Dreaming of a luxurious tropical escape (but don’t want to trek across the globe)? Then indulge your jet-setter fantasies by visiting the coastal region of Orange County. Set among lush palm trees along the picturesque Pacific Ocean (and less than 2-hours away from Los Angeles), find out why this upscale Southern California destination is a must-visit retreat for discerning travelers.
The Luxury Travel Guide to Laguna Beach
From upscale hotels that offer an unparalleled experience to restaurants with extraordinary views and gourmet eats, Inspirations & Celebrations presents The Luxury Travel Guide to Laguna Beach. Read on to discover a posh paradise in Orange County and learn our secrets on the ultimate places to stay and play.
Where To Stay in Orange County – Luxury Hotels with Coastal Views
When you search online for luxury hotels with coastal views in Orange County, one of the top results will undoubtedly be The Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel in Dana Point, California, and with good reason.
This prestigious 4-star resort is perched atop a hilltop bluff overlooking the serene ocean and beach directly below. Aside from being a gorgeous destination resort, the hotel offers outstanding service, attention to detail, and enjoyable recreational activities that make your trip even more fun.
The Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel // Dana Point, California
Offering upscale accommodations mixed with a fun, Southern California spirit, The Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel is an ideal vacation spot for both families with kids and young professionals looking for an escape from the mundane.
From its stunning design to its exceptional hospitality, it’s easy to see why the hotel is considered one of the premier spots to stay at in Orange County. Upon entering the property, guests are promptly greeted by a friendly, attentive staff that create a warm and welcoming atmosphere. At first glance, the hotel gives off a relaxed yet elegant feeling with its Mediterranean-inspired architecture and picturesque garden entrance.
Bringing a trendy, youthful vibe to the hotel, the interior exudes sleek sophistication, modernized by chic and colorful accents (like eye-catching graphic surfboards, coastal-inspired coffee table books, and dramatic ocean photography).
The rooms offer plush living quarters, including spacious rooms with dreamy beds, romantic private patios with fire pits and ocean views, and luxurious bathrooms surrounded by marble.
Fitness & Recreational Activities
Throughout the property, hotel guests have access to a myriad of fitness and recreational activities. From two gorgeous swimming pools to yoga and Pilates classes, a fitness center (with sweeping ocean vistas), and even ping pong and tennis, there’s no shortage of ways to stay fit while vacationing at The Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel.
If you’re looking for even more fun, head to the hotel’s on-site Eco-Adventures Center to book one of their outdoor activities, like surfing lessons, stand-up paddle boarding or kid-friendly nature activities.
Dog-Friendly Tips for Traveling to Orange County
Since we love traveling with our furry four-legged friend, Wellesley. The Frenchie, we were excited to learn that The Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel offers a Posh Pooch hospitality program. Upon entering our room, we noticed a gift bag on the bedroom desk. Inside contained a number of goodies for our puppy, including a tennis ball (which he enjoyed playing with on the lawn in front of our patio), dog treats, dog waste bags, and more. They even offer a “Yappy Hour”, which makes it fun for both dogs (and their humans) to relax and unwind in style.
Where To Eat in Orange County
If you plan on traveling to Orange County with your dog, we recommend checking out BringFido.com to discover pet-friendly places to go. A few dog-friendly restaurants in the area that we’d give a 5-bone rating to would be The Cliff Restaurant & Bar, Sapphire Laguna, and Las Brisas.
If you’re looking for a lunch spot that offers a tranquil ocean view and a relaxed, easy-going indoor and outdoor atmosphere, head to The Cliff Restaurant & Bar in Laguna Beach. This popular spot is a hit amongst locals and tourists, making it one of the best places to see and be seen. Plus, it’s a great place for really good eats!
The Cliff Restaurant & Bar // Laguna Beach, California
From a scrumptious coconut-battered shrimp appetizer to a picture-perfect salmon salad drizzled with balsamic dressing and topped with fresh berries, glazed nuts, and goat cheese, the menu at The Cliff Restaurant & Bar offers a variety of palette-pleasing meals. They even offer a dog menu and Peanut Butter cookies for your pet, making it an even happier experience for your furry pal.
For your convenience, the restaurant also offers valet parking (which is important to note since downtown Laguna Beach is often a bustling area).
Raya Restaurant at The Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel // Dana Point, California
For dinnertime, when you want a gourmet meal in an elegant setting, book a table at Raya Restaurant. Located within The Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel, this contemporary restaurant boasts ocean views, a modern atmosphere, and Pan-Latin cuisine by acclaimed chef Richard Sandoval. The extensive menu offers a variety of delectable dishes that include sustainable seafood, local produce, and organic meat.
Being total foodies, we were delighted by the range of options available on the menu. A few of our favorites included a Smoked Swordfish Dip appetizer, the Thai Curry Buddha Bowl, Achiote Salmon, Chipotle Miso Black Cod, Dungeness Crab Mashed Potatoes, and a Churro dessert (that came with an assortment of decadent toppings).
What To Do in Orange County – Exploring Downtown Laguna Beach
When you head to downtown Laguna Beach, you’ll be able to explore an interesting mix of art galleries, eateries, and boutiques. Whether you want to get a little retail therapy by shopping at the trendy stores scattered throughout the area or want to enjoy more artistic or cultural pursuits (like visiting the Laguna Art Musem), the charming town of Laguna Beach offers a number of places to see and things to do.
There’s also wine tasting, restaurants with ocean-views, beach activities (such as volleyball, playgrounds for kids, surfing, and boating), and a vibrant nightlife scene.
From fun-filled daytime outings to a bustling nightlife scene, visiting the coastal area of Orange County offers something for everyone. Whether you love outdoor adventures and coastal recreation or prefer a luxurious and relaxing retreat with all the posh amenities, visiting the Laguna Beach area is a must for any discerning traveler.
For more inspiring vacation ideas and travel tips, check out the Travel section on Inspirations & Celebrations.
[Disclosure: Complimentary accommodations and services were provided by The Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel, The Cliff Restaurant & Bar, and Raya Restaurant. All opinions are my own.]