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The Montage Resort and Spa
A Mosaic of Refined Relaxation in Laguna Beach
 
The stunningly dramatic Studio restaurant

Guestrooms overlook the mosaic pool and Pacific Ocean

Stroll along the rocky coastline
Warm earth tones and understated décor in a guest suite
Sunlight fills the private bungalows

Story by Jeanne Souders

Just a short drive south of Los Angeles, The Montage Resort and Spa is situated on the ocean side cliffs of 30 lush, green acres in the quaint, yet somewhat funky Laguna Beach. In the early 1900’s, artists flocked to this town in order to express their creativity and now, although the artistic theme is still prevalent, people in search of luxurious tranquility and relaxation pour into town to stay at The Montage Resort and Spa. Walking through the entrance, the lobby was engulfed in lively activity and as I made my way past the affluent, beautiful crowd, a truly breathtaking experience awaited me. The western wall of the lobby lounge is composed of soaring windows with a panoramic view of the ocean that makes you feel as if you’re walking right into the water and stepping off the edge of the earth; it’s simultaneously inspirational and tranquil. A few minutes out on the balcony off this lounge, a beautiful tiled pool appeared below surrounded by trees and gardens with a bluff-top path that winds throughout the property.

After taking in the view, we were personally escorted to what our guide described as “her favorite room.” Our suite featured an expansive living room and bedroom, both with floor to ceiling sliding glass doors leading out onto a balcony, with – you guessed it – virtually the same breathtaking view in the lobby, but better because it was private. Our accommodations, as well as all others in the resort, face the ocean and have either a porch or balcony in order to properly enjoy the ocean view. The room’s décor is smartly understated, yet luxuriously appointed with turn of the century style furnishings complemented with a background of muted color schemes, rich woods and authentic early California-inspired artwork. No comfortable indulgence was spared in the bedroom with feather top beds, goose down pillows and chenille blankets. Immediately I knew that this was the ideal, comfortable retreat and that falling asleep to the sounds of ocean waves crashing against the shore below was definitely in order.

That afternoon my friend and I were scheduled for spa appointments at the Montage Spa. Due to the seaside location of the resort, the spa specializes in water-inspired therapies such as seaweed mineral baths and hydrotherapy as well as natural mud and clays to improve circulation and detoxify. Spa director Barbara Shultz shuns the traditional practice of spa menus and encourages guests – along with individual guidance from an expert therapist -- to personalize their spa programs to their particular lifestyle, goals, physical health and fitness. Our favorite signature treatments included the Montage Massage and the Montage Anti Aging Facial. However, if you’re really looking for the ultimate spa package that will accelerate the achievement of overall well being, sign up for the three night/four-day Surrender Package. In addition to deluxe accommodations and three meals daily, you’ll be assigned a personal therapist and trainer and each day includes two hours of personalized fitness training followed by two hours of spa treatments especially formulated for your specific needs.

The Montage Resort and Spa also offers a culinary experience to suit every taste and the centerpiece of the dining offerings is Studio. This beautiful restaurant sits on the top of a 50 foot cliff and is headed up by former Daniel Boulud protégé James Boyce who combines French cuisine with California influences and uses only the freshest seasonal produce, local fish and farm raised meats and game. At Studio, you can also select from a list of 1800 international wines including some of the finest varietals on the market today as well as selections from newer wineries destined for stardom. The Loft offers spectacular ocean views and indoor/outdoor seating is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Here, Chef John Cuevas serves up seasonal American cuisine, focusing on lighter salads and sandwiches for lunch along with savory meats, fresh seafood and an artisanal cheese menu for dinner. Mosaic Bar and Grill is located bluff side and serves the resorts two pool areas and the spa. At this beach-like venue, choose from flavorful dishes such as shrimp and scallop spring rolls, blackened rib-eye cobb salad or lobster sandwich with oven dried tomato and arugula. Any time of day, the Lobby Lounge is perfect for creative signature drinks and boasts and impressive list of 38 bottles of champagnes for that special occasion.

www.montagelagunabeach.com

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