While hotels are often geared for business and efficiency – like the proverbial Cliff Bars of lodging – Bed & Breakfasts are geared for leisure. Think of hotels as the big summer blockbuster and B&Bs are your favorite independent, art-house flick. They’re human-scale and human-paced, peaceful and personal. Plus, they’re often housed in buildings that capture a sense of place and speak to its history and surroundings.
If you’ve never tried a B&B, you might think it’s not for you – kind of like the first time you heard about sushi. You needn’t be worried. The places listed below part with the fussy stereotypes. They cover lots of ground – from traditional to contemporary – and offer something for everyone. We’ve already told you about their killer breakfasts. Now let’s talk beds and the rest.
INN AT DEPOT HILL
This place is special. The main building once served as a train depot from 1875 to 1958 before becoming a private residence and then a B&B. The luxurious rooms are individually decorated and open onto a peaceful, landscaped courtyard with an atmospheric fountain. Guest perks include a full breakfast, afternoon wine and hors d’oeuvres, free parking and wireless internet.
- Style: Traditional, Romantic
- Year of Building: 1875 (adjacent home added in 1996)
- Number of Rooms: 12
- Walking Distance From: Capitola Esplanade and Beach
- X-Factor: You are staying in a richly storied former train depot from 1875!
THE BABBLING BROOK INN
The name says it all: this cozy, rustic property sits on unbelievably lush, wooded grounds – with towering redwoods and natural brook meandering between buildings – and is hidden in plain view just a few blocks from Downtown. Guests enjoy a full breakfast, afternoon wine and snacks, free parking and WiFi.
- Style: Rustic
- Year of Building: Original log cabin: 1909. Newer buildings: 1981
- Number of Rooms: 13
- Walking Distance From: Downtown Santa Cruz
- X-Factor: The picturesque grotto-like grounds that feature a magnificent water wheel spinning above a year-round brook.
PACIFIC BLUE INN
This modern, uber-green inn is mere steps from Downtown shops & restaurants as well as the Wharf and Boardwalk. You can also hop on loaner bikes and cruise the waterfront like the locals. Guests have an option to add a full course breakfast featuring their trademark freshly baked popovers served with homemade butters and preserves.
- Style: Modern
- Year of Building: 1990
- Number of Rooms: 9
- Walking distance from: Downtown Santa Cruz, the Boardwalk, Wharf and Cowell Beach
- X-Factor: Could there be a more convenient locale for enjoying Santa Cruz’s scenic waterfront and buzzing Downtown hub?
WEST CLIFF INN
This magnificent Italianate – once one of the numerous mansions built on the waterfront bluff known as Millionaires’ Row – now stands blissfully alone surrounded only by graceful gardens. Interiors are upscale but relaxed with a breezy, coastal elegance. Guests enjoy a full breakfast, afternoon wine & hors d’oeuvres, and bicycles to explore breathtaking West Cliff Drive.
- Style: Contemporary update of traditional setting
- Year of Building: 1877
- Number of Rooms: 10 (including standalone bungalow)
- Walking distance from: The Wharf, Cowell Beach and the Boardwalk
- X-Factor: The stunning Italianate home is a treat to behold, let alone stay in as a guest.
These are but four of the many charming B&Bs tucked throughout Santa Cruz. Check out the many others on our site including:
- Cliff Crest Inn: A historic 1887 Queen Anne Victorian that sits a few blocks from Main Beach and the Boardwalk.
- Darling House: A historic, oceanfront mansion surrounded by gardens and walking distance to beaches & Downtown.
- Hinds Victorian Guest House: This Downtown Victorian inn is geared for stays of one week or longer.
- Monarch CoveInn: This inn enjoys water views and immediate proximity to Capitola Village.
- Rio Vista Luxury Suites: A luxurious boutique-style B&B in a restored 1890 Victorian mansion, just two blocks away from the Boardwalk and Downtown Santa Cruz.