Monarch Beach Resort
One Monarch Beach Resort N, Dana Point, CA 92629, USA
Photo by Amanda Friedman, AFAR Media
Monarch Beach ResortThe Monarch Beach Resort feels like one massive beach house, a place that’s mastered California’s particular brand of laid-back luxury. A tram connects the hillside hotel with its private beach club and restaurant, Monarch Bay Club, where staff will facilitate guests’ day at the beach—whether that’s teaching private bodyboarding or surfing lessons (or on calmer days, SUP or kayaking), setting up lounge chairs and bringing icy drinks, or serving a barbecue feast at night. Southern Californians come from all over for the Robert Trent Jones Jr.–designed 18-hole golf course and Miraval Life in Balance Spa, which offers more than 50 weekly yoga, meditation, and exercise classes, plus opulent therapies (like the Diamond Infusion Ritual). The food spans the globe, including a Mexican cantina poolside, an open-air Mediterranean restaurant, and a bar that serves both samosas and burgers. Pro tip: Book a table in advance of your stay at Michael Mina’s Bourbon Steak Orange County, which opened in 2018 and serves sophisticated takes on steak house fare (butter-poached Wagyu, lobster potpie) with a dash of showmanship—expect tableside presentations and Japanese whiskey ceremonies.