Karen Brown’s Travel Guide - Hotels in California Travel Guide - California Hotels, Luxury Inns, Bed and Breakfasts & Resorts Recommendtaions Travelers Trust Member or Property

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California, the Golden State, is fascinating with its diverse regions, dramatic scenery, exciting places to visit, and romantic places to stay. Drive the beautiful coast, ride a cable car in San Francisco, be awed by the grandeur of Yosemite, visit the sidewalk of stars on Hollywood Boulevard, and taste your way through the wine country while staying in boutique hotels and romantic country inns—the cream of the crop from the vast array of places to stay. Also, for the tourist it is important to note that the idea of the entire state being sunny and warm year-round can all too quickly be dispelled when the summer fog rolls into San Francisco or 3 feet of winter snow falls in the High Sierras.

Wonderful California hotels, bed and breakfasts and resorts dot the landscape of this diverse state. OUR LIST OF CALIFORNIA HOTELS , and other lodging accommodations range from simple farm stays to luxurious five star hotels. Our five driving itineraries will take you north to south and east to west throughout this magnificdnt state. California is a state that can be equally appreciated as a single, a couple, or an entire family. Many of the properties we recommend welcome children with open arms. Our California book and web site, one of the best travel guides in print and on the internet, offers five wonderful driving ITINERARIES for exploring this multi-faceted state.



The itineraries are designed for travel by car. If you are staying in San Francisco at the beginning of your trip, it is not necessary to pick up a rental car until you leave the city since the public transportation system is so convenient and this is a wonderful town for walking. However, if your vacation begins in Los Angeles, you will need a car within the city to get from place to place and should pick it up on arrival at the airport.


Whether or not an establishment accepts credit cards is indicated in the list of icons at the bottom of each description by the symbol 0. We have also specified in the accommodation description which cards are accepted as follows: AX–American Express, MC–MasterCard, VS–Visa, or simply, all major.


California is a large state, approximately 1,000 miles from tip to toe. If you stay on the freeways, you can quickly cover large areas of territory, but if you choose to savor the beauty of the coast along California’s sensational Hwy 1 or dip into the countryside along scenic back roads, plan on traveling about 30 miles in an hour and remember to allow extra time for stopping to enjoy countryside vistas.





At the beginning of each itinerary a brief note is given on what you can expect to encounter weather-wise in the various regions. In California a whole new climate emerges in just a short distance. The idea that the entire state is sunny and warm year-round can all too quickly be dispelled when the summer fog rolls into San Francisco or 3 feet of winter snow falls in the High Sierras.


Five driving itineraries map and describe routes through the various regions of California so that you can choose one that includes the area you have your heart set on visiting. Each routing can easily be tailored to meet your own specific needs by leaving out some sightseeing, or linking several itineraries together.At the beginning of each itinerary we suggest our recommended pacing to help you decide the amount of time to allocate to each one. The suggested time frame reflects how much there is to see and do. Use our recommendation as a guideline only, and choreograph your own itinerary based on how much leisure time you have and whether your preference is to move on to a new destination each day or settle in and use a particular inn as base.

Maps Summary:

For detailed trip planning it is essential to supplement our maps with comprehensive maps. Rand McNally maps are available on our website.

Inn Travel Summary:

We use the term “inn” to cover everything from a simple bed and breakfast to a sophisticated resort. A wide range of inns is included in this guide: some are great bargains, others very costly; some are in cities or well-trafficked areas, others in remote locations; some are quite sophisticated, others more simple. The common denominator is that each place has some special quality that makes it appealing. Our descriptions are intended to give you an honest appraisal of each property so that you can select an accommodation based on your personal preferences. The following pointers will help you appreciate and understand what to expect when traveling the “inn way.”

Food Summary:

Breakfast is usually included in the room rate, and we make note if it is not. Although innkeepers take great pride in their morning offerings, know that breakfast can range from a gourmet buffet feast to muffins and coffee. Sometimes breakfast is limited to a continental in your room or a hot breakfast with others in the dining room, and sometimes both. Breakfast times vary as well—some innkeepers serve a hot breakfast at a specified time, while others replenish a buffet on a more leisurely schedule. Breakfasts are as unique as the inns themselves. The majority of places featured in this guide do not have restaurants, but innkeepers are always very knowledgeable about and happy to recommend local favorites. Frequently, in addition to breakfast, tea or wine and hors d’oeuvres are served in the afternoon or evening either at a specific time or on a self-serve basis at your leisure. Sometimes, if you request it in advance, a picnic lunch can also be prepared. If you have any special dietary requirements, most innkeepers will gladly try to accommodate you. Not having the resources a restaurant would have, they usually plan a breakfast menu that features one entrée, making sure to have the necessary ingredients on hand. It is best to mention any special requests at the time you make your reservation, both as a courtesy and from a practical point of view. The innkeeper will want the chance to stock items such as low-fat dairy products, egg substitutes, and sugar-free syrups.

