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“Great Resort for Golfers and Well-Heeled Families” 5 of 5 stars
Review of St. Regis, Monarch Beach

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St. Regis, Monarch Beach
5.0 of 5 Resort   |   1 Monarch Beach Resort Dr., Dana Point, CA 92629   |  
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4th Night Free & Credit
Ranked #4 of 9 Hotels in Dana Point
Certificate of Excellence
Newton, MA
1 review
“Great Resort for Golfers and Well-Heeled Families”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 29, 2009

My husband and I stayed at the St. Regis Monarch Beach the week before Labor Day. We are SPG Gold members (Platinum by year-end!) with plentiful points, so we made this journey as award travel - which makes it difficult for me to comment on overall value (though of course we know that it is quite a pricey establishment). So I'll stick to the other stuff.

Service was high-touch - very attentive, pleasant and helpful but not overbearing. We were very pleased with everything. The rooms were quite nice - what I would expect from a hotel of this caliber. The grounds were quite beautiful, especially the pool - but there were times I wished they had been better about policing the family pool - the main pool was flooded with children, even though there is a separate, adjacent pool that is supposed to be specifically for families.

You will read complaints that this hotel is not "on the beach" - it isn't. The Ritz is, but if you go there, you will note that it rests high up on a cliff over the beach - it still takes some doing to get down there. The St. Regis offers shuttle (golf cart) service to the Monarch Bay Beach Club, which it owns - this was really the easiest way to get there, and my only wish is that the schedule for the shuttle would have been published. A couple of times we waited 15 minutes or more with no indication of when the shuttle would arrive to transport us. Aside from that small beef, we found beach access to be a piece of cake, and the beach area itself was very nice. If you are concerned about an ocean view, the St. Regis offers many rooms with an ocean view; only difference is most also overlook the gorgeous hotel pool and golf course.

The golf course was great - we played there three times during our stay. It was in excellent condition, was challenging but not impossible for we mediocre golfers, and again the service in the pro shop and on the links was top-notch. Like other high-end golf resorts, they just take care of everything for you - shuttling your clubs to and fro, storing them in the clubhouse. We came thinking we were going to play several public courses in the area, but we ended up sticking around at Monarch Beach.

Aside from golf, the highlight of our trip was two dinners at Stonehill Tavern. It is an incredible Michael Mina restaurant with a warm modern/earthy decor. The wine list was equally impressive.

True, there is not a whole lot else in the immediate vicinity at Dana Point - but who needs it? If you are vacationing primarily for beach and/or golf, you will find most everything you need right there at the St. Regis. I would think this would be particularly appealing for a young family, since it just makes everything so much easier and less stressful.

  • Stayed August 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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1,397 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (335)
Date | Rating
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  • English first
  • German first
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  • Japanese first
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English first
Philadelphia, PA
Level Contributor
32 reviews
27 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 23, 2009

I've stayed at this hotel on two separate occassions with the most recent being this past summer. Overall my experience was positive, but for the price of the hotel I expected more.

PROS

This hotel is very beautiful. The rooms are a great size, the bathrooms are amazing, and the property is kept in pristine condition. The restaurant at the hotel and on the beach both serve excellent food and the service is fabulous. One thing we did to keep our costs down was to drive into the Marina a couple nights to eat. The food might not have been as good as the hotel but their were lots of choices and prices were reasonable.

CONS

I'm a starwood platinum and on both occassions (the first I was only Gold) my room was not ready until the hotel's check-in time and I was not given late check-out. I was told that this was because the hotel was full and that resort properties do not have to guarantee late check-out. This was on a normal weekday and the hotel did not seem that busy either time. From other friends of mine that have stayed here, it seems they have an attitude that you check-in at their check-in time and you check-out by their check-out time regardless of Gold or Platinum status. I also wasn't upgraded on either occassion. This wasn't a huge deal because the normal rooms are a good size, but after getting suites at nearly every other property for being platinum it's a let down when a property doesn't upgrade me.

Another negative that several other reviewers have noted is the distance to the beach. It's not that far and I didn't mind riding the shuttle down for the most part, but the hotel needs to have more shuttles running during the peak hours. The hotel is frequented by people that have never had to wait in line so cutting in line and rudeness on the part of other guests soured a few of my trips down to the beach. I was told on one occassion in a non-joking manner that the oldest people should get to board first. This was a 40 year old saying this by the way and I'm in my late 20s. It was annoying to say the least. During my last visit they had tried to get a sign-in sheet going, but without anyone there to enforce it the effectiveness was minimal.

OVERALL

The hotel is beautiful and the service was good, but there never anything that made me feel special or valued as a guest, and for over $500/night this should be a given. The beach was beautiful and the service down at the beach was great. The trip down might not be the most pleasant, but once there, it's easy to forget about.

I would recommend this hotel, but with a few cautions. Don't expect to be upgraded or given a late check-out (both times I had late flights and ended up having to drive around town all day because I had to check out early). The service is good, but don't expect the level that you would receive at other St. Regises, they just fail to make you feel special. Otherwise it's a really nice hotel in a great location with fabulous restaurants.

  • Stayed July 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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Kempen, Germany
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 18, 2009

Everything was justperfect ice roms nice service good weather! hanks a lo for staying wth you!

