Tuscan-inspired resort on beautiful grounds overlooking the ocean
Bright and airy interiors with chic, elegant decor
Free tram to beautiful beach with private beach club
Spacious rooms and suites with private balconies and modern amenities
Luxurious marble bathrooms have separate rainfall showers and soaking tubs
Higher-category rooms include butler service
Large outdoor pool and zero-entry pool for families
Dining options include Mediterranean restaurant, tavern, and poolside Mexican
Expansive wellness facilities include spa with indoor lap pool
Large fitness center, eight tennis courts, and variety of fitness classes
18-hole golf course, plus pro club and lessons available
Free Wi-Fi throughout
Beach is too far away to reach on foot
Quality and service issues since departing Starwood brand
The luxury Monarch Beach Resort is situated on stunning grounds overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The 400 spacious, elegant rooms and suites are bright and airy, with private balconies, modern amenities, and luxe marble bathrooms with separate showers and soaking tubs. Chic interiors include several dining options, such as a Mediterranean restaurant and a tavern, and there are lovely outdoor pools, an extensive spa and wellness facilities, and an 18-hole golf course. The hotel's beach club is a hike to reach on foot, though a free shuttle runs there throughout the day. This is easily one of the nicer hotels in Orange County, but guests seeking something closer to the sand should consider the nearby Montage Laguna Beach, though rates will be higher.
Chic and breezy luxury resort with sprawling grounds overlooking the ocean
The luxurious Monarch Beach Resort combines impressive Tuscan-style architecture with a beautiful natural setting overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Sprawling green lawns are dotted with tall palms, olive trees, and pretty flowers, while fountains elegantly trickle here and there. The interiors also take inspiration from the Mediterranean; the chic spaces feel casually elegant and are full of natural light courtesy of large windows. Cream and white shades are combined with handsome wooden floors and furniture in the lobby, while royal blue accents stylishly mix with the soft hues. The hotel's dining spaces are similarly attractive: The Stonehill Tavern features lots of wood mixed with cream and beige shades and sunlight streaming through large windows while 33°North hosts live music and DJs on select nights, making for a livelier vibe. Previously a St. Regis property, the hotel under new management, though this has translated into a few hiccups -- complaints range from subpar service to some areas that need upkeep. Overall, though, it's a stunning setting for a luxurious stay, attracting a refined, well-heeled crowd.
Overlooking the ocean in Dana Point, a 20-minute drive to Laguna Beach
The Monarch Beach Resort is located in Dana Point, about an hour away from both Los Angeles or San Diego by car. The hotel is set on a hillside with stunning views of the Pacific Ocean, but the beach is about a 20-minute walk away (and an uphill trek back to the hotel) -- guests are better off taking the hotel's seven-minute free tram ride. Dana Point is a popular surfing destination, and it's a good base for exploring Southern California. The 15- to 20-minute drive on the Pacific Coast Highway to Laguna Beach offers breathtaking views of the steep cliffs and the sea, while beautiful Santa Catalina Island can be reached by ferry from Dana Point Harbor in about an hour-and-a-half (the harbor is an eight-minute drive away). Area attractions include the Mission San Juan Capistrano, which is about a 10-minute drive, and the Laguna Art Museum, which is 13 minutes away. Families traveling with kids might want to check out Legoland California or Disneyland, which can be reached in about 45 minutes. Los Angeles International Airport is about an hour's drive without traffic, while San Diego International Airport is about 75 minutes away by car.
Spacious rooms and suites with private balconies, modern amenities, and luxurious bathrooms
The rooms at Monarch Beach Resort are spacious and elegant, full of natural light and chic decor favoring a soft color palette and stylish, contemporary furniture. Taking inspiration from the oceanside setting, crisp white and creamy shades are paired with soft blues and greens. Beds are topped with goose-down comforters, while glass doors open onto private balconies -- some with beautiful ocean views. Standard amenities include 55-inch flat-screen TVs, Keurig coffeemakers, minibars, electronic safes, and free Wi-Fi. There's also web-based access to more than 3,000 full-content daily newspapers and magazines. Large marble bathrooms are outfitted with double-sink vanities, premium toiletries, and separate soaking tubs and walk-in showers (large two-person showers in suites).
Suites offer more space -- some have separate living rooms with sofas and additional TVs, while some of the more luxurious options add dining rooms and kitchens. Fireside Terrace rooms and suites have private patios with fire pits, making them a particularly romantic choice. Premium Suites have multiple balconies and terraces, large living and dining rooms, and bathrooms with jetted tubs and separate steam showers. These suites also include butler services like packing and unpacking, garment pressing, and free coffee and tea delivered in-room.
Private beach club, several pools, extensive spa and fitness facilities, and varied dining options
One of the highlights here is the hotel's stunning location overlooking the ocean, though the beach is too far for most guests to reach on foot. Monarch Bay Club is the hotel's private beach club that serves Californian fare for lunch and dinner, as well as weekend brunch. The resort runs a free tram there throughout the day, and there are lounge chairs arranged on the sand. Alternatively, the resort's two pools are a bit closer to home, and are ringed by lounge chairs, sunbeds, and private cabanas. There's also a zero-entry family pool and two infinity-edge whirlpools.
The renowned Miraval Life in Balance Spa offers a variety of treatments and massages, as well as a eucalyptus steam room, a sauna, a three-lane lap pool, a tranquility lounge, a Drybar, and cafe. Classes like yoga, meditation, and Pilates are available, while the large fitness center is open 24/7 and has modern equipment. There are eight tennis courts, plus an 18-hole golf course with stunning ocean views, a pro shop, lessons, and a restaurant at the first tee.
Dining options include the stylish Aveo Table + Bar, which serves Mediterranean-inspired fare in a chic setting, plus it offers alfresco seating. Stonehill Tavern serves American fare and classic tavern dishes alongside a massive wine list, while. 33°North serves fresh Californian fare and features lovely ocean views, with live music and DJs on certain nights. There's also a poolside Mexican eatery and a coffee shop.
A kids' club is available for children 5 to 12 years old (for a fee), and offers half and full-day activities, such as surf and tennis lessons. Babysitting services are also available. Other amenities include meeting facilities and event space -- including beautiful outdoor space. Wi-Fi is free throughout the property.
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