Heavenly indulgence at Montage Laguna Beach

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  • The view of "Grandmas Beach' as seen from the bluffs above the ocean at Montage Laguna Beach. The bench at left is the exact spot where photographer Alison Reynolds grandmother lived for decades. The view of "Grandmas Beach' as seen from the bluffs above the ocean at Montage Laguna Beach. The bench at left is the exact spot where photographer Alison Reynolds grandmother lived for decades. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • The imposing façade of the stunning Craftsman style architecture of the main building of Montage Laguna Beach at the center of this amazing 30 acre ocean side property. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • The signature swimming pool that is the symbol of Montage Laguna Beach dominates the center of the property overlooking the bluffs and the Pacific Ocean. The signature swimming pool that is the symbol of Montage Laguna Beach dominates the center of the property overlooking the bluffs and the Pacific Ocean. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • The beautiful Craftsman architecture of the Montage Laguna Beach looms over its signature swimming pool at this heavenly retreat for the senses in Southern Califoirnia. The beautiful Craftsman architecture of the Montage Laguna Beach looms over its signature swimming pool at this heavenly retreat for the senses in Southern Califoirnia. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • The dawn breaks in a flaming orange sky at Montage Laguna Beach as seen from the balcony of one of the one bedroom corner suites overlooking the beach and the ocean below. The dawn breaks in a flaming orange sky at Montage Laguna Beach as seen from the balcony of one of the one bedroom corner suites overlooking the beach and the ocean below. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • A view of the beach looking north from the bluffs in front of the bungalows at Montage Laguna Beach. A view of the beach looking north from the bluffs in front of the bungalows at Montage Laguna Beach. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • The walkway along the bluffs at Montage Laguna Beach with Studio restaurant in the background. The walkway along the bluffs at Montage Laguna Beach with Studio restaurant in the background. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • The natural tunnel between the sprawling white sand beach and the secret coves as seen from the cliffs above at Montage Laguna Beach. The natural tunnel between the sprawling white sand beach and the secret coves as seen from the cliffs above at Montage Laguna Beach. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • The majestic beauty and emerald waters of the secret coves is revealed from the top of an outcropping along the bluffs at Montage Laguna Beach. The majestic beauty and emerald waters of the secret coves is revealed from the top of an outcropping along the bluffs at Montage Laguna Beach. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • The secret coves beyond the natural tunnel with the tantalizing emerald green waters of the Pacific Ocean breaking on the sand at Montage Laguna Beach. The secret coves beyond the natural tunnel with the tantalizing emerald green waters of the Pacific Ocean breaking on the sand at Montage Laguna Beach. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • The spectacular large outcropping dominates the second cove at the end of the property at Montage Laguna Beach. The spectacular large outcropping dominates the second cove at the end of the property at Montage Laguna Beach. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • The natural tunnel dominating one end of the beach and leading to the secret coves beyond at the luxurious Montage Laguna Beach. The natural tunnel dominating one end of the beach and leading to the secret coves beyond at the luxurious Montage Laguna Beach. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • The stunning beach and the bluffs in front of Montage Laguna Beach, with the winding staircase leading down from the luxury resort property. The stunning beach and the bluffs in front of Montage Laguna Beach, with the winding staircase leading down from the luxury resort property. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • The waves crash against the rocks while seabirds seek the protection of dryer ground on the beach in front of Montage Laguna Beach. The waves crash against the rocks while seabirds seek the protection of dryer ground on the beach in front of Montage Laguna Beach. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • The bungalow units at Montage Laguna Beach are situated on the exact spot where Alice Morris had her Silver Stream trailer for decades and where photographer Alison Reynolds spent her childhood. The bungalow units at Montage Laguna Beach are situated on the exact spot where Alice Morris had her Silver Stream trailer for decades and where photographer Alison Reynolds spent her childhood. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • Studio restaurant at Montage Laguna Beach is located in its own Craftsman style cottage on the bluffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Studio restaurant at Montage Laguna Beach is located in its own Craftsman style cottage on the bluffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • The lap pool at Spa Montage is one of many amenities at this quintessential resort spa at Montage Laguna Beach. The lap pool at Spa Montage is one of many amenities at this quintessential resort spa at Montage Laguna Beach. