Best Luxury Spring Break Getaway: St. Regis Monarch Beach
The Tuscan-inspired resort is a slice of heaven in Dana Point. It's effortless, indulging, exclusive and beachside-beautiful in a modern palatial way. What better way to get away for a much-needed Spring fling?
There's an ease about the St. Regis that flows throughout the dreamy 172 acres overlooking the Pacific—from the rooms and quaint beach access to the trio of pools, exquisite dining and award-winning Spa Gaucin. The St. Regis is a Forbes Five-Star, AAA Five-Diamond awarded resort (code for all things "as-you-wish" throughout your stay). Views from the Sunset Terrace, Grand Lawn and Pacific Lawn stun.
To truly live it up on your time away, we've called out some essential experiences during any St. Regis stay—starting with booking a suite, of course. The resort offers over 70 suites to choose from at the grand 400-room property. While all guestrooms are wonderfully appointed (with marble baths, oversized tubs, goose down comforters and have contemporary style), the suites come with your own personal St. Regis Butler. That means you sit back and relax, as your Butler unpacks for you—quite a glorious way to start any stay. Your Butler will also press your clothes and awaken you with French-press coffee (if you request 7 a.m., you can expect your room bell to ring at 7:00, not 7:01 and not 6:59; they're that good), and your Butler will be on hand for any request.
A sublime way to kick-off your vacation is with a poolside cabana. You'll be pampered by a pool attendant offering frozen treats, an exceptional fresh fruit bowl and waters, as you hang in your technology-filled haven of TV and DVDs, should you wish to be entertained. The pool scene at the St. Regis is relaxing and royally luxurious, so bring a book or your favorite magazine and just kick back.
After all that relaxing you'll have, no doubt, worked up an appetite. Lucky for you the St. Regis offers an host of deliciously exceptional choices, including the Forbes-rated Four-Star Stonehill Tavern that offers modern American cuisine. Be sure to get reservations, as the seating is intimate and limited, and plan to settle in with a favorite very fine wine, as you're invited to savor your time between courses. The very upscale restaurant is resort-attire, so you'll see everything from denim to suits really. And the staff is elegantly relaxed; you'll feel as though you've made a charming friend by the end of the meal. They're happy to accommodate requests—and don't leave without trying Michael Mina's Root Beer Float.
Other dining choices include the Motif Restaurant with European-style café cues and a Sunday Champagne Brunch that is out of this world. The Brunch includes an Omelet Station, Seafood Station, Carving Station and a Pancake Station that offers M&M's and all kinds of candy eye-candy. It's that kind of surprising approachability that makes St. Regis so relaxed in so many ways. Be sure to order a Signature Bloody Mary, as you take in the live Brazilian/Bolivian folk music and oceanfront views. Really, the Brunch is unreal and insanely vacation-worthy.
The St. Regis also offers private beachfront dining at the Monarch Bay Club. It's California fare and fresh seafood. The house salad with butter lettuce and vinaigrette is fantastic. Vegetarian pasta is available and highly recommended. And the desserts are divine. The setting is elegant-throwback with oversized wall photos of the Kennedy's and '50's swimsuit models. You've got a good chance of hearing some Sinatra playing. But best of all, is the view. Only members and St. Regis guests of the Club are allowed. To access the Monarch Bay Club, you take a resort tram from the hotel. The 1.5-mile meandering ride is fun, scenic and always entertaining with the young, chill St. Regis tram drivers who are pointing out their twenty-million dollar houses and letting guests push the secret beach gate button, as they tell tales of how many guests they've stuffed in a tram and still managed to make it uphill.
And speaking of laid-back dudes, did you know the St. Regis offers Surf Butlers? How quintessentially St. Regis. These guys are the real deal too with Keanu-type names and good hair. They'll teach you to surf (even carry your board) or take you out to Stand Up Paddle Board.
What's luxe-left to love at the St. Regis? Spa Gaucin. A 25-treatment-room reward for the body and soul with a tranquil essence of Mediterranean elegance. Enter, take a token, and make a wish. The Spa is known for their couples' suites—he can get a massage, she can get a facial. Whatever treatment you book, you'll melt in this relaxing wonderland of red currant lotions and Chardonnay massage oil.
Ahh, if only a stay at The St. Regis never had to end. At least you won't have to pack up, your Butler will do that.
St. Regis offerings through April 30th if the ultimate Spring getaway is calling you.
Debbie Lavdas is a Southern California freelance writer who desperately tried to take her St. Regis Butler home. Keep up with Debbie and her writings at DebbieintheOC.com and @deblavdas on Twitter.
Photos by Debbie Lavdas or courtesy of the St. Regis resort.
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