Numerous people have said “you simply must experience Monarch Beach” since the former St. Regis property completed its $40 million update in 2016. With summer in full swing and the siren song of the O.C. coast calling, I decided to heed their advice and planned an overnight visit with two of the resort’s unique amenities, golfboarding and the new martini cart at Bourbon Steak, on my to do list.
Nestled in the hills of Dana Point, Monarch Beach Resort is a unique blend of sophisticated jet-set level luxury and SoCal barefoot ease. Upon check-in I was immediately taken by the lobby’s light fabrics and natural woods that set the tone for the rest of the resort’s design aesthetic and perfectly compliment the uninterrupted vistas and breathtaking ocean views that are the backdrop for this magical haven.
After dropping my bags in my stylish and comfortable room with its marble bath and ocean view balcony, I set out to see the property. First stop, the Miraval Life in Balance Spa where I learned about their myriad of services and wellness classes, including unique offerings like Beach Yoga, Cardio Drumming, Full Moon Yoga and Blue Mindfulness Beach Hiking, and then toured the state-of-the-art facility with its fitness studios, massage rooms and private pool.
Next I wandered past to the swimming pool with its Pacific views, private cabanas and Sombra Cantina restaurant on my way to the clubhouse at Monarch Beach’s award-winning Robert Trent Jones Jr. designed golf course where I made an appointment for a golfboarding lesson the next morning.
Dinner at Bourbon Steak proved a rare—pardon the pun—treat. Executive Chef Bryan Brown has developed a menu that combines the best of the land, sea and garden and speaks to the tastes that Southern California is known for. In addition there are key Michael Mina signature dishes such as Ahi Tuna Tartar, Black Truffle Mac & Cheese and Maine Lobster Pot Pie that bring this master chef’s classics home. My tastebuds were also treated to the new tableside martini cart. Bourbon Steak and the Nolet family, who distill Ketel One Vodka and Nolet’s Gin, have partnered on this elevated imbibing experience that allows guests to select their spirit and customize a martini at each stage of the process. I chose a classic gin martini up with a twist and the mixologist responded with a true taste treat.
In the morning I jumping onto the “Woody” Resort Tram that whisked me to the beach club. There I met one of the friendly and helpful Monarch Beach Resort Hosts who told me about their private bodyboarding and surf lessons and kayak rentals and showed me the Monarch Bay Club, where beachgoers can enjoy a snack or a sumptuous meal seaside. I then reboarded the tram and finished up my stay with a private golfboarding lesson. The GolfBoard—think golf cart meets a surf or snowboard—was co-developed by international surfing legend Laird Hamilton. It not only brings a new level of energy to the sport, but claims to cut the time of the average round of golf to a little more than 2 ½ hours. Once I got the hang of steering the GolfBoard with my body weight and overcame the fear of falling off (nearly impossible to do) the fun of zooming around the links began. Though I am not a golfer, the GolfBoard made taking up the sport quite tempting.
My two days of exploration and adventure at Monarch Beach Resort has me looking to book my next trip and with their new “3rd Night Free” program running throughout the summer it is a sure bet that I’ll be back. One Monarch Beach Resort, Dana Point