Beach + Island

Seaside Classics for a New Generation

by Colleen Clark

Shorebreak Hotel, Huntington Beach, California

Old-school cool: This Southern California spot has the West Coast's longest uninterrupted beachfront (eight miles) and so much surf cred that it was memorialized in a Beach Boys song. Families come here to build sand castles and fish off the pier. Friends gather around beach bonfires at night. But the real draw of Surf City USA is its swells.

Retro revival: Huntington Beach tourism has been as consistent as the breaks rolling in off the Pacific. But with past-their-prime motels and bland chain lodgings, the destination itself was definitely lacking in the coastal cool it once possessed. The opening of the Shorebreak Hotel in 2009 changed all that. As the only luxury hotel to score prime waterfront real estate here, the Shorebreak offers ocean views from most of its 157 rooms, so you can contemplate the breaks before you even get out of bed. There are grown-up amenities (300-thread-count Frette linens, complimentary wine hours), but the playful decor—a mix of plaid upholstered headboards with tropical-print chairs and funky midcentury modern–inspired furniture—is straight out of youth surf culture. Add to that the post-surfing hearty fare—Australian rack of lamb with fig chutney, flatiron steak with savory corn purée—served at the hotel restaurant, Zimzala, and you've got a pretty swell vacation.

Shorebreak Hotel
500 Pacific Coast Highway
Huntington Beach, California
Tel: 714 861 4470
Rooms from $170

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.



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