Beyond the bright lights of Tinseltown, just a short 25-minute drive, is the famed beach town of Malibu, littered with celebrity beachfront mansions and some of the best surf breaks and hiking trails in the country. Yet for all its global allure, at the heart, Malibu remains a close-knit community with a laid back surfer vibe and deep sense of history.
Nestled on the scenic Pacific Coast Highway between the beach and Santa Monica Mountains, Malibu is considered a hotspot for boutique shopping, local farmers markets, coastal-inspired luxury hotels and hip restaurants, including Cafe Habana, Randy Gerber’s cool Cuban/Mexican eatery.
WHERE TO SLEEP IN MALIBU
Malibu Beach Inn
The OG of luxury hotels to open in Malibu, Malibu Beach Inn is located on the shores of Carbon Beach, or as it’s been dubbed Billionaires Beach. The low rise Spanish villa-style property has 47 rooms, all with oceanfront balconies and walls littered with a curated artwork collection by Mani Brothers.
Eat + Drink: The hotel’s Carbon Beach Club has a light breezy blue-gray and whitewashed vibe and a seasonal land and sea menu inspired by Pacific and Meditteranean coastal fare, produced with fresh locally sourced ingredients from resident farmers markets like One Gun Ranch. Dine alfresco on the oceanfront terrace or fireside under a blanket, try the Roasted Ora King Salmon or Creekstone Steak Frites, washed down with vino from the global wine list handpicked by the head sommelier.
Beauty + Wellness: Cure Daily Spa, is a Medispa where you can indulge in high tech anti-aging treatments like botox, Fraxel, and chemical peels or go the more traditional rejuvenation route with relaxing body massages and skin-boosting facials like our personal favorite, the HydraFacial to get things glowing again.
For a boutique hotel experience with a healthy dose of retro surf culture nostalgia, The Surfrider located at (yes, you guessed it) iconic Surfrider Beach is a 20 room California Beach House property recently refurbed by an architect who grew up surfing in the area. Each room has an oceanfront balcony, complete with a hammock where you can expect to be greeted by plenty of custom surfboards and a laid back beach style aesthetic – whitewashed, cladded ceilings, reclaimed timber floors, and Scandi style custom furniture by a coveted LA-based design team.
Eat + Drink: The roof deck bar and restaurant overlooking First Point Malibu and the Pacific Ocean has a coastal-Californian land and sea anti-hotel food menu produced with fresh organic ingredients from local farms. Ask the mixologist to whip you up the apres surf smoothie or hang by the fire pit with a camomile and manuka honey hot toddy.
Beauty + Wellness: There’s a spa, but there’s also no missing the natural wellness focus. Guest rooms are kitted out with Grown Alchemist organic skincare and you can pick up Malibu and California candles infused with the relaxing scents of summer, botanic Surfer’s Tea, and lots of other natural, curated goodies at the on-site Surf Shop.
For an intimate, retreat-style getaway, Nobu Ryokan, just up the street from its cult Nobu restaurant, is a 16 room Japanese minimalist Ryokan-style meets high end Californian coastal designed oasis overlooking Carbon Beach. Wind through the lush manicured gardens to spend lazy days enjoying the ocean views on the ipe wood deck, assuming you even want to leave your gorgeous room, considering the private terrace, teak soaking tub, and indoor fireplace. If you do venture out, be sure to ask the concierge for his long list of curated insider experiences.
Eat + Drink: It goes without saying you need to go to Nobu, literally next door, to indulge in Iron Chef Nobu Matsuhisa’s signature delicacies like sashimi tacos, lobster ceviche, and creamy spicy snow crab. As a hotel guest, you get priority reservations so there’s no need to battle it out in the long lines waiting to get in.
Beauty + Wellness: The hotel works in collaboration with Cure Daily Spa to bring their signature high-tech and pampering treatments to your room or will transfer to their Malibu location.
Calamigos Guest Ranch
Old world rustic charm meets new world luxury beachfront glamour at Calamigos Guest Ranch, a 250-acre ranch nestled in Malibu wine country that feels lightyears from the bustle of LA.. ‘Calamigos’ a Chumash Indian expression that means “Come As My Brother, Come as My Friend” was uttered by the founder when he arrived at the sacred grounds over 80 years ago with his family (the property remains family-owned and run). Today the ranch features sustainably designed retreat inspired cottages, bungalows, five pools, many with private cabanas, a vineyard, and organic garden.
Eat + Drink: Head to the property’s luxury Beach Club (a 10 min shuttle away) to get your lounge on over handcrafted cocktails and light bites or to try your luck at paddleboarding. For lunch, The Malibu Cafe, an outdoor restaurant on acres of grassy hillside of Calamigos Ranch, serves “nouveau barbecue” cuisine, with modern twists on classic burgers, steak and chicken sandwiches and lots of fresh salad options.
Beauty + Wellness: If escaping to a tranquil ranch isn’t enough to restore mind, body, and soul at Spa Calamigos you can elevate the rejuvenation experience with any of their signature treatments. We suggest the Malibu Glow Facial or healing Chakra Massage, which you can enjoy in your room or take outdoors to the vineyard.
WHERE TO EAT IN MALIBU
The beachy glam Malibu Farm Restaurant and it’s casual sister Malibu Farm Cafe are go-to hot spots where you can dine at the end of the pier and enjoy healthy organic Southern California farm to table fare with an Asian fusion twist over sweeping ocean views. Kick back over acai bowls and gluten-free Rise and Shine Rice Pudding for breakfast or tuck into a frozé or rainbow mimosa for lunch.
