By Jim Servin
“Barefoot luxury” is how Malibu Beach Inn’s General Manager Gregory Day likes to describe the serene and sophisticated 47-room boutique hotel on the Pacific Coast Highway. With its warm coastal palette of white oak furnishings, blue and gray detailing and airy interiors, the Malibu Beach Inn, low-key at first glance, is, upon closer inspection, very well appointed, which suits a property located on the strip of Malibu nicknamed Billionaire’s Beach. “If you want a getaway that’s cool, relaxed and luxurious,” says Day, “we’re a good fit.”
Historically, the property has been something of a sleeping beauty: Following a series of modest lodgings like the Tonga Lei Polynesian and Don the Beachcomber hotels, the hotel was built in 1989, and then was purchased by David Geffen for $12 million in 2007. Geffen poured $30 million into the hotel, before selling it to the Marni Brothers Real Estate Group in 2015 for $80 million, “At a cost of $1.7 million per key, it was at the time the highest price paid per room for a hotel in the U.S.,” says Day. “Each room cost $1.7 million. Since then, we have embarked on a journey to rebrand and reposition the property.”
Sweetening an already impressive setup, where every room features floor-to-ceiling panoramic views of the Pacific, an oceanfront balcony and a slate-boarded fireplace, the Malibu Beach Inn team has achieved next-level luxury by simply asking guests what they most want and need. “As an industry we’ve done a very good job of deciding what luxury is,” Day muses. “We, however, strive to let the customer tell us how they define luxury, and we adapt.”
Guests’ wants and needs, it turns out, run the gamut: from features in rooms like Smeg tea kettles and Nespresso coffee brewers to Bamford hair products, a 2-to-1 ratio of staff to guests; and a fitness center and spa. The hotel also hosts complimentary yoga on the beach each morning to help guests wake up their body and soul in tune with the Malibu aesthetic. The hotel’s Carbon Beach Club Restaurant (CBC) uses locally sourced ingredients from One Gun Ranch biodynamic farm and local farmers markets. And in partnership with the Coravin system, if a guest can commit to two glasses of wine, any bottle from CBC’s award-winning Wine Spectator list is available to them.
Craving a serene Malibu beach vibe in your own bedroom? Day offers some guidelines: “It starts with the bed,” he says. “Don’t buy by price, buy by feel.” Ideal firmness of mattress varies from individual to individual—the Malibu Beach Inn aims for a happy medium. “We call it the Three Bears Syndrome—it can’t be too soft, can’t be too hard,” says Day. Organic cotton sheets, with a 350-thread count, are by Bellino, and are refreshed in a different oceanic color every day, a cycle of green, yellow and blue. Light three flickering electric votives in early evening, as the Malibu Beach Inn does during turn-down time. And in the absence of rolling surf outside your window, Day suggests: “Get Alexa to play the sound of waves.” malibubeachinn.com