Hollywood Heads South: 5 Reasons to Visit Orange County This Summer

From luxury gifts from South Coast Plaza to a Rob Lowe–approved jetpack experience, there are great new reasons to hit the O.C.
St. Regis Monarch Beach Lobby Lounge
St. Regis Monarch Beach Lobby Lounge
Courtesy of St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort

There are new reasons to hit Orange County this summer, with properties like Ritz-Carlton and St. Regis offering luxury deals and even playing host to a photography and art exhibit.

Celebrating its 10th anniversary is the 248-room Montage Laguna Beach, which is giving guest gifts courtesy of South Coast Plaza’s best boutiques. During June, booking two nights at the 30-acre resort will get guests a DKNY cashmere throw. In August, the gift is from Versace. Upon upgrading to the Montage’s 2,000-square-foot Catalina suite (starting at $5,500 per night), complete with a two-sided fireplace, guests will receive a $1,000 South Coast Plaza gift card (rooms from $695).

Another resort teaming up with South Coast Plaza for summer deals is the Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel in Dana Point. Items from luxury retailers like Canali and Michael Kors will be among 14 high-value gifts offered to guests upon booking, and club-level members will receive entrance to South Coast Plaza’s Access VIP Suite and round-trip transportation to the shopping plaza.

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Situated atop a 150-foot bluff (rooms from $545), the resort will also host a Festival of Arts and Photo-Illustrative exhibit displaying works of Palm Springs-based artist Charley Aker. The exhibit, unveiled May 23, will be on display in the resort’s Art Hallway through September; it also features artists Mary Aslin, Gerald Schwatz, Hannah Harris and Murray Kruger.

With its new lobby lounge and mixology program, the St. Regis Monarch Beach (rooms from $515) has introduced different reasons to visit for the summer. The resort, with its 400 rooms and suites, has six ocean-view restaurants, three swimming pools, a spa and the on-site Monarch Beach Golf Links course. Among new summer packages is a Jetlev jetpack experience, recently tried out by Rob Lowe, which has guests hovering over the water in Newport Harbor.

The Resort at Pelican Hill, with the Spa at Pelican Hill -- Newport Beach’s only Forbes five-star-rated spa -- has introduced a slew of offerings beginning in May. These new Diamond experiences include mud exfoliation treatments, manicures, pedicures and facials starting at $200. The 23,000-square-foot retreat has 22 private treatment rooms among the 170 bungalow rooms, 34 suites and 128 villas, which go up to four bedrooms with a two-car garage. The highlight of this resort is its Coliseum Pool, the largest circular pool in the world (rooms from $695).