 

Every morning, satiate your appetite with a full breakfast made in the on-site kitchen with daily chef’s choice signature entrees and the option to pair with sweet mimosas.

Rooms | Experience luxury in Kenwood’s redefining of a Mediterranean-inspired experience in the hotel’s comfortable setting of Italian furnishings, warming fireplace, cozy beds, and the choice of private balcony or terrace.

The selections are vast at Kenwood Inn & Spa. The Petite Poolside King on the ground floor is a peaceful hideaway near the spa and pool. It features a private outdoor entrance, a walk-in shower, a lavish king bed, and a gas fireplace. 

The Luxury Grand View guestroom presents awe-inspiring views of the vineyards. This luxurious room has an enticing oversized soaking spa tub, walk-in shower, private outdoor entrance, Nespresso coffee maker, and a king bed clothed in soft linens.

Best Boutique Hotels in Northern California Coastal Villages

This is my list of my hand-picked and carefully selected Northern California coast boutique hotels. From charming Half Moon Bay and Carmel-by-the-Sea to rugged Big Sur and beyond.

10. Seal Cove Inn

Northern California Area | Half Moon Bay, Moss Beach

Teal and black bicycles outside the building of the Seal Cove Inn in Northern California.
Best Boutique Hotels in Northern California | Seal Cove Inn via Booking.com

Rating: 9.4/ 10 | Reviews: 320+ | View on Booking.com

Best For | First-time visitors, sightseeing, nature lovers, outdoor enthusiasts

Location | An effortless one-minute stroll from the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve, the Seal Cove Inn is nestled in the prosperous coastal location of Half Moon Bay, surrounded by forested hills and rugged stretches of beach. 

The Half Moon Bay hotel is a short 30-minute drive from grand San Francisco and the San Francisco Airport.

Features & Facilities | A stay at the enigmatic Seal Cove Inn grants easy access to dip your toes in the sand of Half Moon Bay, the beach stair entry merely 500 feet from the hotel’s front door!

Before exploring the beach, start the day with a gourmet breakfast, served with freshly baked pastries and locally-roasted organic coffee, plus a complimentary evening reception to end the day on a perfect note. 

Relax in front of the one-touch gas fireplace for a soothing relaxing ambiance. Relish in the spa-inspired bath products sourced locally with the hotel’s signature scent.

Rooms | Simmer in the pampering atmosphere of the hotel’s design, mirroring that of a European grand manor.

Start the morning like a storybook fairytale at Seal Cove Inn, walking out of the French or sliding glass doors onto your stay’s balcony or garden terrace, marveling at the lush greenery and scent of salt in the air wafting from the Pacific Ocean. 

As one of the best ocean-view hotels in Northern California, choose the Deluxe Balcony Suite paired with a Juliette balcony and private bathroom featuring a walk-in shower, original artwork, bathrobes, and a warming fireplace. 

Pick the Seal Cove Inn Master Suite for all the benefits of a luxurious stay featuring a California King Size Bed, a washer and dryer, a dining area for six, two bedrooms, a rainfall showerhead, and more!

11. Alila Ventana Big Sur, Adults Only

Northern California Area | Big Sur

An aerial view of the Alila Ventana Big Sur surrounded by green trees and green mountains.
Best Boutique Hotels in Northern California | Alila Ventana Big Sur via Booking.com

Rating: 9.4 / 10 | Reviews: 30+ | View on Booking.com

Best For | First-time visitors, honeymooners, girls’ trip, outdoor enthusiasts, adults only

Location | Settled off the Pacific Coast Highway, surrounded by a thriving forest, Alila Ventana Big Sur is one of the most romantic hotels in Northern California as a unique adults-only stay and one of the top resort hotels Northern California offers. 

Less than a mile from Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park nicknamed the “mini Yosemite”, resort guests can adventure the natural beauty of Northern California. About 30 miles away from the hotel is Monterey, California, the largest grower of Pinot Noir in the state.

Features & Facilities | Taste fresh, sustainable ingredients sourced from California’s central coast at the Sur House. The resort’s restaurant is masterfully placed to experience the grandeur of the sea, forest, and mountains in one place for an exceptional dining venture. 

