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“Beautiful Resort!”

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Montage Laguna Beach
Ranked #1 of 23 Hotels in Laguna Beach
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 18 August 2014

My wife and I have been fortunate to stay at The Montage - Laguna Beach several times, and each visit is consistently excellent! Yes, the hotel is expensive, but the location, facility, and staff are definitely worth the experience! The Loft is wonderful whether for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or cocktails and appetizers! The resort has its own Fromager who can assemble the best cheese selection along with various fruits, crackers, and exotic honeys!
The pool area is so comfortable and restful along with friendly food and bar service!

Room Tip: Room 454 has a wonderful frontal view of the ocean, pool, and the coastline south of the resort! Al...
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  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank VenturaDaddyo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 18 August 2014

"I'm sorry, we don't have that, but you have a GREAT day!"

That line epitomizes the Montage. My family and I recently stayed at the Montage for three days as a stop over after a long flight from London. We had read all the "awesome" reviews on Trip Advisor, so we were looking forward to the stay.

And throughout our stay, I really wanted to like the place but it became harder and harder to do. And in the end I have to conclude that while it's a beautiful location, the rooms are nice but nothing to rave about, but the coup de grace was the consistently inconsistent service.

The staff are over-the-top energetic and friendly. When they take your requests, be it a food or a drink order or for towels by the pool, they often ended their response with an energetically delivered "beautiful" or "perfect." But they're much more trained in the "tour guide Barbie" school (for those parents who have watched Toy Story 2 more times than they care to remember) than the École Hôtelière de Lausanne as the off the scale positive energy often didn't translate to actual consistent execution.

Setting the service issues aside for a moment, the hotel's location is beautiful with gorgeous views of the ocean. The grounds are well manicured and pretty. The rooms are fine for a high end hotel, but not extraordinary nor memorable. There were certainly signs of wear and tear here and there. In our room, one of the power plugs was falling out of the wall; the TVs were old, and the phones even older.

But what really lead me to looking forward to checking out was the service....the proverbial death by a thousand cuts, Montage style.

It started with the check in. We arrived from an 11 hour flight from London topped off by a couple of hours on the 405 freeway. So we were happy (and tired) to have finally arrived.

As we walked into the lobby, it was jammed. They were hosting some type of reception in the lobby and there was more bedlam than a soothing arrival at a cool resort (and it's worth noting that the Montage is a local "destination" so expect quite a bit of local traffic like weddings and various events to add to the crowds). One of the participants in whatever the event was arrived steps ahead of us at the reception, with a large gin and tonic in hand and five, one hundred dollar notes that he wanted changed into twenties. Unfortunately, there was only one check in clerk manning reception (surprisingly for late afternoon) and she took a few minutes to grab the cash and methodically count it out as we waited with a couple of exhausted and jet lagged young daughters. Then to top off our first impressions, the gentleman in question, with cash in hand, then proceeded to drop his extra large gin and tonic all over the reception floor in front of me with a substantial splash. Fortunately he soaked himself and I dodged out of the way. Welcome to the "five star" Montage.

Once the reception clerk got to us, the check in process was quick and efficient. She even pulled out a radio flyer red wagon with stuffed toys, which my girls loved as they each got to pick one. That was cool and appreciated.

We had asked for a crib and rail guards for one of the beds for our daughters. We had also asked for Silk milk. None of that was in the room, but they had helpfully installed a mini refrigerator to hold the Silk, once it arrived. We made a phone call and the crib, rail guards and Silk milk all appeared. Not a big deal, but a five star hotel would have had all that in the room as had been requested.

