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The St. Regis Resort, Monarch Beach, California - Hotel Review

If You Build It, They Will Come

by Alain Gayot

Tuscan-style sanctuary of The St. Regis Resort, Monarch Beach in California behind the Orange curtain
Tuscan-style sanctuary behind the Orange curtain

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.

Guest room of The St. Regis Resort, Monarch Beach in Dana Point, California
The balcony view from a guest room of The St. Regis Resort, Monarch Beach in Dana Point, California
Guest room
Balcony view

If you can tear yourself away from your room, you will find several dining venues to choose from with delicious menu options.

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.

Because 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.

St. Regis Resort, Monarch Beach
One Monarch Beach Resort
Dana Point, CA 92629

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