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“Absolutely Exquisite”

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Monarch Beach Resort
Ranked #1 of 12 Hotels in Dana Point
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 7 July 2009

Our July 2009 stay at the St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort was absolutely incredible. We are from Indiana and went to San Diego to vacation. Originally, we had planned to stay at the St. Regis only two days of our six day vacation, but the hotel and surroundings were so beautiful we could not leave. We changed our travel plans and stayed at the St. Regis our entire stay! The grounds are absolutely gorgeous—so much so we took senior picture photos for my 17 year old daughter who graduates next year. The staff—very, very, courteous and helpful, but not to the point where they were "bugging" you that we have experienced at other 5 star hotels. The pools—oh my!—all of three of them were great. My daughters especially enjoyed the underground sound system in the lap pool. The beach and beach amenities were also first class. While we didn't visit the spa, I did hear other guests comments and all were good. I would highly recommend this hotel. Our family vacations once a year, and we have vacationed since my daughters were small, essentially the last 17 years, with a once a year vacation. Of all of the places we have ever been, and all the hotels we have ever stayed, the St. Regis was by far the best. Go, you won't be sorry, the place rocks!

  • Stayed: July 2009, travelled with family
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Thank bvlac
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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2,243 - 2,249 of 2,518 reviews

Reviewed 5 July 2009

Quick rundown of our 4th of July weekend. We were there for 2 nights with our 2 kids. The hotel is beyond beautiful and romantic. The rooms are very large (if you get the 2 queen beds) and beautiful. The bathrooms are fab, super clean and have all the best toilteries. The hotel is immaculate. The pools are fantastic, the staff is there to please you left and right. Very child friendly property, too.

The negative: the beds suck! Husband and I both had sore backs the next morning. Our friends in another room complained that their beds sucked, too.
The valet "lost" our car a few times. Not an easy one to lose, either (huge SUV). But they did comp' us the valet charges.
The food isn't that impressive. We ate on property a few times and found the food to be "whatever". The worst was the 4th of July BBQ. Awful, cold food.

Besides all that, I think the hotel is just beautiful and worth the drive and the expensive rate. I plan on eating outside the property next time.
If you are thinking of taking your kids, do it! So much fun for them and the kids pool is great.

  • Stayed: July 2009, travelled with family
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Thank Luv2Travel26
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 July 2009

We wish we would have opted for a room at the Montage Lugano Beach vs. splurging on a resort-view suite for the same price at the St. Regis.

Having said that, the St. Regis is a beautiful grand luxury non-ocean-front property. The whole experience is expensive, but if you know that, and are okay with it going into it, it will be a great stay.

First impressions: we arrived at midnight and the valet parking situation was a zoo. There must have been 30 couples waiting for their cars when we arrived. The valet handled it well; poor kid. Upon check-in, we were given spring-break-style wrist bands to grant us access to the pool the next day -- this was a very odd second impression (particularly because we had 4 days of cabana rental booked; the front-desk probably should have known about that and saved us the hassle of these bizarre wrist bands).

We were there the week prior to the resort officially being foreclosed on. I don't know if this is why service was so spectacular, or is it's always that great -- but we had no complaints with service the entire time. The service is absolutely top notch, with the exception of the weird pool wristbands, we had zero complaints.

Very good food at all property restaurants -- staff split meals for us (two separate plates) without hesitation and no additional charge, which we really appreciated. Michael Mina's Stonehill Tavern is a worthwhile splurge for sure (I believe they are closed on Monday's). Breakfast on the patio at Motif is a great way to start the day. The staff couldn't have been nicer or more accomodating -- top notch service.

Beach club - we stuck to the poolside cabanas and didn't ever go to the beach club, but we heard it's nice.

Nice Golf course, not made for lessons as you're hitting the ball into a fairway (not a driving range). My husband took a lesson; complained of lacking chemistry with pro -- wasn't a great experience.