As we further settled down in our room, I logged onto the wifi. The clerk who showed us the room noted that when you log into the guest network, you'll default to a $19.99 per day wifi option, but if you scroll down, there was a free, albeit slower, wifi option. So I logged into the free wifi. It was, as she promised, slow. In fact, she under promised. The free option was really really slow. The next day after losing patience waiting for NYTimes on my iPad to download (it took minutes and minutes on the free wifi) I opted for the "high speed" $19.99 per day wifi. That was faster.....but still slow. At one point it took an hour to download a 600 MB file. That's not what I'd call "high speed" in this day and age, and certainly not for $19.99 per day. Not exactly five star

With kids, room service is essential and here it was hit and miss. What was perhaps most annoying was what should have been the basic part: phoning in your order. Rare was it we phoned in an order without being put on hold. One time, when my wife was ordering dinner for our daughters, she was put on hold three times. When she expressed some exasperation to the staffer on the other end if the phone, she was told "well ma'am we have other guests." Well thank you Captain Obvious. But it made me wonder why they didn't have more staff manning the phones. Not exactly five star.

Our first night my wife and I decided to eat in the room as we were tired after the long flight. We asked that when the room service arrived, that they please knock softly as our daughters were asleep. But that didn't stop them from phoning our room (the ringers on the room phones were loud) to tell us that our order was being sent up. Uh? So much for soft knocking on the door. BTW they called as the food was being sent up later than promised and hence the presumed reason for the "it'll be right up" phone call. Not exactly five star.

Another challenge to maintaining quiet was the turn down service on our second night. I was reading my daughter a bedtime story and she was almost asleep. I had forgotten to place the "privacy" sign on the door knob, and there was suddenly a very loud knocking on the door. I got off the bed where I was reading to my daughter and before I could take two steps to the door, the housekeeper had opened the door, stuck her head through and said "hello" in quite a loud voice. That hit the reset button on getting my daughter to go to sleep. Again, not exactly five star.

Mini bars can also be essential when traveling with young kids who wake up early in the morning. We had adjoining rooms, so we had two mini bars at our service. My daughters liked the apple juice and orange juice, so they had some on the first morning. On the second morning, our mini bar had not been restocked, but I raided the mini bar in our other room. Third morning? No more mini bars to raid as we only had two and neither had been restocked over two days. I called housekeeping, who after I explained what I needed then transferred me to in-room dining (so I could explain what I needed all over again). They sent up the juice bottles, but only after asking "were you in your rooms around 10 am, as that's when we typically restock?" While that felt like she was seeking an excuse (it was our fault for being in the room) I noted that we were never in the room in the morning. No exactly five star.

Breakfast. Breakfast was in The Loft. The menu looked quite good, but the actual food was a disappointment and the service was inconsistent. On our first morning, our food arrived within 10 minutes of ordering. We were impressed. The next three days, it took over 30 minutes. And the funny thing was it was the first morning that was by far the most crowded. Portions were huge. The huevos rancheros could have fed a small village and the croissants looked liked they'd fail a PEDs test, as they were the biggest I've ever seen. But big doesn't equate to good. And they was true for most of the food. One morning I ordered scrambled eggs with sausage. Pretty basic stuff. It was insipid. The eggs were totally dry and not particularly hot. The sausages were a fraction above room temperature. The meal evoked a "free buffet" as an airport motel rather than a high end resort. We were in a bit of a rush that morning (heading to Disney) and as I had already been waiting 10 minutes for a coffee refill I really had no chance to complain, but clearly my breakfast had been left out for quite some time waiting to be delivered to the table. The fact that they did deliver that poor quality food does not speak to an attentive staff. The one dish that was consistently good was the pancakes, much to our daughters' pleasure. Coffee refills were hit and miss depending on your server but more often than not I was waving my arm to get someone's attention for that needed jolt of Java (we had flown in from London, so were a bit jet lagged.). All in all, not exactly five star.

But it didn't end there. If you eat outside on the balcony at The Loft (which is great because of the views) try not to look down. They have a woven mat rug under the tables (not the smartest idea in a restaurant) and it is filthy. Food stains are everywhere to the point that even my three and a half year old daughter pointed to one large stain in the floor and said "yucky, daddy." The wooden chairs and tables outside and very beaten up and in desperate need of repainting or replacing as they are very long in the tooth. Not exactly five star.

