A short stroll from the boardwalk and wharf, this full-service luxury hotel is the only lodging in Santa Cruz directly on the beach. All rooms have private balconies or patios overlooking Monterey Bay. The rooms have contemporary furnishings, bold colors, and upscale linens, but the main draw here is having the ocean at your doorstep. Have the valet store your surfboard or bike for free, then take in the Pacific sunset from the poolside bar or the on-site restaurant, Aquarius, which has sweeping south-facing views of Monterey Bay. In the Jack O'Neill Lounge, named for the famous wet suit inventor and longtime Santa Cruz resident, you can view vintage photos and memorabilia while sipping surf-themed cocktails.