Members Recommend
Very Good 2637 Reviews
Jetsetter Verified
This Hotel meets our standards
Our editors have been here and it has met our standards

What We Love

  • The beachfront location
  • Aquarius restaurant's sustainable seafood dishes like California yellowtail or Monterey Bay wild king salmon
  • Each guestroom has a patio or balcony
  • Free WiFi
  • READ MORE: Who Doesn't Love a Boardwalk?

What To Know

  • The pool will be closed during construction from November 2, 2015 to March 17th, 2016
  • The poolside bar is open during the summer
  • Expect a tinge of 1970s flair, like bright neon accents and paisley prints, with mod cons like flat-screen TVs, iPod docks
  • Splurging on the valet parking for $24 is well worth it


  •  Bar
  •  Free WiFi
  •  Parking On Site
  •  Pool
  •  Restaurant
  •  Spa
Disclaimer: This content was accurate at the time the hotel was reviewed. Please check our partner sites when booking to verify that details are still correct.
Bedroom Luxury Modern Waterfront sofa property Suite living room cottage bed sheet


Retro surf shack cool with sustainable seafood, a heated pool and outdoor spa in Santa Cruz

The Look

The first luxury hotel on the Santa Cruz waterfront, the Dream Inn adds a touch of style to this beachcentric college town. With splashy colors lapping over surfer motifs, the boutique spot celebrates the nostalgia of the nearby historic boardwalk but embraces a new wave of sophistication surging south from Silicon Valley. The subtle white exterior retains just enough of the inn’s former motel stylings to register as retro, while the rooms combine the style and class of a boutique hotel with killer views.

Bed & Bath

Each guestroom has a patio or balcony where you can watch surfers carve choice waves and sea lions and dolphins frolic further out. Expect a tinge of 1970s flair, like bright neon accents and paisley prints, with mod cons like flat-screen TVs, iPod docks and free WiFi. Large rainfall showers and plush robes are the highlight of the ample bathrooms.


On warm days — of which there are many in Santa Cruz — it doesn’t get much better than lying out by the pool, drink in hand, the sound of waves crashing just beyond the gate. On the other side of the hotel, a short walk puts you on the wharf or in the heart of downtown on Pacific Avenue. Locals and guests alike love the hotel’s Aquarius restaurant with sustainable seafood dishes like California yellowtail with cilantro risotto, preserved lemons and watercress or Monterey Bay wild king salmon with quinoa salad, watercress puree and greek yogurt.

In the Area

Ramble through the towering redwoods of Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park, and be sure to take a dip in the Garden of Eden swimming hole. The historic boardwalk dates to 1865 and still has one of the top seaside amusement parks in the country. Throw your hands up and let it out on the Giant Dipper wooden roller coaster, built in 1924. Share turf with the locals and learn how to catch a proper wave at Club Ed Santa Cruz Surf School & Camps on Cowell’s Beach. Rent a boat at Capitola Boat and Bait in nearby Capitola, where you can fish without a license. A lounge, tapas bar and merchant all rolled into one, Soif offers the best of California’s two main selling points — fine wine and top-notch cuisine — in one intimate setting.

How to Get There

Dream Inn Santa Cruz
175 W Cliff Dr
Santa Cruz, CA 95060 United States


4.5 Very Good 2637 Reviews
Great location
Reviewed 1 day ago

You can't beat the location, close to everything. No fitness center is a bummer, in-house restaurant/bar is oddly managed, but there are several other restaurants/bars within walking distance so it's no factor.

Use to love it!
Reviewed 2 days ago

The property needs updating — especially the rooms and pool. The rooms are very small for the price. $600 per night for a large King room with a sqeaky pullout couch. The room service is excellent. The valets, cleaning and wait staff are very good. The front desk isn’t super helpful. When I spend $3000 for me and two kids...there’s much more expected for the price.

This hotel is a dream
Reviewed 3 days ago

The accommodations were wonderful, super clean and spacious! It was a bit expensive but well worth it compared to other accommodations in the area. This is the only hotel that is truly on the beach! Beware of restaurant, their website states information for a happy hour that is inaccurate. Otherwise perfect stay!

Best place to stay in Santa Cruz
Reviewed 3 days ago

I gifted a three night stay at the dream in in Santa Cruz to my son and his family to enjoy part of the kids spring break. They have been snowbound in Truckee for months and deserved some time at the beach. The tree man was a perfect place for them to enjoy the great ocean views from their room, spacious patio deck to relax at the end of the day, proximity to the boardwalk, surfing and the beautiful beach. The staff at dream in was so warm and welcoming to the family and for me to work with on the phone to make arrangements. We will certainly return to this great hotel and enjoy Santa Cruz in first class style.
Added bonus was with a two night stay at the third night was free. Very motivating.

Friendliest Staff
Reviewed 3 days ago

To a person this was the friendliest hotel staff ever, including maintenance, housekeeping, valet front desk and management. They made us feel so welcome and took time to talk with us. They also had beautiful, clean rooms with ocean views and patios. The ocean view powol was open and warm (in March!) There was a great pool attendant on duty to. A great ocean front hotel on the sand. I highly recommend.