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Destination Spotlight

Ranking The 5-Star Resorts Of Laguna Beach

David, our Founder, has officially stayed at all four 5-star resort options in Laguna Beach and is here to give the inside scoop. From the laid-back luxury of Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach, perched on a seaside bluff, to the Italian-inspired opulence of The Resort at Pelican Hill, each resort offers a unique blend of amenities and atmosphere. The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel impresses with its recent renovations and stunning ocean views, while Montage Laguna Beach stands out with its Craftsman-style architecture and breathtaking panoramas.

In this blog, we’ll delve into David’s detailed reviews of each resort, highlighting their strengths, weaknesses, and what makes each one special. Read on to discover which resort best suits your needs and learn about the complimentary benefits we can add to your stay.

Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach

Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach, perched on 175 acres atop a 150-foot seaside bluff, offers laid-back luxury and elegant service. This AAA Five-Diamond, Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star retreat features newly renovated guest rooms and suites inspired by Southern California’s relaxed charm. Guests can enjoy a private beach club, six dining destinations, a splashy pool scene, 18 holes of championship golf, and a luxurious spa and salon.

Despite these offerings, our Founder, David, did not favor this resort out of the four options. He found the architecture and interior design overly classical and noted the resort’s location away from the beach. While it might be the value leader among the four, it did not meet our top recommendations.

If value is the biggest driving factor in deciding where to stay, Waldorf Astoria is the best choice. To add even more value to your stay, we can offer Impresario perks with our esteemed partnership with Hilton. These amenities include:

  • Upgrade at the time of booking, subject to availability
  • Daily Full Breakfast for up to two guests per bedroom in AVEO Table + Bar or via room service
  • $100 Resort or Hotel credit to be utilized during stay (not combinable, not valid on room rate, no cash value if not redeemed in full)
  • Early Check-In / Late Check-Out, subject to availability
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi

Utilize our complimentary Virtuoso booking tool to look at prices and availability for your desired travel dates.

The Resort at Pelican Hill

The Resort at Pelican Hill is an Italian-inspired, five-star, AAA Five Diamond destination. Accommodations include 128 multibedroom villas with magnificent coastal views, gourmet kitchens, dedicated staff, and exclusive clubhouse access, as well as 204 bungalow guest rooms and suites, all featuring fireplaces and private terraces.

The resort boasts a Forbes Five-Star spa, two 18-hole championship golf courses designed by Tom Fazio, the 136-foot Coliseum Pool, an adult pool, and five restaurants. It’s a great place for families seeking a winter getaway in a warm location overlooking the ocean and golf course.

While it has a unique design that some people love, it resembles a gated suburban community with Tuscan-inspired architecture. The resort offers ocean views but is not directly on the beach; however, there is a shuttle service to the beach. Out of the four 5-star resort options in Laguna Beach, The Resort at Pelican Hill is best if you are seeking a villa-type experience.

As our clients, we can always add complimentary value-added amenities to your stay.

The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel

Neighboring Waldorf Astoria, The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel, located ten minutes south of Laguna Beach, is one of the earliest Ritz-Carlton resorts. Despite not being originally built with a full set of amenities, the resort has undergone impressive renovations. The formal and dark ambiance has been replaced with light colors, opening up beautiful ocean scenery to the hallways and rooms. The recent renovations have resulted in, in our opinion, the nicest accommodations out of the four 5-star options in Laguna Beach.

The view from the outdoor bar is one of the best for watching sunsets over the Pacific. Perched atop a seaside bluff, the resort provides direct access to three miles of sandy beach and features 396 recently renovated guestrooms, including 29 suites and 31 Ritz-Carlton Club Level rooms. The renovated spaces boast airy layouts, ocean-inspired decor, custom furnishings, and upgraded bathrooms with freestanding soaking tubs in The Ritz-Carlton Suites. Guests can enjoy stylish comfort, sumptuous linens, European bath essentials, and stunning ocean views from secluded patios or balconies.

Pro Tip: Waldorf Astoria and Ritz-Carlton are in more congested areas of Laguna Beach, whereas Pelican Hill and Montage are in quieter areas.

As our client, enjoy value-added amenities, including room upgrades, resort credits, VIP treatment, early check-in, and late check-out, and a welcome treat. Take a peek at our complimentary online booking tool to learn more about rates and availability.

Montage Laguna Beach

Set on an oceanfront bluff with sweeping panoramas of the Pacific Ocean and striking Craftsman-style architecture, Montage Laguna Beach spans 30 lushly landscaped acres in the heart of Laguna Beach’s arts community. The 262 spacious guestrooms, including 57 suites, 4 villas, and 37 beach bungalow-style rooms/suites, range from 500 to 2,800 square feet. Each elegantly appointed room features stylish furnishings, muted color schemes, authentic artwork by noted California artists, and private oceanfront patios or balconies with spectacular views.

While the resort’s setting is the nicest of the four 5-star options, the rooms, though very nice, are not as luxurious as those at the Ritz-Carlton. The visually stunning main resort pool features a mosaic tile bottom. Despite its maze-like layout, Montage Laguna Beach’s exceptional setting makes it our top choice among the 5-star resorts in Laguna Beach.

We can also extend complimentary benefits to your stay:

  • Upgrade at time of booking, subject to availability (applicable to Coastal View upwards)
  • Daily breakfast credit of $40 per person, for up to two guests per bedroom, served in The Loft Restaurant and via In-Room Dining (credit is non-cumulative)
  • $100 USD equivalent Resort or Hotel credit to be utilized during stay (not combinable, not valid on room rate, no cash value if not redeemed in full)
  • Early Check-In / Late Check-Out, subject to availability
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi

Let Us Help You Plan Your Trip!

Each of these four 5-star resorts in Laguna Beach offers a unique experience, from Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach to The Resort at Pelican Hill, The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel, and Montage Laguna Beach. Whether you seek luxury, relaxation, or adventure, one of these resorts is sure to meet your needs.

Ready to plan your trip? Have more questions about the difference in each hotel? To get started, email us at [email protected] or submit a Travel Request Form on our website.

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