Orange County is one of the hautest spots in Southern California, and even the Dalai Lama thinks so: of all the places in the world, he’s chosen to spend his 80th birthday there this summer, after all. Consider this your official cheat sheet on what to do, where to play, and where to stay in the O.C.
Where to Stay:
22701 S Pelican Hill Rd., Newport Coast, (855) 315-8214
The Resort at Pelican Hill is the crown jewel of Newport Beach. This stunning 504-acre property modeled after Andrea Palladio’s Renaissance philosophy is completely exclusive and private, yet has ocean views as well as access (via chauffeured Mercedes-Benz vans) to the nearby Crystal Cove beach. You’ll stay in one of 204 warmly lit, Italian-inspired bungalows or 128 three-to four-bedroom villas, all of which include fireplaces and private terraces, and you’ll play at one of two Tom Fazio-designed golf courses. At the Spa you’ll find cutting-edge LED light facials or body treatments using the most organic of ingredients, from wild sage to fresh olives. Its Coliseum Pool, at 136 feet in diameter, is one of the largest circle pools in the world.
1 Ritz Carlton Dr, Dana Point, (949) 240-2000
The ocean view from the Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel is absolutely staggering, but that’s just one of the many things that make this Dana Point resort so special. The resort, which is perched 150 feet above Salt Creek Beach, offers surf experiences, culture—its “Picasso: Themes & Variations” exhibit is on display to those staying on the Club Level—and amazing gourmet fare at restaurants like enoSTEAK and Raya.
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