I’ve stayed in five-star, all-inclusive resort suites, grimy hostel bunks, corporate-style hotel rooms, woodsy cabins, Airbnbs, and in pretty much every other style of travel accommodation in between. While every type of lodging has its perks, there’s nothing I love more than the local character and charm that can be found at boutique hotels.
Sure, big hotel chains offer the convenience of luxury amenities, but there’s something about small, one-of-a-kind properties that adds to the overall travel experience. What I love about boutique hotels is that they further immerse you into the local scene and culture. Or at least that’s what I found when I stayed at The Green Room Hotel in Oceanside, California.
Oceanside itself delivers all the laidback vibes and sunshine you could ask for on a trip to Southern California but without the overcrowded beaches and road-rage-provoking traffic of Los Angeles or San Diego. Although it’s a little more under the radar, the city of Oceanside (particularly in South Oceanside) is a buzzing, up-and-coming area that’s in the midst of a boom — with delicious restaurants, a lively bar scene, boutique shopping, and plenty of outdoor adventure.
Better still, most of these South Oceanside gems are within a few steps of each other on the famous Pacific Coast Highway. I was able to experience it all first-hand recently while staying at The Green Room. The fact that the hotel is walking distance to everything popping in Oceanside is reason enough to book a stay, but that’s not the only thing that makes it worthy of a spot among the “Hotels We Love.”
If you’re in the market for a carefree California beach weekend, check out my full review below.
WHY IT’S AWESOME:
I’m no interior design expert or HGTV super fan, but I can appreciate a beautifully designed space when I see one. That’s what stood out most to me about The Green Room, which just opened last summer. The property was originally an old 1950s motel that the owners, who are two nearby residents and avid surfers, refurbished and transformed into what it is now. I never would have thought to paint an entire hotel jet black, but combined with the chic white window linings, cedarwood accents, and greenery, it makes for an unexpectedly contemporary aesthetic.
The property is lined with tall fencing and hedges surrounding the rooms and communal area, which includes a fire pit, picnic tables, and a cedar hot tub. The trendy outdoor decor is so well done that you forget you’re staying next to a parking lot off the highway. Speaking of the communal area, I love that the hotel property itself feels like a generally cool spot to hang out. It’s a welcoming environment — from the free donuts and coffee in the morning to the other guests chilling on their patios with a drink each night.
We haven’t even touched on the actual rooms yet, which are as stylishly designed as the rest of the hotel, but I’ll get more into the room details below.
NEARBY FOOD & DRINK:
There’s no on-site restaurant, but also no shortage of grub within walking distance of The Green Room — from the taco joint right next door, Municipal Taco, to the nearby coffee shop, Revolution Roasters, and the dive bar with live rock music and a slew of men who definitely own motorcycles, Pour House. There are endless options along the PCH, and every local restaurant and bar has its own eccentric character that adds to the vibrant energy of the city.
If there’s one restaurant you need to visit near The Green Room, it’s Wrench & Rodent. Dining somewhere with “rodent” in the name threw me off at first, but the locally beloved restaurant served some of the best sushi I’ve had in a long while.
For an appetizer, the roasted cauliflower is a must. It’s full of flavor, tangy yet salty, and weirdly juicy but in a good way. For the main event, I went with the Chronic Roll (spicy tuna, krab, and avocado deep-fried and topped with spicy aioli and sweet citrus sage) and the Dragonfly Roll (spicy tuna and shrimp tempura topped with seared albacore, avocado, citrus soy, and garlic chili). Wrench & Rodent also offers a small selection of plant-based sushi rolls.
Oh, and don’t forget to order a bottle of sake! The restaurant has a selection of different sake options to complement your meal.
- Complimentary high-speed WiFi
- Private patios in specified rooms
- Smart TVs with streaming services
- Communal fire pit
- Cedar hot tub (for up to eight people)
- Outdoor entertainment area
- Grab ‘n’ go foam surfboards
- Beach cruisers
The Green Room offers 12 individually curated rooms that are each uniquely designed with the ultimate boho-chic and retro-inspired decor and accents. The rooms also feature custom art by local artists — mine had an entire mural painted on the wall! There are three different room types to choose from, including six deluxe studios, five suites, and one two-bedroom suite.
