Just off the PCH, Hotel June Malibu has a storied past worthy of a screenwriting Oscar. Its mid-century bungalows overlooking sun-drenched hills date from the original motel, opened in 1949 by the Wilcox family, whose laid-back hospitality attracted a stream of writers and artists – most notably, Bob Dylan, who wrote Blood on the Tracks here. Pacific-lapped beaches and peacefully private bungalows are the enduring backstory to this Malibu fixture, whereas Cal-Mex takeaway from sister Hotel June in west LA and the addition of a rare-in-these-parts swimming pool are pleasing plot developments.
11am. Earliest check-in, 3pm. Both are flexible, subject to availability.
Double rooms from £308.48 ($377), including tax at 15.195 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional service charge of 4% per room per night on check-in and an additional resort fee of $28.80 per room per night on check-out.
Rates exclude breakfast.
The brightly patterned bathrobes in each room are individual, made with out-of-print African fabrics; if you get attached to yours, you can buy it to take home.
At the hotel
Swimming pool, bar, dining deck. In rooms: free WiFi, smart TV, bluetooth speaker, Tivoli radio with iPhone port, minibar, free boxed water, sunscreen, surf wax and Aesop bath products.
Our favourite rooms
All bungalow rooms celebrate simplicity with plenty of light, white walls and polished concrete floors, letting vintage details such as the timbered ceilings shine through. Their individuality comes from the hand-picked art and framed photographs by original owner Wayne Wilcox adorning the walls. If you want to stay where Bob Dylan penned his Blood On The Tracks album, request Room 13. The Bunk Bed Bungalow is ideal for families.
The heated pool has a tiled deck, framed by sun loungers and easy chairs and fenced for privacy – and not far from the reception bar when cold drinks are called for.
If you pack like a surfer, you’ll fit right in; board shorts, retro Ts, Ray-Bans and casual mini dresses all get the SoCal thumbs-up.
This former motel has wheelchair-accessible communal areas and one ADA-standard Premier Bungalow including an adapted ensuite.
Welcome; some bungalows come with bunks and cots can be added to most rooms. The hotel, however, has more of a couples vibe and its family appeal rests on the fabulous location, pool and easygoing atmosphere.
Nature is close to the hearts of the team here, so preserving it is a priority. Water in the minibar is boxed in recyclable packaging and there are water refill stations. Hotel staff strive to recycle and reduce waste and make operations as energy efficient as possible.
All tables on the deck (next door to the fenced pool area) are created equal with valley views.
Straight-from-the-beach threads are perfectly acceptable.
The hotel has teamed up with a locally acclaimed Californian deli, bakery and cafe to offer a curated menu of light bites for guests to enjoy daily.
Despite no on-site bar, the hotel is not short of recommendations for places to grab an evening drink. Pop down to Moonshadows for panoramic Pacific views and a range of cocktails; or grab a terraced table at Spruzzo, where you can sip on a Cadillac Margarita while watching the sun set over Malibu.
Takeout food from the deli is available in the lobby lounge daily from morning to evening.
There’s no room service, but your minibar is a grazer’s paradise of Kettle Chips, nuts, chocolate, Gummy Bears and M&Ms, as well as soft drinks, wine, beer and kombuchas – hard and soft.
Where the southern California coast arcs towards Point Dume, you’ll find Hotel June Malibu – a few minutes drive from central Malibu and just off the Pacific Coast Highway.
LAX airport is the nearest, less than an hour away by road.
Los Angeles is the closest city for railroad connections, with AmTrak’s Pacific Surfliner, from San Luis Obispo via Santa Barbara, following the coast.
There’s secure parking at the hotel from US$25 a night.
Worth getting out of bed for
Malibu rose to fame as a place to surf– and Zuma beach and Surfrider are two of the best spots for this right on your doorstep. The hotel can help arrange surf lessons or stand-up paddleboarding. Back on land, hiking the scrub-dotted hills tickled by the ocean breeze is popular, with Zuma Ridge Trail the nearest route.
A modest sky-blue shack is the setting for freshly prepared Thai fare in a wood-lined dining room with a laid-back feel at Cholada. Go for the sea views – stay for the tom yum soup, kanom jeeb dumplings and gang luang yellow curry. Dining at former general store The Old Place is like stepping onto the set of a Western, then tucking into a delicious brunch of steak and eggs or bacon-stuffed burritos; plus, there’s often live music on Friday and Saturday nights. Choose from the moodily-lit, wood-decked interior or tables on the patio at Japanese restaurant Bui Sushi in Malibu itself – the place for salads and bowls, sushi and kushiyaki skewers.
Around the corner from Hotel June Malibu, serving much-lauded burritos, tacos and sandwiches, Lily’s is a good spot to pick up take-out breakfast or lunch. Malibu Farm Café, across the pier from its sister restaurant, serves up ocean views with oatmeal or pancakes on outdoor sofas for breakfast – lobster rolls, burgers and salads for lunch.
Sunset views and handcrafted cocktails including mules and mezcal await at romantic oceanside restaurant Moonshadows, with ocean liner-like picture windows and plenty of outdoor seating. Make a beeline for happy hour at the Sunset Restaurant, overlooking Zuma Beach, for sliders and chicken wings with chilled glasses of Californian white.
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 coastal hotel in Southern California and unpacked their surf wax and Ray-Bans, a full account of their beach break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Hotel June Malibu…
A 30-mile-long stretch of dramatic Pacific coastline, home to Hollywood A-listers, Malibu has almost fabled status in California as an alluring address – and Hotel June Malibu is well placed to help you explore its reputation. From your peaceful valley perch, set back from the PCH, you’ll be surprised by just how near Malibu’s shops, restaurants and surf beaches are. The hotel’s Scandi-bright mid-century bungalows, dotted with artworks and retro details, are quintessentially SoCal in their embodiment of low-key luxury. Then there’s the kudos the hotel enjoys as a Malibu fixture, much loved by locals: it’s been around since the 1950s as a motel; Bob Dylan stayed here in the Seventies, and this century it’s enjoyed success as the Native Hotel. Now Hotel June Malibu, with a sister stay in West LA, is a hotel with legendary credentials of its own.