Looking for an Indian summer escape? These three popular spots have been around for decades with sounds of the sea to lull you to sleep, and they’ve all just had a refresh.
BODEGA BAY While there is speculation that Bodega Bay may actually have been Sir Francis Drake’s “Nova Albion” California landing site rather than Drakes Bay (is it too late to switch the names?), there is no denying this Sonoma Coast haven is every bit as gorgeous as its southern neighbor. Greeting visitors since 1972, the 83-room Bodega Bay Lodge is situated just above Doran Beach, with expansive views of the varied human and wildlife activity in the bay. Just one hour north of Marin, the recently renovated property includes a bocce ball court, an infinity-edge hot tub and a large outdoor fire pit ideal for after dinner conversation. The property’s Drakes Sonoma Coast Kitchen has also been upgraded, but the big news is the five new ocean-view suites designed by Sausalito’s Laura Cook, which bring a whole new standard of luxury to the place: each suite has an overstuffed king bed and adjacent queen sofa bed in the spacious living area, state-of-the-art entertainment system, granite fireplace, soaring vaulted ceilings and the pièce de résistance, spa-like bathrooms with deep jetted tubs. Weekend rates start at $429 for rooms and $789 for suites. bodegabaylodge.com
MARSHALL In 1913, the Marconi Company, which sent the first transatlantic wireless message, built stations in Bolinas and Marshall trying to repeat the feat — this time across the Pacific. It worked. In fact, the Marshall station was the first in the nation to learn of the attack on Pearl Harbor and transmitted the news across the U.S. In the following years the station itself was relocated to Point Reyes and, in an unusual twist, the Synanon Foundation, later exposed as a malevolent cult, acquired the Marshall property. Now a State Historic Park, the 62-acre Marconi Conference Center houses overnight guests in 40 rooms. Recently redone by interior designer Landes Good, the resort-like setting offers local seasonal cuisine and rooms with natural Coyuchi linens. Historyminded visitors will find not only radio ephemera inside the hotel but also remnants of the original antenna’s concrete anchor still visible up on the hill. And if you needed just one more reason to visit, right across the street, Hog Island Oyster Co. has taken over beloved Tony’s Seafood Restaurant, the family-run eatery on Tomales Bay opened by Croatian fisherman Anton (Tony) Konatich in 1948 — retaining the restaurant’s original name. Rooms start at $250. marconiconferencecenter.org
SANTA CRUZ An hour’s drive south will get you to a place synonymous with surf and summer fun. Dream Inn, possibly the best-named hotel ever, was constructed in 1963, proudly displaying its clever moniker with a room rate of around $20 a night. Through the decades the property changed hands and lost rights to the name, then got it back about a decade ago and reemerged as the main luxe option in Santa Cruz. Fast-forward to this summer, with a renovation that’s brought an Instagramworthy expanded and improved pool and hot tub area, plus beach-chic rooms with private balconies, aquatic art and flat-screen TVs. You’ll find elevated cuisine in the award-winning Aquarius, also home to the Jack O’Neill Lounge, named for the wet suit pioneer who helped put Santa Cruz on the surfing map: he opened the first trademarked Surf Shop in this exact location in 1952, and his boards are on display in the bar. Weekend rates start at $379. dreaminnsantacruz.com