Members Recommend
Very Good 2528 Reviews
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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 2528 Reviews
A wonderful hotel
Reviewed 13 hours ago

We have spent the morning wandering around Santa after a wonderful night at the Dream Inn.

The hotel accommodations were excellent (we love the retro look), the restaurant and food even better but above all I have to say you have assembled a wonderful staff. Everyone was so friendly and made are stay perfect.

Everything was great except.......
Reviewed 1 day ago

My boyfriend and I had a lovely time at this hotel! The views were great and our room was awesome. The only thing that just made me a little annoyed was one of the employees at the front desk. I think he might have been the person that works overnight. The first rude encounter I had with him was early in the morning on Valentine’s Day. I went down to go ask a question and as I approached the desk, this guy was checking his phone. I greeted him and said “Hi!” And he’s not even looking up to make eye contact with me because he’s still staring at his phone. After I greeted him, he said “pardon?” As if I interrupted what he was doing. The second encounter I had was later that night and I’ll admit, I was dreading the fact that he might possibly be there and make me feel uncomfortable again. So as I feared he was there again and still he seemed very annoyed that I had a question to ask. I was thinking maybe that’s just his personality BUT I come from another property that’s part of the same chain this hotel is apart of. I know at my work, his attitude and tone towards me would not be okay. Except for that front desk guy, the rest of the staff was PHENOMENAL. Also the new Jack O’Neill restaurant was amazing and I love how it pays tribute to the surf legend. I will be back, but I hope I won’t see that front desk guy next time.

Not worth it
Reviewed 1 day ago

My friend and I stayed at the Dream Inn early February. We were staying in Santa Cruz just one night to see a show at the Catalyst. The walk was doable to downtown but in retrospect I would have looked for something closer. But that’s my bad.

When I payed $300 for a room I knew that was pretty steep by my standards, but as I looked on their website it looked clean, a fun atmosphere, open and friendly. When I arrived a cringed a little at how outdated everything seemed to be. I felt like it should have been the set of an old school porno, or used to belong in Miami in the 1970’s, or where Raoul and Dr. Gonzo would have found themselves staying (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas) during no of their binges.

There was free wine and cheese offered in the evening and we were excited to get a little bit of our money’s worth, however, the cheese was nothing more than cubed cheddar and Swiss and the wine was syrupy sweet and clearly very low end. Do I expect it to be fine dining? No, but it would have been nice if it was at least enjoyable. Neither of us even finished our small plastic cup full.

My friend and I, luckily, are always to make the best out of whatever arises so we laughed at the whole scenario, but no way in hell would I pay 300 bucks for our one night experience at this dingey lodging.

Maybe in summer it comes alive and doesn’t feel so strange and out of place. But in February, it was almost eerie.

Best hotel in Santa Cruz!
Reviewed 2 days ago

Booked a room to escape winter weather in my home town. Was beautiful in February and did not disappoint! Staff is very accommodating and even upgraded my room. Prices are worth it as every room as a view of the beach, pier and Boardwalk!!!

Best Views
Reviewed 2 days ago

If you are wanting to see, hear, smell, feel the ocean, then this is the Only place to stay in Santa Cruz. Situated right on the beach just past the warf, you can enjoy the views of the boardwalk, the warf and all the beach and ocean right from your room and private patio. Clean and nicely decorated, but a bit on the upper scale price wise,but if you can afford it, well worth it. Our latest visit was while the restaurant was closed for remodel, so we had room service, from the same kitchen for restaurant. It was the worst food we have experienced from Room Service, ever. They need a new cook or chef. All other services were first class.