Sweet Retreats

0
1607

If you want all the benefits of glorious beaches, five-star resorts and farm-to-table meals, think about a staycation.

 

by Suzette Lipscomb

When the extended family decides California is the place to take a vacation, and want to know if there’s room at your inn, the idea of spending a week or even a long weekend entertaining and cooking for eight can be overwhelming. Or perhaps it’s just time to take a break and enjoy a different view, service and a little pampering without the hassle of long waits at airports and extra baggage fees. You don’t have to go far to find properties where spas, pools, fine dining and beaches beckon. And you don’t have to do any of the clean-up.

 

680Resort at Pelican Hill Panoramic Photo Courtesy of The Resort at Pelican Hill
Courtesy of The Resort at Pelican Hill

The Resort at Pelican Hill

Nestled in a green hilly paradise of 504 acres in Newport Coast, this otherworldly, Forbes five-star resort conjures up a visit to a modern version of ancient Rome. Relax in one of the 332 bungalows, suites and two- or four-bedroom villas; play the Tom Fazio-designed championship Ocean North and Ocean South golf courses; chill at The Spa at Pelican Hill, which is reminiscent of the ancient Roman Baths of Caracalla; lounge by the circular Coliseum pool dramatically perched above the ocean vista in a poolside cabana; and dine at Andrea (which has its own temperature- controlled pasta room). All aspects of this resort continue to

win accolades, top “best of” lists, and overall satisfy the most particular

VIP guests time after time.

Why go:

This five-star resort is pure luxury.

Don’t miss:

The handmade pasta class by new pastaio Joey Parks (scheduled for Wednesday through Saturday) offers tips and techniques to keep your culinary creation authentic and tasty.

Eat this:

The food is local, organic and farm fresh. The pasta and gelato are made daily. Sneak a couple of blonde brownie bites from the spa after your appointment with a selection of fine teas.

Do this:

Play one or both of the outrageously stunning oceanview, Fazio-designed golf courses, or spend a day in the The Spa at Pelican Hill, large enough to host all of your bridesmaids, even if you have 22.

Kid perks:

Villas are a perfect option for families looking to get a taste of Newport Coast/Crystal Cove living.

Find romance:

Take a meditation class together and meander along the trails. Or skip the healthy stuff and have cocktails in the bar while listening to live music daily from 6-9 p.m.

pelicanhill.com

 

680Surf and Sand Resort Ocean Vista Balcony

Surf & Sand Resort

At the award-winning Surf & Sand Resort, guests sometimes aren’t used to the dreamy sounds of crashing waves from the rooms and private balconies since the property is literally on the sand. That’s why you’ll find earplugs next to your bed, along with a stash of mini seashells in your room service menu to remind you of your stay. The property is walking distance to Main Beach in Laguna Beach; has a full-service spa, Aquaterra; an ocean view coffee bar; and fine dining at Splashes Restaurant under the helm of chef Ron Fougeray.

Why go:

To be near all the action on the sand in Laguna Beach or to lounge by the picturesque pool overlooking the Pacific.

Don’t miss:

Aquaterra spa for the seasonal treatments (currently an aromatic blend of grapefruit and jasmine and neroli), scrubs and massages. An indoor/outdoor spa setting lets you enjoy the Jacuzzi, read or lounge in breezy open-air comfort.

Eat this:

The new and award-winning pastry chef, Bruno Albouze, originally from Bordeaux, France, is whipping up some summer-inspired classical pastries and millefleurs. Monday night’s Paella Party or Tuesday and Wednesday’s three-course prix fixe meal with optional wine pairings are all worthy of a visit.

Do this:

Stay in the two-bedroom Penthouse Suite, or book the California Suite (which sleeps four to six) and move the family in for the week.

Kid perks:

Just walk out front to the beach with the kids or book the “Family Fun” amenity, which offers welcome cookies, in-room camping and s’mores.

