Cambria Beach Lodge is a road trip-ready hangout with panoramic Pacific views and chilled-out Californian spirit. Sun-bleached timber and splashes of turquoise give the interiors a laid-back seaside feel, while outdoors, thrillseekers surf and chillseekers stroll on the rugged Moonstone Beach boardwalk. It’s just off the classic, cliff-hugging Route 1, so you can park up midway between LA and SF, then head off to explore the coast by bike or hike, and sample the bounty of Paso Robles wine country. Sunset is a stunner, best observed from the panoramic sky-deck, with a cool glass of rosé in hand, of course.
Get this when you book through us:
A bottle of sparkling wine on arrival, and free early check-in and late check-out (subject to availability)
11am; check-in: 3pm, but both are flexible, subject to availability.
Double rooms from £132.75 ($167), including tax at 12.195 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional resort fee of $7.85 per room per night on check-out and an additional service charge of $2.24 per room per night on check-out.
Rates include a continental breakfast of fresh fruit and pastries from a local bakery. There’s an extra $7 fee per night, which covers Wi-Fi, parking and free use of the Linus bikes.
On chilly days, every guest is given a warming cup of hot chocolate at check-in.
At the hotel
WiFi and parking. In rooms: TV, iPod dock, minibar stocked with Californian wines and snacks, Apolis market bag, Faribault wool blanket, Bushnell binoculars.
Our favourite rooms
The Beach House has two private terraces providing panoramic views of the ocean, and on cool evenings you can snuggle up around the living room fireplace.
No American road trip would be complete without a copy of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road in the glovebox. Leave the binoculars at home – you’re given a set for the duration of your stay, as part of an adventure kit handed over at check-in.
One room is designed for wheelchair users; please check availability when you book.
Yes, provided dogs are under 18 kilograms, you don’t have more than two of them bedding down in your room and they're not left alone. The hotel needs advance notice and a $50 flat-fee applies per booking; food and water will be provided on request. See more pet-friendly hotels in Cambria.
All ages are welcome. There's a travel cot for babies available to borrow, subject to availability.
Californian wines from Halter Ranch and Field Recordings pair especially well with sunset on the sky-deck.
Anything goes, dude.
There’s no restaurant, but breakfast is served in the light-flooded reception area, where woven-reed lamps hang above funky turquoise banquettes. The minibar is stocked with enough nosh to see off any bout of the munchies, including snacks from Epic Provisions and Big Sur Bar.
Help yourself to continental breakfast all morning, in the reception room.
Cambria is a small town with a big beach in San Luis Obispo County, right around halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles on the west coast of America.
San Luis Obispo County Airport is the closest entry point, around 45 minutes by car from the hotel; there are regular shuttle-flights from Los Angeles and San Francisco, as well as Denver, Phoenix and Seattle. If you’re arriving from abroad, fly into Los Angeles or San Francisco, which are both around four hours away from Cambria by car.
Cambria is crying out for a road trip. Pick up a hire-car in LA or SF, then hit Route 1 all the way up (or down) the west coast, stopping in cult destinations including Monterey and Santa Barbara on the way. Cambria Beach Lodge is set up like a motel, so you get to park right outside your room.
Worth getting out of bed for
The surf’s (almost) always up, so bring a board and hit the long-breaking waves at Moonstone Beach or elsewhere along the Pacific Coast (if you need to hire the kit, head to Good Clean Fun surf shop in Cayucos). Alternatively, grab one of the hotel’s Linus bikes to explore; the bike path from the hotel runs along the beach and up into town. If a languid stroll is more your pace, walk the two-mile Bluff Trail into the wildflower meadows and pine forests of Fiscalini Ranch Preserve. Up and down the coast, you’ll find the decadent, Gatsby-esque Hearst Castle, the eerie town of Harmony (population: 18) and the beachtown of San Simeon, where you can see hundreds of elephant seals basking in the sun.
Nautical-themed, unashamedly kitsch Sea Chest (6216 Moonstone Beach Dr) is a West-Coast institution. Seafood-seeking diners come from miles around for the peerless platters of oysters, creamy clam chowder, and plates of ocean-fresh fish; luckily for you, Cambria Beach Lodge is just two doors down. Black Cat Bistro (1602 Main St C) is loved by locals not just for its farm-to-fork cuisine, but the award-winning wine list too, featuring many a tipple from the Paso Robles valley.
Build up an appetite for Linn’s Easy-as-Pie Cafe (4251 Bridge St) – you’ll need it to squeeze in a chicken pot-pie before the signature olallieberry pie for dessert. The home-roasted beans at Cambria Coffee Roasting Company (761 Main St) get every day off to a good start; they also have ‘nitro’ cold brew on tap, for beating the summer heat. No matter if you’re beach-bound or heading to the wineries, pick up a picnic at Sandy’s Deli & Bakery (604 Main St) – the turkey sandwiches are locally legendary.
There’s only one brewery in Cambria, but boy is it a good one: 927 Beer Company (821 Cornwall St) serves a selection of small-batch hoppy ales and chocolatey stouts, all made in-house. There’s nothing like a salty margarita to go with a gulp of sea air, so head to Las Cambritas(2336 Main St) and get house-made tortilla chips and salsa on the side.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this road-trip-ready hotel on Route 1 and unpacked their surfboard wax and seashells, a full account of their beachside break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Cambria Beach Lodge in California…
This is California how it used to be. Wild, rocky bays arcing into the distance, Pacific breakers crashing on the shore, and campervans of surfers rattling along Route 1. Cambria doesn’t have the cult reputation of Monterey or Santa Barbara, but that helps it retain its small-world charm. The one-street town is little more than a clutch of independent restaurants and a smattering of boutiques and galleries – just enough to support the loyal local population and reward the tourists who’ve found their way off the beaten track. Down at Moonstone Beach, the air is wet and salty – just right for a long stroll on the sand, a heaving plate of oysters at Sea Chest, and a night cap under the stars on the Cambria Beach Lodge skydeck.