Stunning views always make memorable photos, but focal points, such as architectural elements and art, express personality of place and are also oh-so IG-worthy. Food remains an experience that, when done beautifully, everyone wants to capture. Here are a few ideas to capture the individualistic spirit of California and your inner photographer.
Hotels with Great Architecture and Aesthetics
Timber Cove Resort
Architectural Digest called Jenner’s Timber Cove one of the world’s most beautiful cabin hotels for a reason: the majestic entranceway, floor to ceiling fireplace in the lobby lounge and natural Douglas Fir beams give the resort an updated boho vibe. Don’t forget to head outside and stand under the property’s 93-foot obelisk.
Highlands Ranch Resort
The 175-acre property with views of Mount Lassen inspires even the most reluctant photographer to snap a few pictures while the natural wood details, soaring windows, and sparkling fountains reinforce elements of nature as the true beauty shot. Aim for a photo of the sunset over the mountains when the twilight sky is infused with pink and orange hues.
Playful art, such as a swimmer “floating” over the lobby and a mounted collection of retro roller skates are perfect for expressing the playful, sporty nature of this hotel and for sharing your Palm Desert experience. But the Airstream parked in the hotel’s backyard is the Insta-thing of the moment.
Perhaps it is the beautiful hand-made furniture and delightfully rustic décor that helped Lake Tahoe’s Coachman Hotel receive the nod from Vogue as one of the 9 most Instagrammable hotels in the world. In any case, we recommend stepping into the heart-shaped Jacuzzi tub for a striking selfie or aiming your lens at and stunning views of the lake and nearby Mount Heavenly.
The Mission Inn
The Spanish Mission style architecture at this Riverside hotel is one of the region’s must-see structures – lean back and look up to see the amazing detail of the colorful mosaic on the hotel’s exterior. A photo relaxing under the towering poolside palms might be just be your next profile picture.
The Padre Hotel
If the all-vinyl dance parties on the rooftop bar and Spanish Revival architecture aren’t enough to hold your attention, the cowgirl winking from the lobby wall provides reason enough to check out this Bakersfield hotel. Walk across the street to snag a shot of the retro-groovy sign atop the hotel’s roof. #lookup
Hotels with Amazing On-site Restaurants
Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa
Inspired by the property’s Mediterranean influences, the candlelit Veladora restaurant in San Diego County welcomes guests with pops of color and amazing food. Taking a photo of your delicious meal with the vibrant blue inset wall in the background might just be too hard to resist.
The Sanctuary Beach Resort
The “everything local” approach to cooking at Salt Wood in Monterey County translates to insane flavor in every dish, from ember-roasted squash to the famous “full tilt” chicken with biscuits. Lean in close and turn on the light for a close-up photo of the whole roasted fish of the day. It’s epic.
SingleThread earned two Michelin Stars for its 11-course customized tasting meals; the same aesthetic applies to the bespoke, on-property inn in downtown Healdsburg. The handmade white origami swans dancing from branches of dark cherry wood are the go-to design feature but a photo of the white Hakurai turnip with lemon garnish captures the same dark on light elements that makes photographers swoon.
Kimpton Shorebreak Hotel
The stunning murals throughout this Huntington Beach property get lots of IG attention (the floral-laden image on the restaurant’s patio wall is particularly popular), but the food at Pacific Hideaway is as good as it is insta-worthy. Capture the vivid black-on-black aesthetic of the mussels served with slices of squid ink baguette with an overhead shot of the dish.
Hotels with Incredible Pools
Post Ranch Inn
The exposed wood and sweeping lines of the Post Ranch Inn’s architecture somehow enhances the region’s natural beauty, but it is the infinity spa pools with dramatic views of the Big Sur coastline that win eye share. Snag a window seat at similarly cliff-hanging Sierra Mar restaurant to craft images of your food (and wine) “floating” above the Pacific.
Montage Laguna Beach
The interactive cheese bar at The Loft gets its share of attention for its array of 50-plus cheeses. But the mosaic-lined pool with views of the Pacific steals the show at this Orange County resort. Jump in (with your waterproof camera, of course) for close-ups or take the long view of the pool from the pool’s edge. Early morning, before the popular pool gets busy, is best.
Kimpton Sawyer Hotel
The grand entranceway, sweeping staircase and finely appointed lobby of garner their share of attention on Instagram; the best place to capture the sweeping lines of the entranceway is from out front. Head up to the roof to take in the riverside views of Sacramento, lounge by the pool and snap a few photos of the craft cocktails at Revival against the city’s skyline.
Andaz San Diego
With gorgeous views of the Coronado Bridge, the rooftop pool at Andaz San Diego is the perfect place to capture a photo while enjoying breakfast at The Rooftop by STK. Head back up to the roof at night when the starry sky highlights the poolside nightclub scene and San Diego’s skyline is ready for its close-up.
The pink floaties and blue Astroturf carpet get all the love at this seen-or-be-seen Downtown LA pool, but the scene really comes to life with candlelit shimmer after dark. Snag a matching blue chaise lounge in the quiet of the morning to create your own pink and blue scene.