The ultimate destination for a beach vacation in California, San Clemente is famous for its white sandy beaches, alpine scenery, Spanish colonial-style architecture, Mediterranean climate, abundant sunshine, rich surfing culture, and laid-back vibe.
With over five miles of shoreline, the charming beach town offers an eclectic array of seaside activities, including surfing, whale watching, beach walking, and fine dining.
There’s no shortage of off-shore adventure in San Clemente, either. The city’s vibrant downtown district is home to a fabulous collection of restaurants, shops, and galleries.
After a day packed with both oceanside and off-shore adventures, you’ll need a comfy place to retire to. From beachfront resorts to colonial-style hotels to cute and quirky boutiques, here are my top cool and unusual hotels in San Clemente, California (in no particular order)…
Our Top 3 Best Cool and Unusual Hotels
The Volare Ascend Hotel Collection
Displaying a coherent blend of urban comfort and contemporary design, The Volare has rightfully earned its place on the list of San Clemente’s top hotels. The hotel’s prime location in the city center, top-end amenities, and excellent service make it every vacationer’s top choice.
The Volare perches in a lovely beach community downtown and overlooks the gorgeous Pacific Ocean. It puts you within walking distance of over three hundred boutique restaurants and shops, farmer’s markets, and San Clemente’s bustling nightlife.
Back at the base, guests can enjoy American and Continental cuisines at a refined restaurant, continue their fitness regimens in a gym, and wash off their worries in an outdoor pool. You can eventually retire to your room, which will feature a mini-fridge, a coffee machine, a flat-screen TV, and a work desk.
Address: 111 Avenida de la Estrella, San Clemente, CA 92672, United States
Sleek modern vibes
Breathtaking beach view
Serene outdoor pool
10-minutes to Pacific Golf Club
No connecting rooms
No kitchenette in the rooms
Gym can be better equipped
Combining the beauty of the Pacific Ocean with quaint aesthetics, Beachcomber Inn has been welcoming guests since 1953.
Set in a cottage-style building overlooking San Clemente Beach, the historic inn accommodates guests in airy studios and one-bedroom apartments with cable TVs, sofa beds, and complimentary Wi-Fi. While most units offer full kitchens, one has a microwave, a coffee maker, and a mini-fridge.
Shared facilities include a private garden with BBQ grills, picnic tables, lawn chairs, and BBQ grills.
Address: Address: 533 Avenida Victoria, San Clemente, CA 92672, United States
Historic coastal hotel
Lush garden with BBQ facilities
In front of the beach
Rooms can be small
Wifi can be intermittent
Sea Horse Resort
Gentle ocean breezes greet vacationers upon arrival at Sea Horse Resort. Occupying three boutique properties on the Pacific Ocean’s shoreline, the high-end resort is an ideal base for a relaxing tropical vacation.
Contemporary rooms are thoughtfully designed to provide guests with a luxurious stay. From plush bedding to coffee machines to cable TV, you can enjoy a range of amenities in the room. The furnished balconies expose you to the stunning Pacific Ocean.
One- to two-bedroom suites have full kitchens and living rooms with dining areas. Parking is complimentary for all guests, as are beach towels, umbrellas, and chairs.
Address: 602 Avenida Victoria, San Clemente, CA 92672, United States
Luxurious & refined decor
Breathtaking ocean view
Water sports facilities nearby
Windows can't be opened
No TV in rooms
The Patriots Boutique Motel
If you’re looking for a low-key place to stay with easy access to downtown attractions, The Patriots Boutique Motel is a fabulous choice. Perched off the Interstate 5 freeway, the 2-star hotel is hardly a 5-minute walk from Downtown shops, bars, and restaurants.
Tropical-inspired rooms offer pillow-top mattresses, flat-screen TVs, microwaves, and mini-fridges. There’s also an ocean-view suite with a full kitchen, a separate sitting area, and a private patio.
Surfing lessons are offered for a fee, while coffee is served in the lobby for free.
Address: 711 S El Camino Real, San Clemente, CA 92672, United States
Cool coastal vibes
Lively bright guestrooms
Separate amenities for pets
5-minute walk to restaurants and bars
Limited parking space
Some outside road noises
‘Surf, Eat, Sleep’ is the mantra of vacationers staying at Nomads Hotel. The eclectic hotel offers a broad range of lodging options to meet the needs of every type of traveler.
However, you can only stay here if there’s a funky side to you. The hip rooms won’t sit well with those looking for a typical tropical vacation.
The kaleidoscopic rooms feature unique themes. While some have a Bali-inspired interior, some are designed like boats. In-room amenities include premium linens, wet bars, mini-fridges, microwaves, Keurig coffee makers, Apple TV, and high-speed internet.
The hotel’s staff will also personally guide you through your vacation in San Clemente.
