Sunday, May 27, 2012

St Regis Monarch Beach- Dana Point, CA: Hotel Review

St Regis Monarch Beach- Dana Point, CA: Exterior

In November we stayed at the St Regis Monarch Beach to compare and contrast it to our experience at Pelican Hill. Unlike Pelican Hill, we had gone to the St Regis in person previously, enjoying brunch at the Motif almost 10 years ago. This visit, not only did we visit Motif again, but also we made sure to tour most of the facility.


St Regis Monarch Beach- Dana Point, CA: Fountain, Porte Cochere
(Fountain near the porte cochere)

St Regis Monarch Beach- Dana Point, CA: Christmas Wreath at Entry
St Regis Monarch Beach- Dana Point, CA: Christmas Tree at Entry

Since it was near the holiday season, decorations were placed at the entrance to create a holiday mood. In fact, while we were staying here, even more holiday decorations were being put on location.

St Regis Monarch Beach- Dana Point, CA: Front Doors

As I had remembered so fondly 10 years ago, we walked through these large doors into the lobby area.

St Regis Monarch Beach- Dana Point, CA: Sand Sculpture
St Regis Monarch Beach- Dana Point, CA: Gingerbread

Inside, more holiday decorations were placed: one sand sculpture, and one gingerbread sculpture. The check in counters, on the other hand, featured large paintings, but I ended up not taking pictures of the area as there were plenty of people.

Like some other hotels I've been to, this hotel also placed several pianos around the hotel-- some for pure display purposes (a Boston Piano) and some for performance (a Steinway). I still find it interesting how some pianos, completely closed, are used as displays; the form might intrigue some.

St Regis Monarch Beach- Dana Point, CA: Room Entry

After checking in, an employee walked us to our Signature Guest Room and discussed the features of the room, providing us ample details on the operation and locations of various features. Interestingly, two bottles of still Voss mineral water were provided as complimentary items. I find that complimentary bottled water seems to be a feature usually seen more often in Asia hotels, but it is pleasant that the St Regis put complimentary bottled water into consideration.

St Regis Monarch Beach- Dana Point, CA: Guest Room Panorama
 (panoramic)
St Regis Monarch Beach- Dana Point, CA: Room Corner 2
St Regis Monarch Beach- Dana Point, CA: Room Corner 3
St Regis Monarch Beach- Dana Point, CA: Room Corner 4
(pictures from the other corners of the room)
I was very pleasantly surprised to see that the room had brighter colors; looking at both Tripadvisor and the official website, the black wall behind the bed in the photos initially deterred me from booking the hotel; I prefer a brighter color palette and this black wall was opposite of my perspective.

Some further research after this visit, however, still showed to me that one still can able to get a room with a black wall behind the beds; this room was one of the more expensive rooms with a "view" and so perhaps this was why a more neutral fiber wallpaper was substituted for the black paint as seen in other rooms.

Some cool features of the room include:
  • Rolling chairs next to each bed
  • LG television
  • ample number of power outlets embedded into furniture
  • ample lighting
  • private balcony with seating
As for the beds, they were the usual soft beds, which I still do not really care for.

St Regis Monarch Beach- Dana Point, CA: Bathroom Sinks
St Regis Monarch Beach- Dana Point, CA: Bathroom- Cups, Soap, and Lotion
St Regis Monarch Beach- Dana Point, CA: Bathroom Shower and Tub
St Regis Monarch Beach- Dana Point, CA: Toilet

The bathroom, like the bedroom, was roomy, and offered plenty of amenities. One set of Remede toiletries (shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, lotion, 2 soaps) was provided along with bath salts; this was somewhat lackluster for a hotel in this caliber. However, we did like how there were was a wide selection of towels placed in the bathroom.

St Regis Monarch Beach- Dana Point, CA: Closet

As for the closet, it had plenty of room for clothes and personal belongings. In addition, an iron, robe, ironing board, slippers, multiple hangars, and extra bedding were provided.


For a better perspective of the room and its views, I made a video; you actually can see more of the room in comparison to the pictures, but it's not as sharp. 

St Regis Monarch Beach- Dana Point, CA: Dawn View to Ocean
St Regis Monarch Beach- Dana Point, CA: Morning View to Hotel
St Regis Monarch Beach- Dana Point, CA: Morning View to Ocean

Considering that we did book a room with a supposed ocean view, the view that we did receive was decent.  The rooms closer to the end of the wings would probably be better candidates for enjoying the ocean view, however; this room was around the middle of the wing.

St Regis Monarch Beach- Dana Point, CA: Room View Panorama
St Regis Monarch Beach- Dana Point, CA: Room View
St Regis Monarch Beach- Dana Point, CA: Working on Christmas Tree 1
St Regis Monarch Beach- Dana Point, CA: Working on Christmas Tree 2
St Regis Monarch Beach- Dana Point, CA: Working on Christmas Lighting

Our view did allow us to catch some activity, however, like the decoration of the large Christmas tree. This was a very slow process, and even after two hours the employees were still fixing the ribbon!

St Regis Monarch Beach- Dana Point, CA: Path
St Regis Monarch Beach- Dana Point, CA: Flower/ Fountain Combination
St Regis Monarch Beach- Dana Point, CA: Flower

Outside the room, we could actually walk quite a distance through paths that meandered past the pools and near to the golf course. It was also outside where we saw a greater variety of plants. I found the re-purposed fountain to be an interesting sight.

St Regis Monarch Beach- Dana Point, CA: Spa Fountain
St Regis Monarch Beach- Dana Point, CA: Almond and Raisin Tray
St Regis Monarch Beach- Dana Point, CA: Almonds and Raisins in a Flower Pattern
St Regis Monarch Beach- Dana Point, CA: Almonds and Raisins
St Regis Monarch Beach- Dana Point, CA: Spa Coins


St Regis Monarch Beach- Dana Point, CA: Spa Items: Coin, Grapes, and Water

We also visited the Spa Gaucin and the adjoining Fitness Center; both were elaborate in terms of design and features. Entering the spa gave a sense of relaxation, while the Fitness Center was bright yet elegant. What set this place apart from other fitness centers we have visited were the snacks available-- almonds, diminutive raisins, and chilled grapes were not only energizing, but also of very high quality. It's been difficult finding almonds that taste better than the ones we enjoyed here.

St Regis Monarch Beach- Dana Point, CA: Center View Panorama
St Regis Monarch Beach- Dana Point, CA: View from Center

Before leaving the hotel, I made sure to capture some more shots of the hotel, but this time from the center of the building.

On the Pacific Coast Highway
Newport Coast

And soon enough, our visit was over. We paid the usual ongoing price and felt that the property overall gave the price its value; however, the room itself was just decent, meeting expectations and not exceeding expectations.

What can be really appreciated, however, is the service. From dining at Motif to handling an internet issue, the employees were both professional and friendly. With our internet issue, the employees even brought an router so that we could take advantage of the provided internet service.It's the little details that set apart a five star property from the rest of hotels, and in this regard, the St Regis delivered.


St Regis Monarch Beach
One Monarch Beach Resort
Dana Point, CA 92629
Tel: (949) 234-3320

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