The Dream Inn has always had an enviable location on Cowell Beach in Santa Cruz, Calif., a block from the famed boardwalk. Now, after a top-to-bottom revamp, the hotel also has rooms that live up to its name.
New retro-chic decor features splashy colors, boardwalk-themed art, and such kitschy-cool accents as a driftwood-shingled front desk. Playful extras include surfboard storage and flat-screen TVs with hookups for Wii and Xbox game systems in every room.
The hotel's restaurant is set to open next May, but for now you can enjoy wild mushroom lettuce cups and mint-infused lemonade on the heated beachfront pool deck. After a day of sun and surf, watch the sunset from your ocean-view balcony, then slip between cool, 300-thread-count sheets. Now that's dreamy. From $152. (831) 426-4330, jdvhotels.com/hotels/dream.
Photography courtesy Joie de Vivre
This article was first published in November 2008. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.