If your group likes venues that are served with a side of sand, SoCal has as many options for you as it does for sun-kissed surfers. One of the most prominent choices is the Montage Laguna Beach. Opened in 2003, the oceanfront resort has just completed a propertywide renovation in honor of its "Sweet 16," owner Montage Hotels & Resorts announced this month.
Located on a coastal bluff above the Pacific Ocean, Montage Laguna Beach has 253 guest rooms and over 20,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting space. Its revamp began in its lobby, where a framed window overlooking the ocean creates a "snapshot in time," according to the resort, which refinished the space with Brazilian cherry wood floors and California coastal furniture.
Accommodations also were redesigned and now feature a mix of contemporary and traditional elements. Highlights include a muted color palette with bright accents in steel blue, violet, yellow and chartreuse; new modern artwork and photography; polished marble floors; chrome accents, and updated bathrooms that boast new vanities and mirrors with dimmer-controlled lighting.
Meanwhile, the resort has introduced several new in-room amenities, including new eco-friendly robes, locally made candles that emit a proprietary scent created just for the property, and a paper-saving PressReader app through which guests can access thousands of digital newspapers and magazines from around the world as an alternative to the typical morning newspaper.
Elsewhere, Montage has converted the lap pool in its 20,000-square-foot spa to a salt-based pool, and will soon unveil a reimagined garden where it will host garden dinners and workshops. And still forthcoming are updates to the cabanas at its outdoor pool, near where the resort will soon install herb gardens from which bartenders can pick fresh herbs for use in poolside cocktails.
"Each element of this refresh was thoughtfully curated, from the design elements to the detailed touchpoints in each guest accommodation," said general manager Anne-Marie Houston. "We've been honored to greet the many guests and locals that have stayed and visited us over the last 16 years, celebrating their personal milestones and creating memories. We are pleased to welcome back our guests to share new experiences with the same personalized service and luxury hospitality they have always enjoyed from Montage Laguna Beach."
Four More Beloved Beach Hotels in Southern California
From San Diego in the south to Santa Barbara further north, Southern California is made up of diverse communities that have at least two things in common with each other: great weather and proximity to the ocean. The same can be said for the following oceanfront hotels, each of which is ideal for beach-loving groups:
• Hotel del Coronado, Curio Collection by Hilton (Coronado, Calif.). The historic Hotel del Coronado is arguably Southern California's most iconic beach hotel. Located just minutes from downtown San Diego, it was built in 1888 and has been a National Historic Landmark since 1977. A longtime destination for Hollywood celebrities -- including Marilyn Monroe, who filmed the 1959 classic Some Like It Hot there -- it has 757 guest rooms, 17 shops and boutiques, a spa and fitness center, two pools, nearly a dozen bars and restaurants, and over 120,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting space.
• Monarch Beach Resort (Dana Point, Calif.). The Monarch Beach Resort proves there's a lot more to Orange County than Disneyland. Along with 400 guest rooms and 90,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting space, the coastal resort offers four restaurants -- including Bourbon Steak, a new critically acclaimed steak house by celebrity chef Michael Mina -- as well as a Miraval spa, an 18-hole championship golf course, a tennis club and three swimming pools, not to mention a private beach club that's set to unveil fresh renovations in April.
• The Resort at Pelican Hill (Newport Beach, Calif.). Another Orange County gem is The Resort at Pelican Hill, which occupies 504 coastal acres south of Los Angeles. As private as it is picturesque, it features 332 accommodations -- including 128 private villas -- as well as 20,000 square feet of meeting space. There also are two championship golf courses; bluff-top trails for hiking, biking and walking; a spa with 22 treatment rooms; six restaurants and cafes; a circular pool overlooking the ocean; and a private shuttle that transports guests to Crystal Cove Beach, a three-mile stretch of beach just below the resort where guests can stroll, surf, swim and dive.
• Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara (Santa Barbara, Calif.). Santa Barbara might be located beside the Pacific Ocean, but when you're at the Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara, you'll feel like you're beside the Mediterranean Sea. Occupying 22 acres of tropical gardens that date back to 1927, the hotel stands out for its Spanish-style architecture, its proximity to beautiful Butterfly Beach and its legendary Coral Casino Beach and Cabana Club, a private club that was built in 1937 and today offers oceanfront dining, a fitness center, yoga, locker rooms with a sauna and steam room, a whirlpool, an Olympic sized swimming pool and direct private beach access. The resort proper has 166 guest rooms, 15,000 square feet of meeting space, a spa, an outdoor pool, three lighted tennis courts, a croquet lawn and a putting green.