Surf’s Up!

Legendary California band, The Beach Boys, sang the praises of Dana Point in a pair of its most memorable hits, “Surfin’ Safari” and “Surfing USA.” Long known as the “Whale Watching Capital of the West,” the area is also home to almost half a million dolphins. Situated just south of Laguna Beach, it’s a pristine piece of SoCal paradise that is justly famed worldwide for its spectacular sunsets and air of romance.

Travelers to this beautiful slice of Orange County can live like royalty at the appropriately named Monarch Beach Resort. The resort is the recipient of a Five-Diamond award from AAA, a highly coveted honor that the organization accords to only 0.4% of the over 27,000 hotels it reviews annually.

This spring, the luxury coastal property on the Pacific Ocean unveils a major renovation of its rebranded Monarch Bay Beach Club, with private beach access provided to all guests. The resort’s upscale Miraval Life in Balance Spa, meanwhile, spans some 30,000 square feet. Here, visitors can take the plunge in a lap pool, participate in a wide array of fitness classes, and pamper themselves with some 70-plus wellness treatments that emphasize holistic green living.

For those who prefer putting greens, the property also features an acclaimed Scottish links-style 6,600-yard golf course designed by legendary architect Robert Trent Jones, Jr. If all that exercise encourages an appetite, the Monarch Beach Resort’s multitude of appetizing fine dining options include Bourbon Steak Orange County. Twinning traditional menu items with a distinctly modern twist, it’s the brainchild of Michael Mina, the Michelin award-winning chef and business partner of Andre Agassi who has cooked for no fewer than three U.S. presidents.

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