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

St. Regis Monarch Beach Lobby - P 2013
Courtesy of St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort

From luxury gifts from South Coast Plaza to a Rob Lowe–approved jetpack experience, there are great new reasons to hit the O.C.

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).