Children Summary:

Many places in this guide do not welcome children. Inns cannot legally refuse accommodation to children but, as parents, we really want to stay where our children are genuinely welcome, so ask when making reservations. In the inn descriptions on our website we have an icon that indicates at what age children are welcome.

Check-In and Comfort Summary:

Often smaller inns are specific about check-in time—generally between 3 and 6 pm. Let the innkeeper know if you are going to arrive late so that they can make special arrangements. Small establishments are frequently staffed only by the owners themselves and that window of time between check-out and check-in is often the one opportunity to shop and run personal errands. As influential as charm, comfort plays a deciding role in the selection of inns recommended. Firm mattresses, a quiet setting, good lighting, fresh towels, lovely bathrooms—we do our best to remember these things when considering inns. The charming decor and innkeeper will soon be forgotten if you do not enjoy a good night’s sleep and comfortable stay.

Icons Summary:

Position the cursor over the icon on the bottom of the accomodations pages and the resulting text will tell what the icon symbol represents. Air ConditioningAir conditioning in rooms, Beach Nearby Beach nearby, Breakfast IncludedBreakfast included in room rate, Children Welcome Children welcome, Cooking ClassesCooking classes offered, Credit Cards WelcomeCredit cards accepted, Direct Dial PhonesDirect-dial telephone in room, Dogs by Request Dogs by special request, ElevatorElevator, Exercise RoomExercise room, Refrigerator in Rooms Mini-refrigerator in rooms, Some Non-Smoking RoomsSome non-smoking rooms, Parking Available Parking available, RestaurantRestaurant, Spa Spa, Swimming PoolSwimming pool, Tennis CourtsTennis, TVs in RoomsTelevision with English channels, Wedding Facilities Wedding facilities, Wheelchair FriendlyWheelchair friendly, Golf Course NearbyGolf course nearby, Hiking Trails NearbyHiking trails nearby, Horseback Riding Nearby Horseback riding nearby, Skiing Nearby Skiing nearby, Water Sports Nearby Water sports nearby, Wineries Nearby Wineries nearby.

Room Rates Summary:

Rates can vary often, between high-season, low-season, midweek, weekend, and holiday pricing. We have quoted high-season rates for 2007, generally a range from the lowest-priced bedroom for two people (singles usually receive a very small discount) to the most expensive suite, including breakfast. The rates given are those quoted to us by the inn. Please use these figures as a guideline and be certain to ask at the time of booking what the rates are and what they include. Discounted rates may well be available, so do ask about them. We have not given prices for “special” rooms such as those that can accommodate three people traveling together. Discuss options with the innkeeper. We make a note of all exceptions, e.g. when an inn does not include breakfast with the price of your room. The rates we quote do not include tax.

Smoking Summary:

A few inns permit smoking in restricted public areas or outside, but in general it is best to assume that smoking is not appropriate. If you need a place where smoking is allowed, be sure to ask the hotel about the specifics of their policy.

Socializing Summary:

Inns usually offer a conviviality rarely found in a “standard” hotel. The gamut runs from intimate gatherings around the kitchen table to sharing a cocktail hour in the parlor. Breakfast may be a formal meal served at a set hour when the guests gather around the dining-room table, or it may be served buffet-style over several hours where guests have the option to sit down and eat alone or join other guests at a larger table. Some inns will bring a breakfast tray to your room. After check-in, many inns offer afternoon refreshment, such as tea and cakes or wine and hors d’oeuvres, which may be seen as another social opportunity. Some inns set out the refreshments buffet-style where guests are invited to meander in and out mixing or not mixing with other guests as they choose, while others orchestrate a more structured gathering, often a social hour, with the innkeeper presiding. Choose the inn that seems to offer the degree of intimacy or privacy that you desire. It’s entirely possible to find inns that downplay the social aspect of your visit, if privacy is what you’re after.

Reservations Summary:

The two best ways to make a reservation are to telephone or, if an inn participates in our website, to connect to them online. Another convenient and efficient way to request a reservation is by fax. When planning your trip, be aware that many inns require a two-night stay on weekends and over holidays.