Elegant Fun, SoCal Style
Laguna Cliffs spa and resort knows nuance
By Robert Brink
944, May 2011
Looking for a bit of youthful fun reminiscent of carefree summers of yore? Enter Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort and Spa in Dana Point. Recently renovated and honored as Dana Point’s 2011 Business of the Year, the AAA Four Diamond Victorian-style resort overlooks the Dana Point Harbor and offers a true Southern California experience: sunshine, ocean views, palm trees, pools, hot tubs, a spa, yoga classes, fitness facilities, indoor and outdoor wining and dining, live entertainment, tennis, volleyball and close proximity to tourist attractions and destinations—all par for the course.
Yet it’s the unexpected—the attention to fun detail—that sets Laguna Cliffs apart from other Southern California resorts — for starters, arriving at the valet to a fully restored, $175,000 1940 Ford Woody that’ll thrust any car or surf enthusiast into geek overdrive.
The pool, of course, is an important facet of any resort stay. Each of the two pools at Laguna Cliffs features hot tubs, a full-service bar, a grill menu and an outdoor lounge. While laying poolside, guests will be pampered hourly by servers delivering complimentary fruit, Otter Pops, Evian misting and sunglass cleaning. Why the latter? Because who wants sunblock or Otter Pop debris slathered all over their glasses while trying to watch kids surf a simulated barrel or run through the “mini Bellagio” fountains in the one-of-a-kind Splash Zone?
Activity options also include catching a showing of Star Trek or Finding Nemo at the indoor movie theater, fully tricked out with an old-fashioned ticket booth, popcorn and refreshment stand—all complimentary. The stub is also good for a free breakfast buffet as part of the seasonal Kahuna Laguna Kids Club.
The Vue restaurant and lounge offers a tapas-style menu with snacks like cilantro popcorn and doughnut holes that’ll leave any inner child planning another visit before the meal is even through. In the mornings, the bar converts to a Starbucks, with plenty of space to fire up the laptops.
The full-service spa is equipped with a hair and nail salon, a massage and steam room, showers, a healthy menu, an array of self-serve hot tea, citrus waters, snacks, a gift shop and an outdoor patio with a hot tub and fire pit—all private.
“You aren’t going to see a spa like this at any other resort in the area,” says general manager Jim Samuels. “We’ve created an environment where you can check in and stay self-contained if you want. More importantly, you don’t feel like you have to wear a sports coat to walk through the hallways. It’s elegant and comfortable. You can walk to the beach or harbor, get a boat to Catalina, Jet Ski, whale watch, deep-sea fish or drive to Sea World or Disneyland.
“We do things to create the value for our guests,” Samuels continues. “We’d save money if we didn’t offer the tea or the fruit water in the spa, or the movie theater and Splash Zone, but we’d rather focus on providing a great experience.”
25135 Park Lantern, Dana Point
949.661.5000 | lagunacliffs.com