Photography Provided By: The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel
Photography Provided By: The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel

13 of the Best Orange County Staycations

Pack Your Bags—You’re Going to Want to Stay at These Hotels for a While

Written By: Brittany Nicole Zendejas Orange County Staycation

In a time when fuel costs are rising (making both road and air travel more and more expensive), the “staycation” is growing ever popular. You won’t find us 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 Annual Report, 50.16 million visitors flocked to Orange County in 2018. Featuring the original Disneyland and the most scenic beaches, it’s no wonder Orange County is the place to be. While millions travel from far and wide to vacation here, it seems we’re at a significant travel advantage because we live in vacationland! Here’s our list of the top hotels—the cream of the crop—in OC.


1 | Avenue of the Arts Costa Mesa Hotel, A Tribute Portfolio Hotel 

Avenue of the Arts Costa Mesa Hotel, A Tribute Portfolio Hotel in Costa Mesa is a one of a kind, boutique hotel—think mod-chic meets luxury! Lavish chandeliers frame the entrance while hues of purple and gold create a unique atmosphere that truly makes one feel like they’ve traveled far beyond Orange County. The hotel restaurant, Silver Trumpet run by Chef Hector Zamora, serves delicious and free-range organic food. Happy hour is Monday through Thursday from 2-6 p.m. and 9:30-close, and it features $7 wines, $1-off beers and $7 well drinks. They also have weekend brunch lakeside from 7 a.m.-2 p.m. that features Bloody Mary’s and mimosas for only $14. Since 2014, the hotel has maintained the AAA Four Diamond rating, which acknowledges the establishment for its upscale and superior features. Friendly staff and hotel amenities are sure to make your stay extra special—you can even log into your Netflix account and finish binge-watching your favorite show in style! If you are looking for entertainment, the Segerstrom Center for the Arts is across the street from the hotel, so catch a musical or concert and support the local arts scene. If you’re in need of some retail therapy, South Coast Plaza is only a short walk away! We can’t forget about the biggest attraction park there is—Disneyland, which is only a short drive from the hotel. However, if you’re not in the mood for traveling, enjoy sitting at the lake, private gardens or hotel pool. For those traveling by air, Avenue of the Arts offers free shuttles to John Wayne Airport. With over 238 rooms that range from standard king and queen beds to luxurious suites, the modern atmosphere will keep your stresses away! Rooms range from $143-$304 per night.

Avenue of the Arts Costa Mesa Hotel, A Tribute Portfolio Hotel
3350 Avenue of the Arts
Costa Mesa, California 92626

 EXP 6/7


2 | The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel Orange County Staycation

The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel offers a luxurious and playful experience for any visitor. A breathtaking ocean view atop a bluff is a selling point, and it’s close enough to the Dana Point Harbor to give guests a chance to experience the full beauty of Southern California. Their rooms provide a peaceful place to relax as you take in  the sunrise and sunset. The in-house spa features ingredients from the ocean like algae, sea salt and seaweed, which help nurture and restore the body. The hotel also features five different dining options that range from casual to fine dining. Enjoy lunch at 180blũ and dinner at Raya where renowned chef Richard Sandoval prepares pan-Latin cuisine with fresh ingredients and locally caught seafood. 

If you’re looking to explore, be sure to check out Mission San Juan Capistrano and learn about the birthplace of Orange County, and it’s only 10 minutes away! If you’re here in July or August, don’t miss out on the Pageant of the Masters, featuring living art—you’ll get to meet the artists and hear them speak about the process of creating such intricate art. The rooms range anywhere from guest to spacious suites and all feature luxury amenities in an ocean-chic ambiance. Rates start at $599 per night.

The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel
One Ritz-Carlton Dr
Dana Point, CA 92629


3 | Inn at the Mission San Juan Capistrano, Autograph Collection

In the heart of San Juan Capistrano lies the hacienda-style hotel, Inn at the Mission San Juan Capistrano. This brand new Marriott property offers guests a glimpse into the historic traditions of San Juan, dating back to the founding of its mission in 1776. The guest rooms at this remarkable hotel are replete with state-of-the-art amenities, Spanish-inspired decor, and many overlook the historic Great Stone Church. You can soak up California’s rich history with a tour of the neighboring Mission, spend your time at the inn’s sparkling pool or sip on a hand-crafted libation at the chic lobby bar. And when it’s time to eat, Ysidora Restaurant and Lounge serves up traditional Spanish dishes with a twist—each one made with regionally sourced ingredients. After you’re done savoring a variety of wood-fired meats, vegetables and delicious tapas, venture out to the olive garden for a fireside evening under the twinkling lights before heading back to your room.

