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Suite Yourself

The SoCal resort scene is sizzling. Whether you are destined for the desert, jetting off to the (hip again) Catalina Island or discovering a last coastal gem, we present the resorts that deserve serious attention. The best part? The choice is yours.

The Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage

Some Like It Haute
Drumroll, please. After years in the planning, the desert will be hotter than ever when the The Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage opens this month. The 36-acre property has 244 rooms and suites, and its design pays homage to the surrounding area’s open-air lifestyle, with panoramic hilltop views, natural landscape elements, integrated water features, dazzling fire and light attractions, and architecture punctuated with stone, wood and copper. Guests will also relish in the abundant amenities and activities. Indulge at the opulent two-story spa; take a dip in one of the serenity pools; or stretch your legs on the resort’s 20-plus miles of hiking and biking trails. There are also curated golf and tennis experiences, along with world-class shopping. And acclaimed Parisian chef Bruno Lopez has been tapped to oversee the hotel’s culinary program, which will get another boost when the dramatic, cliffside Edge restaurant bows in the fall. Interested? A special Opening Celebration package offers accommodations, breakfast for two, valet parking and other highlights. From $379 per night through June 30

Bay Watch
With the redux of its signature restaurant complete, the legendary Balboa Bay Resort in Newport Beach can once again be considered a culinary contender. The classic eatery, known for its John Wayne-era menu, is gastronomically invigorated, thanks to chef Vincent Lesage, who earned his chops from the gourmand destination that is The St. Regis Monarch Beach. Think squid carpaccio and O.C. cioppino. For loyalists, the famed lobster bisque is still on the menu, and the view happily remains unchanged. From $450 per night

Branching Out
It’s all about rustic chic at the revamped Lake Arrowhead Resort & Spa, one of Marriott International’s exclusive Autograph Collection hotels. Situated next to the quaint, waterfront village, the boutique property’s recent $5.5 million redo exudes laid-back luxury. The guest rooms, the Spa of the Pines and Bin 189—the signature restaurant—all got a nip and tuck. But one thing remains a constant: Stunning views of the lake and San Bernardino Mountains abound from each of the 150-plus rooms and suites. From $269 per night 

Amazing Grace
In tribute to its glamorous former resident Grace Kelly—subject of the upcoming film Grace of Monaco—the whimsical Hotel Bel-Air created a Graceful Living package. Stay in the Grace Kelly Suite, a whitewashed bungalow fit for a princess, with vaulted ceilings, a wall of windows and a garden patio with a Jacuzzi. Enjoy a Princess Facial by La Prairie, Kelly-themed cocktails at Wolfgang Puck, plush bathrobes and a special gift. From $3,250, 701 Stone Canyon Road, L.A., 800.648.4097 

Lake Arrowhead Resort & Spa

Cruise Control
Shift into high gear at Terranea Resort and its newly unveiled self-guided driving tour. The oceanfront destination has teamed with Lexus to offer its Shearwater Suites guests the Terranea Drive Series, a variety of experiential GPS-led outings with specially themed itineraries like romance, adventure and shopping. The retail retreat is an excursion to South Coast Plaza, complete with complimentary valet parking, shopping concierge, VIP Passport and a $100 gift certificate. From $2,445 per night

Tower of Power
Relax in Santa Monica and take in the expansive vistas of the Santa Monica Pier, Pacific Ocean and Malibu via the Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows’ restored Ocean Tower. Sought-after L.A. interior designer Lynda Murray has been busily reverting the 10-story, 196-room beachfront building to its original 1950s design, and once it opens this month, guests will hearken back to the midcentury beach era through fresh, neutral interiors (including Phillip Jeffries’ grass cloth wallcoverings) interspersed with custom-built walnut grain furniture, upholstered beds created by local craftsmen and vintage seashore photography. The showpiece? Those unrivaled balcony views, of course. From $419 per night

Royal Court
Talk about a match point. For the finale of its $30 million remodel, Rancho Valencia clearly left the best part for last, at least for tennis vacationers. Owner and fitness fanatic Jeff Jacobs takes no challenge lightly, serving up gnarly cycling and yoga programs alongside intense tennis camps. Bring your A-game as the tennis concierge doubles as a serious matchmaker. The new clubhouse and world-class courts come after the unveiling of the resort’s signature restaurant, Veladora (there’s a priceless Damien Hirst as the centerpiece), along with a VIP vaulted wine room and a top-notch tequila program at the handsome bar. And this year marks the resort’s 25th anniversary; look for festive offerings like the Silver Pony cocktail. From $420 per night 

Southern Exposure
Imperial Beach is a destination by the very fact that this sandy bastion is the most southwestern city in the country. And now it boasts a legitimate boutique hotel, thanks to the new Pier South Resort. I.B. has what so many beach towns lack these days: a sense of discovery. There’s the acclaimed pastry chef churning out gourmet ice cream (and a perfect affogato) on the picturesque pier, and equestrians will enjoy the little-known fact that I.B. is also the last spot where horseback riding on the beach is legal. Giddyap! With its SEA 180° eatery holding court on the lobby level—there are floor-to-ceiling sunset views and flickering fire pits—it’s easy not to leave the four-story modern hotel, waking to a perfectly combed stretch of sand that’s nearly empty. From $209 per night

High Water Mark
Catalina Island has long been known as one of SoCal’s top weekend getaway destinations, but now the seaside retreat is adding even more appeal, thanks to a five-year, $40 million renovation project. Led by the Santa Catalina Island Co., the revamp includes everything from the redesign of the Pavilion Hotel and Hotel Atwater to the opening of new restaurants and retail spaces. A highlight? The unveiling of the landmark’s first resort spa this month. The Island Spa Catalina will boast nine ocean-view skincare and body treatment rooms, a cafe, a retail marketplace, a salon and a soaking pool. And the popular Descanso Beach Club is also getting a fresh look. When it debuts this fall, the spot will feature a 13,000-square-foot clubhouse that can accommodate up to 200 people, along with a gourmet espresso bar and waterfront presidential cabanas outfitted with amenities like flat-screen TVs. Even better: New packages for the island’s zip line, heli-hiking tours and sea expeditions will be introduced throughout the year. Rates vary