We had room 277 which was a one-bedroom suite verlooking the courtyard; the rate was $790. The room was extremely spacious and easily accomodated a friend joining us for one night in the fold-out bed (and additional full guest bathroom). Beautiful marble bathrooms with large glass-door shower (not a rainshower head). Not the best bed linens (bordering on rough) and very thick/deep pillows (I should have inquired about flatter pillows). Large flat-screen TV. Carpeted floors.

Pool: We had a pool-side cabana each day. if you're into being outside, but like to seek shelter once in a while, this is worth the extravagant splurge. For $300/day you get privacy, internet access, a very nice TV (great for Wimbledon watching) and VIP service. The best cabana is the one closest to the golf course, in the row opposite the family pool. Cabanas surround the main pool; there is also a family-friendly pool and an adult-only pool at the spa (lap pool).

Nicest full-service "salon" we've ever seen at a resort (my husband got a great last-minute haircut; he had a great pedicure -- mine was so-so). However, the actual "spa" itself was lacking in talent. My husband had a 90-minute Swedish massage that he almost aborted 50 minutes into it. My facial was "okay" -- extremely expensive spa treatments; not necessarily worth the price tag.

At the St. Regis Monarch, after 3 days, you get a little antsy if you're not fond of destinations that require you to get in a car to do anything off property (as opposed to being able to walk to local shops, restaurants, etc). We ended up cutting our stay short by 1 day.

About a mile from the St. Regis is the Montage Laguna -- first impression is that it's probabaly the winner in the area. Gorgeous ocean-front property with sea views. Mesquite on the firepits. We spent a couple hours investigating the property and we were impressed with every single detail. Cabanas with TVs. More intimate than the grand St. Regis. Very new. Great food; wonderful beach-front casual restaurant.

Bottom line -- we had a lovely experience at the St. Regis. The staff made it such a great experience. However, for the price of our St. Regis suite vs. the price of the Montage, we wish we would have opted for Montage; we just preferred the more intimate vibe as a couple traveling without children. BUT, if you're opting for a 'regular' room price point, you won't be disappointed with the property -- many families seemed to be extremely happy at the St. Regis.

  • Stayed: June 2009, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank RLA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 June 2009

We stayed at the St. Regis Monarch Beach to celebrate our anniversary.

We enjoyed the most beautiful room and excellent customer service during our entire stay. We came in time for the fabulous Sunday brunch at Motif which is the king of all elegant buffet's. Only overnight guests get to enjoy the beautiful beach side Monarch Bay Club (restaurant) - a 'must see' if you stay here. The fitness and spa facilities are wonderful and we’re so glad we were able to take advantage of these provisions. We would come back for this alone!

We had the perfect anniversary there...we will definitely come back - sooner better than later!!

  • Stayed: June 2009, travelled as a couple
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Thank socalgirl60
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 June 2009

My wife and I and our two young children spet 5 nights here. The resort is spectacular, the staff were tremendous and the location was fantastic (30 minutes from Disneyland and 45 minutes to Legoland). They have a private beach with service (chairs, towels, toys for the kids), multiple pools and a big open grassy area. Laguna Beach is just down the road and there are several kid-friendly restaurants nearby. Golf course looked great but didn't get to play it this time.

We'll definately be heading back there again next year.

  • Stayed: May 2009, travelled with family
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Thank AZBell
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 June 2009

Just returned from an overnight stay here & while we did leave satisfied, I can say that I've stayed at quite a few 4 star hotels that were just as beautiful & offered the same level of service, ammenities, etc. that this 5 star St. Regis did.

Upon arriving, the valet guys were very friendly & professional. The man at the front desk was friendly as well, but his thick accent made him quite difficult to understand. The lobby & grounds of this hotel are lovely & very well kept. The other guests that we saw were casually dressed, so it didn't have that snobby feeling at all.

Our room, while very stylish & comfortable, was a bit of a disappointment. I noticed that most of the furniture (bed, closet, desk, etc.) was knicked & looked a bit worn. The balcony of our room was nice, but there is absolutely no privacy. (Luckily the hotel didn't seem too full, otherwise I don't think it would be very peaceful to go out to enjoy the view & have dozens of people surrounding you on the various balconies!) There were also stains & peeling paint on the balcony. The room has a large flat screen tv & we got a kick out of the fact that you could choose to watch "live footage" of what was happening at the beach nearby. I'd also like to note that the room was very quiet - I am sensitive to noise but really didn't hear anything during our stay here. I liked the fact that the maids don't bang around with their cleaning carts at all hours.

