3 Resorts Across California for a Perfect Fall Getaway

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Ventana Big Sur

Summer might officially be coming to an end in other parts of the country, but here in California, the warmer weather lingers on through October. Whether the majestic redwood groves of Big Sur, ancient oaks of Ojai Valley or dreamy desert landscape of Palm Springs appeals, end the season on a high note with a fall getaway – or relocate the home office for a few days – at one of these resorts across the Golden State.

Ventana Big Sur

Ventana Big Sur

Opened in 1975, Ventana Big Sur is a quintessential Central California destination perfect for nature-lovers seeking a less formal version of luxury. Set in 160 acres of pristine wilderness, the property underwent an extensive renovation after mudslides caused severe damage to the area, reopening as an Alila Resort two years ago. Sculpted from weathered cedar, the modernist cabins here are home to 59 rooms, suites, and villas – each with a private balcony or patio, some with soaking tubs and wood-burning fireplaces. 

From yoga and nature walks (there are over two dozen hiking trails in Big Sur) to guided mediation among the redwoods, outdoor activity options are endless. For something totally different Ventana’s falconry experience allows guests a unique opportunity to get up close to these fascinating birds of prey. After a day spent exploring, nothing beats a soak in the infinity hot tub or a glass of wine on the terrace taking in the epic Pacific Ocean views. When it comes to cuisine, executive chef Keith Potter’s Modern American menu at The Sur House features produce from the resort’s garden, Pacific-sourced seafood from local fishermen, and a 10,000-bottle cellar of Central Coast wines.

Getting here also got a whole lot easier – and faster – thanks to private aviation firm XO who partnered with Ventana to offer guests exclusive pricing on charter flights to Monterey Peninsula Airport. XO members and non-members who arrange at least one private flight can enjoy a complimentary fourth night for every three nights booked at the property. Additional perks include a welcome bottle of champagne, a dedicated leisure concierge, and an intimate dining experience for two at the Glass House.

Ventana Big Sur

Ojai Valley Inn

Ojai Valley Inn

Located less than two hours north of Los Angeles, Ojai (whose name comes from the Chumash word for ‘moon’) has long drawn artists, spiritual seekers and Hollywood stars to its magical – and some say vortex filled – valley. For anyone coming here in search of an intimate weekend retreat with top-notch resort amenities, the Ojai Valley Inn is a perfect choice.

Tucked within 220 acres of ancient oak and olive trees, the 1920s architecture of the property’s original structure blends seamlessly with the more modern guestrooms, suites and penthouses (of which there are 308) including a Fireplace Shangri-La Room named after filmmaker Frank Capra who immortalized Ojai in his film Lost Horizon. For the ultimate in social distancing, Tuscan-inspired villa Casa Elar is available as a hotel buyout option. Fully staffed and serviced to guest specifications, the five-bedroom residence features over 10,000 square feet of indoor-outdoor living, including a private pool and spa, chef’s kitchen, and barbecue terrace. 

Outdoorsy types can go hiking, horseback riding or try a beekeeping and honey tasting experience, while foodies will enjoy culinary event space The Farmhouse, which is hosting an Osteria Mozza dinner with Nancy Silverton (September 19), and a guest chef dinner with Evan Funke of Felix in L.A. (September 25). For an R&R afternoon head to the adults-only Indigo Pool. 

Ojai Valley Inn

La Quinta Resort & Club, A Waldorf Astoria Resort

La Quinta Resort & Club, A Waldorf Astoria Resort

Billed as a timeless Hollywood desert hideaway, La Quinta Resort & Club, A Waldorf Astoria Resort, originally opened in 1926, officially making it the longest-running resort in the Coachella Valley. The iconic property counts Greta Garbo and Clarke Gable among its former guests, who doubtless spent time in one of the 20 original Spanish-style adobe casitas. With 600 rooms and 100 villas when it comes to choosing accommodation, guests are spoiled for choice. Top picks include the Spa Villa Studios on the west side of the property in addition to a range of lavish standalone suites, including the King Eisenhower – where the former president vacationed after leaving office – and the King Pueblo with a private pool and hot tub. 

Located 20 miles from Palm Springs Airport and a 35-minute drive from downtown Palm Springs, the Santa Rosa Mountains serve as a stunning backdrop to the resort grounds. Spread across 45 acres, La Quinta is home to five championship PGA golf courses and 23 tennis courts, so there are plenty of options for socially distant pursuits. If posting up poolside for a few days is the plan, there are 41 to choose from, including a lap pool near the spa, the adults-only Plunge Pool, family-friendly Main Pool, plus a slew of secluded casita pools. Keep an eye out for the roving Veuve Clicquot beverage cart, as it makes its way around them all. 

Recently reopened with updated safety protocols, patio dining is currently available at Adobe Grill, while Twenty6 is open for carryout service. A wide range of items – including picnic goodies like bottles of wine, cheese and crackers – are available to grab and go from the Marketplace. 

La Quinta Resort & Club, A Waldorf Astoria Resort