As someone who has stayed in many St. Regis around the world, I was excited to stay in another USA property. My wife and I are huge fans of the brand, ever since our wedding night stay at the St. Regis NY. For better or worse, we always compare every St. Regis to the one in NY, and the Monarch beach property does many things wonderfully well, but fall short in a few others. First the accolades. First class greeting at the door by the valet staff. They were always available to help, and Matt our bellman was very attentive to our needs, and always acknowledged us, even as we were entering and exiting the hotel during the course of our stay. The concierge staff is bar none the best I have worked with. Gundula and Marty could not have done more to go out of their way to accommodate us. Their recommendations were spot on, from beaches to visit to dining locations. We wanted to go to a beach off property, Gundula herself went and got us beach chairs and towels to make sure we would be comfortable outside the hotel's beach. Amazing. Marty set us up with whale watching which was the highlight of our trip. The staff at Motif were amazing. Miguel took great care of us during dinner service. Ariel at check out was also very friendly and appreciative of our stay.
The grounds are gorgeous. The main pool was very crowded, but we found a quiet spot in the spa pool. The spa itself is fantastic, beautifully done and well worth the resort fee for access to the facilities.
Now for the negatives:
Check in: We checked in at 10:00 PM, and no one outside the valet staff was there to greet us. Another couple were checking in, but we were not acknowledged at all for about 3 minutes. Finally someone came and checked us in, but her demeanor was not welcoming, nor did we get the room type we wanted, even though it was a downgrade from the original room type booked. See below for more on that.
The Room: First room we were given was not our first choice, we asked for double room, but were told none were available due to a large wedding. This is understandable. We got to the room and my wife went to shower, where she found a housekeeping issue. I called the front desk to explain the situation, and the duty manager immediately switched our room to the double bedded room (a different person from the check in desk). Magically the room was now available. Even though it was a downgrade in view, at least it was clean and the room type we wanted. The bathrooms are large, but void of any personality. I didn't feel they were luxurious in any special way, they felt generic. Again, keep in mind we are comparing to the St. Regis NY.
Parking is too expensive at $34 a day. Really??
The conventions: I did not realize that this hotel was a boon for conventions. Many groups are coming in and out, and the feel of the hotel is very conventional at times, which we did not expect. I expected more of a family resort atmosphere.
Overall, our expectations were either too high for the property, or there was just some failures that questioned our decision to stay at the hotel. Next time would look to other properties in LA or OC before jumping to go here again.