Find romance:

Schedule a private surf camp for two or walk up and down the coast, hand in hand, with your honey.

surfandsandresort.com

 

680MONTAGE ADD

Montage Laguna Beach

This California Craftsman-style paradise with 250 guest rooms, 60 of which are suites, sits on 30 acres of prime oceanfront land. Walking trails filled with flora, fauna and green grass meander above the ocean, and the stairs lead you down to sandy pristine coves and beaches. Executive Chef Craig Strong whips up modern French gourmet fare at the resort’s signature restaurant, Studio, which offers cuisine centered around the local organic bounty available in Orange County and boasts an impressive 2,500-bottle curated wine collection on display in a custom vault. And the Montage service is top-notch—employees step aside and slightly bow as you pass on the way around the resort, and will pull up your freshly washed car with a smile.

Why go:

Because it has everything a staycation should have and more, and you can avoid Laguna’s summer traffic if you just stay put.

Don’t miss:

Detoxing at Spa Montage Laguna Beach. Everything about it is over the top—the treatments, the wet rooms, the relaxation areas, the exercise classes and ocean view fitness studio, as well as the Kim Vo ocean view salon.

Eat this:

Grilled lobster salad with avocado, grapefruit, sun-dried tomatoes, mango and a citrusy vinaigrette from Mosaic Bar and Grille (also served in cabanas and at the spa pool).

Do this:

Buy all your girlfriend’s birthday gifts at the Spa Montage Boutique choose from candles, elixirs, books and creams with seemingly magic properties.

Kids perks:

Montage Paintbox offers art, a variety of outdoor activities and s’mores by the fire pit for the little guests.

Find romance:

Spend the day at the spa or the sunset at the more private spa pool or Jacuzzi, cocktails in hand, overlooking the ocean or on the lounge chairs that feel like beds. When you’ve finished your day of wellness, stroll over to Studio Restaurant, which features panoramic ocean views, for organic, locally grown California French cuisine and the abundant wine collection.

montagehotels.com/lagunabeach

 

680Ranch at Laguna Beach Golf

The Ranch at Laguna Beach

What began as a one room shack on a 152-acre homestead back in 1871 has morphed (through various iterations) into The Ranch at Laguna Beach—a sprawling canyon retreat in the southern end of Laguna Beach where deer feed on the greens of a nine-hole golf course and you can swim in the relaxing saline pool. The vibe at the property is laid-back, earthy and peaceful. Fine dining at Harvest can be on the patio with a view, or inside the great room with floor-to-ceiling windows, plein-air paintings, and a large, cozy fireplace for breezy nights.

Why go:

For ease and to connect with nature, to eat and golf nine holes.

Don’t miss:

Free trolleys run into town so you don’t have to arrange transportation after enjoying a craft cocktail. The concierge will also give you guidance on hidden surf spots.

Eat this:

You can’t go wrong with the seafood dishes, or the dry-aged beef burger. Organic produce is grown on-site as well as harvested from its own citrus orchard.

Do this:

Golf Ben Brown’s Club course.

Kid perks:

Ranger Station Kid’s Camp with seasonal outdoor programming

Find romance:

Friday from 7-9 p.m., spend the evening stargazing with the Ranch’s master astronomer and then on your own.

theranchlb.com

 

www.LilySteinPhotography.com
Photo courtesy of www.LilySteinPhotography.com

Monarch Beach Resort

Fresh from a $40 million renovation and ideal for those who like a variety of activities—golf with an ocean view, award-winning course; improve your tennis game; exercise your body and mind at the fitness club and Miraval Life in Balance Spa; or cruise the ocean in a kayak or stand-up paddleboard—Monarch Beach Resort is the perfect staycation for the active family. You’ll burn enough calories to indulge in one of the four restaurants on-site, explore the ocean with a prepacked picnic or just lounge with a book by the pool.

Why go:

For the fun of it—golf, tennis and beaches with stunning views and fine ocean breezes.

Don’t miss:

The Miraval Spa Tea on Saturdays and Sundays. The fee includes spa access, plus a $50 discount on a spa treatment with a special high tea menu created by chef Collin Thornton and served by doting staff on a sun-drenched patio with a babbling fountain.

Eat this:

The Sunday Mediterranean Brunch at AVEO Table + Bar is an incredibly lavish affair, and for casual dining, the Miraval Spa Café and Part & Parcel Market offer delicious local fare with a variety of salads, paninis, juices and freshly baked snacks.

