Travel Guides

A Local’s Luxury Travel Guide to Malibu, California

Feel like a local with our complete luxury travel guide to Malibu.

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Malibu is one of our favorite destinations in California. It combines stunning natural beauty with fantastic restaurants and shopping. Whether you want to relax on an exquisite beach, hike one of the lush mountains, dine in a locally owned restaurant, or explore boutiques, you’ll find plenty to do in Malibu. Read on to discover our insider’s luxury travel guide to Malibu, California. 

A Local’s Luxury Travel Guide to Malibu, California

The Best Luxury Hotels in Malibu 

Nobu Ryokan Malibu

Luxury Travel Guide to Malibu
Nobu Ryokan has a serene Japanese-inspired design and gorgeous ocean views

This place is best known for its sceney restaurants and luxurious hotels, and one of its most exclusive restaurants is located nearby, but one of its best-kept secrets is Nobu Ryokan Malibu. This petite hotel is adults-only — a peaceful and secluded oceanside hideaway tucked away on Billionaire’s Beach. Nobu Ryokan Malibu is an architectural feat, awash in calming, neutral tones and serene accents. The intimate hotel was designed with Japanese-style minimalism in mind. And serves as a tranquil coastal escape for its guests, who come from all over the world. 

Each of the 16 rooms is adorned in teak, calming colors, and tasteful luxuries, such as 800-thread-count linen sheets by Anichi, works by traditional Japanese artists, and your choice of a Loro Piana cashmere robe or a traditional linen yukata kimono.

Located just two doors down from Nobu Malibu (and one from members-only Little Beach House Malibu), this location offers plenty of options for a romantic date-night dinner or seaside brunch. If you’re interested in relaxing in the room, room service is available and comes directly from Nobu Malibu. The hotel’s three-to-one guest-to-staff ratio will really allow you to relax — you won’t have to lift a finger during your stay. 

Malibu Beach Inn

Malibu Beach Inn

Nestled in between impressive beach homes on Pacific Coast Highway (PCH), Malibu Beach Inn is a classic Malibu hotel that makes you feel as if you were staying at your own beach house. The 47-room hotel has a selection of suites and bedrooms, all outfitted in sleek woods and warm coastal tones and enhanced with balconies overlooking the Pacific Ocean. 

The Carbon Beach Club Restaurant offers alfresco dining, as well as cozy indoor corners dressed with wool blankets and cushions. The restaurant features Mediterranean and coastal-inspired ingredients that are locally sourced from One Gun Ranch and nearby farmers’ markets in its beautiful land-and-sea menus. The drinks are equally impressive. The cocktail menu has thoughtful options. And the sommelier can walk you through a handpicked wine assortment featuring vintages from around the world. 

The hotel’s oceanfront spa suite features exclusive services from Cure Daily Spa. Including bodywork, skin care, IV therapy, and aesthetic treatments. You can go straight from relaxing on the beach into a customized facial or massage treatment in just a few steps. If you’re looking for some movement, the spa also offers 60- or 90-minute personal training sessions. As well as private yoga classes on the beach.

The Surfrider Malibu

The Surfrider Malibu
The Surfrider has a casual ambiance and stunning views

This hotel is an immaculately designed, 20-room beach house located across from the famous Surfrider beach. It draws inspiration from local California surf culture, seen in its tasteful design, chic linens, neutral colors, masterfully curated surf memorabilia, and eclectic art. You will never feel more like a Malibu local than you will as a guest at the Surfrider. 

There are plenty of room and suite options, all thoughtfully designed with Bellino linens and balcony hammocks. They are stocked with Parachute Linen Robes and amenities from Grown Alchemist

The hotel’s guest-only rooftop restaurant is what really makes this hotel extraordinary. The fireplace is reminiscent of a beach bonfire, and the deck has panoramic views, from the ocean to the mountaintops. It’s a happy hour that you’ll never forget. The resident chef pairs up with local farmers’ markets to create wonderful seasonal menus driven by California’s local produce. The mixologists are especially skilled and present stunning artisanal craft cocktails.

