Nobu Ryokan Malibu
What We Love
- The linen yukata robes and bamboo towels in guest rooms
- Lounging on the ipe wood deck, with its up-close views of Carbon Beach
- Curling up in front of the in-room fireplace after the sun sets
What To Know
- There's no gym, but guests can use the nearby Malibu Racquet Club
- In-room dining comes from the Nobu restaurant next door
- There's a two-night minimum stay
The first in a planned series of ryokan-style hotels from the Nobu chain, this mid-century marvel occupies a peaceful, elegant spot tucked behind a wall on the Pacific Coast Highway. Eye-wateringly high prices are a given, but the rooms (kitted out with tatami mats, fireplaces, and decks or private gardens) are enormous and service is a priority. The bathrooms, with custom teak soaking tubs positioned under skylights and walls of Jerusalem limestone, are particularly gorgeous, and both simple and soothing at the same time. Beachfront suites have direct access to Carbon Beach, known for its A-list property owners, and there might not be a better Malibu experience that rising early and dining on Nobu French Toast with caramelized bananas and green mango salad on your private deck overlooking the ocean.
In the Area
The just-west-of-LA enclave of Malibu is a playground for the rich and famous, full of fabulous restaurants, chic hotel bars, and other gems to discover. A half-mile east of Nobu is Café Luxxe, an exceptional little third-wave coffee shop right across from the water and an excellent place to kick off a morning beach walk with an espresso brewed from micro-lot beans. On the other side of the hotel is V’s, a restaurant and bar decked out like your chicest friend’s beach house that serves wild boar tagliatelle, dry-aged veal chops, and simple but potent cocktails made with ginger beer and lots of pressed key lime juice. Another top spot for dinner is Malibu Farm, located at the start of Malibu Pier – fresh seafood and veggie-heavy dishes dominate the menu. They’ve got a casual, counter-service café, too, set at the end of the pier with blockbuster ocean views.
How to Get There
I've had my eye on Nobu Ryokan since it opened. A $1,500-2,000/night hotel is personally a splurge and it's hard to determine from the website or the sparse reviews online on whether it's worth it. After reading nearly everything I could find online from anyone who has stepped foot on the property, I decided to send an email. You cannot book online and there's nowhere for you to see what rooms are available or even what rooms exist on the property. Each room is a bit different so I found the process of trying to find the right one a bit more of a hunt than I would have liked. After reaching out online, they give you a rundown of the hotel, price point, and general rooms. They have garden rooms, which are the least expensive and don't have views of the ocean. They have ocean view rooms which are above the garden rooms and have ocean views. Then they have ocean front rooms which literally hang right above the beach/water. After a couple emails, we setup a phone call discussed the different room options. Janelle Eng personally reached out. I shared with her the occasion and she said she'd have a bottle of champagne waiting for us. I also shared with her my gluten/dairy allergy and she said it would be no problem. We discussed the pool being closed as I wasn't sure if there was a deck where we can lounge (there is and it's fantastic). I would say the pool would be a nice to have, but not a necessity. They claim it should be opening in 2019. She also asked if we wanted reservations to Nobu, which we did and which she got us just a few days before arriving. They were otherwise unavailable if you called directly. We settled on the garden suite with private wood-burning fireplace. The booking process once we got on the phone was easy and the service was excellent.
The hotel itself is fantastic. We arrived to the bottle of champagne, a beautiful plate of fruit, and tea service. We spent the first half hour taking pictures of the property, room, bathroom, tub, and toilet. The attention to detail is fantastic and the design was perfect. It reminded me of an Aman property, but in Malibu. The mini bar was stocked with high quality snacks and non-alcholic beverages all of which were complimentary. I was absolutely thrilled that the entire mini bar was custom stocked to be gluten/dairy free due to our request. This is something Aman-group hotels don't even do. There are a variety of cocktails/beers available for purchase at reasonable prices.
The location right above the beach is fantastic. We personally didn't miss being in a garden room since the lounge right above the ocean was 50 feet from our room and empty the entire time we visited (Fri-Sun). That said, if you can afford the splurge the ocean front rooms look fantastic. They also have chairs/umbrellas set up and reserved on Carbon beach for you. The deck/beach service was attentive and perfect.
The first night we ate at Nobu, which was delicious. We had a beautiful outside deck with ocean views. The next night we decided to have a quieter experience and order from Nobu but have it served outside on the beach deck at the Ryokan. It was phenomenal.
Each night they lit our wood-fired fireplace for us, which was the perfect way to wind down. I believe all of their rooms have the gorgeous wood "infinity" tubs and we thoroughly enjoyed our mini Japanese bath house. The Toto toilet was so civilized, I'm going to need to outfit my house with a couple.
All in all it was a fantastic weekend. The service was attentive, accommodating and not remotely pretentious. I thought this might be a once in a lifetime treat to celebrate an anniversary and now I think Nobu Ryokan might be a regular experience.
I am not a big review person but I understand the importance of it. I want to share the good/ugly and honest. and this property is WOW. Incredible. Located on PCH you couldn't ask for anything better. Its amazing for some down time/you time. Food=excellent. Views, incredible. Its the perfect getaway. I don't recommend it if your actually trying to explore LA. If that is the case, go stay in BH, West LA etc. This is perfect for your staycation or vacation. You will feel like your at your own personal beach house.
I know I will be recommending this to all my clients. These people was exclusivity, luxury and attentiveness--- Nobu does this. Thank you.
Janelle Eng is the perfect match for this Shangri-la. Thje original movie was filmed just up the coast at Ojai. Read her resume on the computer googling her name. Reads like a "Who's Who" of hospitality. Hard working and as beautiful as the hotel, she answers all questions should one ask for the manager. But that is rarely the case. Acquaintance Larry Ellison could do no better. Larry arrived in Berkeley in 1964 with $10.00 and a Ford Thunderbird. Read her quote stating ,"Its not what you are born with but what you make of yourself." Larry picked the Cinderella of the sisters.
This Is hands down one of the best hotels I have ever stayed. It's very small and intimate. It feels like your personal beach house. The rooms are gorgeous and very well decorated . We stayed at an ocean front room and we could hear the waves from our bed. The service was optimal , it couldn't have been better.if you are thinking about staying here just do it you will not regret it !
An amazing getaway for my wife and I. We enjoyed every minute and felt relaxed the moment we entered. The rooms were stunning. Perhaps the nicest we have ever seen. Attention to detail is top notch. Staff attentive and very efficient. Views and position outstanding. Can't wait to go back.