A hotel with old-school Malibu spirit

The Surfrider has a killer rooftop restaurant and 20 sleekly updated rooms with wide-open SoCal views

The roof deck with a fire pit and views over the Pacific at Malibu’s Surfrider hotel
The roof deck with a fire pit and views over the Pacific at Malibu’s Surfrider hotel

How Malibu has changed since my 1980s LA childhood (yes, I’m looking at you, Nobu/Soho House/Malibu Country Mart). But one place, thanks to farsighted new owners, still does a core competency of that old-school Malibu genius loci. There’s definitely no reverent hush or bowing service about The Surfrider (thesurfridermalibu.com; from $400) – back in the day, a rundown motel across from Malibu Pier, now meticulously redone by architect and local boy Matthew Goodwin and his Australian wife Emma Crowther (who brings her own laidback, surf-mecca aesthetic to the proceedings via her hometown of Byron Bay). There is a killer rooftop restaurant and bar, complete with fire pit; 20 rooms and suites with sleek updates in white wainscoting and sisal rugs, all with wide-open, SoCal views; and even a few long boards to borrow, should you want to give the famous First Point break a go. 

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