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Southland's Best Boutique Hotels: Shorebreak Hotel

It's all good, no worries, and friendly at The Shorebreak Hotel.

What to bring: your skinny jeans, Red Bull, Black Fly wraparounds, a pup, and cool kids if you got 'em. The Shorebreak, open just under three years, is a surfer-chic hip hotel located on The Strand in Huntington Beach.

Who's checking in? Everyone from locals to Quiksilver and Nike business-types to families who like urban over suburban stays. Shorebreak is the closest you can stay to Main Street and the pier (just one street over), so it puts you in the heart of it all without the HB gridlock.

In the lobby, alternative tunes alternate with surf music. Artsy décor draws the eye with aqua beach blues, yellow-greens and orange accents. You'll dig the mural of wetsuits (actual ones), the mixed-medium collage and quintessential surfboard hanging by the daily surf conditions chalkboard.

If you're coming on vacation, know that this isn't a relax-by-the-pool-and-unwind kind of place. For one thing, there's no pool. You trade your across-the-street beach proximity for poolside pleasure. Yes, it's kind of a steep trade, but it's quite nice to just walk across the street to hang in Huntington (no parking hassle and kids love the instant beach access).

The Shorebreak has a definite social energy to it with many people coming and going. Complimentary Wine Hour from 5-6 p.m. gathers guests daily in the lobby.

As for the accommodations, the contemporary rooms have a fresh feel and an HGTV-essence to them with clever, current details in all directions, such as the rolling barndoor bathroom closure and modern living space divider. Personality-pops of color accent the walls with art eye-candy from Surfer Magazine shots. It's lively without being loud. Speaking of … don't be surprised if your neighbors are carrying in sound systems and blenders to their suite. But fear not, hotel staff keeps it all in check, and it's all in the spirit of beach surfer fun. So lighten up if it's not your scene, or stay somewhere else.

For dining, Zimzala (defined as a free-spirited person who finds peace with the sand between their toes, per The Riptionary) serves contemporary American cuisine and handcrafted cocktails. The restaurant features a bar, a "living room" lounge with swanky couches and seating, a semi-exhibition kitchen, the dining room, a private dining room, and a patio. One of the best things about Zimzala is the short wait times. Reservations are recommended during busy weekends, but you can often stroll right in; a refreshing change from the 90-minute lists over on Main St.

Dogs are fully embraced at Shorebreak. At Zimzala, the large outdoor patio space welcomes dogs to dine. The Plough Hound canine chicken choice on the Man's Best Friend Menu is a favorite pup pick with steamed rice and carrots. The restaurant even offers dessert for the dogs with ice cream and peanut butter.

After dining, you can spend some time by the fire pits at Shorebreak; it's a chill space with an earthy ease. Kids will particularly warm to the fire pits with S'more Kits offered by the hotel's Concierge.
Finally, if shopping is on your agenda, just step outside the front door of Shorebreak to The Strand and you're met with the laid-back G by Guess, Skechers, a coffee café and more.

It's all good, no worries and friendly at The Shorebreak Hotel. The rates range from $199-$699 per night depending on the season and your PCH view. And when you go to check out in the morning, feel free to do so in your plaid flannels with your Monster drink in hand—no one will give you a second look.

Debbie Lavdas is a Southern California freelance writer, who lived in Huntington Beach for 10 years (as a bleach-blonde, pierced HB TV reporter). You can keep up with her and her writings at

Photos by Debbie Lavdas or courtesy of the Shorebreak Hotel.

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