Until recently, seaside sun seekers had zero options for a five star hotel in Malibu. That has changed dramatically with the opening of The Malibu Beach Inn. I meandered down the coast via LAX to Malibu a few weeks ago and departing was difficult after three blissful days ‘camped’ right on the shore. Sifting sands brought this jewel to the famed stretch of beach.
Malibu Beach Inn has 47 rooms and suites, each with a private balcony, all perched oceanfront above the sea on exclusive Carbon Beach, sometimes referred to as Billionaires Beach. Once a surf side motel, this petite gem has been transformed under a full renovation, cozy Scandinavian style rooms are furnished with a small fireplace, chic custom furniture in subtle tones of blue and grey, the ultimate in comfort providing an amazing view of the sparkling sea. Some rooms have views of the Santa Monica pier. The bathrooms are streamlined in pale tan and white tones and contain the definitive loo, with blinking lights, acknowledging your presence…ie the vital Toto appliance. I’m surprised it didn’t speak my name.
Snug indoor cocktail lounge and cozy dining room, but the ‘must dine’ location is on the cantilevered curved oceanfront terrace. Heaters and shade umbrellas perched for your pleasure, wooly blankets flung at a moments notice. The hotel art collection is bright and whimsical, all nodding to the decisive message: you are on vacation, chill, savor the moment and embrace the soothing ambiance. Pieces of the owners personal collection include a few Jasper John lithographs; and the iconic Poppy pieces by Donald Sultan which animate the restaurant. I love a property that takes time to create a small guest catalog describing their art; details do make a difference!
Service – Staff at your beck and call, casual as a beach hotel should be, but efficient and friendly. Everyone we encountered was extremely helpful and knowledgeable with suggestions for day trips by car or by foot. We made friends with the beach cabana guys the hostess at the restaurant, the lobby staff, friendliness without intrusion.
Malibu Pier is a short stroll away, offering casual dining and a couple of trendy gift shops, a bit farther afield by foot is the Adamson House. A garden estate, originally home to the family who owned Malibu Potteries, a short-lived yet still influential tile company that produced authentic versions of Mayan, Moorish, Moroccan, Saracen, and Persian designs. Although the State of California, who now runs the property, should capitalize on the gardens, the Spanish Colonial Revival home is worth the docent tour. Built in 1929, it occupies one of the most idyllic oceanfront spots in all of Southern California. Situated near the Malibu Pier between popular Surfrider Beach, where Gidget frolicked and surfed with Moondoggie, and the Malibu Lagoon, the house boasts an exotic mix of Spanish and Moorish influences with dazzling displays of decorative tiles and one-of-a-kind craftsmanship including hand-carved doors, hand-painted frescoes, molded ceilings, distinctive cast ironwork and lead-framed bottle glass windows. Equally compelling is the story of the close-knit family who once lived here and whose aura continues to permeate the interior, where most of their original furnishings remain. Do sign up for a docent tour and donate to the restoration fund!
The Daily Wave, the guest news-sheet suggests yoga, mountain hikes, horseback riding or wine tasting outings, or a visit to the nearby Getty Museum. I wouldn’t have discovered the Adamson House without this informative daily sheet. Weather report, your daily horoscope, pithy quotes and local movies times – all the essentials fit to print! Complimentary passes to the Malibu Fitness Center are available, scrumptious chocolate chip cookies baked every afternoon, just pop into the small lobby piled with Assouline art books. Welcoming generosity practiced in each department.
Beach – the vital private walk, this marvelous stretch of the Coast Hwy is home to some of the most notable movers and shakers and although California beaches are designated as public, you won’t encounter many visitors. A grand stretch of walk able beach is the picture-perfect morning and sunset exercise. Beach staff place loungers, supply towels and serve cocktails and snacks from an exclusive Beach menu on the sand. Umbrellas toted to shade you if requested. The surf is very swimmable, and for a Northern Californian raised on the Southern California beaches, the temperature was divine. One of the locals told me it was too cold for swimming, ha, try dipping a toe into the Northern California Ocean, it was sublime!
Dining – we arrived to enjoy a decadent late lunch of local One Gun Ranch Caesar and spicy prawns and a juicy Steak Salad with creekstone flat iron, roasted tomato, arugula, avocado, sprinkled with a mustard vinaigrette, scrumptious! Bread was noticeably not offered, bowing to the diets of the uber healthy clientele. Bread is available on request! Carbon Beach Club restaurant within the hotel has an extensive dinner menu as well, brimming with fresh fish and garden fresh vegetables including Charred Asparagus cocoa agrodolce, sprinkled with fried marcona almonds, whole herbs and an organic egg. We dined off property a few times for variety, but next time, I won’t leave the terrace or the beach!
Reviews mention multiple local stars that dine; I’m not too tuned into these peeps, although we were giddy as we spotted Rod Stewart lunching directly below our balcony. That hair, of course, it was him! He and his family were hotel guests; we enjoyed a few up close encounters with him, a guest truly as iconic as this sweet little property. And yes, for inquiring minds, he is still Rod the Mod, immaculately dressed and impeccably well preserved – in a word, scrumptious!
The ideal secluded escape; unplug, tote a massive book, snooze under an umbrella on the sand loungers in the afternoons, amble downstairs to a delicious feast and fall asleep to the soothing surf…wake up, repeat and indulge in hours of beach walks.
If you need to unplug and you relish beach ambling, ocean swimming, and delish dining this is the picture-perfect location.
Ring me, perhaps I will join you. I will return, highly recommend!
In a word, Scrumptious! Cocoon on Carbon Beach at the Malibu Beach Inn.