Hotel June, Malibu

Hotel June Malibu

A newer addition to the Malibu scene, Hotel June is a secluded collection of mid-century bungalows that once served as a haven for musicians, writers, and artists. Bob Dylan famously wrote an album in the original space, the Malibu Riviera Hotel, in the 1970s. Although it has been chicly renovated, the establishment still exudes the essence of the Malibu spirit. Conveniently located just off the famous Pacific Coast Highway, near the coveted Point Dume, the hotel offers wonderful restaurants and gorgeous beaches just around the corner.

The property is tucked into the side of the coast on four gorgeous acres with a running stream. Warm woods, neutral tones, and beachy accents invite you to disconnect from technology and connect with one another. The large swimming pool and deck surrounded by lush nature are private. The hotel provides surfboards that you can bring to the beach, as well as bikes for exploring the surrounding area. 

Its quaint bungalows are stylish and minimalistic, and they draw in plenty of natural light. Each room is equipped with king-size Casper Beds, Aesop bath products, and cozy, vintage robes to make you feel right at home. Though Hotel June feels like a charming escape, perfect for a romantic getaway, it also has a larger bungalow that’s well-suited for families. 

Rent a Luxury Home

Rent a Luxury Home

Fabulous beach homes line the entirety of the PCH. So there’s no shortage of spectacular houses available to rent in Malibu. It is an especially great option if you plan to stay a while. Many homes in Malibu on Airbnb and Vrbo are renowned for their refined design and dazzling, panoramic views of the beach. 

The Best Restaurants in Malibu

Nobu

Nobu Luxury Travel Guide to Malibu
Dine next to crashing waves at Nobu Malibu

There are many Nobu restaurants all over the world, but locals will tell you that Nobu in Malibu is one of the most beautiful restaurants in all of Los Angeles. The open-airiness of the restaurant overlooking the vast ocean somehow makes the already delicious food taste even better. Dinner is a remarkable affair. It’s candlelit and romantic, usually highlighted by a gorgeous sunset. Lunch is buzzy and exciting, with Hollywood power players sitting alongside celebrities enjoying the views and fresh sushi. No matter the meal or the season, there’s nothing like dining at the picturesque Nobu Malibu. Highlights from the menu include the yellowtail sashimi with jalapeno, sushi tacos, miso black cod, and tai agave. 

Little Beach House Malibu

If you’re so lucky as to have a friend who has an in to the exclusive Little Beach House Malibu, a members-only club by Soho House, make sure they bring you along. The storied beach house displays an impressive collection of international contemporary art surrounded by floor-to-ceiling windows with unbeatable views of the coastline. The space is always lively, with effortlessly cool creative thinkers and artists in all forms. Soho House recently acquired Scorpios Mykonos (featured in our Mykonos Guide) and updated the menu and deck to transport you to the Greek Isles. Cozy up on the patio with a bottle of wine or the famous Picante cocktail and some oysters, and you’ll really start to feel like a local. 

Lucky’s Malibu

Originally from Montecito, Lucky’s Malibu brings its signature martinis, mouthwatering seafood, and exceptional steaks to the heart of Malibu. The space pays homage to old Hollywood glamour, and from the moment you step inside, you’re greeted with genuine warmth and exceptional service. The restaurant offers an extensive wine list that is expertly curated. 

Broad Street Oyster Company

Another casual and delicious Malibu gem is Broad Street Oyster Company in the Malibu Country Mart. It’s a charming seafood restaurant that offers only the freshest of catches. Whether you’re a connoisseur or new to oysters, you’ll find the knowledgeable staff is always eager to guide you through their diverse flavors and textures. The menu at Broad Street Oyster Company is thoughtfully curated, showcasing a variety of seafood delights beyond just oysters. From succulent lobster rolls to delicate ceviche and its caviar service, each dish is a testament to the culinary expertise of the kitchen and its commitment to quality.

