- Brookdale Inn & Spa on Highway 9, located between Santa Cruz and the sleepy mountain town of Saratoga in the verdant Santa Cruz Mountains, dates back to the 1890s and has a history that is absolutely tantalizing. It was once a haven for gangsters and mobsters in the 1930s-1950s, and secret passages and doorways were built to accommodate these, ahem, particular guests. Brookdale Inn in set among towering coastal redwoods and lush forest, offering a beautiful backdrop to the equally impressive Inn. Brookdale's claim to fame is the on-site restaurant, an outdoor-meets-indoor dinging room that encapsulates a natural stream flowing right down the middle. You can sit and dine right next to the babbling brook. Also worth note are the theme rooms, like the Marilyn Monroe suite and the Enchanted Forest suite, that offer guests a more intimate, less cookie cutter hotel experience. The Inn was also featured on in an episode of "Ripley's Believe It or Not" because of a ghost that, the legend goes, haunts the property. Whether you believe in ghosts or not, this is still a lovely lodging for any traveler looking for an off-the-beaten path stay.
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