Inn at the Mission San Juan Capistrano, Autograph Collection
31692 El Camino Real
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675


4 | Laguna Cliffs Marriott & Spa Orange County Staycation

Looking for a place to get away and enjoy the sun? Look no further than the Laguna Cliffs Marriott & Spa in Dana Point. Awarded the AAA Four Diamond Rating and rating No. 1 in guest service satisfaction worldwide, the Laguna Cliffs Marriott & Spa will take care of your every needs. Nestled between the beach and historic Dana Point, this is truly a place to go when you need to get away. The exuberant colors of the hotel reflect against the green of the hillside in a way that makes you feel like you’re on an island. Sitting on top of the majestic California riviera, this Cape Cod-style hotel features 42 acres of fun and relaxation. The hotel has also enacted eco-friendly and green programs like water conservation, clean air initiative, extensive recycling and more. If you’re in the mood for thrills, you can always go whale-watching by visiting Captain Dave’s Dolphin and Whale Safari or catch a ride to Catalina Island for the day! 

Enjoy tapas and cocktails at the OverVue Lounge and Deck Restaurant while watching the setting sun and panoramic ocean views atop the chic patio. This spring, Laguna Cliffs Marriott & Spa will open a new coastal seafood restaurant, Outer Reef, led by Chef John Tesar. Enjoy Tesar’s interpretation of coastal seafood, using fresh California produce and seafood sourced exclusively from the West Coast, from Baja to Alaska.

Their guest rooms range from standard to king beds featuring coastal views and run between $325-$575 a night. The resort also has luxurious ocean-view suites.

Laguna Cliffs Marriott & Spa
25135 Park Lantern
Dana Point, CA 92629

5 | Nomads Hotel in San Clemente Orange County Staycation

Calling all surfers! Nomads Hotel in San Clemente is the perfect escape to enjoy the beach! Located in the heart of San Clemente, this hotel offers a unique and hip experience for those wanting to get away. Palm trees and surf surround the white, bare walls of the hotel; what’s inside, however, truly captures guests. Created by surf enthusiasts Sean Rowland and Jeff and Renee Gourley, they sought to bring their worldly experiences here through art, music, food and surf. Each room is uniquely designed to reflect a place, such as the California Room, Baja Room and Bali Room. The hotel offers surf packages whether you’re interested in learning to surf or just looking for local surf spots and surf rentals. And for those dedicated surfers looking to hit spots such as Trestles, don’t worry; the hotel provides shuttles to and from! After a long day of surfing or trekking through the quaint city, what better way to end the day than at the Canteen, which specializes in Surfer Soul Food—“No cans, no grease, no preservatives,” they boast. They also have a wide range of beers, 120 of the world’s best tequila and their locally acclaimed poke bowls! If you’re looking for a getaway destination, Nomads Hotel is the place to go. Rooms range anywhere from $139-$299 a night, and don’t forget about that surf package when reserving a room!

Nomads Hotel in San Clemente
101 Avenida Serra
San Clemente, CA 92672


6 | Lido House Orange County Staycation

Have you ever wanted to visit Cape Cod? Lido House in Newport Beach is uniquely designed to celebrate Newport Beach’s Cape Cod style. Not only can you watch the sunset with a cocktail in hand, you can also visit the marina, paddle board and visit local boutiques that are within walking distance. The hotel offers guest rooms with spa-like amenities, private suites with full kitchens, fireplaces and balconies overlooking the marina. You can even choose to live like a local and stay in a tri-level cottage that is run by its own social captain. Enjoy dinner at the Mayor’s Table Pacific Pub & Kitchen, featuring locally caught seafood and vegetable-forward cuisine. Their spas are renowned for refreshing and recharging guests. From massages to skin therapy, the Boost Spa has everything needed to tailor an individual’s experience.

 If you’re wanting to travel beyond Lido House, there is plenty to see within close range. Visit Balboa Peninsula and Island for family-friendly activities or to just enjoy the sunset! You can also hike the Crystal Cove State Park where you can explore 2,400 acres of wildland. Finally, if retail therapy is your thing, Fashion Island and South Coast Plaza are only a couple minutes away. Prices range from $349-$389 a night. 

