Laguna Beach is the sort of place that is as pretty as it sounds. Home to the rich and the beautiful and undoubtedly one of the most picturesque parts of the United States west coast, it’s the kind of California every one dreams about when they head for the state so synonymous with sunshine and surf. That also makes it the ideal destination for a romantic weekend escape from Los Angeles at Laguna Beach hotel and spa, Montage Laguna Beach.
Getting to Montage Laguna Beach
Montage Laguna Beach is about 30 minutes drive from Orange County Airport or about an hour’s drive from Los Angeles. The best way to approach the beachside town is along the Coast Highway, which brings you on a stunning seaside drive past the rolling waves and endless sweeps of sand that mark Huntington and Newport Beach, the iconic backdrop for the television drama, “The O.C.”. As you approach Laguna the streets narrow, lined with boutique homewares stores, perfectly dressed windows, the kind of Californian mothers you only ever see on TV and American staples Starbucks and Wholefoods.
As we made our way down Montage Laguna Beach’s sweeping drive, both valet and bell boys were eagerly waiting out arrival, with gold domed luggage trolleys a true indication of the hotel’s tradition. Despite arriving three hours prior to check in, the reception staff made a call to housekeeping to ensure our room was seen to straight away.
The reception led straight to an immense and beautifully designed drawing-room, with a bar on one side and a sweeping staircase on the other. But the balcony overlooking the hotel’s feature pool and ocean outlook was indisputably the focal point of the room. The sort of place that pictures can’t possibly do justice, standing on the terrace and breathing in the sea air I finally felt that I had landed in California, despite having been in LA for just shy of two months.
A Luxurious Room With a View
That feeling carried on as we walked into our oceanfront room. There are 250 rooms at Montage including 60 suites. Our room came complete with a feather-top king bed, separate seating area, private balcony with stunning sea views, a generous bathroom complete with marble tub for two and plenty of space to unpack for our stay. The warm colour palette and wooden accents and luxury touches aplenty made for the fusion of luxury and comfort; a cosy coastal home away from home.
One evening in particular, we retreated to our room just after five, where a bottle of champagne and chocolate covered strawberries were waiting for us. Our balcony featured a breathtaking view of the setting sun and so we settled in for a Laguna sunset, watching the sky streak pink and purple.
Oceanfront Splendour at Montage Laguna Beach
With a 20,000 square foot ocean frontage, we spent a lot of our stay soaking up the sun by the water, starting with the hotel’s feature Mozaic Pool. The hotel staff set us up by the pool’s edge with extra-large towels, sweet-smelling sun tan lotion and a constant supply of fresh, iced water; poolside cabanas are also available on request, and come with a dedicated server. We watched the crash of the waves on Treasure Island Beach below while luxuriating in the Laguna sun. After an hour by the pool we couldn’t resist an offer to relocate to a couple of sun beds on the sand, with the glistening ocean directly in front of the hotel for an authentic California beach experience.
The pool bar boasts an impressive selection of snacks, tropical cocktails (including a particularly pretty one served in a coconut) to sparkling lemonade and tasty mocktails for anyone wanting a healthy alternative.
En route to Spa Montage I was greeted with genuine warmth by numerous staff, all of whom radiated the kind of old school charm few people carry these days. The spa itself boasts a reception shop, a well-equipped gym with postcard perfect views, an indoor spa pool, sauna and steam room, as well as generous changing rooms with numerous beauty products. I was given slippers and the softest white robe to change into ahead of my massage and was already slipping into a state of total bliss before my treatment even began.
The treatment I was booked in for was one of the hotel’s most popular; a Californian Wildflower massage that lasted a heavenly ninety minutes. A restorative massage inspired by California’s healing flowers, the treatment fuses floral hues with a heated flower compress to soothe and balance the body, restore flexibility and relieve aches and pains while healing the skin.
My therapist introduced herself before asking me about my pressure preferences – and insisted that if at any point I wanted her to adjust her firmness to let her know. Having made the foolish mistake of training for a marathon without any stretching, I suffer from agonisingly tight calves, and however much I flag it ahead of massages, I tend to spend much of my time wincing in pain as my calves are kneaded. And so, for the first time in my life, experiencing a massage that was the perfect fusion of firm yet gentle, truly was a blissful encounter. The massage started with scented oil placed beneath the massage bed, which I inhaled before my therapist got to work. Starting with my legs before moving up to my back and then turning me over to focus on my front, I felt myself falling under a zen-like spell of total and utter delight.
Breakfast by the Beach
There are three restaurants and a lounge at Montage. However, breakfast at The Loft was our favourite meal during our stay. In the morning, wake to bright sunshine flowing in through our balcony, and a copy of the LA Times at your door. After a coffee in bed, head up to the dining area where breakfast is best enjoyed on the expansive balcony to make the most of the view. The morning menu has an incredible selection of both sweet and savoury dishes, offering everything from Bananas Foster Waffle (with peanut butter cream and salted peanuts) to California Avocado Tartine (with hard-cooked egg and cherry tomatoes). We opted for the House Smoked Salmon; an elaborate version of a smoked salmon bagel that came with a generous platter of salmon, avocado, inion, capers, whipped Boursin and heirloom tomatoes – and the Build An Omelette; a sizeable plate accompanied by potatoes and a spread of sourdough toast.
Exploring Laguna Beach
The hotel is ideally located for anyone wanting to explore the array of bars and restaurants in local Laguna, and a shuttle service is on offer for hotel guests wanting door to door delivery, and they were also kind enough to bring us back in our post-dinner slumber as well.
Leaving Montage Laguna Beach was the only downside to our stay, but the stunning drive back along the coast as the sun began to set made it bittersweet. A once in a lifetime and unforgettable place to stay, Montage Laguna Beach epitomises the very best of Californian luxury, and should be top of anyone’s bucket list who’s lucky enough to visit this sunny state.
Montage Laguna Beach
30801 South Coast Highway, Laguna Beach, California
Getting there: 30 minutes from Orange County Airport or 1 hour from downtown LA
The Fit Traveller was a guest of Montage Laguna Beach for this stay. As always, the opinions, words and images are authentically our own.