Do this:

Learn to wave-ride with a private lesson or take part in one of the innovative golf experiences: Wedges, Wine & Whiskey (including a custom Titleist SM6 Vokey Wedge plus wine and whiskey); Surf the Greens with Laird Hamilton-designed GolfBoard; and Swing and Spa, which combines pre- or post-round treatments at Miraval Life in Balance Spa for a holistic approach to golf with themed treatments that address golf specific needs.

Kids perks:

Treasure Hunts for Capt. Stonehill McGee’s pirate booty on Saturdays

Find romance:

Let the staff organize a private dinner on an ocean view patio with award-winning food and handcrafted cocktails, or a beach picnic.

monarchbeachresort.com

 

Ritz-Carlton 2

The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel

There’s nothing quite like a visit to The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel—relaxing out on the breezy, sun-drenched terraces; dancing in the ocean view ballrooms with the romance of the setting sun; and, of course, the exceptional service the Ritz-Carlton is known for. Spring for the Club Level service and enjoy libations, snacks and other amenities. This pet-friendly, AAA Five Diamond retreat has much to offer with 15 daily eco-excursions and award-winning dining. The spa treatments are world-class, especially the California Dreamin’ massage, which uses a 100 percent organic custom- blend massage oil containing arnica, rosemary, basil and cypress.

Why go:

The quintessential California oceanfront retreat with superior service is an institution. The first-floor ocean view rooms have outdoor fire pits.

Don’t miss:

The $50,000 shopping spree for South Coast Plaza’s 50th Anniversary Package through Dec. 2017, which includes two nights in The Ritz-Carlton Suite, private transportation to and from South Coast Plaza with VIP treatment and other amenities like Club Lounge access.

Eat this:

King crab, poached prawns and oysters on the half shell from enoSteak or any of the grass-fed beef or organic locally sourced produce

Do this:

Upgrade to a Club Level for ease with family breakfast, tempting hors d’oeuvres, and a fine wine selection, as well as other room amenities and services.

Kid perks:

In addition to the 3-mile stretch of white sand beach offering traditional family activities, the Eco-Adventure Center showcases and educates guests about the natural wonders of the local ecosystem centered around water. Instill a deep connection to the environment with a variety of activities, tide pool exploration, organic food prep, outdoor activities and tips you can take with you to make your home a little greener as well.

Find romance:

Sip Champagne along the bluffs in any of the lounge areas set up for sunset moments. Plan a date night with the “Pageant of the Masters—Behind the Velvet Rope Tour” which includes tickets and a behind-the-scenes tour exclusively for Ritz-Carlton guests.

ritzcarlton.com/en/hotels/california/laguna-niguel

 

680Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Pool

Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort and Spa

The Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort and Spa is a great place to park your family for the week and live like the locals. With five restaurants and bars, a retail shopping center, Camp Hyatt for the kids, Pacific Waters Spa and a lagoon-style pool, there is no need to leave this home away from home. Enjoy ocean vistas from your patio or balcony, or access the waves via a pedestrian bridge.

Don’t miss:

The waterslides

Eat this:

Side dishes at Watertable alone would fill your gastronomy needs, but try the pan-seared branzino with cherry tomatoes, purple broccoli and a shallot-basil sauce.

Kid perks:

Camp Hyatt kids clubs are wonderful, and Hyatt resorts offer healthy fare for children’s meals besides the usual chicken fingers, like a strawberry simple salad, crudite and broccolini.

Find romance:

Book a couple’s massage at Pacific Waters Spa.

huntingtonbeach.regency.hyatt.com

 

Stanfield Says:

“When we want a break, or have friends coming to town: No. 1 is Crystal Cove Beach Cottages. They are so cute, quiet and right on the beach. Definitely not your typical ‘hotel’ but the best vacation weekend spot ever! … We also love Montage Laguna Beach for its luxury setting and services, Chef ’s Table at Studio, and fantastic spa. …The Resort at Pelican Hill is great for something more quiet and [its] villas can house a whole family … The pool at the Island Hotel [Newport Beach] is the place for the younger crowd … Pendry in downtown San Diego is a fun, hip new hotel … Bay Shores Peninsula Hotel on the Balboa Peninsula has fun, surf-themed rooms, a fantastic location and staff, and is consistently one of the highest rated hotels in Newport Beach.”