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In a time when fuel costs are rising (making both road and air travel more and more expensive), the “stay-cation” is growing ever popular. You won’t find me complaining—here we are in one of the nation’s entertainment capitals, and there are many perks to catching some R&R locally. According to the Orange County Airport Commission, 42.7 million visitors flocked to OC hotels in 2009 alone. With three of the world’s 20 Forbes Five Star Rated spas located in OC, it’s not hard to imagine a couple reasons why people choose to come here. While millions travel from far and wide to vacation in Orange County, it seems we’re at a significant travel advantage; we live in vacationland. Here’s our list of the top hotels —the cream of the crop—in OC: stay-cation

stay-cation

The Hotel La Casa Del Camino in Laguna

The Hotel La Casa Del Camino in Laguna is a favorite of OC locals, and that includes local surf companies. Of the 36 guest rooms, this charming Laguna Beach hotel has ten “surf suites” designed by local surf companies, including Quiksilver, Lost International, Rip Curl, etnies, Billabong, Roxy, and more. Each room is uniquely styled for a distinct experience. Stay in one of the Billabong suites with a surf package that includes surfing lessons for two with a Billabong surf instructor. There’s even a “Riviera Suite, ” designed by OC gallery owner and curator Peter Blake, and styled like a mini art gallery. The rest of the hotel has a European feel; the lobby gives a distinctly Mediterranean vibe with high archways and hammered metal décor. Built in 1929, the hotel retains many of its original characteristic details. Their Rooftop Lounge is possibly the best place to see the sun set in Laguna, and while you’re up there, try one of the hotel’s five specialty Mojitos. Lunch is served daily at Rooftop, and drinks and appetizers from 2:30 til close. For dinner, K’ya Bistro downstairs is a favorite among locals, and offers Mediterranean and European cuisine (dishes like Truffle Macaroni and Ahi Poke), “mini tinis, ” and half glasses of wine at discounted rates. Monday night is “Local’s Night”—guests receive a 25% discount on their bill. La Casa del Camino is partnered with SUP (Stand Up Paddleboarding) and offers Stand Up Paddle lessons as well as Sawdust Festival art classes to its guests. Rooms range from $129-329/night, and the hotel owns multiple vacation rentals that are perfect for families or large groups and go up to $500/night.

1289 S. Coast Highway,
Laguna Beach, CA 92651
949.497.2446

stay-cation

Shorebreak Hotel

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This view has us feeling just beachy.

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Shorebreak Hotel in Huntington Beach is a big hotel with a small hotel feel; the staff is guest-centered and friendly, and every corner of the hotel décor is paid attention to with unique, surf-style flair. Bright, modern interiors and warm staff-guest interactions make Shorebreak stand out. The hotel restaurant, Zimzala, serves modern American cuisine and provides a relaxed dining atmosphere and daily happy hour from 3-7pm. Additionally, the lobby offers a complimentary wine hour from 5-6pm every day. The hotel is pet friendly without weight restrictions or fees, and a dog beach is little more than a mile away. Shorebreak offers Beach Butler service, where they’ll provide you with all the essentials: beach chairs, sunscreen, volleyballs, and so on—they’ll even stake out a fire pit for you! There are 157 rooms, including 39 suites, with decks and balconies featuring oceanfront or courtyard views. Rooms range from $149-349 per night, and are decorated in a style that calls upon local surfing roots; the headboards are covered in plaid, ponchoinspired fabric, and the corners of the bed frame are padded with black wetsuit material. Ask for a second floor ocean view room to enjoy sunsets from your private deck. “The Point Suite” boasts a private corner deck of the hotel with a stunning view of the ocean and pier. The hotel is a favorite of local and international surfers (like Kelly Slater), and it’s only one short block off Main Street by the pier, making it the best, closest hotel to downtown Huntington Beach.

500 Pacific Coast Hwy, Huntington Beach, CA 92648
(714) 861-4470

 

