As the holidays approach, we thought we’d fill you in on the happenings at a few of our favorite haute hotels. Check out our five picks for the most holiday friendly hotels in Southern California and just try not to get into the seasonal spirit—we dare you!
1 The St. Regis Monarch Beach
The St. Regis is holiday magic from the moment you step inside its lobby. Twinkly lights surround you—on the tree, hanging from the ceiling and just about everywhere else. It even SMELLS like Christmas here: the air is heavy with the scent of pine and spices. Now that you know the resort goes all out, let us tell you a bit about the activities. On Nov. 30, in its 14th year of truly celebrating the holiday spirit, the St. Regis Monarch Beach will kick off the season with its annual Sand Sculpture Dedication and Tree Lighting Ceremony, which will be hosted by none other than Magic Johnson. This year’s sand sculpture is designed in conjunction with Dana Point’s IlluminOcean, a festival of lights that electrifies the Dana Point Harbor with nautical, entertaining holiday displays. The nine-ton sand sculpture, which takes one week to build, fills the center of the hotel’s lobby and has become a St. Regis tradition. The entire season is filled with activities for the family including the Gingerbread House Academy, a weekly gingerbread house decorating class led by award-wining Pastry Chef Frederic Moreau, holiday afternoon tea, and multi-course family and fine dining options for resort guests and locals alike.
1 Monarch Beach Resort N, Dana Point, CA 92629 (949) 234-3200
2 The Grand Del Mar
Make some magic moments at the stunning, completely private oasis of the Grand Del Mar in San Diego county. This year, the haute hotel is offering three distinctive packages: "All She Wants for Christmas,” “All He Wants for Christmas” and “And a Happy New Year.” "All She Wants," naturally, comes with a 60-minute spa treatment, as well as $100 shopping credit for use in The Collection, Spa Boutique or Grand Gifts and a four-course dinner at the resort's high-end eatery, Addison, while "All He Wants," is similar, but includes golf (and anything girly). "And A Happy New Year" includes a SEVEN course-dinner at Addison, New Day's Day brunch-in bed and entrance to The Grand's New Year's Eve party. That's not all that's happening during the holidays at this festive resort: there's a holiday afternoon tea, daily chestnut roasting, story time with Santa and the annual Nutcracker tea on Dec. 22 (which includes a performance of, yes, The Nutcracker").
5300 Grand Del Mar Ct, San Diego, CA 92130 (866) 305-1528
3 The Peninsula Beverly Hills
An array of festive celebrations will usher in the holidays at The Peninsula Beverly Hills, enchanting the senses with the sparkling sights, sounds and flavors of the season. The festivities begin with the flipping of the switch to illuminate the hotel with twinkling lights and stunning holiday décor, setting an exquisite backdrop for the Festive Afternoon Tea, cocktails, dining, live musical entertainment, and private celebrations. What we love most about The Peninsula's holiday program (in addition to the complimentary cup of spiced hot cider in the lobby) is its worldwide charity program, “Trees of Hope,” which benefits Make-A-Wish®, which grants wishes to children with life-threatening medical conditions. Visitors can also enjoy a light-hearted seasonal twist on the iconic Peninsula Page by donating $10 to receive a SnowPage Gingerbread Cookie and matching SnowPage glass ornament to either adorn the hotel’s grand Christmas tree or take home. The full proceeds of the “Trees of Hope” campaign will be donated to Make-A-Wish.
9882 S Santa Monica Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90212 (310) 551-2888
4 The Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel
The Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel is a fabulous place to celebrate the holidays because it does so in the SoCal way. For starters, there is the exceptionally amazing "surfing Santa contest," which takes place on Nov. 22 at Salt Creek Beach. The competition features four heats with prizes in six categories including: Surfing Rudolph (Pro/Am – short board for men 18 and older), Candy Cane Pro/Am (short board for girls of all ages), Santa’s Elves (short board for guys 17 and under), Yule Loggers (open longboard for guys and girls of all ages), Sleigh Ride (open body board for guys of all ages) and Sleigh Bells (open body board for girls of all ages). Additionally, the resort is hosting a "Gingerbread Spectacular"; Executive Pastry Chef Daniel Dominguez and Executive Sous Chef Brian Sundeen will create a seascape made of gingerbread featuring such sea life as dolphins, turtles, sea otters, sharks, and of course, a whale, as they frolic in the 6’ royal icing wave. The Gingerbread Display will be unveiled at the Holiday Tree Lighting on Sunday, November 23 at 4 p.m. But back to SoCal. There is also a Holiday Surfboard Auction, which showcases an amazing selection of surfboards that are displayed at the resort and auctioned off to benefit Surfers Healing. The auction opens on Saturday, November 22 and bidding closes at noon on December 31. Hang ten, and happy holidays indeed.
1 Ritz Carlton Dr, Dana Point, CA 92629 (949) 240-2000
5 Montage Laguna Beach
Laguna Beach is a magical place to celebrate the holidays, and the Montage makes it even more so. The haute hotel offers several "classes," such as "Holiday Spirits"—sampling the wares of more than four distillers—champagne tasting for that hint of what's to come on New Year's Eve, a gingerbread house making class, and "Santa's Workshop" for kids. There's also a special spa package for the gals: "The Ultimate Holiday Glam" includes the spa's Deluxe Caviar Facial, a manicure and pedicure that leaves your nails embellished with Swarovski crystals; and a shampoo and blow dry in the Kim Vo Salon that will leave your tresses holiday party ready. Luxury lovers will also dig the Baubles and Bubbles package, which includes complimentary breakfast each morning and the ultimate gift giving experience with Lugano Privé. The Montage's in-house jewelry experts will customize a case of Lugano jewelry just for you. Haute.
30801 S Coast Hwy, Laguna Beach, CA 92651 (949) 715-6000