A New Modern Hotel in San Diego Offers Surfing Adventures and Local Hospitality

When it comes to traveling these days, more and more people are seeking out ways to stay like a local—but that craving is now going far beyond accommodations.
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In fact, many adventure seekers are looking for experiences that will immerse them into the local culture. Well, for those looking to temporarily join a tight-knit surf community, Surfhouse in Encinitas, California, is a dream come true.

Driving up California’s historic Highway 101 offers picturesque views of the surreal coastline and sun-soaked beach towns, especially while passing through San Diego and its various communities. After entering Leucadia in Encinitas, you’re welcomed with a large colorful wall mural that sits adjacent to a small boutique hotel that beckons modern design lovers and surfers alike. 

A "Welcome to Leucadia!" sign leads visitors with open arms onto the quaint block where Surfhouse sits. It borders a community coffee joint called Coffee Coffee, as well as Surfy Surfy, an old-school surf shop that began as a surf blog in 2005 where JP St Pierre documented his family surfboard factory called Moonlight Glassing. In 2010, Pierre teamed up with a few of his surf buddies to open up Surfy Surfy, which is the same group that later opened up Coffee Coffee. Both destinations were part of a community effort to make sure local businesses continue to rule there.

Made up of eight rooms that are each named after local surf breaks, Surfhouse is a new modern hotel that fits in perfectly with the area’s laid-back and welcoming atmosphere—and offers all-inclusive, week-long surf camp trips for those who really want to get a taste of the real thing. 

It was founded by Nikki and Sander Harth, two brothers who grew up in Encinitas who wanted to figure out a way to welcome visitors into the local surf community. After setting their eyes on an old eight-room motel-turned-convalescent home that was built in 1972 that had been run down over the years, they set out on a journey to renovate the space with the help of their family, friends, and Jan Solomon of Solomon Interior Design.

Jan Solomon of Solomon Interior Design led the renovation of the building's exterior. "Since the building itself seemed to fit into the community’s character, it really just needed some updating and a good facelift," says the Harth Brothers. However, the interior needed to be almost completely gutted and replaced.


Shown here is the 1970s building before the renovation began. Throughout the process, the team behind Surfhouse made sure to keep the community up-to-date on their new venture.


During the process, they added upper and lower decks and inserted sea glass into part of the concrete walkways in order to make visitors feel like they’re still at the beach.

The renovation included taking the interior down to the studs and completely rebuilding the inside. Besides updating the exterior with a plan envisioned by Solomon, they added upper and lower decks for guests to use as outdoor hangout zones. The interior renovation and design was inspired by the brothers’ Scandinavian roots and came together through a group effort that involved their family and friends—including Jan Solomon, Elisabet Harth, Amy Chinn (Nikki's girlfriend), Karolina Harth (Sander's wife), and Annika Walden (their friend and Business Development Manager). 

In order to provide a durable and hardy surface for beachgoers, the floors are lined with tile that looks like sun-bleached wood. To create a fun, casual, and beachy vibe, the team introduced barn doors, white beach rock tile in the shower, retro-looking light green sinks, and open closet systems made with wood and iron.

Specifically, selecting and curating the decor was a family affair and incorporates iconic elements of the Encinitas beach culture. The brothers explain, "We tried to keep everything local including the artwork and photography. Even the rooms are named after our favorite local surf breaks."

The rooms are furnished with comfortable, contemporary, and beachy textiles, as well as artwork by local artists including Andy Davis, Daniella Manini, and Billy Watts. This piece above the bed is actually by Elisabet Harth, Nikki and Sander's mother.

The rooms, which start at $145 per night, can conveniently be booked through Airbnb. But if you’re looking for the full experience, take a look at what the Surf Camp Package will get you:

-What it costs: $1,145 per person

-Where you’ll stay: Room that fits four people in a pair of bunk beds

-What you’ll get: Seven nights, seven breakfasts, five dinners out to local hotspots, five surf lessons, provided equipment (boards and wetsuits—which you won’t need in the summer), transportation to surf spots, two sunset yoga classes

You can also get a similar experience in a double room (accommodates two people) for $1,545 per person.

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While staying at Surfhouse, you can borrow a seven-speed beach cruiser from Electra Bicycle Company. The area is extremely bike-friendly, so it’s the perfect opportunity to roam around and explore the local restaurants, wine bars, shops, and beaches.

Each of the rooms can accommodate two guests, except for "Pipes," which includes a set of camp-style bunk beds that can fit four people. Guests have access to the hotel’s surf equipment, including a quiver that’s filled with Firewire surfboards. They also have partnerships set up with a handful of other local business so that they can offer guests whatever it takes to complete the experience. 

The hotel is only about a three-minute walk to Beacon’s Beach, where you can follow a mellow goat path down to pristine waves that look up to the cliffs and a lineup of incredible modern homes—some of which cantilever over the edge. 

According to the Harth brothers, opting in for Surfhouse Adventures will allow you to "drop in as a guest and take off as a local."


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