Exclusivity is granted at the restaurant, reserved only for overnight guests of the resort, and meals are included with a stay at the resort.

For guests wishing to stay in, dining in-room options are available or poolside at the chaise lounge for desirable customization and opportunities.

Take part in the resort’s daily hikes for an outdoor adventure or participate in meditation, Tai Chi, or yoga class for enjoyable, active opportunities.

Rooms | The secluded oasis of this hideaway Big Sur resort is nestled amongst the prosperous California forest. Rooms at Alila Ventana Big Sur present magnificent forest or ocean views, private hot tubs, and warming wood-burning fireplaces to embody honest-to-goodness luxury and relaxation in nature.

Choose from a selection of the resort’s suites, rooms, villas, or glampsite for a customized stay at one of the most sought-out luxury hotels in Northern California coast.

The Pacific House Suite is where guests can unwind with ocean views, vaulted ceilings, blackout curtains, plush robes, and slippers. 

The Redwood Glampsite features a safari-style canvas tent, a custom-designed mattress, handheld lanterns, a wood-burning fire pit, walking sticks for hiking, and more for the ultimate glamping venture in the Redwood Forest of Northern California!

12. La Playa Carmel

Northern California Area | Carmel-by-the-Sea

The American flag in front of a white building with brown roof - La Playa Carmel.
Best Boutique Hotels in Northern California | La Playa Carmel via Booking.com

Rating: 8.3/ 10 | Reviews: 240+ | View on Booking.com

Best For | First-time visitors, honeymooners, short stays, sightseeing.

Location | Placed on a residential street, La Playa Carmel itself is settled in a historic 1905 mansion personifying a historic appeal in one of the most beautiful towns in Northern California, the fairytale destination of Carmel-by-the-Sea.

One of the best boutique hotels in Carmel California, this stay is a mere seven-minute walk from Carmel Beach for quick access to sink your toes in the sand and dip in the salty water. 

Other favorable attractions in the area are a short distance from the hotel. The Point Lobos State Reserve is only four miles away.

Features & Facilities | Dine at La Playa Carmel’s restaurant for an unrivaled appetizing Champagne Breakfast Buffet, served every morning on the hotel’s Terrace or Library with miraculous overlooks of Northern California’s coast. 

Every ingredient served is locally sourced and hand-picked for the freshest taste, from fruits and freshly baked pastries to cheese boards and juices.

Quench your thirst at Bud’s, the restored bar and restaurant named after a local legend and former owner. Savor classic cocktails, an expansive food menu, and an inviting atmosphere in this legendary spot.

Rooms | Choose from 75 guest rooms at La Playa Carmel boasting one-of-a-kind estate, garden, and ocean-side views to experience the undeniable charm of Carmel-by-the-Sea.

The Garden Patio Guest Room is where you can start fresh with the dazzling patio scenery of the hotel’s award-winning gardens. Laze in the room’s available cotton robes while reading the daily newspaper on the plush pillow-top mattress. 

Want to start the day differently? Pick the Premium Ocean View Room. This room presents spectacular Pacific Ocean views from the hotel’s upper floor with rewarding views of the garden right below.

13. Hotel Carmel

Northern California Area | Carmel-by-the-Sea

A campfire surrounded by wooden chairs outside the building of the Hotel Carmel.
Best Boutique Hotels in Northern California | Hotel Carmel via Booking.com

Rating: 8.1/ 10 | Reviews: 110+ | View on Booking.com

Best For | Sightseeing, girls’ trip, beach lovers

Location | If you’re searching for the best hotel in northern California with a scenic location, then this hotel is the ticket! 

Touting a favorable location, Hotel Carmel is less than a mile from Carmel Sunset Beach and a five-minute walk from the shopping and dining experience of Ocean Avenue. 

And for history buffs or those with a curious spark to learn more about the local area, the 18th-century historic Mission San Carlos Borromeo del Rio Carmelo is within walking distance too!

Features & Facilities | One of the best features of Hotel Carmel is its location within walking distance of many of Carmel-by-the-Sea’s most prominent attractions and activities. Another is its dining experience.

