Halfway between Los Angeles and San Diego, where the Pacific Ocean laps at the Aliso and Wood Canyons, sprawls The Ranch at Laguna Beach, an ultra-modern yet historic boutique resort. Rising out of a recent multi-million revamp, The Ranch offers a high-end getaway, steeped in bucolic serenity.
Spread out over 87 acres that once comprised Laguna Beach’s first homestead, the Thurston Ranch, the retreat features 97 cottages, Laguna Beach’s sole 9-hole golf course, a state-of-the-art spa and its own organic garden.
“This canyon property has a rich history dating back to the 1870s,” says Mark Christy, owner and proprietor, “and as a native of Laguna Beach, it was important to me that the transformation to The Ranch at Laguna Beach perfectly blends the past with today to create ‘the coolest hotel in Laguna Beach’ that cannot be found anywhere else in Southern California.”
Designed by architect Morris Skenderian and interior designer Laurie Alter, the resort’s spacious accommodations boast high-vaulted ceilings, wood-veneered walls, vintage distressed leather chairs and wrought-iron chandeliers that mesh casual coastal elegance with California’s old-day aesthetics. Vast windows open to the great outdoor vistas.
While the lush scenery complements all villas, it is at the 1,600sq. feet, two-story Tree House, where it truly reigns. This private residence includes two master suites, three bathrooms, a full kitchen as well as a wrap-around deck and a 500sq. feet enclosed Gazebo, which bring nature in.
At The Ranch, natural is a theme that runs from lodging to dining. The resort’s own half-acre organic farm – Harvest Garden – grows fresh produce for the stately menus of Chef Charles Imbelli’s signature restaurant, Harvest, and the grab-to-go Ben’s Pantry café. With their seasonal, handcrafted fare, both eateries bow to – and reimagine – California’s culinary customs.
Dinners and rooms at The Ranch might tout a vintage spark, but its Sycamore Spa and Techno Gym are all about the cutting-edge. The spa huddles over 3,000sq. feet at the very core of The Ranch and tends to the mind-body balance with an assortment of massages and therapies. When it comes to sports, The Ranch’s Ben Brown par-32 golf course, named after the first owner of the venue, entices with its private location and laid-back vibe. It is Laguna Beach’s only golf field of its caliber.
But then, again, The Ranch, itself, is all-round unique. With its easy – folksy even – luxury that marries the retro and the current, the natural and the man-made, The Ranch at Laguna Beach is poised to become the hottest off-the-beaten-path resort in California.