The Waterfront Beach Resort, A Hilton Hotel in Huntington Beach

The Waterfront Beach Resort, A Hilton Hotel in Huntington Beach, has 290 rooms that all have ocean views. Its on-property restaurant, Shades, has happy hour every night of the week from 5-7pm, and every month, items on the menu change to contain the “ingredient of the month.” The April ingredient was the pear, so Shades’ menu offered changing weekly specials like a pear tart, pear quesadilla, and other tasty concoctions. In the hotel’s poolside deli and market, local and organic goods are available, and a portion of the proceeds support various nonprofit organizations. There are multiple fire pits around the pool where guests can eat and relax, and the hotel provides bike rentals and beach chairs for guests during their stay. The hotel is across the street from the beach but boasts Beach Butler service; guests can order food or drinks (the hotel is partnered with Wahoo’s, so you can enjoy hot and fresh fish tacos on the beach), and even s’mores supplies. The hotel is upscale without being stuffy, and suites like the “Catalina Suite” and the “Twin Dolphins Suite” supply its occupants with unbeatable views. Every Friday from Memorial Day to Labor Day, you can catch a fire dancing show by the pool at dusk. Actors Jerry Mathers, Jerry O’Connell and Jim Belushi, cast members of hit 70’s television show The Brady Bunch, Chris Andersen of the Denver Nuggets, mixed martial artist Tito Ortiz, and other big names have enjoyed the Huntington Beach Waterfront Beach Resort.

21100 Pacific Coast Highway, Huntington Beach, CA 92648
(714) 845-8000
 

Blue Lantern Inn, Dana Point Harbor

https://www.instagram.com/p/BbcRdoxBoKy/?taken-at=318301406

Nestled in Dana Point is the quaint and luxurious Blue Lantern Inn. Upon arrival, you’ll walk in to where the front desk meets the sunroom, where you can partake in cookies and water. From 4:30-6:30pm, guests are invited to afternoon tea, where complimentary tea, wine, and hors d’oeuvres are served. The Inn has 29 rooms that all have fireplaces and jacuzzi tubs and range from $175-520 per night. There are three “Tower Rooms, ” named for their location inside the Inn’s tower. Each of the Tower Rooms comes with complimentary Champagne and chocolate upon arrival, $10 breakfast in bed, and a full view of the Dana Point harbor. Even the bathtub boasts an ocean view! The rooms have an old world charm, with distinctive touches like telescopes and nautical paintings. There are no resort fees; internet, parking, beach supplies, and bike rentals are all included in the price of the room. The Blue Lantern Inn also offers a unique “Carpe Diem” special. From Sunday-Thursday, say the words “carpe diem” when you call and receive the best available room for a discounted rate of $165-250 (from November to April, excluding holidays).

34343 Street of the Blue Lantern, Dana Point, CA 92629
(949) 661-1304

 

Pelican Hill Resort

For a truly luxurious experience, head to Pelican Hill Resort in Newport. The resort, heavily influenced by Italian architecture, is the best way to feel like you’ve gone on an international vacation without ever leaving OC. An enormous Roman-style aqueduct marks the entry to the property (which also serves as a bridge for golf carts en route to their Conde Nast award winning golf course), and attentive touches like the pillars, coliseum-style pool arena, and domed lobby pay homage to Italian Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio. The resort’s two golf courses meet in front of the Palladian Portico, which boasts a 180-degree view of the ocean. Pelican Hill has 204 bungalow rooms and suites, 128 villas (multi-room, luxury townhouse-style quarters with private garages), as well as the largest circular pool in the world (136 ft. in diameter). On display throughout the resort is authentic artwork—from paintings by local artists to the 17th century Flemish tapestries that hang in the Great Room. The Spa at Pelican Hill was recently awarded with the Forbes Five Star Rating, along with the AAA Diamond Award. There are three restaurants on property: Andrea, the Coliseum Pool & Grill, and Pelican Grill. The restaurants use mostly locally grown ingredients that are hand selected on a weekly basis from the Irvine Ranch, and the pasta is made by hand in a small “pasta room” off the kitchen. Due to the rich flavors served and the resort’s always-complimentary valet parking, the restaurants are popular dining spots for locals. The resort is also a popular destination for families with children; younger guests of Pelican Hill can partake in activities at Camp Pelican, the resort’s retreat for children.

22701 Pelican Hill Road South, Newport Coast, California 92657
Phone: (800) 315-8214 or (949) 467-6800
 

Newport Beach Hotel

Newport Beach Hotel allows you to stay in the middle of Newport boardwalk action. The hotel sits among the quaint stores and ice cream shops of the boardwalk, and is approximately one parking lot’s walk from the sand. With only 15 guestrooms, this boutique hotel is able to offer the highest level of staff attention. Request an Oceanfront guestroom for a stunning view of the ocean and beach life. The hotel offers its guests access to bicycles with which to explore the area. The hotel is an international favorite—drawing a team of National Geographic photographers, among other world traveling guests. One night’s stay ranges from $195-400. A sister hotel to the Blue Lantern, Newport Beach Hotel also offers the “Carpe Diem” special; on Sunday-Thursday, call and say “carpe diem, ” and receive the best available room for that night at a discounted rate (from November to April, excluding holidays).