Every morning, guests are greeted with a champagne continental breakfast in the welcoming atmosphere of the hotel’s lobby. Guests can expect to savor freshly baked croissants, seasonal fruits, yogurt paired with house-made granola, freshly squeezed orange juice, champagne, and gourmet coffee. 

Grab lunch and dinner at Brophy’s Tavern, a favorite local spot featuring a pub-like design that pairs craft cocktails and casual bar fare to make you feel at home.

Rooms | Pairing Carmel-by-the-Sea’s renowned fairytale-like cottage architecture with its 30 suites and guest rooms, guests at Hotel Carmel will be embraced by a cozy and charming appeal to their stay.

Choose the Private Balcony located on the Courtyard Level. This room is paired with an ultra-plush platform bed, cotton robes, and luscious smooth linens. 

Or experience the luxury of one of the hotel’s chic suites for premium style and a spacious setting. Either way, guests can expect to feel the true embodiment of this gem’s classy and warm luxury in Carmel-by-the-Sea.

14. White Water

Northern California Area | Cambria

The lounge of the White Water with black tables and chairs with the beautiful view of the sea and beach through large windows.
Best Boutique Hotels in Northern California | White Water via Booking.com

Rating: 9.0 / 10 | Reviews: 370+ | View on Booking.com

Best For | Retreats, honeymooners, short stays

Location | Exuding a peaceful allure in its oceanfront location, this charming boutique hotel offers a chance at a stay you’ll never forget. 

Facing Moonstone Beach, mere steps away, guests can begin or end the day in the tranquil solitude of the waves as they crash against the shore or bask in the beauty of the sunset or sunrise.

Features & Facilities | In the lobby lounge, White Water presents a broad range of craft beers, local wines, spirits, ciders, share plates, and small bites to be enjoyed in the lobby, your room, or to take out with you to the beach. 

White Water’s in-house chef also curates a premium selection of local meats, cheese, and other tasty treats to savor or take on the go!

Don’t miss out on a refreshing bike ride around town during your stay. The accommodating hotel’s Linus bikes are available for an active and rejuvenating trip to activities and destinations such as hiking, heading to the beach, or grabbing a bite to eat in town.

Rooms | Inspired by the California coastline and local natural terrain, each room personifies its own memorable appeal paired with custom artwork, furnishings, and accents.

Reserve the Premier Ocean View Suite for out-of-this-world ocean views, a luxurious king bed, vintage furnishing designed by Haus Interior, and artwork sourced from local artists. 

Oh – and you can expect those magnificent ocean views in the oversized soaking tub, too! The room has a walk-in shower, gas fireplace, minibar featuring Erewhon snacks, and complimentary local Honeyco Coffee and fresh-baked pastries.

Best Boutique Hotels in Lake Tahoe, Northern California

15. Desolation Hotel

Northern California Area | South Lake Tahoe

White and gray sheet comfy bed with brown accents in a room in Desolation Hotel
Best Boutique Hotels in Northern California | Desolation Hotel via Booking.com

Rating: 9.5/ 10 | Reviews: 55+ | View on Booking.com

Best For | Honeymooners, short stays, sightseeing, outdoor enthusiasts, family-friendly, pet-friendly

Location | A premier micro resort, and one of the best resorts in Northern California, the Desolation Hotel is perfectly nestled in an outdoor enthusiasts’ paradise at the picturesque Lake Tahoe. 

Less than a 30-minute drive from the hotel is the famous Emerald Bay State Park, overflowing with sightseeing, hiking, and water recreational activities like swimming and boating. 

If you’re searching for the best time to visit Northern California, Lake Tahoe welcomes guests year-round to take part in summer and winter activities, with no better place to stay during your trip than at the Desolation Hotel.

Features & Facilities | Grab a bite to eat at Maggie’s Restaurant, an elevated dining experience that intertwines elegance and casualness for a savory experience. Bite into fresh seasonal fare for a pleasing meal surrounded by warm hospitality.