My wife and I ate dinner at The Loft one night. As the hostess sat us down, my wife said out loud "hmmm, there are crayons on the floor under the table." The hostess smiled and said "you have a GREAT meal" and left the crayons under our feet for the rest of the meal. My wife and I both ordered the same dishes and they were fine, BUT let's just say we both ended up enjoying Pepto Bismol chasers for dessert some hours later. Not exactly five star.

And that wasn't the only example of energetic, but ineffective staff. We were all enjoying the very crowded pool one afternoon. As I got in with my daughters I saw a large apple core floating in the water. Presumably it was dropped in the pool by a sea gull (or one of the large number of kids in the pool). I tossed it out of the pool onto the pool deck about two feet from the water's edge. And there it sat for the next 90 minutes, untouched by the constant stream of staff walking over and around it. Eventually as I was toweling off my daughters (and it was quieting down as it was after 6 pm and the pool staff were closing umbrellas and rearranging the chaise lounges) an intrepid pool staffer finally picked up the apple core and threw it out. Not exactly five star.

And don't expect to find much solace in the spa pool, the only kid-free pool on the property. It's reserved for people getting spa treatments, unless they're not particularly busy. And that means the pool is your only option and when we were there it was super crowded (think when the caddies hit the pool in Caddyshack). While I was there with two young daughters I did feel bad for any adults trying to enjoy a quiet time by the pool. It was much more summer camp than a cool spa. In fact, it really got over the top when the kids club, which was a lot of boys that day, arrived en masse to play a bunch a pool games at very energetic volume. Not exactly five star.

Then there was the Kids Club. One critical word of advice for parents: reserve way in advance. Stupid us, but we thought it would be like all the other kids clubs we've used at other high end resorts and we could show up. Nope. Think of it more like a very popular spa. We managed to book a four hour slot----in three days hence. The Montage knew we were coming with kids as we had made a number or arrangements but nobody alerted us to the need to reserve the kids club way in advance. Not exactly five star.

As I struggled to decide how best to describe the Montage, the word that came to mind was "industrial." This isn't the bespoke, truly five star service you would find at an Aman, a good Four Seasons, a One and Only (I'm writing this review from the One and Only Palmilla, as we continue our holiday, so it's a pretty sharp contrast in what is five star) or a Rosewood--the only thing that compares to those is the price. The Montage is a mass market place trying to spin themselves as intimate and über high end. The one thing that is clearly high end is the price. So, if a beautiful albeit very crowded setting with high prices but adequate to poor service is your cup of tea, then the Montage is for you.

Room Tip: We were in 351/352 which were one floor below, but right next to the outdoor seating area of The Lof...
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  • Stayed: August 2014, travelled with family
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
9  Thank SohoJohn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
MauricioSouzaDoR, Director of Rooms at Montage Laguna Beach, responded to this reviewResponded 26 September 2014

Thank you for being our guests at Montage Laguna Beach and for taking the time to share a detailed review of our resort. I regret to learn of the disappointments you experienced during your stay here, especially because they hindered what should have been a pleasant family vacation. Would you please respond to the private message I've sent you? I look forward to your contact and appreciate your time.

Respectfully,

Mauricio Souza
Director of Rooms

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 August 2014

We just returned from 5 days at the Montage. This is a first class hotel!!

We were upgraded to a nice bungalow suite. Very spacious with an enormous functional bathroom and very comfortable bed. There was a sitting area seperate from our space for our son to sleep in the sofabed. He also had his own 1/2 bathroom.

THe only downside was that we took a ground floor unit. The room is near a walkway so there is abit less privacy but not bad. I would go for a 2nd floor unit next time. The room was expensive as is everything at this resort. You need to know that going in. Spa was very nice and treaments were pretty good

The pool area is very nice with comfotable lounge chairs. The staff is everywhere and go out of their way to please you. No request is too much. You really feel that. There was an issue the 1st day with chairs as they are pretty much reserved for regulars but we always managed to get something good

The beach service is great as well. Although a public beach, the hotel has chairs and umbrellas for guests. A great touch!! The surf is pretty rough and the water a bit chilly but the beach is awesome although busy.

