An Idyllwild ‘bud and breakfast’ and a San Francisco grande dame are the only California hotels to make Fodor’s list of world’s 100 best

Hicksville Pines in Idyllwild, left, and the Palace Hotel in San Francisco are the only hotels in California to make Fodor’s list of the 100 best hotels in the world.
( Steffanie Walk (left) /Jason Dewey Photography (right))

Two hotels that couldn’t be more different — a self-described “bud and breakfast” in Idyllwild and a Gilded Age grande dame in San Francisco — made 2019’s “Fodor’s Finest: The 100 Most Incredible Hotels in the World.”

The recently released list is divided by regions of the world. Hicksville Pines, a motel in the mountain town of Idyllwild, about 37 miles east of Hemet, was one of 15 in the U.S. that was selected for its “immaculate and wildly creative” digs.


You can choose your favorite themed room among 10 A-frame cabins, such as one that honors the old “Twin Peaks” TV show (the Great Northern room, $250 to $300) or the Dolly Parton room ($125 to $175). There’s also a 420 Room for marijuana users 21 and older. Info: Hicksville Pines, 23481 California 243, Idyllwild

The 19th century Palace Hotel in San Francisco, Fodor’s second California site, received kudos for its Gilded Age beauty, such as the Garden Court’s “ceiling of intricate glass panes, marbled columns and walls, and crystal chandeliers.”

The hotel underwent a major renovation in 2015 and retains much of its historic splendor. An online check for room prices shows a flexible rate starting at $245 in December. Info: Palace Hotel, 2 New Montgomery St., San Francisco, (415) 512-1111

Big city honors went to the celebrity-rich Gramercy Park Hotel in New York City and the former club-turned-hotel Chicago Athletic Association in Chicago.


Other hotels on the unranked U.S. list include a high-end glamping location in Montana, a chalet in Denali National Park, and out-of-the-way spa sites in Colorado and Santa Fe.

Ace Hotel, New Orleans

Amangiri, Canyon Point, Utah

The Asbury, Asbury Park, N.J.

The Chequit, Shelter Island, N.Y.

Cliff House, Cape Neddick, Maine


Collective Yellowstone, Big Sky, Mont.

Colony Hotel, Palm Beach, Fla.

Dunton Hot Springs, Dunton, Colo.

Hotel Emma, San Antonio, Texas

Sheldon Chalet, Denali National Park, Alaska

Ten Thousand Waves, Santa Fe, N.M.


The list, which returned after a four-year break, was curated by editors at Fodor’s (not crowd-sourced) who were looking for hotels that would provide an affordable and memorable experience.

“Too many ‘best hotels’ lists feature properties that are impossibly expensive,” the introduction says. “And, though we do have a few of those (probably more than a few), we also have plenty of affordable options.”

Read more of Fodor’s lists and reviews of the selected properties at its website.