Romantic hotel stays in California for Valentine’s Day

Warning: If you’re reading this now, you might be too late to book the Valentine’s Day getaway you and yours might be really, really ready for.

But I am ready to help. Here are the ingredients for 10 romantic follies from San Diego to San Francisco. Some are expensive enough to deeply test the depths of your affections and/or bank account. Some are on the rustic side (adventure yurt, anyone?) All have a memorable sense of place, with privacy. And for all of them, I also offered an exit.

Of course, there are hundreds of memorable California hotels and inns beyond this list. But it’s a first-hand collection, made up of accommodations I’ve stayed in, inspected, or wandered around. (As if I owned the place, of course.)

On dates, there are three footnotes to keep in mind this year. First, since Valentine’s Day falls on a Monday, some people will choose to celebrate the previous Friday or Saturday, or a week later. Perhaps this will relieve the usual crunch of reservations.

Second, the Feb. 13 Super Bowl at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood filled many hotels that might otherwise be Valentine’s Day contenders. So, to avoid serving disappointment, I’ve left downtown Los Angeles off of this list.

Third, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, California “requires the wearing of masks in all indoor public places, regardless of vaccination status,” through Feb. 15. Also for pandemic reasons, many hotels have suspended room service, reduced housekeeping visits and reduced entertainment options. Additionally, many hotels and restaurants currently require proof of vaccination before they let you in.

PS Let me tell you now that the Montage Laguna Beach and the Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur are not on this list. They’re gorgeous places (I’ve hiked both), and they seem to pop up every time someone makes a list like this. But, in late January, I couldn’t find a room at either hotel, any night in February, for less than about $1300. No matter how much you love that special someone, I bet you’d still prefer to spend less than that.

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