Our breakfasts were included through our package which was nice. Great choices and very fresh.

The best feature is the weather. Its awesome!! 78-82 during the day and 60-65 at night. Perfect.

Local restos are great too. We never ate dinner at the hotel.

One thing that bothered me was having to pay for WiFi ($20/day) and the kids club ($70/half day). At the price I was paying they should have been included. The valet is also expensive at $35/day.


We are already planning our return

Room Tip: Higher floors have better view. Avoid 1st floor as there are walkng paths everywhere
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  • Stayed: August 2014, travelled with family
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank jeezer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 August 2014

My wife and I booked a stay at Montage to celebrate an important milestone in our lives We arrived mid–week and stayed for five days, four nights. The setting of this hotel was exquisite as was the weather. The food was great and abundant, the staff courteous, helpful and attentive and our room was very comfortable and clean (with a great view of the Pacific). Both the room and the hotel overall were very well kept and appointed, but by no means were they "overly luxurious." We stayed in what I believe to be the cheapest room for the time of year—about $1100 per night. Those were all very positive aspects of our stay.

However, the first negative aspect for any couple planning a quiet getaway was that the hotel was literally overrun with children of all ages including infants, toddlers, preteens and young adults. There were times when I thought there may have been more kids than adults as it seemed that every couple had three or four children in tow. Now I have no problem with kids (my wife and I have three ourselves); it is just that we were not expecting this to be the case, although I imagine it was a function of the time of year we went -- the first week of August. Also, this is no fault of Montage, but it is, however, an important point for potential travelers to consider before booking.

This brings me to the second negative aspect of our stay: due to the large number of kids, the main pool was a "no go" for anyone thinking about snoozing in a lounge chair, reading a book or just basically "mellowing out." From footballs to Frisbees they were flying everywhere along with the shrieks of delight and shouts that one would expect (and I typically love…when I’m with my kids). Even the hotel's $300/day private cabanas will not save you as they are located in the same general area.

As an alternative there is the spa pool which is essentially a quiet, adults only (must be at least 14, I believe) pool and deck area that is available for use to anyone who has a spa treatment (none of which is cheap) on a given day (even if your treatment is at 5 pm, you can come at 6 am and stay the whole day). The problem here (and at the main pool as well) is that the chaise lounges are so close together, you feel like you are back in that economy class seat you may have sat in to get to Laguna. I found this to be a huge problem. There is basically no privacy as you are "cheek to jowl" with other guests (see attached photo of the distance between the arms of two chairs). Also, a number of lounges are right up against the pool edge so if someone goes in for a dip, you're likely to get wet. There is also not enough room for all the shade umbrellas (you may be in the shade whether you like it or not) and foot traffic. It is all very tight and a bit of a mess to say the least. Not exactly the way I wanted to spend a mellow, long weekend with the missus. In addition, at this spa pool, chaise lounges can purportedly be reserved on a first come, first served basis by coming down early in the morning. However, this did not seem to be a firm policy as even upon arriving when they opened – I got up at about 6 AM to do so one morning, ugh—a large number of the “better positioned lounges” were already “reserved.” Upon some direct questioning of the pool attendants it became clear that there may have been a “black market” in these lounges and a little extra cash would get you two reserved without even having to come down early in some cases. Quite often, the lounges that were supposedly reserved would literally sit empty and untouched the entire day. This was especially true of the chaise lounges that were along the glass wall, overlooking the Pacific which offered a little (but just a little) more privacy and room. Again, something I think that any potential guest should consider and something that Montage should address as, at least for me, it was an important aspect of my stay.

By no means is this review meant to slam the hotel (I gave it a high ranking in many respects) but just to point out areas that clearly need improvement in my opinion and that should be considered by others looking for a similar style getaway to ours during a peak time of year.

