Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
Right on the beach in Santa Cruz, and close to restaurants and shopping on the wharf
Santa Cruz is a bayside community on Monterey Bay's north end, and is home to an eclectic mix of hippies, surfers, students and music junkies. It's a veritable playground for water lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. Visitors can rent electric or pedal-powered bikes from Electric Sierra Cycles to Cruise West Cliff Drive, or saunter through the vintage waterfront boardwalk, which has some of the coast's oldest rides (not to mention an annual Clam Chowder Cook Off). Venture Quest offers sea-cave and whale-watching excursions, while Stagnaro's offers year-round fishing off the wharf. Santa Cruz Surfing Museum in the Mark Abbott Memorial Lighthouse provides information on the city's rich surfing history.
When day fades to night, visitors can head to Catalyst or Moe's Alley for some live music, or wander over to Blue Lagoon for late-night dancing and billiards.
This cute, stylish boutique hotel fuses modern services and retro- and surfing-inspired decor. The colorful lobby features a bright, geometric carpet and a curved pull-apart couch, flanked by a yellow-framed photograph of surfers on the beach. The rooms are contemporary (if a bit bland), and all feature private balconies with views of the bay, wharf, and Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, as well as iHome docks, flat-screen TVs, and Keurig coffeemakers. Small but modern bathrooms feature bright orange and yellow tiles, and either shower/tub combos or walk-in showers with rainfall showerheads. The restaurant, Aquarius, serves seafood in a casual space with ocean views, and amenities include a small pool and Jacuzzi (but no spa or fitness center).