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • The lap pool at Spa Montage looks out over the bluffs and the Pacific Ocean, and is a soothing place to lay back and relax after a couples massage at Montage Laguna Beach. The lap pool at Spa Montage looks out over the bluffs and the Pacific Ocean, and is a soothing place to lay back and relax after a couples massage at Montage Laguna Beach. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • Executive Chef Craig Strong maintains a beautiful herb garden in front of Studio restaurant that is harvested daily for the meals at this award winning culinary delight at Montage Laguna Beach. Executive Chef Craig Strong maintains a beautiful herb garden in front of Studio restaurant that is harvested daily for the meals at this award winning culinary delight at Montage Laguna Beach. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • The afternoon sun sheaths the outside of Studio restaurant with a warm golden glow while couples enjoy a cocktail on the open air patio at Montage Laguna Beach. The afternoon sun sheaths the outside of Studio restaurant with a warm golden glow while couples enjoy a cocktail on the open air patio at Montage Laguna Beach. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • Dusk begins to settle as Sommelier Pamela Singh takes an order from a couple on the open air patio at Studio restaurant at Montage Laguna Beach. Dusk begins to settle as Sommelier Pamela Singh takes an order from a couple on the open air patio at Studio restaurant at Montage Laguna Beach. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • The sun sets in a brilliant orange sky as seen from the lawn in front of Studio restaurant at Montage Laguna Beach. The sun sets in a brilliant orange sky as seen from the lawn in front of Studio restaurant at Montage Laguna Beach. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • A couple enjoy the breathtaking sunset on the patio at Studio restaurant at Montage Laguna Beach. A couple enjoy the breathtaking sunset on the patio at Studio restaurant at Montage Laguna Beach. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • Tuna tartare is taken to the next level with a kombacha squash consommé in one of a series of fabulous innovative appetizers at Studio restaurant at Montage Laguna Beach. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • Bouillabaisse risotto with lobster and calamari is a sumptuously amazing signature dish at the award winning Studio restaurant at Montage Laguna Beach. Bouillabaisse risotto with lobster and calamari is a sumptuously amazing signature dish at the award winning Studio restaurant at Montage Laguna Beach. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • A rare and brilliant J. Rochioli 2004 East Block Russian River Valley Pinot Noir exemplifies the depth and complexity of the spectacular wine list at Studio restaurant at Montage Laguna Beach.
A rare and brilliant J. Rochioli 2004 East Block Russian River Valley Pinot Noir exemplifies the depth and complexity of the spectacular wine list at Studio restaurant at Montage Laguna Beach. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • Sous Chef Dino Duarte mans the kitchen at Studio restaurant at Montage Laguna Beach, flawlessly executing a brilliant menu of French influenced California inspired cuisine. Sous Chef Dino Duarte mans the kitchen at Studio restaurant at Montage Laguna Beach, flawlessly executing a brilliant menu of French influenced California inspired cuisine. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • The one bedroom corner suites at Montage Laguna Beach are built with the Craftsman style architecture of the historic California Arts and Crafts movement and feature wrap around balconies. The one bedroom corner suites at Montage Laguna Beach are built with the Craftsman style architecture of the historic California Arts and Crafts movement and feature wrap around balconies. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • The beautifully appointed one bedroom suites at Montage Laguna Beach feature wraparound balconies and panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean. The beautifully appointed one bedroom suites at Montage Laguna Beach feature wraparound balconies and panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • The sky is ablaze as the sun rises at Montage Laguna Beach as seen from the wrap around balcony of one of the one bedroom corner suites on this luxurious property. The sky is ablaze as the sun rises at Montage Laguna Beach as seen from the wrap around balcony of one of the one bedroom corner suites on this luxurious property. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • Weddings are frequently held on the open lawn at the point of the land overlooking the bluffs, the rocks and the Pacific Ocean at Montage Laguna Beach. Weddings are frequently held on the open lawn at the point of the land overlooking the bluffs, the rocks and the Pacific Ocean at Montage Laguna Beach. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • The sparkling crescent beach below the bluffs on a brilliant day at Montage Laguna Beach The sparkling crescent beach below the bluffs on a brilliant day at Montage Laguna Beach Photo by: Alison Reynolds

