Four New Chic Boutique Hotels to Try This Fall

From Healdsberg to Palm Springs, via Carmel and Los Olivos



Planning an escape usually involves an exotic, far-flung destination and a suitcase full of new outfits to match. One might consider, however, a crop of recently opened boutique hotels across the Golden State beckons with elevated interpretations of home. Think of Nancy Meyers-style clapboard cottages on quiet residential streets, the smell of homemade breakfast muffins in the morning and cozy layered bedrooms, and it becomes clear that there’s probably nothing more luxurious (or foreign) than the feeling of being home without a care in the world.


Azure Sky
If Acme Hospitality’s charming dining concepts in Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone (including The Lark and La Paloma Café) and its two historic hotels from the Gold Rush era are any indications, the company’s newest venture, Azure Sky, a 14-room boutique hotel in the heart of Palm Springs, is set to be the hottest new place in the desert. A team of local craftsmen overhauled the original 1959 structure while staying true to its retro midcentury-modern roots. Wood-paneled rooms appointed with curvy boucle chairs and floating wooden beds are centered around a courtyard, affectionately dubbed “the meadow,” which gives way to the tranquil pool area—a welcome retreat from the bustle of nearby downtown. 1661 S. Calle Palo Fierro, Palm Springs, 760-469-4498; azureskyhotel.com.


The Madrona
Perched atop a grassy knoll overlooking verdant gardens and vineyards, San Francisco-based designer Jay Jeffers has painstakingly transformed one of Healdsburg’s beloved Victorian mansions into The Madrona, a luxurious boutique hotel and restaurant. Guests can book a salon room in the original mansion or one of the standalone bungalows scattered on the edge of the 8-acre property, which also boasts a guests-only saltwater pool and an onsite restaurant helmed by chef Jesse Mallgren (who earned the previous property a Michelin star). 1001 Westside Rd., Healdsburg, 707-395-6700; themadronahotel.com.


Villa Mara
On a quiet blufftop street in one of Carmel’s toniest neighborhoods, it’s easy to see how passersby could assume Villa Mara as just another gracious private estate in this architecturally rich enclave. The 16-room hotel reimagined by L.A. designer Lisa Koch (who was also behind The Sunset Tower and Miami’s Faena) offers a fresh take on coastal contemporary. Don’t miss the 500-square-foot Jeffers Cottage—named after the famed poet Robinson Jeffers—with its own private outdoor firepit and soaking tub that will leave you feeling like a true local. 2408 Bay View Ave., Carmel-by-the-Sea, 831-624-6433; villamaracarmel.com.


The Inn at Mattei’s Tavern
Originally built in 1886 as a stopover for stagecoaches traveling between Los Angeles and San Francisco during California’s Gold Rush, and later as a hangout during the Prohibition era, The Inn at Mattei’s Tavern is reopening this winter with a new kind of traveler in mind. In the heart of Santa Ynez wine country, the reimagined 67-room Auberge Resorts property exudes nostalgic Americana with charming white clapboard cottages that surround the main guest house. Nearby, there’s a pool, a restaurant and a full-service wellness center dubbed the Lavender Barn. History buffs needn’t fret: the iconic water tower is still perfectly in place. 2350 Railway Ave, Los Olivos, 805-695-4783; aubergeresorts.com.


This story originally appeared in the Fashionable Living 2022 issue of C Magazine.

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