Whether you are a beach bum or traveling with a family for a waterfront vacation, the Shorebreak Hotel, part of the Kimpton Hotel chain, fits the bill. No cookie-cutter chain hotel, the laid-back Shorebreak exudes Southern California surfer dude charm. Bring the kids, bring the dog, bring the sun-worshipping teens for a waterfront stay like no other.

Quirky is Best: Shorebreak Hotel in Huntington Beach, California

Shorebreak

The Shorebreak Hotel in Huntington Beach, CA, had me at free bikes. Credit: Judy Antell / Vegetarian TravelingMom

Kimpton hotels are revered for their boutique-y friendly vibe, welcoming to families and pets. The Shorebreak, in Huntington Beach, CA, was no exception.

Huntington Beach, in Orange County, in known for its surfing, but near the shore there was gentle surf for kids to play in the water. There are beach volleyball courts and plenty of soft sand for digging and romping. Surfboards adorn the walls in the lobby, but you can’t use them; for actual surfing, there are shops nearby that rent boards.DestinationReview

Shorebreak

The oversized chess game in the outdoor patio. Credit: Judy Antell / Vegetarian TravelingMom

On a recent stay there, to drive both the new Hyundai Sonata hybrid and plug-in hybrid, I had a chance to enjoy the perks of a Kimpton stay: the free bikes, wonderful comfortable beds and the nightly happy hour.

Actually, I never partook of the free wine and appetizers, offered daily, but it’s a welcoming touch. You can bring the kids along for the snacks; it’s just a friendly crowd, drinking, eating and chatting. There is also free coffee in the lobby until happy hour.

If you are a Kimpton rewards member, WiFi is free. You also get a $10 credit for the in room snacks.

Tons of outdoor activity at your doorstep

Somehow, I forgot exercise socks, but I turned this into a blessing. I went for a barefoot run on the beach, then borrowed one of the complimentary bikes and rode the length of the boardwalk – I had about 10 miles of flat, car-free biking.

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Do yoga in your room or take the mat the beach. Credit: Judy Antell / Vegetarian TravelingMom

The next day, I took the yoga mat from my room (I checked, this was kosher) and set up on the beach to work out. I wasn’t the only one – several other people where squatting, lunging and performing sun salutations.  The Shorebreak’s only disappointment was the minuscule exercise room, but there was so much outdoor exercise opportunity that I wasn’t bothered.

What works for families

  • There is a mini fridge in the room (filled with cold drinks for sale, but there is room for juice boxes or milk)
  • The outdoor patio  boasts a ping pong table and oversized games like a huge chessboard and a giant connect 4.
  • The location, right across from the beach, couldn’t be better. You can walk down the long Huntington Beach Pier to watch the waves crash, the sun set or, if you are lucky, whales frolicking.
  • Shorebreak

    Furry friends are treated like royal guests. Credit: Judy Antell / Vegetarian TravelingMom

    Before we had a dog, we often stayed at Kimpton Hotels with our kids just so they could pet the may dogs that stay here. The Shorebreak had lots of adorable, friendly pups; there are jars of high quality dog treats at reception so it is always happy hour for canines

  • In an unusual touch, there is even a menu for dogs at the hotel’s restaurant. Dogs can eat with their human companions on the patio

What doesn’t work for families

There is no pool.

Dining

The restaurant, Zimzala, had perfectly cooked steel cut oats for breakfast and fresh fruit and excellent fish tacos for later in the day. For vegetarians, there are a couple of interesting salads and flatbreads.

Amenities

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Ping pong table. Credit: Judy Antell / Vegetarian TravelingMom

The cruelty-free skincare line, Lather, provides natural bath products. If you forget a razor, contact lens solution or tampons, they will be delivered to your door in minutes.

You can borrow free adult size, one speed bikes, with a lock and wicker basket; essentially beach cruisers, they are perfect for riding a few miles along the boardwalk.

The room

My luxe king sized bed was covered in Egyptian cotton linens with a lightweight down comforter.

One quirk: if you leave the sliding door for the bathroom open, you can see yourself in the full length hall mirror. Since I was staying alone, I didn’t shut the door and was surprised by the view.

A party hotel – but quiet enough for slumber

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Bring your own marshmallows to the fire pit. Credit: Judy Antell / Vegetarian TravelingMom

There are fire pits in the outdoor patio and I worried that my room, which overlooked the patio, would be loud, but I never heard a peep from the hallway the rooms on either side of me, or from the patio. Sadly, since I was only there for two days and I didn’t adjust the the time difference, I barely slept, but that was no fault of the accommodations.

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Careful – someone could be watching while you shower. Credit: Judy Antell / Vegetarian TravelingMom

Note: Hyundai paid for my travel and accommodations, but I was not otherwise compensated. Opinions expressed are my own.