Head to Velma’s Pool Bar for food and drinks on the pool deck. The hotel’s app allows ordering poolside for a refreshing crafted cocktail, so you stay soaking up the sun’s rays by the pool.

Rooms | A bonafide getaway in the renowned grandeur of Lake Tahoe, a stay in Desolation Hotel grants a unifying experience to be shared. 

Choose from quaint, comfy studios, roomy suites, or premium, spacious townhomes for a unique mountain retreat. Sink in the soaking tub on a scenic private balcony as the fireplace warms the space. 

Simmer in the inspiring wilderness views surrounding you as you relax on a deluxe king bed paired with plush pillows and Frette linens.

Best Boutique Hotels in Northern California Map

Best Boutique Hotels in Northern California Map

Best Boutique Hotels in Northern California Frequently Asked Questions

Where should I stay on the Northern California Coast?

Alila Ventana Big Sur is the best boutique hotel on the Northern California Coast. It is located on the Pacific Coast Highway and is surrounded by nature and stunning coastlines. This boutique hotel is one of the most romantic hotels in Northern California; it’s adults-only too.

What is the best luxury hotel in Northern California?

The Proper San Francisco is the best luxury hotel in Northern California. This hotel is located in downtown San Francisco, one of the must-see spots in Northern California.

This boutique hotel is the best place because of its proximity to the San Francisco attractions like Fisherman’s Wharf, Union Square and the Ferry Terminal to the Golden Gate Bridge.

What are the best boutique hotels in Northern California for couples?

Kenwood Inn & Spa is the best boutique hotel in Northern California for couples. This boutique hotel is one of the best romantic getaways in Northern California for its location in the heart. Enjoy day trips to the surrounding Sonoma wineries and enjoy each other’s company at the luxurious onsite spa and private pool cabana just for you.

What are the best boutique hotels in Northern California for families?

Desolation Hotel is the best family-friendly boutique hotel in Northern California. This hotel in South Lake Tahoe is the perfect spot for an active family vacation with a lot of outdoor activities like sightseeing, hiking, and water activities such as swimming and boating in the famous Emerald Bay State Park.

What are the best boutique hotels in Northern California for a girls trip?

The LINE San Francisco is one of the best boutique hotels in Northern California for a girls’ trip. You and your girlfriends will enjoy this luxurious accommodation in the heart of San Francisco’s nightlife with an in-room spa bathtub exclusively for you.

What is the best boutique hotel in Napa Valley?

Archer Hotel is the best boutique hotel located in Napa Valley. This boutique hotel is surrounded by top attractions and wineries. And because you are in the center of Napa Town, shopping at the riverside Oxbow Public Market is only a ten-minute stroll from the hotel.

What is the best boutique hotel in Sonoma Valley?

The MacArthur Place Inn & Spa is the best boutique hotel in Sonoma Valley. This boutique hotel also serves refreshing cocktails and craft beers and has an outstanding delicious menu for guests served in a picturesque courtyard.

What are the best boutique hotels in San Francisco?

The Proper San Francisco is the best boutique hotel in San Francisco. It comes with the perfect combination of beautiful design with the best amenities a hotel can offer. The hotel is located just minutes from many of the city’s attractions.

Best Boutique Hotels in Northern California Conclusion

For unique places to stay in Northern California, this list presents an unrivaled and curated selection to choose from for a memorable stay.

These stunning boutique hotels in Northern California are an exceptional opportunity to experience the beauty and charm of select locations, including Carmel-by-the-Sea and Napa Valley.

Prepare to bask in luxury, refinement, and nature in the best boutique hotels in Northern California!

More Northern California Hotel Guides

Top Northern California Boutique Hotels
My Favourite San Francisco Boutique Hotels
Epic San Francisco Hotels with a View
Best Union Square San Francisco Hotels

Cool Berkeley & Oakland Boutique Hotels
Beautiful Boutique Hotels in Napa Valley
Best Sonoma Boutique Hotels

Top Northern California Coast Boutique Hotels
Best Big Sur Boutique Hotels & Cabins
My Half Moon Bay Boutique Hotels Top Picks
Carmel By The Sea Boutique Hotels Guide

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