  • Stayed: August 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
16  Thank London T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
MauricioSouzaDoR, Director of Rooms at Montage Laguna Beach, responded to this reviewResponded 26 September 2014

Thank you for being our guests and for providing valuable feedback regarding your time at Montage Laguna Beach. I truly appreciate your recent visit and regret that your stay lacked the tranquility and relaxation you and your wife envisioned. While I understand we may not repeat your vacation, I hope for an opportunity of better preparing for your next visit. Please contact me before you return so I may ensure a delightful experience.

Appreciatively,

Mauricio Souza
Director of Rooms

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 August 2014

Very few places on planet earth I would rather go to than Montage. Luxury, luxury, and more luxury in every facet of this beautiful place. Treat your self to an extraordinary experience at this world class destination.

Stayed: May 2014, travelled as a couple
Thank Gbusiek
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 August 2014

This is my fourth visit to this hotel and I am in total amazement of how wonderful this hotel continues to be in every way. Everything about this hotel is much over the top. The best way to describe this hotel is that it is like the National Symphony with each of the musicians doing their part yet playing together to create a masterpiece. When driving up to the hotel, there were multiple greeters welcoming us sincerely and understanding that we journeyed there took control, called the front desk to announce us and whisked our bags away so that they would quickly appear in our room. check in was a delight. The staff at the desk were kind and enthusiastic about their excitement that we were guests of the hotel. It took the fatigue of travel immediately away and their excitement was immediately contagious to us. The accommodations look immaculate and this hotel obviously invests heavily in keeping their property up to date. We felt that we were the first to ever stay in our room. Tim Ward, the Guest Relations Manager is a one of a kind. He so wants to please guests and he is everywhere. He wants guests to be happy and does what it takes to meet everyone's expectations. The food quality at this hotel is six stars. No matter whether it is breakfast, lunch or dinner at the Loft, lunch or dinner at Mosaic, room service or a restaurant that is of amazing artistry of presentations and culinary delights-Studio I can say that it is not necessary to leave the hotel to enjoy culinary perfection. The grounds, the views, the pools, the ocean, the service at all of these places..........SIX STARS!! Don't miss the spa.. We had amazing treatments and an outdoor jacuzzi that has brought my feelings of good health to new levels. Can't wait to retur and return and return.......Last but not least, we got to see the wedding that was being hosted at the hotel. This is a venue out of a story land. Beautiful outdoor venue with great ballroom space. The banquet manager, Javad should always be sought. we watched as he organized the event and he also did a 60th birthday event for my wife in the past. Our saying is"leave it to Javad".
Can't wait to return!!!!!

  • Stayed: August 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
Thank tarbash
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 August 2014

My wife and I needed a break and so we chose 5 days at the Montage. What a truly remarkable experience. From beginning to end it was flawless. The service is outstanding The staff are superbly trained and they did not miss a beat (except perhaps for the one concierge person who was a bit nasty and short with us when we missed our limo ride to the Pageant and she curtly told us to "catch a cab"). However we can forgive that as everyone else was wonderful. The food is superb. The setting is magnificent. It is worth every dollar. I am certainly going back!! Thanks to all at the Montage. Others can certainly learn from you!

  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank Madevu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Montage Laguna Beach

Address: 30801 South Coast Highway, Laguna Beach, CA 92651-4221
Phone Number:
Region: United States > California > Orange County > Laguna Beach
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) Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#1 On the Beach Hotel in Laguna Beach
#1 Family Hotel in Laguna Beach
#1 Romantic Hotel in Laguna Beach
#1 Business Hotel in Laguna Beach
#1 Spa Hotel in Laguna Beach
Price Range: £525 - £831 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Montage Laguna Beach 5*
Number of rooms: 250
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Montage Laguna Beach is a luxury California beach resort where guests enjoy premium services including including rejuvenating wellness options at the 20,000-square-foot Spa Montage; gourmet dining at Studio, The Loft, or Mosaic Bar and Grille; outdoor relaxing by one of two onsite pool decks; and much more. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Montage Laguna Beach Hotel Laguna Beach
Montage Hotel Laguna Beach
Montage Resort Laguna Beach

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