Lido House
3300 Newport Blvd
Newport Beach, CA 92663

Orange County Staycation

7 | Hotel Joaquin

Perched atop Shaw’s Cove is the quaint Hotel Joaquin resort. Surrounded by the ocean and palm trees, this resort is sure to inspire a cozy staycation. After two years of renovations, the seaside resort boasts playful, chic and one-of-a-kind decor. Although this resort is nestled away to provide an out-of-this-world experience, there are still nearby events that will only add to your stay. Catch a show (stand-up comedy, musicals, dramas and more) at the Laguna Playhouse, which is only a short ride away! During the winter, the Sawdust Festival is a place where artists showcase their work and talents for guests to see. 

Hotel Joaquin’s restaurant, Saline, provides the most incredible experience with a menu inspired by Mediteterranean and French cuisine! They also provide breakfast and lunch with special courses for two. Sitting right next to the beach provides excellent activities for all, whether it’s relaxing in a daybed by the pool or taking a dip in the ocean to snorkel. The hotel has different rooms that are unique to each visitor with different amenities; with names like Jardin, La Vue and Thalia, the rooms offer patios, record players and a lived-in feel. Prices range from $359-$409 a night. 

Hotel Joaquin
985 N Coast Hwy 
Laguna Beach, CA 92651


8 | Pasea Hotel & Spa 

Pasea Hotel & Spa features a gorgeous backdrop of the ocean in Huntington Beach. Smack in the middle of a surf city, this hotel stands as a getaway for those looking to stay local. There are 250 guest rooms with unparalleled ocean views that will ensure you remember your stay. Treat yourself to a spa day at Aarna, a Balinese spa that was named “Top Spas in the US” by American Spa Magazine. Setting a high standard, this spa is guaranteed to provide relaxation and immense body treatments. Enjoy dinner at Tanner’s Restaurant where they have locally sourced cuisine that ranges from seafood to traditional American food. They also feature brunch at Treehouse by Tanner’s, which sits atop the main restaurant. Eat French Toast and sip as many mimosas as you want, all while basking in the ocean breeze. 

There is also live music every weekend! On Tuesday nights, Main Street turns into Surf City Nights, featuring street performers, local vendors and artists. Or take a walk down the north side of Main Street to check out the Surfing Walk of Fame. If you’re looking for thrills, Disneyland is only 15 miles away! Prices start at $250 per night. 

Pasea Hotel & Spa
21080 Pacific Coast Hwy
Huntington Beach, CA 92648 


9 | Renaissance ClubSport Hotel 

The Renaissance ClubSport Hotel in Aliso Viejo defines the word renaissance. Featuring a state-of-the-art-gym and aquatics center, including a kid’s splash park, everything you need lies within the brightly lit walls of this modern hotel. Most rooms feature a skyline view of the city as well as plush king-sized beds and flat-screen televisions. Enjoy dinner at the Citrus Fresh Grill where there is live music on the patio Friday nights throughout spring and summer. The gym features 100,000 square feet of cardio and strength training equipment, a multi-court gymnasium, six group fitness studios, plus a 6-lane junior Olympic lap pool, recreation pool, and pool bar. If you need to keep the kids busy, send them to Kids World where there are numerous activities sure to keep them busy and having fun! If you need some R&R, visit R Spa where you can enjoy a massage, facial, body scrub, therapeutic cupping and more! Laguna Beach is also only a short drive from Renaissance ClubSport Hotel. Enjoy a day at the beach with some boogie boarding or hike on nearby trails. You can also visit Balboa Island for a day of fun-filled activities. Prices range from $188-$209 a night.

Renaissance Club Sport Hotel 
50 Enterprise
Aliso Viejo, CA 92656 

10 | The Ranch

If you’re looking to travel somewhere out of this world, visit The Ranch in Laguna Beach. Nestled between rocky clifftops and the beach, this unique lodge looks like something out of a destination magazine. Originally a watermelon farm in 1871 and then turned into a hotel afterwards, a local resident decided to preserve this special piece of Laguna history by renovating the lodge but keeping the architecture intact. The lodge uses a reclaimed water system for irrigation that helps preserve 21.2 million gallons of water per year. They have 97 rooms that offer a warm and cozy ranch-style experience. The Ranch was also picked by National Geographic as one of its  “Unique Lodges of the World” for its customer service and sustainable practices. They feature a waterfront spa and wellness center, and at the end of your day, enjoy dinner at Harvest, which features a menu (created by Executive Chef Kyle St. John) that changes during the seasons and has ingredients that are fresh and locally produced. You can experience live music every day on The Porch and s’mores at night under the stars. The Ranch also offers packages that include day trips to Catalina Island, specialty restaurants and a unique experience on the Trans-Catalina Trail. This unique lodge is the place to go to forget your worries and reconnect with nature! Prices range from $296-$764 a night. 