2306 West Oceanfront Blvd, Newport Beach, CA 92663
Toll-free: (800) 571-8749 – Phone: (949) 673-7030
 

The Montage, Laguna Beach

From the moment you walk into The Montage in Laguna Beach, you’ll feel like you’re in an upscale East Coast luxury beach lodge; high arched white wood beam ceilings, studded leather chairs, dark wood floors, burnished gold lamps, and a live pianist give the Lobby Lounge a quiet refinement. All of this, of course, is secondary to the long room’s floor to ceiling windows, which provide an unobstructed view of the ocean. Montage guests have 24-hour access to the Mosaic pool—a perk not commonly available at most hotels. Also unique to the Montage are four dining opportunities: The Loft (which boasts a popular cheese and honey gallery, as well as a weekly “Artistry of Wine” event on Sunday afternoons), the Mosaic Bar & Grille, Studio (featuring Executive Chef Craig Strong), and the Lobby Lounge. Near Studio is the Studio Garden, a fairly recent addition where herbs, citrus, and produce are grown for Chef Craig to incorporate into Studio dishes and cocktails. The Montage has direct beach access, and guests can request s’mores kits for roasting over the fire pit. Spa Montage is another of the OC Forbes Five Star Rated Spas (one of twenty worldwide), and offers a full-service Kim Vo salon, a movement studio with complimentary spin and yoga classes, a fitness center with an ocean view, a spa pool, saunas, steam rooms, whirlpools, and more. Guests ages 5-12 can participate in fun activities at “Paintbox, ” the Montage’s kids program. Of the resort’s 250 rooms and suites, all have patios, and all have ocean views. Ask for “surf view” for a less obstructed view of the water.

30801 South Coast Highway, Laguna Beach, CA 92651
(866) 271-6953
 

The Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort & Spa

The Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort & Spa is set apart by its amenities; it’s the only coastal Orange County hotel with a water park, for starters, where guests can enjoy a range of fun, from water slide relays to airbrush tattooing. With three restaurants, two pools, three shopping boutiques, 24-hour fitness center access, a full service spa and salon, the “Camp Hyatt” program for youngsters, and an art gallery (featuring the work of Todd White), you’ll never have to leave the property. The resort has a whopping 517 rooms including 57 suites, and was newly renovated in February. The resort restaurant is the only AAA Four Diamond Restaurant in Huntington Beach, and Toes on the Nose is based on the property, offering guests bike rentals, and surf and stand up paddle boarding lessons. During the summer, the Hyatt hosts a concert series that runs the third Friday of every month, and is open to the public. In north Orange County, the Hyatt is the only hotel with direct beach access via a bridge over PCH. Rooms range from $250-500 per night or, for an even more luxurious stay, there are three uniquely decorated 2, 500 square foot presidential suites that go for a pretty penny. The Hyatt contains 100, 000 square feet of meeting space, surpassing what many competitors are able to offer. The Red Chair Lounge hosts a nightly happy hour from 5-7pm, and 5pm to close on Thursdays. The hotel is designed in a distinct Andalusian Mediterranean style, and provides a casual yet refined atmosphere.

21500 Pacific Coast Highway, Huntington Beach, CA 92648
(714) 698-1234
 

Doryman’s Inn, Newport Beach

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How gorgeous is this bed, not to mention the whole room. Definitely fit for a queen, riiiiiiiiitteeeee???? 🤣😘👸. If you check my O.C. highlight you will see some BTS of this room. 🌹 . . This is one of the inn's grand rooms that has an ocean and beach view. Btw, this is not where my room was but I will post it too a bit later. My room was quite smaller than this one but still looks pretty cute as it was also an ocean view room. I was able to take a photo (I mean a full on photoshoot 🤣) here because the wonderful and amazing lady at the front desk @aunnieschu suggested we should use this one ( thank you so very much ). I felt so lucky and so honoured. It was a very elegant room where I have always dream of. All was missing was a tiara. 😆👸💛 . . One thing I really love about travelling is the people you meet and interact along the way. This was one of those amazing experiences. When you treat someone with kindness and not expect it back, somehow the universe answers you with more positive vibes. I must say that my stay here at Doryman's Inn was amazing because the people that work there are truly incredible. If you get a chance, go and check it out. More review about this vintage boutique hotel in the next few posts. 🌹 . . Have you ever stayed in a hotel/inn that made you feel so magical? I would love to hear all about your experiences. Maybe I too can check it out one day. 😘💜 . . . . . . . . . . #wanderwithmary #wanderlustchick #wanderingwomen #babeswhowander #travelinladies #girlsthatwander #shedreamsshegoes #GLTlove #jetsettingchicks #girlsvsglobe #explorerbabe #overdoseintravel #citizenfemme #shareyourtravelpics #bloglovintravels #TheTravelWomen #exploreshareinspire #takemetheretoday #travelphotoblog #travelphotoshoot #travelphotogram #travelbloggerlife #travelbloggerph #SoFeTravel #travelinglife #travelingsoul #traveldeeply #globelletravelers #SoCal #newportbeach

