Surf style with a boutique chic edge? That pretty much sums up the Kimpton Shorebreak hotel – Effortlessly stylish and unknowingly hip. Through all my years of being in out of hotels through work, pleasure and mystery shopping, nothing quite compares to my stay at the Kimpton Shorebreak hotel. It is ranked top on my hotel scale, and as a travel blogger, that isn’t a statement I’m using lightly. So rest assured, the Kimpton Shorebreak hotel is a solid option if you’re heading to Huntington Beach. But I’m not hesitant in saying it is officially my number 1 hotel. This surf-inspired accommodation hotspot was just incredible on so many levels, but the things that really stood out for me were the genuine kindness of the staff, the small unique ‘only a Kimpton hotel would do’ touches, and of course, the incredible decor. I would go back there in a heartbeat – and I hope to revisit for longer next time to Huntington Beach. I made no secret that I truly fell in love with Surf City, so no doubt I will find myself back in that California hotspot.
So when I arrived at Kimpton Shorebreak hotel, unlike a lot of other hotels in America, the valet didn’t jump on you as soon as you pulled up. We actually found that everywhere we went, the valet and concierge were quick to get to you being somewhat attentively harassing. In America, there is this unwritten rule of tipping any staff that carry your bags or of course, the valet. These guys obviously did their job by asking if we needed assistance or any help with parking, but once we politely declined they continued helping other people. We found at other hotels, it wasn’t as relaxed as it had been at the Kimpton Shorebreak, and I welcomed this vibe with open arms. I knew from the get-go, (actually from that small interaction) that I was going to love this hotel, the people and Surf City.
You have stairs or a lift up to reception, on the lower ground floor you have the bikes you can borrow, and places to store your surfboards. Upstairs, the lobby area boasted multiple areas for seating, a grand outdoor area full of places to plonk yourself to soak up that California sun and an area to watch some of their classic surf series on the silent TV above. They have a restaurant on site called the Pacific Hideaway, and as far as I’m aware they don’t automatically include meals as part of your stay, this is separate and you will pay extra to include a brunch. I quite liked this concept as it gave us the chance to try out other restaurants. We did eat here for brunch one morning, but I’ll chat with you about that separately – however, it was extremely moreish, so much so I believe I shared it all on Instagram stories!
Our room wasn’t ready on arrival as we actually arrived really early, (drove from LA) but the staff were more than happy to store our bags away and gave us some fantastic recommendations of places we could get a good feed. To be honest, as much as I like the feeling of unpacking and settling in, it was quite good to hit the ground running and get stuck into exploring. We checked in a little later, and I recall saying to my husband, how much I wanted our own house to look like this hotel! The place just oozed ‘beach’, which I know sounds daft, but it was super trendy without being ostentatious or off-putting and too elite. It was surfing vibes but on a somewhat chic, debonair level.
Additional touches I lapped up were things like the blackboard shaped surfboard with the day’s surf stats, the water available in reception with different kinds of fruit in it and the Granny Smith apples and free headphones in the gym. There were other things which I thought really gave this place the cherry on top of the cake, like free coffee available in reception in takeout cups every morning, the wine hour that happened every evening without fail, the cruisers you could take out to ride along the beach, the yoga mats to find a sunny spot for your moment of zen, and of course the evening s’mores around the fire pits on the patio. Maybe I’ve been boxed in and deprived of my previous hotel stays, or just staying at the wrong places, but I’ve never had so many extra touches like this. I’ve heard on the grapevine it is just a ‘Kimpton’ thing, but as this is my first experience with the hotel brand, I couldn’t tell you.
The room was a seafront King superior room, and you’re looking at room rates in the region of £300. Now before you get excited thinking you’re right on the beach, you aren’t. Unfortunately, there is the main road between you and the beach, but no hotels are on the beach, so you aren’t missing anything and the view is still quite epic. I am a light sleeper and I didn’t have any issues with regards to traffic noise, and I could still stand on the balcony (had two chairs) and look out at the sea. The room was a superior king bedroom, with a double bed, desk, television (which we actually never got around to watching), a wardrobe, plenty of, ‘I’m going to dump my suitcase here and make a mess’ space, and huge bathroom with both a double walk-in shower and a big bath perfect for a post-surf soak! And like the rest of the hotel, the hip and nifty ambience, (particularly with decor) flowed throughout the sleeping areas too.
The location of this hotel is absolutely spot on, you’re close enough to everything but set back a little so you don’t have too much issue with noise. Just to clarify, this place is not a rowdy place at all, the hotel or Huntington Beach area, it is completely stereotypical surf town and very laid back. You have so many shops nearby, with a Forever21 store next door – ideal if you want something new to go to happy hour in, Ripcurl on the corner for board hire and of course a place for your brunch fix on the opposite end of the road. You can park via the Valet, but we decided not to as I mentioned, instead there is free parking on all the side streets. Before anyone panics about the area, rest assured you are nice and safe in Huntington! Only Huntington Beach and the Tri-Valley did I feel 100% safe all the time on our California road trip. So word of advice if you want to save on parking costs, you can park down the side streets. We popped ourselves right near the Huntington Beach Surf Museum and it was a short walk to everything else.
The gym was so good, I actually chose it as my favourite gym in an article for Expedia! Hotel gyms are sort of known for being a bit, Billy Basics, you get a treadmill or two, a rower and then a few weights, and that is normally it. Not at Kimpton Shorebreak. This was a fancy, state of the art, uber sassy place to train in. Free headphones and randomly, bright green apples, I guess it should you wanted a snack post workout! It had all the latest fitness trends like battle ropes, T-rex bands, medicine balls, all the equipment you could think of, and best of all, an outdoor climbing wall! Yes, a climbing wall! Just through the gyms patio doors is a climbing wall you can have going on, so instead of feeling like you are trapped in on a sunny day, you can climb that wall and still soak up that beautiful Cali sunshine. They also have a blackboard with workouts and challenges for you to do – always good when you travel because we often fall out of our ‘fitness regime’, so having something telling you what you need to do is a refreshing change for a hotel gym.
What the hotel say about themselves…
“Full disclosure: We’re spoiled here in Huntington Beach. But we definitely love to share our special place in the sun. So now it’s your turn. We’ll help you make the most of your stay here with special packages and promotions designed so you can make Surf City your own in style”
I just can’t get into words how much I adored this fresh, airy hotel, we didn’t have one issue, which is why it gets a spectacular sparkly 10 out 10 in my eyes. Like I say, I did mystery shopping on hotels and customer service related businesses for years, so I have a very critical eye… not one red flag or issue occurred. We even extended our stay because we adored the hotel and the area so much. Big thank you to all the amazing staff at Kimpton Shorebreak hotel for making our stay absolutely spot on. Stay Wild, Stay Wild!
p.s if you want to get a sense of how this hotel feels, you can grasp the concept via their very own music playlist on Spotify – check it out here.