I stayed in the two-bedroom suite, and I’m not exaggerating when I say I was about ready to move in. “I would live here” came out of my mouth more times in my 24-hour stay than I can count. It was basically a full two-bedroom, two-story house with a full kitchen and lots of open space. If you’re traveling with a few friends, this room type is an excellent option.
As it turns out, some people actually do move in. Thanks to The Green Room’s extended stay options (booked through Airbnb), anyone from travel nurses to international families can reside in Oceanside’s coolest property.
Learn more about The Green Room’s various lodging options here.
THE BEST THING TO DO WITHIN A 5-MINUTE WALK:
You can’t visit Oceanside without spending the vast majority of your time at the beach, especially when you stay somewhere like The Green Room, which has complimentary surfboards and beach cruisers available. That’s a given.
You can also take your daily outdoor adventures up a notch by renting an electric bicycle from SoCal Bike, located right next door to the hotel. The added electric-assist motors make exploring the entire city easy and accessible, from busy downtown streets to the calming coastal bike path. Plus, the bike rental comes with helmets and locks, so you can make pit stops as things catch your interest along the way.
THE BEST THING TO DO WITHIN A 5-MINUTE DRIVE:
The truth is that you really won’t need your car when staying at The Green Room. But if you really want to venture out, then the best thing to do is probably to head over to Carlsbad Village. It’s a bustling seaside area in the neighboring city that offers tons of dining options, boutique shopping, local cafés, bars, and ocean views.
You can pretty much spend an entire afternoon here browsing through the many shops, chilling out by the beach, and simply walking around the neighborhood while people-watching.
I love a bed that makes it nearly impossible to get up in the morning. The Green Room’s bed setup did just that, at least when it came to the master bedroom in the two-bedroom suite. Typical hotel beds can be overly plush to the point you sink into the mattress like quicksand.
What I liked about my bed at The Green Room was that it was actually quite firm, while the comforter, sheets, and pillowcases were lusciously soft against my skin. This level of comfort combined with the gentle sunlight and bird chirps outside my bedroom window made for the most calming weekend wake-up call.
While the property’s vibe is overall more friendly than it is your classic idea of sexy, there are plenty of aspects about The Green Room that put intimacy at the forefront. The fire pit presents the perfect opportunity to cozy up with your crush, while the hot tub helps things get a little more steamy (in more ways than one).
Not only that, but taking the on-site beach cruisers for a ride to the beach makes for a fun and flirty outing. You can also create an ambiance when you get back to your room by making use of the smart TV. Log in to your Spotify and turn on those sultry tunes to set the mood.
If you need proof of The Green Room’s sexiness level, know that I spent Valentine’s Day weekend with my S.O. here and can attest to the fact that the romance was flowing.
THE VIEWS AND PHOTO SPOTS:
As a mostly single-story property right off the highway, you won’t be getting any breathtaking views without a short walk to the beach for sunset. Fortunately, the property itself offers tons of photo-ready backdrops. The bohemian, minimalist aesthetic throughout every inch of the property provides endless photo opportunities both during the day and once the sun goes down.
BEST SEASON TO VISIT:
There’s no bad time to visit California, but I’d recommend staying at The Green Room during spring. It will be warm and sunny enough for beach days, surfing, and bike rides. It gets chilly after sunset at this time of the year, so you’ll still be able to make good use of the fire pit and hot tub.
IF I HAD TO COMPLAIN ABOUT ONE THING:
Between the friendly staff, unbeatable location, and general coolness of the property, there isn’t much to complain about at The Green Room. But if I had to pick one thing, it’d probably be that it was somewhat difficult to find the hotel’s address. That may not have to do with the actual hotel, but it made the overall experience slightly inconvenient.
It’s likely because the hotel is still pretty new, but it didn’t show up on my Apple Maps app every time I’d be trying to navigate myself there. So I had to search for the address in Google, then manually input the address. I know, it’s only a few extra clicks of the thumb. But like I said, there’s not much else to complain about!
The room type varieties make it easier to find something within your needs and budget. Plus, The Green Room price matches and adds free early check-in or late check-out for those who find a better rate than booking with them directly. Rates vary between about $150 to $300 per night, depending on your room type preference and the time of your visit.