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From the exterior, Doryman’s Inn is a small hotel across from Newport Pier; once inside, however, you’re taken back in time and space to nineteenth century Europe. Vintage wallpapers line the delightfully narrow and windy hallways, and the rooms are filled with solid wood antiques and old world décor. Built in 1898, Doryman’s Inn was originally purposed to provide lodging for Dory fishermen (hence the name). The eleven-room Inn is one of Orange County’s oldest remaining hotels. While every room has a fireplace, each is unique and full of distinct character. Many of the Doryman’s rooms have a view of the pier; one such room is the “Honeymoon Suite, ” a larger room with a canopy king-size bed. The Honeymoon Suite is one of five suites at the Inn. The Doryman sits on top of (and is connected to) 21 Oceanfront, a fine dining restaurant with steaks, seafood, and Victorian décor where you can watch the sunset on the water from the bar. One night’s stay ranges from $199-380, with seasonal dinner packages available upon request.

2102 West Oceanfront, Newport Beach, CA 92663
(949) 675-7300

 

Surf & Sand Resort

The balcony view from a room at Surf & Sand Resort in Laguna gives the feeling of being on a boat. Forget the nauseating up-and-down rocking; what I’m talking about is how each room’s private balcony gives the optical illusion of standing directly over the ocean. It’s this unparalleled proximity to the sea that sets Surf & Sand apart from other coastal OC hotels. The front desk even carries earplugs for guests for whom the surf is too loud. The best part? All 167 of the newly renovated rooms have ocean views. 15FiftyFive, the resort’s ocean-view terrace, is a popular spot for sunsets and cocktails, and the perfect place to enjoy live music on Saturday nights (also on Friday nights all summer long). The resort also provides complimentary access to the fitness center and a range of treatments are available at Aquaterra Spa. The resort’s pool is nestled between glass enclosures, making it possible to lay out in December without shivering. While viewing the pool area, roughly a dozen pelicans flew overhead—a truly remarkable sight. Rooms start at about $400 per night. The resort’s restaurant, Splashes, boasts cuisine crafted by Executive Chef David Fune. Splashes is an intimate, open air restaurant, and the Splashes Bar is located steps below, offering drinks and appetizers at a level about 10-15 feet above the sand. Guests of Splashes restaurant can also enjoy a meal on the lower dining patio adjacent to the bar area. The seaside proximity makes for memorable dining and lodging at Surf & Sand.

1555 South Coast Highway, Laguna Beach, CA 92651
(949) 497-4477

stay-cation

Monarch Beach St. Regis

With 400 rooms, the Monarch Beach St. Regis is the largest of the St. Regis hotels. Built in Tuscan style, the resort property is filled with fountains at nearly every turn. Since the original St. Regis in New York City invented the Bloody Mary, each of the 23 St. Regis sister resorts has a signature twist on the drink. The St. Regis Monarch Beach offers the Agave Maria, featuring 1800 Reposado tequila with green jalapeno. The St. Regis upholds many other unique traditions, like the Champagne ritual (for guests upon arrival), the afternoon tea ritual (Saturdays from 1-3pm), and the butterfly release rituals (every Saturday in the summer), among others. The resort is filled with unique touches that lend to its European inspiration—a “hall of mirrors” invokes Versailles, frescos on the ceilings call Michelangelo to mind, and winding staircases and spacious ballrooms contribute to the overall grandeur that is the St. Regis. The St. Regis also offers Spa Gaucin, the third of the three Forbes Five Star Rated Spas in Orange County I mentioned earlier, and this one boasts specialties like underwater music in the spa pool, complimentary fitness classes, and an array of highly rated spa treatments. Nightly room rates begin at $450. Of the 400 rooms, 75 are suites that come with your own personal butler who will press your clothes, pour your Champagne, bring you food, even pack your bags for you upon departure. Among other noteworthy guests, Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez stayed at the St. Regis Monarch Beach and dined at the resort’s Stonehill Tavern on their February 2011 visit. If it’s good enough for the Biebs, it’s good enough for me.

One Monarch Beach Resort, Dana Point, California 92629
(949) 234-3200