As a Los Angeles native, I’ve always been grateful for the glacial pace of Malibu’s transformation. Since the iconic Alice’s Restaurant on the Malibu Pier reopened under new management as Malibu Farm Restaurant in 2015, with Helene Henderson’s breezy elevated surfer menu, it seems that everything along the cove between the pier and Carbon Canyon has upped its game. The chic coastal outpost of Soho House opened, and then something miraculous happened: The Malibu Beach Inn, once a ho-hum motel-style property with nothing but views, was transformed by visionary veteran hotelier Gregory Day, whom the Mani Brothers smartly lured from Shutters on the Beach, into just the kind of quietly luxurious ocean hideaway every Angeleno dreams about.
The 47 rooms with private terraces that cantilever over this gentle cove master that elusive Scando art of the cozy, or hygge: They are minimal yet warm, with strong Danish Modern-meets-California beach design references, and upscale in that plush-bedding, Toto-toilets sort of way. An appropriate avocado-, egg-, and seafood-forward menu from Gatoalum Cody Dickey (not to mention great cheese and charcuterie platters and burgers) served on the terrace overlooking the ocean means you’ll never have any reason to leave the property. Just east, the impressive if considerably pricier Nobu Rvokan Malibu opened 16 ample rooms in April with spare-no-expense teak-and-ipe-wood millwork, some of which have traditional timber soaking tubs. At press time, there was no on-site restaurant. Of course, guests have special access to the nearby Nobu Malibu.
WHERE TO EAT
Hip and Healthy – Malibu Farm Restaurant for best-of-Cali grain salads, tacos, and sandwiches.
Upscale Italian – Giorgio Baldi, a delicious but slightly too expensive icon on West Channel Road, is as far as you’ll need to venture for authentic Italian.
Fish Shack – Reel Inn, with its hanging surfboards and chalkboard menus, is as old Malibu as it gets. So is Malibu Seafood and its no-frills but superfresh seafood platters.
Pasta, Pizza, Playground – Tradi Noi at the Malibu Country Mart is easy Italian. Order for the kids first, let them loose in the sand-filled playground within eyeshot, and tuck into a bottle of something.
Family Beach Day – Park your car in the lot at Paradise Cove, and then seat yourself in an Adirondack chair right on the water. The beachfront restaurant serves slightly trashy but delicious chilaquiles and a nice Worcester-and-Tabasco-heavy Bloody Mary. Or you can just pick up sandwiches and ice-cold beer at the takeout place next door.