Everybody turns into a photographer when they’re on holidays. Especially teens. Capturing special moments, quirky angles, spectacular vistas and that perfect sunset shot is half the fun. Sharing it on Instagram is the other part.
For some serious kudos from your Instagram-loving teens, check-in to one of these photogenic California hotels.
Timber Cove Resort
The first thing you’ll notice about this hotel is the location. Sitting on a bluff high above the Pacific Ocean, Timber Cove fits seamlessly into the Sonoma coastline. It’s been dubbed one of the world’s most beautiful cabin hotels, and for good reason. The entranceway is breathtaking, the lobby has an impressive floor to ceiling fireplace and the natural Douglas Fir beams give the resort a boho vibe with a touch of luxury.
Timber Cove Resort is around 2.5 hours drive from San Francisco. The Sonoma region in which the resort lies has more than 400 award-winning wineries to while away an afternoon. The winding coastal roads make it the perfect stop on your California road trip.
Highlands Ranch Resort
This rustic resort in Lassen National Forest will take you back to pre-iPhone times, but that won’t stop you from snapping a few photos for the ‘gram. Highlands Ranch resort sits in a vast field, “where the meadow meets the mountains.” The whimsical tagline pretty much sums it up. The lodging sits at the southwest gateway to Lassen Volcanic National Park, surrounded by towering trees and intriguing wildlife.
The 175-acre property offers spectacular views of Mount Lassen. The natural wood details, soaring windows, and sparkling fountains of the property work to compliment the surrounding, rather than detract from them. The best time to sit outside and soak up the atmosphere is during sunset over the mountains when the twilight sky is infused with pink and orange hues.
Highlands Ranch Resort is just under four hours fromSan Francisco and a little over 2.5 hours from Sacramento.
The coolest part of this hotel is the art that adorns its walls and even hangs from the ceiling. In the lobby, a swimmer floats high above as you check in. The collection of retro roller skates mounted on the wall in the hallways I my favourite. But the Airstream parked in the hotel’s backyard is what all the Instagrammers come for.
Hotel Paseo is part of the Marriott Autograph Collection. It’s the first new luxury hotel to be built in Palm Desert in more than 30 years. The boutique property is within easy walking distance from shop, art galleries, restaurants, and nightlife. It’s known as “The Rodeo Drive of the Desert” so expect to be doing more window shopping than pay-passing.
Hotel Paseo is just over two hours from San Diego and is close to Joshua Tree National Park and Coachella Valley.
Coachman Hotel has taken the motel experience and turned it on its head. It offers convenience, style and, most of all, a gateway to the great outdoors. Families road tripping through the states will definitely want to check this one out. Lake Tahoe’s Coachman Hotel even received kudos from Vogue as one of the most Instagrammable hotels in the world. It’s a big call, but well earned. The modern outdoor fire pits and cosy dining areas allow guests to interact as much as they want, before retreating to their private cabins.
It’s a great place to stay all year round with great hiking and cycling opportunities in the warmer months and plenty of ski runs during snow season. Cool off in the pool in runner and warm up int he heart-shaped hot tub in winter.
The Coachman Hotel is in South Lake Tahoe, California, 5 minutes walk from ski lifts at Heavenly Ski Resort. From Sacramento, it’s a 2-hour drive, and just over 4 hours from San Fransisco.
The Mission Inn
As soon as you step into the Mission Inn, you start to feel like royalty. The property looks like an enormous Spanish palace, with ornately decorated balconies overlooking grand gardens and a palm tree-lined swimming pool. Each rooms is unique. Some have original fireplaces, comfy window seats, and even small reading nooks for a few moments of peace and quiet.
The Mission Inn has eight restaurants, including a tequila bar and cupcake store. Casey’s Cupcakes are beautifully decorated, and the perfect afternoon snack for the kids.
Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa
Rancho Valencia is a little piece of Spain in San Diego. The resort sits on 45 acres of lush gardens and olive groves in Southern California. The warm-hued, terracotta walls, light and airy rooms, and the big lap pool will put you in holiday mode in no time.
The Mediterranean-inspired restaurant, Veladora, invites guests in with its mesmerising, colourful mosaics and keeps them coming back for the amazing food. Work off your lunch by hiring a few bikes and cruising around the Rancho Santa Fe area. Or try one of the complimentary family activities at the resort, including badminton, bocce, tennis, croquet and basketball.
Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa is around 30 minutes north of San Diego and just over two hours south of LA.
The Sanctuary Beach Resort
The Sanctuary is exactly that; a spectacular seaside escape, clinging to the cliffs of Monterey Bay. Here, kids can explore the sand dunes, take a dip in the outdoor heated pool and ride Dutch-style bikes along the coast.
The on-site restaurant, Salt Wood, keeps everything local. Local produce, freshly caught fish and unpretentious food. Try the ember-roasted squash and the famous “full tilt” chicken with biscuits. Seafood lovers should order the whole roasted ‘catch of the day’.
The Sanctuary Beach Resort is on the stunning coastal stretch between San Francisco and Los Angeles in the town of Marina. The resort is 30 minutes from Santa Cruz, two hours south of San Fran and five hours north of LA.
Post Ranch Inn
If there’s one reason to stay at this coastal retreat, it’s the infinity pool and spa. Clinging to the cliff overlooking Big Sur, you cans Wim right up the the edge and watch the waves crash below. The glass-walled restaurant, Sierra Mar, offers equally spectacular views.
Families have eight different room types to choose from. If heights are no concern, opt for a cabin on the edge of the cliff, or stay in a cosy treehouse int he forest canopy. For a real splurge, book one of the private houses tucked away in the hillside. The bathtubs are insane!
Post Ranch Inn stretches along the Big Sur coast, high above the Pacific Ocean. From LA, it’s about a six hour drive north, and from San Fransisco, just shy of three hours.
Montage Laguna Beach
Laguna Beach is a trendy seaside suburb in Orange County, and the Montage is one of its most popular hideouts. One stand-out feature is the cheese bar at The Loft. They call it an “interactive cheese bar.” I’m interpreting that as “pile your plate full of as many cheeses as you can”. There are 50 different kinds to choose from so why not go all out?
Guests will find a true instagram-worthy moment down at the pool. The view of the Pacific is spectacular, but it’s the detailed, mosaic tiling on the pool floor that steals the show.
Montage Laguna Beach is half way between Los Angeles and San Diego in the town of Laguna. It’s just over an hour from both.
Andaz San Diego
Andaz San Diego is a modern, art-deco hotel from the Hyatt hotel group. This stylish San Diego outfit delivers the quality and comfort of Hyatt hotels that we’ve come to love in a fabulous location. Plus, a few quirky features kids will love. Keep an eye out for the family of giraffes in the lobby…
All the action happens on the rooftop. Catch views of the Coronado Bridge from the rooftop bar, take a dip in the sky-high lap pool and tuck into breakfast with spectacular views of the city. Sneak back up after the kids have gone to bed for a dose of stargazing.
Andaz San Diego is in the Gaslamp Quarter of the bustling south Californian city. The hotel is a 15 minute drive from San Diego Airport, or if you’re driving down from LA, you can get there in just over two hours
I was blessed with parents who really saw the value in travel. After our first family trip abroad to Thailand, I became obsessed. I was hungry for anything new and different. I yearned to be in the middle of a city on the other side of the world with a suitcase in one hand and google maps in the other, stumbling around trying to figure out where I was going; literally and spiritually.