Address: 101 Avenida Serra, San Clemente, CA 92672, United States
Lively funky ambiance
Delectable Nomad canteen
1.9 km to North Beach
Some outside restaurant noise
No 24-hour parking
Always Inn San Clemente Bed & Breakfast by Elevate Rooms
This Tuscany-style inn in the heart of the historic San Clemente district welcomes you to a vintage lodging experience complemented by present-day comforts. The laid-back bed-and-breakfast is extremely popular with honeymooners and couples.
Individually decorated rooms boast traditional furnishings and local artwork. Each room is fitted with blackout curtains, a cable TV, a private whirlpool tub, and complimentary Wi-Fi.
Belgian chocolates, cookies, a full breakfast, and bottled water are offered to all guests for free.
Address:177 Avenida Cabrillo, San Clemente, CA 92672, United States
Rustic chic decor
Private terrace in rooms
Tempting complimentary breakfast
Parking is a little compact
No wellness center
Standing across the road from the San Clemente Pier, Casa Tropicana features magnificent Spanish-inspired architecture and a tropically influenced interior with original art.
The artistic rooms come with complimentary Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs with DVD players, and mini-fridges. Some rooms also offer fireplaces, whirlpool tubs, living areas, kitchens, and ocean views.
As a guest, you’ll also enjoy some free perks such as parking, a 24-hour coffee station, and loaner beach towels and chairs. Communal areas include sundecks with ocean views.
Address: 610 Avenida Victoria, San Clemente, CA 92672, United States
Refined minimal design
Panoramic sea view from balcony
6-minutes to Dana Point Harbour
No swimming pool
No rooftop accommodation
North Beach E
This spacious, well-kept property steps from North Beach is a perfect pick for nuclear families holidaying in San Clemente. Its basic interior, warm ambiance, and premium amenities will make you feel just at home.
The airy living room features an L-shaped sofa, a flat-screen TV, a console, and a chess table. Next to the living room is a dining area with seating for six adjoining, which is a fully equipped kitchen.
Head upstairs to the traditionally decorated bedrooms, which deviate slightly from the modern design downstairs. One bedroom features an extra-large double bed, while the other has two sofa beds and two large double beds.
Address: San Clemente, 92672, United States
Funky colorful decor
Sea view from balconies
20 km to Heisler Park
No swimming pool
North Beach D
An amazing option for big families vacationing in San Clemente, North Beach D is a well-maintained holiday home steps from the gorgeous North Beach.
The sophisticated property offers a fully functional kitchen with a 2-person breakfast bar, a dining area with seating for eight, and a living room with a fireplace and a flat-screen TV.
The upstairs has a storage room, a sitting area with a flat-screen, and four well-appointed bedrooms, two of which open to spacious and well-furnished patios.
Address: San Clemente, 92672, United States
Stylish colorful ambience
Nook for kids
No contact found
Hideaway Unit D
This loft-style apartment provides all the comforts that you have at home. From hardwood floors to streamlined furnishings to upscale amenities, you’ll love everything about this cute property located steps from San Clemente City Beach.
There’s a seating area with a flat-screen TV, a well-equipped kitchen, an adjoining dining area, a small courtyard with a picnic table and chairs, and a bedroom sleeping up to two people.
Address: San Clemente, 92672, United States
Soft cute interior
cycling and golf activities nearby
40 km to the University of California
Top 10 Coolest Hotels in San Clemente
In the table below, we have compared the top 10 cool and unusual hotels in San Clemente. You can sort the table based on different factors like location, distance from attractions, price per night, and restaurants nearby:
Hotel Name Location Price Range (per night) Fitness Facilities Distance to Attractions (km) Nearby Restaurants
The Volare, Ascend Hotel Collection 111 Avenida de la Estrella $308-$448 No 16.0 3
Beachcomber Inn 533 Avenida Victoria $310 No 17.0 2
Sea Horse Resort 602 Avenida Victoria $299-$359 No 16.0 3
The Patriots Boutique Motel 711 S El Camino Real $139-$179 No 17.0 2
Nomads Hotel 101 Avenida Serra $142-$219 No 16.0 3
Always Inn San Clemente Bed & Breakfast by Elevate Rooms 177 Avenida Cabrillo $223-$896 No 16.0 3
Casa Tropicana 610 Avenida Victoria $289 No 16.0 3
North Beach E San Clemente, 92672 $441 No 15.0 3
North Beach D San Clemente, 92672 $772 No 15.0 2
Hideaway Unit D San Clemente, 92672 $385 No 16.0 3
Beth Pinches – writer and photographer
Beth was born under a wandering star, with drama in her veins and ink in her pen. After stints studying theatre in Dublin and Utrecht she used her creative streak to see as much of the world as she could on as little money. She toured Italian Schools with a children’s theatre troop, lived as an au-pair in both Rome and Washington DC, explored the British countryside, worked her way through much of Europe, Salsa danced in Cuba and road tripped down America’s west coast where she discovered her spiritual home; Portland, Oregon. Other places she loves include Croatia, Finland, Japan and India. In between adventures, travel writing and performing she resides peacefully with her family, cats and ukulele. Find Beth on Linkedin or Facebook.