How to Hang With Surfers in a Small Beach City, See the Stunning Landscapes of Big Sur, and Savor the Best of Wine Country in One Epic California Trip

California includes 840 miles of shoreline, from sandy beaches to craggy cliffs; 33 million acres of forest land, home to sequoias, redwoods, and pines; 352 range of mountains, from the Sierra Nevadas in the east to the Coastal Ranges in the west; three significant deserts; and more than 427,000 acres of grape vines. As a traveler, it can be difficult to select just one trip ambiance. Even locals can’t decide: completing the “California Double”– browsing and snowboarding or snowboarding in the very same day– is an excellent source of state pride.

But luxury-minded tourists will wish to attempt what I ‘d go so far regarding call the “California Triple”: Staying at all three Alila resorts, from Alila Marea Beach Resort in Encinitas, a beach city in San Diego County; and Alila Ventana Big Sur, where coast fulfills forest near Monterey; to Alila Napa Valley in St. Helena, the heart of red wine nation. To record three different sides of the California spirit so authentically is no little accomplishment, especially for a brand name that’s relatively new to the U.S. Though it’s long been a distinguished hospitality brand name in Asia, Hyatt’s Alila just debuted in the States with the acquisition and multimillion-dollar renovation of Ventana in fall of 2017, followed by the openings of both Alila Napa Valley and Alila Marea in March 2021.
Mark Ley, director of sales and marketing at Alila Ventana Big Sur, states the secret is redefining high-end travel to concentrate on experiences that immerse visitors in their environments: “We’re going to take you hiking … we wish to get you filthy, get you involved … and then we’re going to clean your boots,” he informed me with a laugh as we strolled amongst the trees, past hammocks dappled with sunshine. “I think luxury is altering; I think travel is changing. Individuals are a lot more concerned with where the money goes and how it’s used … and they want to feel a connection to the location.”
The hotels all have connections to regional companies and efforts to benefit their neighborhoods. At Alila Marea, sustainability efforts are performed in partnership with the Rob Machado Foundation, an organization founded by browse legend and Encinitas resident Rob Machado to “educate and empower youths to make sustainable options.” Proceeds from quarterly Alila Sessions, a seaside show and supper series, benefit the structure.
Spaces are distinctly plush, but each in their own way. At Alila Ventana, they’re made from rustic-chic wood accented by stone and leather; in Napa, they have a contemporary farmhouse feel. “Since each hotel is innovatively created in consistency with the environment to preserve the extraordinary, natural beauty of their destination, the architecture varies from location to location,”
All of them are inviting enough to gladly get lost in for a weekend (or more), but they’re not suggested to be all-day hideaways. Although Alila’s business is hotels, the settings and shows– always led by local guides– make it clear that your space is intended to be a comfortable location to rest your head or relax with a warm bath after a day of checking out. “An essential pillar of the brand name is creating opportunities to immerse our guests in the appeal and wonder of a location,” Vinisse Thomas said. “Each hotel celebrates the originality and authenticity of the area it calls home.”
Health and wellbeing is a common theme throughout culinary programs and activities, with a concentrate on the healing homes of nature, be it through meals made with seasonal components grown in on-site natural gardens or outside meditation classes and mindful hikes.
Here’s how to finish the “California Triple” and plan the perfect journey throughout all 3 properties, covering over 500 miles of Golden State landscapes and three distinct holidays in one.

Alila Marea Beach Resort Encinitas
” Our place is really unsurpassable,” says Ben Thiele, basic manager of Alila Marea. “We are one of the couple of high-end beachfront resorts in San Diego, and our skilled designers did such a fantastic job at tastefully integrating the home into the coastal bluff, making use of the unspoiled beauty of the San Diego coastline to boast some of the best views in San Diego.”
Exterior view and mountain pool at Alila Ventana Big Sur
The hotel was constructed so that 95% of spaces have either ocean or lagoon views, and the water was calling from the minute I got here. Luckily, Alila Marea deals with Dan Mori, the founder of Encinitas-based browse school Fulcrum Surf and the most effective surf trainer I’ve ever encountered. There was no much better way to feel the rush of showing up in a SoCal beach city than to comprehend, even a little, the technique of a seasoned pro (even Kelly Slater’s group tapped Mori as a lesson development specialist for his Surf Ranch)– resulting in capturing my finest waves to date.

