The lodgings we review are the top choices in each price category. We don't specify whether the facilities cost extra; when pricing accommodations, ask what's included and what costs extra.
Most hotels require you to give your credit-card details before they will confirm your reservation. If you don't feel comfortable emailing this information, ask if you can fax it or call and give details over the phone. However you book, get confirmation in writing and have a copy of it handy when you check in.
Be sure you understand the hotel's cancellation policy. Some places allow you to cancel without any kind of penalty—even if you prepaid to secure a discounted rate—if you cancel at least 24 hours in advance. Others require you to cancel a week in advance or penalize you the cost of one night. Small inns and B&Bs are most likely to require you to cancel far in advance. Most hotels allow children under a certain age to stay in their parents' room at no extra charge, but others charge for them as extra adults; find out the cutoff age for discounts.
Many B&Bs are entirely no-smoking, and hotels and motels are decreasing their inventory of smoking rooms; if you require one, ask when you book if any are available.
California has more than 1,000 bed-and-breakfasts. You'll find everything from simple homestays to lavish luxury lodgings, many in historic hotels and homes. The California Association of Boutique and Breakfast Inns has about 300 member properties that you can locate and book through its website.
Bed & Breakfast.com. 512/322–2710; 800/462–2632; www.bedandbreakfast.com.
Bed & Breakfast Inns Online. 800/215–7365; www.bbonline.com.
BnB Finder.com. 212/480–0414; 888/547–8226; www.bnbfinder.com.
California Association of Boutique and Breakfast Inns. 800/373–9251; www.cabbi.com.