Almost but not quite within sight of the Pacific, the new El Colibri Boutique Hotel is hidden by the trees along Santa Rosa Creek. That said, a 1/4-mile boardwalk path leads you to Moonstone Beach, the kind of beach that makes even seasoned coastal wanderers stop and whisper, Wow.
As for the hotel, it breaks out of the town’s famous cutesiness for something that’s a more Tuscany-meets-SoCal flavor of luxury. Check out the small but pretty top-floor spa for a massage. From $189, including breakfast; 805/924-3003. –P.F.
More: Escape to Cambria