LAGUNA BEACH, CALIF., Oct. 18, 2013 – Montage Laguna Beach is a fully immersive resort experience located on the bluffs of some of the most spectacular scenery in Southern California. Open since 2003, its 248 guestrooms sit on 30 acres of sculpted grounds overlooking a wide white sand beach that features two stunning hidden coves.


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Whether relaxing in its Craftsman bungalow styled rooms and suites, luxuriating in the magnificent spa, or enjoying a resplendent meal at Studio restaurant, Montage Laguna Beach is the very definition of heavenly indulgence.

From the moment of arrival through every step of the Montage experience there is complete awareness of the key element of constant, conscientious, impeccable service, from all parties. From doormen to busboys, from maids to spa attendants, at every turn, in restaurants or by the pool, the sincerity and thoroughness of the staff was beyond impressive on a royal scale without ever being obsequious or suffocating.

Combine that with impeccable dining, beautiful rooms and an awe inspiring location, and it is easy to imagine never leaving the resort during the entire stay, or needing to.

Montage is built on the grounds of what used to be the Treasure Island trailer park, in the historic town of Laguna Beach, long favored as an artist’s haven. For decades Alice Morris had a single wide Silverstream trailer here whose lawn spreads 30 feet to the edge of the precipice overlooking the beach below.


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Her granddaughter, photographer Alison Reynolds (now wife to the writer), spent a great deal of time here as a child growing up. It is particularly touching for Alison to stand where she used to playand know she will always be able to return, now to this beautiful resort, to play once again and again.

The architectural structure of the hotel is in Craftsman cottage style so elemental to the heritage of Laguna Beach. Each room at Montage faces the ocean, with most having a view of the signature pool at the center. The 60 one bedroom corner suites are impressively luxurious, with wrap around balconies and Arts & Crafts style furnishings.  

Thirty-seven distinctive bungalows now occupy the area where Alice’s trailer once stood, overlooking the pathway along the bluffs and the thundering ocean below.          

Strolling the grounds of the resort along the cliffs in the late afternoon sun is a visual wonderland. Take the time to walk the beach at dawn, and wander through the natural tunnel between the glistening sand and the hidden coves just over the rocks and around the corner. Plunge into the emerald water off the beach of the first cove, or climb out onto the rocky precipice that punctuates the end of the property, a literal adventure in paradise come to life.


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Spa Montage is one of the most impressive in-house resort spas in memory, with an outdoor lap pool overlooking the ocean, a beauty room for manicures and pedicures, and luxurious locker rooms with hot tubs, cold plunges, steam rooms and saunas. A couple’s massage with two masseuses who exchange places several times during the treatment is a delightful and highly recommended encounter, exceeded only by the skill and personalized attention they bring to the event.

A full gym, a lovely shopping area, and the ever attentive staff round out what is surely the quintessential spa experience.

The award winning Studio restaurant is at the very center of the property in its own magnificent cottage. Executive Chef Craig Strong and Sous Chef Dino Duarte deliver a powerful series of French influenced California inspired dishes that delight and enthrall with their refinement and brilliant execution. Serving Captain Lisa Padilla, who has been at Studio for 11 years, walks you through an exquisite multicourse meal in a stunning atmosphere of dark wood interiors, floor to ceiling windows, and a warm patio awash and glowing in the soothing aura of the setting sun.

Tuna tartare in a kombacha squash consommé and chilled Kumamoto oysters in different sauces of gezbacho, avocado horseradish, and cucumber crème fraiche are fabulous innovative takes on opening courses. Duck confit cocoa ravioli with sage blossoms is nothing short of a revelation, with spectacular flavors and a hearty texture. Bouillabaisse risotto with lobster and calamari is simply amazing, a signature dish, light and creamy, rich and delicate.

Sommelier Pamela Singh expertly pairs the courses with a series of wines from the exceptionally deep wine list, especially the stunningly delicious and hard to find J. Rochioli 2004 East Block Russian River Valley Pinot Noir. It is a perfect accompaniment to the tender and succulently flavorful venison loin with huckleberries in a grand veneur sauce, a masterful tour de force.  Black cod with mussels, artichoke and a parsley persillade is a delicious culinary wonder, firm and tender, a delight for the senses, cooked to perfection.

Portions are moderate, and a succession of plates stretched out over several hours is an exquisite way to best savor the experience. Appetizers run $25, second courses around $30, and main courses are around $55, somewhat pricey but well worth the indulgence at this singular destination restaurant. Memorable evenings at Studio segue seamlessly into romantic nights and extremely pleasant dreams in the suites of Montage, until the amber glow of morning brings the promise of another day in paradise.

www.montagelagunabeach.com

Rooms start at $445, one bedroom suites start at $945.

Joel Berliner is a travel writer based in Los Angeles


This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ WashingtonTimes.com. Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.

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Joel Berliner

Joel Berliner is a travel writer based in Los Angeles who has written for The Washington Times, Dallas Morning News, New York Newsday, Chicago Tribune, Honolulu Advertiser, El Paso Times, and the Minneapolis Star Tribune, among many other publications.  He is excited to be back where his travel writing career began, at The Washington Times, where along with his wife, photographer extraordinaire Alison Reynolds, they will travel the globe in order to bring you The Good Life.

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