The Cliffs Resort
2757 Shell Beach Road
Pismo Beach, CA 93449
The resort boasts unsurpassed sunsets
The festive lobby of The Cliffs.
For an incredible family vacation, be certain to consider the California Central Coast. And as a launching point for several days of memorable activities, I could not more highly recommend a family-friendly resort than The Cliffs. The Cliffs Resort is perched high on the bluffs above the Pacific Ocean in Shell Beach, and boasts stunning views from many rooms and a walking path that runs between the resort and the beach. While photographs were snapped throughout the day, we found the views to be especially gorgeous early in the morning as the sun rises and the sky is covered in oranges, purples, and pinks. The endlessly captivating view is just one of the many wonders at The Cliffs Resort.
Situated half-way between Los Angeles and San Francisco, The Cliffs is a beautiful treat any time of year but is especially lovely during the holidays. When my family first stepped into the resort, we were greeted by a large Christmas tree decorated with silver and golden ornaments. The whole lobby was fancifully decked out with Christmas décor, as was the entire resort.
The elevated ocean-front pool is the centerpiece around which the outdoor aspects of the resort can be enjoyed. It is heated and next to a luxurious hot tub. Beautiful flowers and bushes shaped like dolphins surround the pool. Towering palm trees also encircle the pool as well as the beach view pathway and the rest of the resort.
And the family suite…where do I begin about the suite? It was absolutely wonderful and just completed at the time of my stay, and specifically suited for a traveling family. My family was awestruck by its unique open loft style design, dressed up in sophisticated beach décor. A trendy bunk bed with beach-themed paintings, comfortable beds with large pillows with catchy sayings sewn into them, board games, books, movies, a DVD player and on-demand movies, plantation shutters, and doors that lead out to the pool area were some of its marvelous features. The room is, at the time of my stay, the only one that is made to comfortably sleep 6 people and has two bathrooms and a mini kitchenette. You can specifically request this family suite if you are seeking a remarkable family getaway. The room was spacious, luxurious, and yet very comfortable. It had a dining room table that made ordering room service very comfortable, as well as a refrigerator and coffee maker that permitted snacks and leftovers to be a possibility for some meals.
Mentioning room service, the food is another spectacular component of this resort, thanks to the thoughtful supervision of David Kline, who manages the restaurant and lounge, the Marisol. The “Marisol,” which aptly translates to “The Sun and the Sea,” is graced with sweeping views of the Pacific, a locally sourced contemporary California cuisine and a creative and popular Sunday brunch which features muffins from the “Muffin Goddess” who bakes her delicious muffins on-site. The seafood is in fact delivered from the boats of local fisherman, the meats and poultry are raised locally, while the produce comes from the fields of local farms around San Luis Obispo County. My family truly loved this fresh and lively buffet, and particularly the yummy muffins. Here are some of the food offerings you can expect if you dine here: an omelet station, a waffle station, smoked salmon, top round roast of beef with roasted shallots, and the regular brunch standbys the kiddos always love: sausage, apple-wood smoked bacon, French toast and an array of cereals and yogurts. There was also a station which they call the “Latin Market,” consisting of enchiladas, Spanish rice, shrimp and chicken fajitas and the usual fixings of guacamole, Pico de Gallo, and salsa. One could easily make a vegetarian style burrito with the fixings provided. There were a variety of fresh fruits and interesting salads including a Greek salad with feta. And the dessert table was quite lavish: carrot cake, chocolate torte, strawberries and cream cake, red velvet cheesecake, petite cheesecakes, and mixed berry champagne crème tarts.
The truly most memorable aspect of the resort however is its cliff location and the walkway that offers stunning views of the Pacific and runs along the entire Pismo Beach. I will say that the cliff-bound walkway is not a completely continuous pathway throughout the city, but it is easy to regain access by walking a few blocks through the cute streets when the pathway ends. The resort itself offers a fairly long walkway for those seeking a breathtaking walk. The cliff elevation allows an even more vivid view of the ocean than if one were on the beach itself and one can see the nearby Avila cove and the endless expanse of ocean. The resort offers beach access and it is a turbulent beach that many surfers were facing even in December at the time of our stay. Adjacent to the walking path, the resort also offers a large grassy lawn where my kids enjoyed kicking a ball around and playing amidst ocean views.
The resort also has a workout room, a spa, and a gift shop. The Cliffs additionally offers a Kid’s Club that will watch the children with supervised activities. During my December visit, some of the club’s craft activities were felt stockings, Christmas Character paper plate faces, and felt gingerbread men. The club was also showing a child-friendly movie and making s’mores by the pool.
Besides all of these wonderful activities for parents and kids, one of the wonderful aspects of The Cliffs is that it places you and your family right in the heart of one of the most delightful areas in California. The resort is about 40 minutes away from Hearst Castle (see my full review), as well as the charming town of San Luis Obispo and other nearby attractions such as artsy Cambria and the Danish town of Solvang. As Shell Beach is part of the Central Coast, it is fairly easily accessed from both northern and southern California. The Cliffs is one of the loveliest resorts in one of the most endearing locations with a rare small-town feeling. Make it your next destination!