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9 Ways to Sleep Your Way to the California Dream (PHOTOS)

Posted: 04/01/11 07:20 AM ET

The best hotels are all about creating a beautiful alternate reality that bears virtually no resemblance to anyone's "real life." These nine spots hit upon the state's unparalleled propensity for fantasy and the many manifestations of that shimmering mirage: the California Dream. Maybe you really are a glamorous celeb or obscenely wealthy--or just want to get close enough to one to breathe in the same rarefied air--or an earthy-crunchy type who hit it moderately big, a hippie who never sold out, a frustrated literary type, a surfer wannabe, a cocktail-wielding connoisseur of rooftop views of the Pacific... It's all here.

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Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur, CA
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At the top of every hotel maven's list of must-visit places in California, the Post Ranch Inn sits atop a 1,200-foot-high ridgeline rising straight from the sea.

Before anyone was talking about feng shui, the Post Ranch embodied it: Constructed of wood, glass, and slate, each of the 40 rooms is an architectural gem, designed to blend in with the landscape. Tree Houses sit on stilts high in the branches of twisted, century-old oaks and subtly move with the wind. The Coast Houses face the ocean and have a circular design to mirror the shape of the surrounding redwood trees; each has its own deck, jutting out high above the roaring surf (for maximum privacy, book an upstairs unit).

Writer: John A. Vlahides | Photo: Leonardo Media
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A note about Trazzler's slideshows: we don't do top-tens or best-of lists. Nor are we so morbid or presumptuous as to tell you where you must go before you shuffle off this mortal coil. The world is far too big and fascinating to encapsulate in any kind of definitive list. We simply chose the places that our writers have contributed that make us think, laugh, and, in this case, dream. --Megan Cytron, Editor of Trazzler

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