Just a few weeks away from the start of our trip, I still hadn't figured out where we were spending the night in Santa Cruz.
The plan had been to camp anywhere we weren't staying with friends or family, which was the case for our stop in Santa Cruz. The only problem was that there didn't seem to be any camping options in walking distance of all the things we wanted to do: the Wharf, the Boardwalk, downtown Santa Cruz, West Cliff Drive and Natural Bridges State Park.
Well as it turns out, it's actually pretty hard to even find hotels that are close to all of those things. With one bright, shining exception: the Santa Cruz Dream Inn. Located directly on West Cliff Drive, the Dream Inn overlooks the Wharf and Boardwalk (not to mention the water!) and is walking distance to downtown, Natural Bridges, and the Surf Museum, making it the perfect location for our night in Santa Cruz!
As soon as we pulled up into the valet drop off, I knew I had made the right choice. This place was literally a hotel of my dreams! They even had Andy Davis art as part of the decor and we all know how much I love Andy Davis!
Between the bright colors, the mod vibes, and the surf art, I was in love and I hadn't even made it past the lobby.
We checked into our room on the 10th floor and instantly I was stunned by the panoramic views of the ocean and the boardwalk. The sounds of the ocean made us feel right at home and I absolutely loved the sheer gradient curtain with its sunset hues against the blue of the ocean.
I mean, as if my logo isn't an indication... that palette is kind of my thing.
Obviously one of the two best features of the room (the first being the sliding door leading out to the ocean views) was the big, comfy white bed in the center of it. I can't even tell you how long I've wanted a big white zen bed in our house for exactly this reason: it just looks so cozy and clean and inviting. Alas, we have two dogs with dark fur, so that is one dream that is never to be realized.
The bed faced a desk and flat screen TV which we didn't even turn on once. Who needs TV when you have the ocean to stare at?
The bathroom was super clean and featured the same mod palette as the aforementioned curtain. I obviously appreciated this from an aesthetic perspective, but I will say... bathrooms with red, yellow and orange tile can be hard to get ready in some times! Luckily they had a makeup mirror with a light to offset the tinting effect of the walls.
The shower itself was a pleasant reprieve from most hotel shower setups, with its spa-like rainfall shower head and toiletries from Modern Apothecary. I had the chance to enjoy it the next morning after my sunrise run along West Cliff Drive and it definitely a refreshing start to the day!
As soon as we checked into our room, Ryan maneuvered to the comfy bed for a nice afternoon nap while I soaked up the views from our balcony. Then it was time to explore the rest of the hotel.
It didn't take long for me to explore my way right to the hotel restaurant and lounge, both of which come complete with their own gorgeous ocean views. And while I didn't have a chance to dine at Aquarius, I did enjoy a glass of wine at the Jack O'Neil bar while I chatted up the bartender for a local's take on the area.
By the time I got back to the room, it was time to wake Ryan up and head out to see more of Santa Cruz, starting with the Wharf, which was just steps away from the hotel, and the downtown Pacific Ave hotspots.
Unfortunately, we got back from downtown just slightly too late to enjoy the hotel's gorgeous pool and hot tub, but I definitely won't be making that mistake next time. No, next time we'll be sure to make our stay at the Dream Inn a much longer one dedicated to soaking up all of the relaxation the hotel has to offer, like their free poolside yoga on the weekends and breakfast in bed!
Ryan and I truly enjoyed our dreamy night at the Dream Inn. I can honestly say that I don't think I'd want to stay anywhere else during my next visit to Santa Cruz.
Between the location, the aesthetic, and the views, the Dream Inn truly is a dream!
Dream Inn Santa Cruz
175 W Cliff Dr
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
Phone: (831) 426-4330
Disclaimer: When I found the Dream Inn during my trip planning, I contacted them and asked if they would be interested in coverage on the blog in exchange for a discounted room rate. They were generous enough to offer a discount, but my opinions are honest as always.