The St. Regis Monarch Beach resort opened in 2001 and is one of five high-end hotel resorts along the Orange County coast. The hotel and restaurants have an ocean view, but resort-owned Monarch Bay Beach Club on the beach is a half-mile away from the hotel. A golf cart shuttle leaves from the front of the hotel every 15 minutes or so to shuttle guests to the Monarch Bay Club at the northern end of the beach. Alternative access is via paved paths through the golf course giving guests and the public access to the center of the beach. The beach is about a 15 minute walk from the hotel.
St. Regis Monarch Beach has 400 rooms on four to six floors located in a north and south wing. The central hotel public spaces include several restaurants, pools, a Grand Lawn in the center, the Pacific Lawn on the south end, Monarch Point lawn on the north end, and the Botanical Gardens to the west between the golf course and pools.
Beautiful sculpture fountains adorn the grounds. The resort is a pleasant environment for walking in gardens and golf course grounds, gazing at the beauty of the architecture, manicured landscape, and nature’s Pacific Ocean in the distance.
Our first night was typical of our hotel stays this year. Kelley just finished her last round of chemotherapy Friday and she slept most of the 7-hour drive Saturday from Monterey to Dana Point. We arrived around 6:30pm and Kelley lasted about 90 minutes before passing out in bed.
Left alone to drink German lager on our outdoors room patio, I drank myself to a good buzz then wandered the paved walkways of the grounds around the hotel taking photos.
Most night photos don’t come out too well with my small digital camera. The Ocean Pool at night is a cool place. Music plays in the potted plant shrubs surrounding the pool.
The interior of the hotel has several areas for seating without being in the restaurants.
Outdoor areas have some seating away from the bars and dining.
Most of the central hotel terraces are for restaurant diners and bar guests. There are a few balconies without seating for public views over the resort grounds.
The Rotunda is located near the Pacific Lawn on the south side of the South Wing guest rooms. The building looked gorgeous in the orange glow of sunset.
The ornamental floor had a grand piano.
The conference wing of the hotel has design features worth seeingif the area is not packed with people.
Remember, this is the St. Regis hotel that spawned the luxury hotel corporate backlash in 2008 after AIG racked up one extravagant folio. The lavish retreat for its high achieving employees soon after the company received government bailout funds sent a message reverberating through the luxury hotel industry. An LA Times article in August 2009 stated the St. Regis Monarch Beach received about 25% of its resort revenue from financial sector industry meetings.
Stonehill Tavern, a chef Michael Mina and designer Tony Chi creation, is the high-end dinner restaurant at Monarch Beach. While I appreciate beautiful spaces, I don’t appreciate fine dining, so here are links to restaurant reviews from others who may offer better insight.
Motif Restaurant offers all day dining. Sunday brunch is their signature dining experience with a full buffet including a pancake bar, crab, oysters, desserts, and more. The $70 per person price tag ($90 with champagne) was too rich for my wallet on this trip.
Pool Bar & Grill is located outside, adjacent to the Grand Lawn on the pool level.
Crust is Starbucks-style breakfast menu and environment located on the north wing side of the central lobby. There were bagels, coffee, juices, and muffins.
Monarch Bay Club is located on the beach. The club has a bar and restaurant for oceanfront dining. During the day there was a second bar set up outside on the lawn. Tables in the grassy area were in use by some guests who worked away on computers at the lawn area tables while relaxing near the beach.
The Wine Cellar is for private functions and was just outside our room. Saturday night there was a function and candelabras were positioned on the sidewalk in front of our patio adding a little more ambience to our room 146 ground floor location.
The Lobby Lounge and Terrace is the place for drinks inside or outside for the resort and ocean views.
Spa Gaucin offers café dining. I spent several hours in this part of the resort, but I never saw anyone order food. Complimentary dried fruits, grapes, oranges, and ice water flavored with fresh fruit slices were on a table in the café adjacent to the fitness room and just inside from the lap pool.
Club 19 is the golf clubhouse restaurant just west of the north wing of the hotel. Monarch Beach Golf Links is part of the resort at St. Regis.
Hotel Wing Exteriors
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