Tribe tip: Try the Taco Trio, Lobster Mac & Cheese, or Soy Ginger Skirt Steak.
Little Beach House
This Soho House outpost, like all the other exclusive members-only houses, is a hub for cool creative types. Living up to its name Little Beach House is literally a little Californian minimalist house right on the beach (incidentally it shares a driveway with Nobu). Hang with hipsters on the wrap-around terrace or poolside overlooking First Point Break enjoying a curated DJ line up, handcrafted cocktails, small plates, or their signature wood fire pizzas and fresh fish tacos.
Tribe tip: Go on the weekends for the pre-fixe brunch‘ Feast’, 10 – 4 pm.
The new kid on the Malibu restaurant scene, from the outside Ollo looks like an old-style Spanish villa, but inside, the Mediterranean influenced decor, like the food, is thoroughly modern. The extensive menu covers everything from healthy chia puddings to wagyu burgers, pizza, pasta and plenty of fresh healthy salads (you won’t go wrong with the Greek or Malibu chopped) all produced with ingredients sourced from local farms, including the famed One Gun Ranch and Thorne Family Farm.
Tribe tip: If you feel overwhelmed for choice go Family Style and share roast chicken or two pastas, salad and flatbread. Whatever you do, be sure to order a Watermelon Lust created with Tito’s vodka, watermelon, lime, and agave.
This Malibu institution is located on the site of a former historical hotel that attracted the likes of Marilyn Monroe and Frank Sinatra back in the day. Today Geoffrey’s is a culinary hotspot with panoramic views of the ocean from the large cliffside outdoor terrace strewn with fairy-lit trees and cascading vines and greenery. The menu has a heavy focus on fresh seafood, we recommend the sautéed day boat sea scallops, pan-seared Chilean sea bass, and Geoffrey’s Signature Paella infused with prawns, mussels, clams, scallops, chorizo, chicken in a saffron rice seafood broth.
Tribe tip: The world is quite literally your oyster here, try them on the half shell or spicy fried with Asian salsa, washed back with a crisp glass of Californian chardonnay.
If you need a break from Malibu’s endless lineup of seafood or Asian inspired restaurants by the ocean, Taverna Tony is less of a scene and has a lively old school Mediterranean taverna outdoor garden vibe with some of the best Greek food outside Santorini. Get your fill from the restaurant’s signature house specialties like Domathes, Spanakopita, Lamb Kleftiko slow roasted with garlic and onions, Grilled Whole Branzino, and delectable sweets (we doubt you can say no to the Baklava or Bougatsa custard pie).
Tribe tip: For the whole big fat Greek experience, head here on the weekend for live music and belly dancers.
THINGS TO DO IN MALIBU
Explore the Getty Villa
Get your art and culture fix at the Getty Villa. This landmark museum, built in the 1970s in the style of a majestic Roman country house by J. Paul Getty to house his overflowing Greek and Roman art collection. Tour the lush gardens and atrium and marvel at curated collections of antiques and ancient art treasures.
Hike Solstice Canyon
Disclaimer: there are so many amazing hiking trails in Malibu, it’s hard to pin it down to one, but Solstice Canyon’s wide trail with a flowing creek and breathtaking waterfall is perfect for all levels of hikers. The trail ends at the ruins of the 1950’s Roberts Ranch House, aka Tropical Terrace, designed by architect Paul R. Williams, damaged by wildfires in 1982.
Sunset Picnic at El Matador Beach
Again, there’s plenty of Instagram worthy spots for a sunset picnic in Malibu but we say crack open your bottle of french Rosé and tuck into take-out fish and chips from the Reel Inn on this gorgeous hidden gem of a beach to explore sea caves, dramatic rock formations, and bird watch.
Artisanal Coffee at Caffe Luxxe
If you need a little downtime, kick back over luxurious hand-crafted brews, pastries, at this trendy Italian style café right by Carbon Beach. All of the artisanal coffee collections at Caffe Luxxe are created at the brands L.A. headquarters, aka “Il Laboratorio.”
Wine Tasting at Malibu Rocky Oaks Estate Vineyard
Malibu’s mountainscape makes it home to unique vineyards and this family-owned estate with its own wine grotto is like a luxury stone castle in the sky. Set on rich volcanic soil with 37 planted acres of grapes, enjoy tastings of perfectly aged global vinos, and spectacular 360-degree views of the rolling Santa Monica mountains.
Cocktails The Sunset
Get your party vibes on over classic cocktails (you simply have to try the coconut rum and pineapple-infused Malibu Sunset) and light bar bites (calamari, ceviche, fish tacos) at this bungalow style bar and restaurant where, as its name suggests, you’ll be treated to epic sunsets over Malibu’s famed Zuma Beach.
Discover Malibu History at Adamson House
The Spanish Colonial Revival style beach house, near the Malibu Pier between Surfrider Beach and the Malibu Lagoon, was built in 1929 on land originally inhabited by the Chumash Indians. Now an enchanting museum offering a window into the old world Southern California, Adamson House features interiors accented with Spanish and Moorish influences, all tell a story, from the hand-carved doors, hand-painted frescoes, molded ceilings, cast ironwork, and lead-framed bottle glass windows.
WHERE TO SHOP IN MALIBU
Malibu is a mecca for holistic wellness, organic farmers and flower markets, and quintessential laid-back beach style which filters through from fashion to food and interiors.
- Malibu Country Mart
- Malibu Market and Design
- Zuma Canyon Orchids
- Ranch at The Pier
- Malibu Beach House