Taverna Tony

A longtime local favorite, Taverna Tony is not to be missed and remains one of the best restaurants in Malibu. It offers traditional Greek specialties like dolmathes and spanakopita made with love from passed-down family recipes in a breezy Mediterranean-style eatery. The restaurant’s outdoor patio and indoor balcony seating, surrounded by bougainvillea, are perfect for a summer day or evening. The main dining room is cozy no matter the weather and features live music on weekends. 

Mastro’s Ocean Club

Tucked away right off the PCH overlooking the water is upscale steak and seafood restaurant Mastro’s Ocean Club. In an elegant oceanfront setting with impeccable service, the restaurant is the go-to choice for a sophisticated night out in Malibu. The menu highlights incredible seafood and steaks as well as plenty of incredible vegetable-forward sides. Last but definitely not least is the famous warm butter cake served with a generous scoop of vanilla bean ice cream and topped with fresh berries: a perfect ending to any meal. 

Malibu Farm

Malibu Farm is made up of two restaurants on the Malibu Pier: Malibu Farm Restaurant and Malibu Farm Cafe. Both are intimate indoor-outdoor spaces that offer wonderful farm-to-table fare and breathtaking ocean views. The minimalist, rustic decor and idyllic setting create a serene ambiance, perfect for a midday lunch or early evening dinner. The menu is reflective of California’s vibrant and seasonal produce, and all of the ingredients are organic and sourced from local farms. 

The Best Things to Do in Malibu

Beaches

It’s difficult to think of Malibu without picturing its stunning beaches. Many are local legends, including Zuma Beach, Surfrider, Point Dume, and El Matador Beach. They are all great choices for swimming, surfing, sunbathing, playing beach volleyball, or simply taking a leisurely stroll along the coast. For surf lessons, be sure to check out Malibu Surf Coach, which offers surf lessons and coaching for all ages and levels. 

Shopping

Malibu has incredible shopping and a plethora of high-end boutiques. Malibu Country Mart, Malibu Village, and Malibu Lumber Yard are quintessential local shopping centers just steps away from one another. They offer upscale jewelry, fashion, and accessory shopping as well as home décor, art galleries, and plenty of great dining options. 

Wineries

Head inland and explore Malibu’s scenic wine country. Take a vineyard tour, sample local wines, and enjoy the breathtaking views of rolling hills and vineyards. Popular wineries in the area include Malibu Wines, Rosenthal Wine Bar & Patio, and Cornell Winery & Tasting Room.

Hiking

Malibu is nestled against the Santa Monica Mountains, which offer a range of trails, from intermediate to advanced hikes. Explore Malibu’s lush nature and panoramic views on notable trails like Solstice Canyon and Escondido Falls. If you visit Escondido during the rainy season, you’re likely to witness a gorgeous running waterfall. 

Visit the Getty Villa

Immerse yourself in art and history at the Getty Villa. This stunning museum houses a remarkable collection of ancient Greek, Roman, and Etruscan art. Explore the beautifully landscaped gardens and enjoy educational exhibitions that transport you back in time.

Treat Yourself 

The tranquility of Malibu extends to its spas. Calamigos Ranch, a popular wedding destination, is a gorgeous estate spanning more than 5,500 acres. It’s home to Spa Calamigos, a transformative spa experience that far surpasses traditional massage and facial offerings. The floor-to-ceiling windows showcase the vibrant nature surrounding the spa, and you can even opt for a massage alfresco. The signature Malibu Glow Facial is a fan favorite that uses therapeutic masks and LED light therapy. 

Charter a Yacht

The closest harbor to Malibu is the harbor at Marina Del Ray, but for those seeking only the best in service, Luxury Liners can arrange for a departure from the Malibu Pier. Luxury Liners boasts a variety of luxury yacht rentals that are perfect for overnight charters and coastal cruises with water sports activities.

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