If You Build It, They Will Come
by Alain Gayot
The St. Regis Resort, Monarch Beach Resort & Spa is one of Orange County's hottest and most sophisticated destinations. Built in Tuscan style, it was conceived to be integrated with the already existing, Robert Trent Jones, Jr., Monarch Beach Golf Links, which has served as a stop on the PGA Tour. The designers did a fine job, as the hotel and golf course feel organically intertwined, with the fairways embracing the hotel and its manicured grounds. As for the hotel itself, it wraps around a spacious pool area, giving the feeling of a century's old estate.
In a multi-tiered setting, the hotel gazes down across the pool, which looks across the golf greens, which look beyond the Pacific Coast Highway to the ocean. On the other side of the highway and reached by a nature trail, is six-acre Salt Creek Beach, to which guests enjoy privileged access. This beach area is home to Monarch Bay Club, which serves seafood and char-grilled meats just steps from the sand. The Bay Club can also be reached by the hotel's complimentary tram. Back up top, perched high above, are a duo of two-bedroom, 3,000-square-foot Presidential Suites. These pied-a-terres are furnished with pianos and large tiled outdoor balconies with fireplaces and speakers.
Overall, the St. Regis has 400 guestrooms including 75 suites. Those designated as standard are anything but. In fact, they claim to be the largest in the county. The amenity list is impressive as the size: plasma TVs, NSTV in-room digital music, movie and game systems, CD/DVD audio systems, surround sound, high-speed Internet access and private safes that can accommodate laptop computers. While these rooms are a techie's dream come true, they won't disappoint style aficionados either.
The décor is contemporary, Tuscan-inspired and showcases a rich layering of textures, such as the rice paper screens positioned behind the lovely, woven reed headboards. The colors are equally rich: mahoganies, chocolates and buttery yellows. One unique touch is the placement of pictures and mirrors. In the Italian tradition, these items aren't hung on the walls, but rather artfully positioned to lean against them from the tops of furniture and even the floors.
you can tear yourself away from your room, you will find six
dining venues to choose from. What many visitors don't know
is that the hotel's signature restaurant, Motif,
is one of the area's better kept secrets. Its eclectic menu
includes distinctive touches such as 30 different kinds of international
mineral waters, and the chef pays special attention to the changing
seasons. Case in point: the sage butter-rubbed Diestel hen turkey
served on Thanksgiving. Additionally, charming Crust, with its
black and white checked floors, is a pleasant place to enjoy
a cup of coffee. The Wine Cellar is a private dining area reserved for special events.
No stay at the St. Regis would be complete without a visit to Spa Gaucin. In its hip, contemporary lounge, you will be met by the spa concierge and given a chance to toss a coin into The Well of Desire-to "symbolically leave your cares behind"-before choosing from the myriad therapies on offer. The spa houses 25 treatments rooms, including a couples massage room with a spa tub and fireplace.
Along with recreation and leisure facilities, the property is home to the largest resort meeting facilities in the county. The 30,000-square-feet of indoor space includes The Pacific Ballroom, decorated with frescos, and The Monarch Ballroom, hung with massive deco chandeliers. Executive boardrooms have an intimate, clubby feel, while outdoor event areas such as the Grand Lawn can host groups up to 1,400. There is also a private gazebo, topped with a lacy cap of wrought-iron, for small wedding ceremonies overlooking the ocean.
the owners believe in the soothing power of water, this element
can be found throughout the property. Wherever you go, you are
likely to hear it whispering in the background-from one of the
many fountains or even from the ocean below. It is details such
as this, as well as original Chagalls and Picassos hanging on
the walls, that set this property apart. Orange County has long
been home to and a Mecca for those seeking the Southern California
good life, and The St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort & Spa
is one more good reason to make a pilgrimage to this corner
of the world.