Many people think of Malibu as a playground for celebrities with giant oceanfront mansions. While that’s true, it’s also a super laid-back West Coast destination with picture-perfect weather and epic swells that’s long been the place to ride waves, catch some rays, and kick back on the sand. The chill vibe, surf culture, and beautiful beaches define this southern California community that straddles scenic State Route 1. Needless to say, it’s an essential stop on any Pacific Coast Highway road trip.
The Surfrider Malibu captures the spirit of its SoCal surroundings in a way that few properties could even dream of matching. Aussie-born designer Emma Goodwin, Malibu native architect Matt Goodwin, and Italian developer Alessandro Zampedri worked with local makers, craftsmen, and farmers to bring the intimate boutique hotel to life. The 20-key retreat pays homage to its past as a classic roadside motor lodge while injecting fresh energy to create an impeccably curated, contemporary experience that’s reflective of Malibu with a touch of global flair—much of it a nod to Emma Goodwin’s childhood spent in Byron Bay and Noosa.
The calm, airy lounge spaces feature bespoke wood furniture, hand-loomed textiles, photographs, and art collected on the founders’ travels around the world. Le Corbusier pieces decorate the library. Rooms are outfitted with crisp Bellino linens, Grown Alchemist organic skincare products, and Parachute robes. Some have four poster beds, terraces with hammocks, and outdoor showers. The guests-only roof deck combines cozy sofas, ceramics from Studio SK, fire pits, and ocean panoramas.
Of course, it’s not just how The Surfrider Malibu looks, but also the vibe that’s really special. The hospitality style is friendly, authentic, and warm. Staying here basically feels like getting invited to crash for the weekend at your most chic friend’s beach house. The property exudes a warm, relaxed ambiance that etches itself into your soul making guests never want to leave.
This seaside sanctuary is very chill and provides ample relaxation. It’s also perfectly positioned across the street from the beach. That setting provides more than just gorgeous views. It means direct access to the waves. Custom McTavish surfboards and wetsuits are available for rent. The team will happily arrange surf lessons for those new to paddling out. There’s also storage if you’d rather bring your own gear. After spending the day doing active pursuits or just hanging out, it doesn’t get better than heading up to the atmospheric rooftop for spicy margaritas, wild-caught ceviche, tunes, and sweeping vistas of the waves lapping the sand.
Location: Malibu, California
The Vibe: Contemporary seaside retreat that captures the essence of the surf-centric, chill side of Malibu.
Food + Drink: The oh-so-stylish guests-only roof deck does breakfast, lunch, aprés surf (basically, happy hour), and dinner overlooking the ocean. Room service is also available.
Amenities: wetsuit and surfboard rentals; complimentary paddle boards, beach towels, and beach chairs; in-room Alo yoga mats, surf lessons; in-room massages; electric vehicle charging stations
Our Favorite Thing About the Hotel: The design is simply stunning—thoughtful yet effortless.
5 Nearby Attractions: Point Dume, Malibu Pier, Zuma Beach, El Matador Beach, Solstice Canyon
Any Personal Neighborhood Recs? In the mood for sushi, sake, and sea breezes with a premium price tag? Make a reservation (because walking in isn’t going to happen) at celeb-favored Nobu Malibu. For fresh-caught fish and a decidedly more low-key setting, drive over to longstanding favorite Neptune’s Net. It’s always a good idea to grab a burrito to-go from Lily’s Malibu and eat it at the beach.
Rooms: 20 rooms
Pricing: Rooms start at $500/night
Closest Airport: Los Angles International Airport
Other articles you may like: