Members Recommend
Very Good 2719 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 2719 Reviews
Great hotel
Reviewed 1 day ago

It was so nice being right on the beach and walking up West Cliff Drive was spectacular! Hotel staff was lovely. The taco stand by the pool was yummy. Looking out at the ocean from our rooms was great.

Great place to stay!
Reviewed 3 days ago

Great location, great amenities, nice staff, clean comfortable rooms. Can't beat it. We live in the area but used this as a weekend getaway. The hotel is a 3 min walk to the boarwalk if you have kids that can do that on their own or you can go with. The beach on the hotel side is much less crowded than the boardwalk. The pool has windshields and nice fire pits at night. Had a seafood salad for lunch at the pool and it was fresh and tasty.

My Favorite Place
Reviewed 3 days ago

I come here at least 3 times a year both because of the location and view, but most of all the staff. This time is another winner. Katie made our reservation at the last minute and made it all easy, and Curtis just helped us at the front desk. I was a little crabby from the drive and hangry too, but he was kind, fun, polite and positive. Popped me right out of that funk! LOVE this place!

Can't beat the location
Reviewed 4 days ago

Beautiful location and views from every room. Views of the beach from every room is fantastic. No other hotel on the beach like that. Walking distance to the pier, restaurants and shops.
Don't stay in the rooms right behind the check in desk as they are too noisy.

Too Expensive
Reviewed 6 days ago

We drove down from the Bay Area hoping to have a relaxing weekend getaway but it was far from that. The valet staff was very nice and friendly but extremely understaffed and poorly ran. We arrived at 3pm to find out that our room wasn’t ready so when my husband first asked if we could store our luggage, the woman checking him in said “we’d prefer not to”. We paid $500 for a night at your hotel and you couldn’t hold our luggage even though it wasn’t our fault that the room wasn’t ready. It was an extremely hot day and that was really frustrating to hear. My husband then asked another gentleman and he said we could store our luggage so it wasted 15 minutes of our vacation time because we were trying to figure out what to do with our luggage. Overall, yes the view was awesome but I’ve stayed in better hotels around the world for far less money. The room also had some sort of allergens in it because my husband, 4 month old daughter and myself spent the whole night sneezing.
Then the next morning, the bell desk was backed up again so it took about 20 minutes for someone to help with our bags then when we got downstairs, it was chaos trying to get in your car! Even if you got in your car, there were 5-6 cars parked in front of you and you couldn’t leave if you wanted to! That would’ve been horrible for someone trying to catch a flight.
My final complaint is there was only one restroom available in the lobby. Since the rooms weren’t ready, there was a pretty long line trying to get in and after a long drive, that was pleasant.
I just don’t think the price of staying at the hotel is justified.