94%
Members Recommend
4.5
Very Good 2260 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

Amenities

  •  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

Overview

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.

Beyond

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

Reviews

4.5 Very Good 2260 Reviews
Great stay! Wonderful hospitality. Excellent restuarant with very good choice of dining options.
Reviewed 11 hours ago

We had a wonderful stay. This is our second visit and we stayed an extra night. The drive down the coast is exceptionally beautiful and the hotel is in a quiet spot close to the pier with beautiful views and gardens. Highly recommended for families there is a pool hot tub and bar. Rooms look out over the sea and waking up you can hear the waves. The

Beautiful views!
Reviewed 11 hours ago

My son & I had a great time. The pool was warm and there were firepits nearby to warm up when you got out of the pool. The views are spectacular. You can see the whole beach, the pier, and the boardwalk. My only complaint was that the room was cold and the heater wasn't working. Bring extra blankets!

Best ocean views in Santa Cruz
Reviewed 12 hours ago

Stayed four nights in this beachfront hotel and found the views worth every penny. If your budget is tight, stay fewer nights here rather than an offsite hotel. The beach is front of the hotel was not crowded and easily accessed. Pool was more crowded, but had views of the ocean as well. Easy walking distance to the wharf, restaurants, and even the carnival if you bring young kids. In the other direction, there is a paved walkway that has gorgeous views of the coast, the surfing museum and you can use bikes from the hotel to ride on this protected path for several miles. The room was very clean and looked recently updated with cute coastal touches. Even the chairs on the balcony were clean so sitting outside was very nice. I liked the self parking option, as it was quicker to come and go during the day rather than using the valet. The parking fee was the same either way. Next time, I’ll ask for a room in the tower, but away from the elevator. The third floor is really the main level so rooms 320-322 are noisy late at night and early morning, as people are pretty loud while waiting for elevators.

Lovely hotel in beautiful location on the beach
Reviewed 1 day ago

Lovely helpful and friendly staff. The room we had was gorgeous with views of the whole bay. Food was delicious. Have no complaints at all. We had a very happy stay at Dream Inn. Special mention: Dustin and Glen.

Great location but average hotel for us
Reviewed 1 day ago

I was torn between 3 and 4 stars for a rating, as for us, this was a good stay, not average but not very good either. We were excited to come here as a lot of the reviews quote it as being "the best hotel in Santa Cruz". We really didn't find this and were a little disappointed. The welcome by Front Desk staff was really disappointing with no smiles, no explanation at all on the hotel's amenities or location of pool, bar, restaurant - all basic things for a Front Desk Service. We were also told before we came, that our room would have a 'roll away' bed but on telling the same Front Desk guy again, he explained that this was against management policy. I had to show him our email confirmation confirming this and he reluctantly agreed - he was just awkward. In fairness on bringing this up with Dustin, one of the Managers, he took ownership and gave us a $75 dollar resort credit, which was a great gesture of apology. Dustin was really helpful for the rest of our stay and a great credit to the hotel. The rest of the Front of House staff could do with some more training in guest services from our experience.
Our room was a suite and was fairly spacious with separate lounge area with sofa bed. The most uncomfortable sofa bed of our California trip, according to my kids. The en suite was absolutely tiny and is not large enough for the 4 people that the suite accommodates. The room was also tired and didn't live up to the photo on the website - needs some modernising and definitely re decorating.
We didn't eat at the hotel so cannot comment on the dining. We had a drink at the bar which was nice. The pool was small which is fine but super overcrowded with left over food (as they have a barbecue at the pool) and drinks cups scattered around. It was chaos and I went and left within 5 minutes. If you like a party atmosphere full of people, then this is for you, but for a relaxing 30 mins with a book to relax in the sun, the room balcony is the better option.
The positives of the hotel are the views and location, which are unbeatable. The view of the beach from our room was amazing and the location so near to the boardwalk is great. The free bike rental is brilliant and taking a ride down West Cliff Drive or walk, as my husband did, was just amazing and a definite highlight of our time in Santa Cruz. Brilliant views, amazing houses and a real insight into the rich residential side of Santa Cruz.
We enjoyed our time at the Dream Inn but think there could be improvements to give it 5 stars.