The Most Luxurious Vacation Rentals in California

Let's face it, California has won the United States’ popularity contest. Not only is it strikingly beautiful, but seemingly everyone wants to sample living here (if they don’t already). It’s no wonder then that the vacation rental market has taken advantage of people wanting a piece of the Golden State. Many extremely opulent homes are now being rented out as short-term rentals to tempt incoming tourists, business travelers, and “staycationers” looking for a fancy weekend away. Below is Fine Magazine’s picks for the most luxurious rentals in California, all of which carry an air of sophistication and a heavy price tag.


The Houdini Estate-Los Angeles

This vacation rental may be the most stereotypical example of Californian luxury displayed in the state. It is an ornate estate, formerly owned by one of the biggest celebrities of their day -- doesn’t get much more exclusive than that. This villa was the former residence of Harry Houdini, the famed magician. Now it is rented out at a price tag somewhere between $1500-$2500 per night. Guests who rent it are rewarded with a lot of property to relax or entertain in. The Houdini Estate is so large that beyond the well-manicured grounds, there is still an hour’s worth of hiking trails exclusive to the property.

Cliffside Rental-San Diego

Our favorite local rental is this stunning home on the bluffs of La Jolla. Thanks to an entryway that leads into a hallway with a ceiling of skylights, eyes are constantly drawn to the back of this home. There, massive floor-to-ceiling windows unveil the true majesty of this luxury vacation rental. The backyard has lots of living space, a pool, and hot tub. All of these look out upon the San Diego shoreline from Pacific Beach to Point Loma.

Goldeneye Estate-Palm Springs

For around $1,700 per night, renters can have access to their own desert oasis, the Goldeneye Estate in Palm Springs. This villa sits at the edge of the Coachella Valley allowing for sweeping views of the city and its arid surroundings. Essential for the extremely hot summer months, the house’s pool is top-notch as it cascades into a waterfall in front of the views. Inside the house is complete with six rooms and seven bathrooms, in addition to a couple of other fun features like a movie room with a 120-inch screen and a disco room.

Villa del Oceano-Santa Barbara

Just out of driving range for the Bay Area -- and at times inconvenient to reach from LA thanks to the legendary traffic -- Santa Barbara can be overlooked as a premier luxury getaway. But this ever so slight isolation is what makes it a perfect escape. With uncrowded beaches to the west and rolling hills and vineyards to the east, there is no end to sumptuous daytime adventures here. In the evenings, however, there is nowhere better to lay your head than Villa del Oceano. As described by the host the home is “like a perfect jewel perched atop a platinum setting, Villa del Oceano sparkles with designer style, rustic opulence, and a touch of Spanish charm.”


Beachfront Apartment-Malibu

Of the properties listed here, this particular spot, directly on the famed beaches of Malibu, is by far the least expensive (about $400 per night). However, it is also the most successful. According to data gathered by AllTheRooms, an online vacation rental search engine, this property is one of the 10 most booked vacation rentals of 2018. Additionally, Conde Nast once named it a “Top 7 Airbnb in Los Angeles”. Although the accolades may make it feel luxurious enough, its location is the real scene-stealer. Beachfront property in Malibu is among the most expensive and exclusive in the world, so when strolling down the beach, don’t be surprised if you have a celebrity run-in.

Heavenly Luxury Cabin-Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts due to its world-class skiing, a sprawling lake for boating, and endless trails for exploring. This, coupled with its immense beauty, makes it one of California’s best luxury destinations. Naturally then, there is no shortage of awesome vacation rentals here. This cabin won our favor because of its views -- it’s a rarity to find a home that has unimpeded views of the lake without being directly on the shore. Instead, this home is a few hundred yards away with a gorgeous meadow in front of it. This taste of seclusion plus its outdoor fireplace, billiards room, and home theater space make it worth the $1,500 price tag.


Views of the Golden Gate Bridge-San Francisco

San Francisco is suddenly competing with New York for having the most stereotypical city apartments where renters pay exorbitant prices for a cramped space. That’s why this vacation rental is a gem boasting large rooms and plenty of space (albeit costing upwards of $3,000 per night.) The apartment has tons of space neatly decorated with a variety of textures, colors, and materials. The home itself is just mere steps away from popular San Francisco destinations like Land’s End and Baker Beach. However, the real showstopper is the master bedroom. The top-level suite has walls built nearly entirely of windows to admire the view of the iconic Golden Gate Bridge.


Zack is a recovering technical recruiter who traded in his suit and tie in Silicon Valley for writing in Medellin, Colombia. When not writing for the vacation rental search engine, AllTheRooms, you can find Zack with his nose in a book, puttering around nature, or getting ultra-competitive while watching Jeopardy.