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St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort

By Tina Mickelson

The St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort boasts an amazing golf course, which I highlighted in the June issue. But a great golf course was just one piece of my amazing experience at The St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort.

The commute is just over an hour from downtown San Diego, but I felt like I was in a different world altogether once I reached the entrance of the resort. The minute the impressive water feature came into view I felt as though I had arrived… I mean really ARRIVED. I immediately smelled fresh flowers as I stepped out of my car and the gurgling of one of the many fountains on the property put me in a trance. I caught my reflection in the glass—a calm grin had naturally found its way to my face.

As the valet greeted me he actually complimented my minivan. My minivan?! Way to make this mom of two toddlers feel like a rock star rather than a Cheerio-dispensing, handi-wipe obsessed, frazzled apple “cutter-upper”. Yep… the wow factor of this getaway was already in full force.

I headed to the front desk to check in and was promptly greeted with a complimentary glass of champagne. Who says no to champagne? I’m liking how this is starting out…

When the nice bell hop stepped aside and I got my first glimpse of my room I swear I heard music. You know….the kind of music you hear in the movies when someone dies and is greeted at the Heavenly Gates by their loved ones? Yeah… that kind of music. As I wandered further in I realized the clock radio was on and tuned to an easy listening station, but still…

The first thing I noticed was the white and airy décor. Everything felt so fresh. The bell man explained that the rooms have recently been refreshed and upgraded. The French Doors that opened onto the quaint balcony were cracked and the fresh air gently crept in. I could tell already that my departure from this sanctuary was not going to go well. I had visions of security coming to my room to force me out.

The good man set up my suitcase, gave me a run down of the hotel features, explained how to get to the pool, where the restaurants were, and other stuff I didn’t really pay attention to. All I could think about was getting to the beach….that magical, private, secluded beach with crashing waves, seagulls, and the tangible salty air. I handed him a tip while he was in mid-sentence. He giggled, thanked me profusely that I had to check to make sure I didn’t hand him the hundy I keep stashed away for emergencies, promptly turned toward the door, and reminded me as he exited that if I need anything at all, don’t hesitate to ask. He closed the door behind him and I let out a huge sigh. I was alone. A mother of two toddlers can’t say that very often. All was quiet except for the crashing of the waves in the distance. I stood in the middle of that glorious room, looked down at my feet, and wondered what I was doing still standing there.

I grabbed by purse, changed my shoes, and cried, “So long, suckers,” (not even sure who that was directed at) as I flew out the door. Yes, the idea of the beach is what got me out the door so fast but I just couldn’t wait a minute longer to check out the golf course.

The Monarch Beach Golf Links is a short walk from the hotel lobby but there is a shuttle that runs continuously to and from the golf course as well.  As you walk toward the golf shop you are greeted with a spectacular view of the golf course with the sprawling ocean behind it. The golf shop staff is friendly and quite funny. They have the ability to put any golfer at ease—even a beginner who isn’t sure about proper protocol. If I were new to the game of golf and didn’t want to feel intimidated or awkward, this is the golf course where I would choose to spend most of my time.

I was given a key to a golf cart, briefed on the pertinent info that would help make my round more enjoyable, and was then sent on my merry way. My golf experience at this utopia was detailed in my June article so in an effort to refrain from redundancy I’ll just say it was a round of golf unlike any other. But in case you missed the article…their #3 signature hole cozies up so close to the public beach that you can actually smell the sunscreen wafting in the air along with the distant shrieks of boogie-boarding children and seagulls searching for their lunch. If there were ever a back-up on this golf hole, nobody would mind.

And speaking of the beach, this is the complete utopian seaside experience. The beach area is located directly below the hotel and is one of the few private beaches in Southern California. No crowds and breathtaking beauty….and you don’t have to travel hours on an airplane to get there.

If you have had enough relaxation and want a little more activity on the beach, all guests have access to complimentary beach bootcamps, yoga classes, and guided hikes. The Surf Butlers (not a typo) are on hand to give surf lessons, rent out paddle boards complete with tutorial, hand out towels, set up lounge chairs and umbrellas, and basically cater to your every need. I was so impressed I could barely speak in full sentences.

Next on the agenda was the spa because I mean…c’mon. I love me a good spa. Spa Gaucin & Fitness Center is one of California’s only Forbes Five-Star spas. Yep. I see it. Not just in the grounding décor and staff with a calming energy, but in their products and treatments as well.

I’m not sure why, but when I was told the spa was named after the Spanish village of Gaucin I fell in love just a wee bit more. Maybe because it just felt…authentic. But another (and major) reason I love this spa is that it caters to the needs of golfers with specialty treatments that were created specifically with golfers in mind. The biggest complaint golfers have after a round of golf is a tight back. Treatments are taken a step further by offering an add-on to your massage in the form of a self-heating phytomer mud application that provides even further relaxation of tight muscles after a round of golf. Whaaaaat?! Ah-mazing.

Another complaint golfers often make? Tired and painful feet. The Pedikarma Massage is a specialty treatment that focuses on rejuvenating the feet and balancing out your energy.

And let’s not forget the damage the sun can do to our skin. The Oxygen Facial rehydrates and increases the absorption of skin quenching serums that results in a noticeable difference in fine lines and wrinkles while giving a youthful glow.

For dinner, I opted for the Monarch Bay Club, which is right on the beach with an option of patio seating just steps from the crashing waves. The food is fresh and local and the sunset had me mesmerized. Stonehill Tavern is their four-star restaurant featuring Modern American cuisine with signature dishes like Lobster Pot Pie. The restaurant has a cozy feel.

Since my guest room was so comfortable and “homey,” I was eager to get back and just chill in silence. Aaaaahhhhh….who wants silence when you have a huge wall-mounted television? I crawled into that fluffy bed, sank right into a sea of comforter and blankets, and watched….I don’t even REMEMBER what I watched but I CAN tell you it was NOT Barney or Sesame Street. I slept so hard I forgot where I was when I awoke.

I opened the French doors that lead to the balcony overlooking the pool and golf course and truly felt like a new person. The “reset button” had been pressed and I was ready to get back to real life, but as a better version of myself.

I left the room on my own accord, no security guard necessary.

Other Random Super Cool Stuff

  • A new herb garden is in the works, complete with beehives to provide fresh ingredients for the property’s esteemed chefs.
  • Champagne Sabering classes are offered where butlers teach guests to open champagne bottles with a saber sword every night at sunset.
  • The salon features Master Stylist Richard Dalton, who worked with Princess Diana as her personal hairdresser. He later came to the U.S. as Creative Director for Clairol, and eventually served as Fashion Director for Paul Mitchell Systems.
  • The Sandcastle Kids Club is available for younger guests to experience activities unique to them, providing them with customized fun while Mom and Dad enjoy adult time.

The St. Regis Monarch Beach

1 Monarch Beach Resort N, Dana Point, CA 92629

(949) 234-3200

St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort

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1230 Columbia Street, Suite 800,

San Diego, CA