The Ranch
31106 S Coast Hwy
Laguna Beach, CA 92651

Orange County Staycation

11 | Balboa Bay Resort

Balboa Bay Resort is an upscale and refined resort that sits at the edge of the marina. The ocean is a beautiful backdrop to this lustrous resort. Sip a cocktail while watching yachts pass by, and don’t forget about the picturesque sunset! Featuring classical decor, the Balboa Bay Resort offers a sophisticated palate for those willing to try it. Each room is furnished with warm, brown beach tones, and boasts views overlooking the marina—even the linens scream “luxury!” 

First-floor rooms feature mini patios that lead straight to the marina. Enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner by the water at the resort’s three different restaurants. Balboa Bay Resort offers numerous amenities—everything from water sports, a dry bar and a wellness center and spa to poolside chillin’. For those interested in staying on land, check out the local pristine golf clubs nearby! There is also an on-site boutique in case you forget any essential clothing. Cruise down the boardwalk or travel to Fashion Island where you can shop ‘till you drop, and the Orange County Art Museum is only two miles away. Prices range from $279-$419 a night.  

Balboa Bay Resort
1221 W Coast Hwy 
Newport Beach, CA 92663


12 | Monarch Beach Resort

Featuring Tuscan-inspired architecture, the Monarch Beach Resort is perched upon a hillside overlooking the beach. Palm trees decorate every inch of the resort along with high arches and lush greenery. It’s been given the AAA Five-Diamond title, which is why the Monarch Beach Resort is the perfect place to hide away! With their own beach club, the resort can set you up in style on the beach—all you have to do is show up. You can also learn how to paddleboard, surf and kayak, if you so desire.

If the beach isn’t for you, set up camp by the pool in a cabana or daybed because who doesn’t love lounging with a drink in hand? They also feature a resort sunset tradition: ringing a bell that signals happy hour on the beach lawn! Each room is refreshing and features a cool-tone color scheme that helps with keeping the stress away. Check out AVEO Table + Bar’s Mediterranean cuisine, and the recently opened Bourbon Steak Orange County was named the Best Restaurant in Orange County by the Orange County Register. If you’re craving a delicious steak, this is the place to go! And for those who wish to relax, visit the Miraval Spa and enjoy massages and yoga. Prices range from $664-$774 a night. 

Monarch Beach Resort
One Monarch Beach Resort
Dana Point, CA 92629

Orange County Staycation

13 | The Crystal Cove Beach Cottages Orange County Staycation

The Crystal Cove Beach Cottages in Newport are like taking a step back into a simpler time along the coast. Originally built as a seaside colony that existed from 1935 to 1955, 24 of the original The Crystal Cove Beach Cottages have been restored to their natural architecture. The communal kitchenettes and bathrooms offer a dorm-like style while the verandas and brightly colored clapboards add to the cozy feeling. You can also stay in a single cottage. The low-key beachfront is only three miles from Corona del Mar State Beach and nearby the Laguna Art Museum. Not only does staying here offer peace and relaxation, you’re also supporting the conservation efforts by the Crystal Cove Conservancy. There is nothing like some peace and quiet, and that’s exactly what you get at the cottages—there are no televisions or WiFi here! Simply enjoy the beauty of Crystal Cove and the setting sun. If you’re looking for activities, enjoy the tide pools, hikes or surf! Visit the Beachcomber Restaurant or Shake Shack nearby for a fantastic beachside burger. While the The Crystal Cove Beach Cottages seem quaint, they are in high demand! Be sure to reserve a cottage for your family or friends as quickly as possible. Room rates range from $185-$261 a night, depending on the type of room. Take a staycation without breaking the bank! 

The Crystal Cove Beach Cottages
35 Crystal Cove
Newport Coast, CA 92657

About the author

This article is brought to you by one of the many talented writers associated with Locale Magazine! We are a group of locals (whether born and raised or transplanted) who love this county we now call home!


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