Rutherford

We kind of hate to be sharing our best-kept secrets, but it’s our job, after all. So today we’re opening the vault of our favorite hidden gem hotels in California. From quaint, oft-overlooked boutiques in Los Angeles to tucked-away spots just minutes from the beaches of Carmel, we have nine picks for our favorite unknown (until today) hotels in the Golden State. Just please use some precaution when passing on the details — we don’t want to have to share these spots with just anyone.

1. Tradewinds Carmel

Surrounded by lush foilage, Tradewinds is a quiet sanctuary just a short drive from the beach.

The 28-room Tradewinds Carmel has a Zen vibe throughout the hotel — from the courtyard, complete with Buddha statues, a small waterfall, and a tranquil fire pit, to the rooms, decorated with Asian printsstalks of bamboo, and orchids. The rooms are large and feature well-decorated bathrooms with nice soaking or Jacuzzi tubs, but like many small hotels in Carmel, the Tradewinds lacks a fitness center and a spa (though in-room spa treatments are available). Still, it’s a quaint, cozy pick and is just a short drive from the beach.

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The pool at Auberge Du Soleil provides a tranquil environment with plush lounge chairs and pretty grounds.

The pool at Auberge Du Soleil provides a tranquil environment with plush lounge chairs and pretty grounds.

The gorgeous Auberge Du Soleil, a luxury inn snuggled into Rutherford’s rolling hills, is one of the most exclusive (and expensive) destinations in California wine country. Despite its intimate size (it has just fifty rooms), the Auberge has all the amenities of a larger resort: a 7,000-square-foot luxury spa, a lovely pool, and a Michelin-star restaurant. Views of the surrounding countryside are phenomenal, the grounds are lush and peaceful, and the cozy, upscale rooms all come with huge terraces — and, in most, fireplaces and soaking tubs. It’s a truly special, romantic retreat, and it’s location is convenient for exploring Napa Valley — but we’d have a hard time tearing ourselves away from the heated, year-round pool. So as we say every week: sit back, relax, and soak up the goodness that is the Auberge Du Soleil.

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