Beyond the Mediterranean–style exterior of this perfectly manicured resort, you’ll find posh but not ornate contemporary rooms and suites. This AAA Five Diamond–rated resort is all about casual elegance—if you like casual with a side of truly decadent pampering. Think rainfall showers and oversized tubs, private cabanas next to the turquoise swimming pool, and a secluded beach where you can sign up for surf lessons. If your kids are in tow, they’ll love Monarch’s customized activity program, perfect for ages 5–12.
Sign up for a tee time to play on the resort’s acclaimed links-style golf course, designed by Robert Trent Jones, Jr. At the resort’s Miraval Life in Balance Spa, try an aerial yoga class, relax in the sauna, or calm your body with a hydrating wrap using mineral-rich sea algae. Planning a night out? Schedule a blowout at the on-site Drybar.
The resort’s collection of seven restaurants gives you options to sample the freshest farm-to-table California cuisine—often with ocean views. Keep the luxury pushed to the max with dinner at celebrity chef Michael Mina’s Bourbon Steak, where he serves his signature dry-aged prime steaks and seasonal fare, with elaborate tableside presentations for dishes such as Broiled Tai Snapper and Maine Lobster Pot Pie. Gaze at the ocean while you enjoy Mediterranean dishes at AVEO Table + Bar or from the outdoor patio of 33º North. Finish your evenings with a sunset cocktail at Monarch Bay Club, just steps from the beach.
From board shorts to mouse ears to designer clothes, what you wear in this sun-splashed corner of the state says everything about how you like to play. Whether it’s surf-perfect beaches or celebrated theme parks, all framed by oceanfront towns dotted with luxury yachts, “The O.C.” stands out as one of California’s—make that the country’s—most iconic destinations.
“Surfing is like golf. . . it keeps knocking you down. But when you stay with it and catch that wave. . . magic.” --actor Dennis Quaid
Shop at spectacular South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, or get the surfer look in Huntington Beach, aka Surf City, USA.
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