If you’re not the browsing type, chase after that rush by hopping on among the hotel’s electric bikes, grabbing some expert tips, and heading into downtown Encinitas. Don’t miss Herb & Sea, a coastal-chic seafood restaurant by Brian Malarkey of Top Chef popularity; regional preferred Lofty Coffee; Modern Times Brewery’s buzzing Far West Lounge, and the initial station of Vuori, a California-born athleisure brand name tourists swear by.

You’ll also wish to hang around in a cabana by the oceanfront pool and catch sunset mixed drinks next to a fire pit at the bar at Vaga before sampling chef Claudette Zepeda’s farm- and ocean-fresh San Diego cuisine.
Alila Ventana Big Sur
” Coming to Big Sur, you naturally disconnect from the world,” Ley said. Alila Ventana homes simply 59 spaces on 160 acres, so it’s simple to discover alone time. If that does not do it for you, Ley provided me an inside suggestion: Get up in the middle of the night and get a front row seat to unbelievable stargazing from the resort’s Japanese hot baths.

On a clear, blue-sky morning, I got to delight in the view and some classic vinyl at a yoga class in The Glass House, a structure amongst the trees that’s precisely what it sounds like. “We have fantastic bohemian roots here at Alila Ventana, and we are regularly looking for brand-new and fun methods to admire them,” Ley stated.

Behind The Glass House is The Sur House, a stunning restaurant and bar with views of everything Big Sur’s significant landscape has to use, from trees to mountains to ocean. Fairy lights and fire pits light up the night as visitors sip red wine from small-production Central Coast vintners. The food, seasonal and likewise locally sourced, is complete.

Alila Ventana groups up with Monterey Touring Vehicles to give visitors access to 40 traditional vehicle rentals, from a 1938 Rolls Royce Phantom III to a 1955 Porsche Spyder. The group will pack a lovely picnic you can enjoy on Sand Dollar Beach, or drive north to see the Bixby Creek Bridge.
Alila Napa Valley
Vineyard-view spaces at Alila Napa Valley watch out straight over Beringer Vineyards, the earliest constantly operating winery in Napa Valley. Personal balconies with fire pits or soaking tubs contribute to the white wine nation magic.

Before or after the white wine, Alila Napa Valley is the ideal place to sneak in some health: Attend a yoga class or sound bath, or book Spa Alila’s Euphoric hot-stone massage (using rocks discovered along the California coastline, naturally)– months later, I still dream of it. Amenities include handmade products from surrounding biodynamic Be Here Farm (I’m a Summer Solstice Serum devotee), and guests are welcomed to establish their own bespoke room spray utilizing “aromas of the valley,” including rose, lavender, orange, and fennel.

” We hope our visitors entrust to a much deeper connection to this region, which is mainly known for food and wine,” stated Ty Accornero, the hotel’s basic manager. “Our goal is to offer a more concentrated experience that extends outside the anticipated.”

The hotel is simply a brief bike ride from St. Helena’s classy yet quaint Main Street, full of galleries, stores, and restaurants. For more intrepid bicyclists, the group at Alila Napa Valley will set up a wine-tasting bike tour to family-owned estates like Spottswoode Winery, with a lunch stop at the classic Gott’s Roadside.

We spent much more hours than our Alila guide initially planned at 810 Foothill Wine Collective, a cumulative of red wine brands all made by famed Napa wine maker Thomas Rivers Brown. As we sipped the day away with local professionals who quickly seemed like buddies, we gradually understood we ‘d need to cancel our other afternoon plans. And by my 3rd Alila hotel check out, I understood that was okay: I was immersing myself in my location, creating connections, and producing a memorable experience (yes, unforgettable, even after all that wine).

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