We were there with a group of about 25 other people, so we all took the golf cart down to their beachfront restaurant for a cocktail reception & catered dinner. The reception was nice - nothing to write home about though - just your average assortment of passed appetizers. Our whole group agreed that the dinner itself was quite a disappointment. The salad was ok, but our "surf & turf" dinners were not of the quality that I would expect from a St. Regis. The beef was rather tough & flavorless, and the salmon was undercooked in the middle. The food wasn't hot. They also seemed to be a little out of whack on the service end of things. For example, in about a 5 minute period, we had 3 different servers come around to our table & offer more rolls. We had already told them we were fine & didn't want any more bread, but the next thing you know, we got asked again. It was just kind of funny! I will say the apple tart dessert with cinnamon ice cream, was delicious. :)

After dinner, we returned to the lobby bar & were served by a woman who appeared a bit unkempt & seemed overwhelmed by having to serve us. (Our group had dwindled to 15 people or less, at this point.) It was a Sunday night & we were the only people in the bar, yet she couldn't seem to muster a smile or any conversation. Again, it just wasnt' what I would expect from a 5 star hotel. If we had been most anywhere else, I probably wouldn't be giving these things a 2nd thought...but I guess you just come to expect certain things when you are spending big bucks. (Speaking of spending, the average cocktail is about $17. Bring your Visa!)

We enjoyed the pool the next day - like I said, the grounds & landscaping are just beautiful! And it was so quiet & peaceful. The main pool was closed for cleaning (bummer) so we had to use the "family pool," but it was still pleasant. We ordered drinks & snacks out there, and our server was friendly. (12 oz. beers are $7 & chips & guacamole are $10, just to give an example.) We didn't have time to use the fitness center, but we did take a tour & it was gorgeous & filled with state of the art equipment, plus they offer bowls of dried fruit, nuts & ice water infused with oranges. They also offer a variety of fitness classes & even have a "strap wall" for those interested in yoga. I would have loved more time to try the spa & steam room! It was immaculate & very inviting.

So overall we had a very pleasant stay, but I don't feel like I would go out of my way to return. For the money that was spent, I feel like there's better options.

  • Stayed: June 2009, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank nosacrificeatall
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 June 2009

Stayed one night in a King room. The room was huge-very well appointed. We had a nice balcony overlooking the gardens with nice deck furniture. The bathroom was huge with a great shower and separate tub. I loved the music that was piped into the bathroom. The bed was super duper comfortable. We took the little golf cart ride down the the private beach. Attendants set up our space for us and it was a nice place to relax. The bartender in the club recommended their house infused vodka for a refreshing treat. We also had time to relax by the pool back at the property.
From check in to check out I was treated with the service you would expect from a St. Regis property. I would be thrilled to return to this beautiful location!

  • Stayed: June 2009, travelled with family
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Thank Chellebell
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Monarch Beach Resort

Address: 1 Monarch Beach Resort, Dana Point, CA 92629-4085 (Formerly St. Regis, Monarch Beach)
Phone Number:
Region: United States > California > Orange County > Dana Point
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 On the Beach Hotel in Dana Point
#3 Romantic Hotel in Dana Point
#3 Business Hotel in Dana Point
#4 Family Hotel in Dana Point
Price Range: £223 - £640 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Monarch Beach Resort 5*
Number of rooms: 400
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Our AAA Five-Diamond resort overlooks the Pacific and offers private beach club access, with watersports, oceanfront golf, award-winning Miraval Life in Balance Spa, swimming pools, upscale dining, activities programs and more. Located in Dana Point, the resort offers easy access to a variety of Southern California attractions including Catalina Island, Dana Point Harbor, Laguna art galleries and events, Disneyland and more. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
St. Regis, Monarch Beach Hotel Dana Point
St Regis Dana Point
St Regis Resort Monarch Beach

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