Since the mid-1950s, surfers from around the globe have made the pilgrimage to Malibu, California, in search of the elusive perfect wave. Arriving at the 30-kilometre stretch of coastline west of Downtown Los Angeles, they clustered mainly around Malibu Point; so much so that in 1961, the spot was renamed Surfrider Beach. Skip ahead more than half a century and Surfrider is still a surfing mecca, but now there’s another very compelling reason to make the pilgrimage – and it has nothing to do with the waves.
Directly opposite the legendary Malibu Point is The Surfrider Malibu, which reopened late last year after having had a significant renovation to what was once a classic 1950s beachside motel. It’s the brainchild of couple Matthew Goodwin, an architect and Malibu local, and Emma Crowther-Goodwin, The Surfrider’s creative director, as well their business partner Alessandro Zampedri. With 18 rooms and two expansive suites, it bills itself as a “new standard of relaxed luxury coastal living”.
Crowther-Goodwin, who was actually born and raised in Queensland, clearly knows a thing or two about relaxed but chic living. Under her creative direction, this translates into an easy, beach-shack style, complete with bleached teak flooring, linen-covered sofas and understated natural touches like handmade ceramics, potted plants beside the bed and jute mats covering the floor. Of course, this being California, the handmade is balanced by the high-tech, notably in the form of a charging station for electric cars.
The heritage of the local area is also celebrated in ways both small – like in-room snacks from California producers – and large – you can’t miss the custom surfboards made by local shapers. But there is perhaps no greater celebration than The Surfrider’s many vantage points of the ocean, as those magical waves can be seen from every room except one. For the very best view of the Malibu Pier, however, head up to the rooftop deck and drop into a lounger; with its own bar and firepit, there’s no better place to be when the sun goes down.
Written by Michelle Bateman