Stayed December 2007
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Chevy Chase, MD
Level Contributor
23 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed October 17, 2009

Rooms are nice and the property and amenities clearly seek to emulate a top flight Four Seasons or Ritz Carlton. However, the service is woefully lacking. At checkin, they had the billing information wrong (was supposed to be direct billed to my client but they lost that part of the record). No big deal -- that happens often (though I can't understand why). But when I got to my room and couldn't reach 24 hour room service at 11:00 pm I was frustrated. Called several times. No one ever answered. Finally it rang long enough that it went through to the concierge. The concierge couldn't find anyone and promised room service would call me back, which they eventually did. Food was great when it arrived, but come-on. No one answers at room service and they have to call you back? My client left a very thoughtful gift for me that was supposed to be waiting in my room when I checked in on October 15. However, it never made it to my room. I had no idea I was supposed to receive a gift until my client asked me about it (no doubt wondering why I had failed to mention it and offer thanks) on the 17th. They had to call hotel management to find out where it disappeared to. Had it never come up in conversation 36 hours after I was supposed to have received it someone at the St. Regis no doubt would have been the lucky (though I am sure inadvertent) beneficiary. Wanted to try the 24-hour outdoor pool and hot tub on my last night there but my room key didn't open the gate. Went to the front desk (not a short trip) and they made a new room key for me assuring it would work. It didn't. After more than 30 minutes of trying to deal with this problem, walking back and forth between pool, room, and front desk, I gave up and called to advise the front desk since I felt they should know guests can't get into the pool. They then offered to issue me a "special pass key" that was "guaranteed to work" because it would "override" the regular system. After all this time I had lost my enthusiasm for the pool. And why should I need a "special pass key" to "override" the normal system to get into an area that is billed as being available to guests 24/7? In addition to all of that, no wireless (get serious); nearly adequate wired connection instead that was very glitchy and disconnected at irregular intervals for no apparent reason. Cable channels very limited. All in all, this in no way approximates the level of service and amenities that should enable it to compete with a Ritz Carlton or Four Seasons. I highly recommend you try the Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel over this St. Regis. I have never been to the Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel, but I have never had a service experience like this at a Ritz or Four Seasons. Not that they weren't friendly and pleasant or failed to try. My guess is that they have just been forced to cut back staff too far in these economic times. I have to chuckle that reviews of the Ritz Carlton property on Abaco Island in the Bahamas tend to focus on how the service there is more Bahamian than Ritz Carlton. We have been there several times and the worst day at the Ritz on Abaco Island far exceeds the service experience I had at the St. Regis at Monarch Beach, CA. If it is white glove service, one of the gloves is missing and the other is in tatters.

  • Stayed October 2009, traveled on business
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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SF Bay Area, CA
2 reviews
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 16, 2009

I will say the weather was not nice this year in Southern CA. Overcast, windy, humid. Despite that, the property is beautiful. Traveled with my husband and five year old. Stayed in the St. Regis suite. It was really nice, not overly attended to. Large dying plant in the room, nails sticking out of sofa sleeper which I sliced my finger on, and hair in the tub. Housekeeping tended to all of it...eventually. We stayed 5 days. The beach is not close or overly convenient. Shuttle will take you through the golf course and pick you up. There is staff on the beach to provide chairs, umbrella and towel promptly. You can walk back to the nearby restaurant/bar for drinks or food.
Michael Mina's restaurant was the highlight. The food, wine and service OUTSTANDING. Convenient gift shops for anything you might need and some you might not need but buy anyway.

The other restaurants were just okay. Breakfast buffet mediocre and outdoors so that you must content with the scavenger birds while trying to eat. The hotel does not communicate that there is a great restaurant about 15 minutes from the resort that has a shuttle!! Fabulous! Mozabique? Im sure that I'm hatching their name. Its a steakhouse. We also ate offsite at a nearby chinese food restaurant which was not good but a welcome change and the Salt Creek Grill another 5 minute taxi ride. Salt Creek is basically a Chili's type of restaurant.

I look forward to returning to the Laguna area again in Summer 2010, but I think we'll stay closer to the Montage Resort, but not as far as the Pelican Bay resort. There just seem to be much more action in that direction.

I would recommend St. Regis for an over night or two day stay, but thats about it. The staff is friendly, but the were not breaking their back to communicate. Families received a schedule of children's activities and a beach pail and shovel when they check in. We got ours as we were getting in a town car on day two by a staff member who notice we had a 5 year old.

Kids pool is great with a super shallow pool that all the kids love from age 0-5. The bar/food service was very attentive and they serve the kids popsicles mid day. Nice touch. We didnt participate in the kids club.

  • Stayed August 2009, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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lilfajita
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 13, 2009

We spent part of our honeymoon at the St.Regis, and I was very happy with the experience. The atmosphere is very relaxing, with tons of nooks to the property where you can escape. The service was incredible, from the champagne in our room as a surprise for our honeymoon to the helpful service at the concierge desk. This is definitely a secluded spot, so unless you drive, you are limited to the entertainment and food at the hotel (which, as one can imagine is pretty expensive). A great place for an escape though.

  • Stayed May 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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california
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 12, 2009

First off, I am a 38 year old female with OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder).
I would love to go places but staying in a hotel is the only thing that is stopping me from doing so.
This is the only hotel that is acceptable to me.
The place, service, food, ambience.
Been going to this place for 4 years now and still the great service we received the first time we visited it!

  • Stayed August 2008, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about St. Regis, Monarch Beach

Address: 1 Monarch Beach Resort Dr., Dana Point, CA 92629
Phone Number:
Location: United States > California > Orange County > Dana Point
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#2 Business Hotel in Dana Point
#3 Romantic Hotel in Dana Point
#4 Family Hotel in Dana Point
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — St. Regis, Monarch Beach 5*
Number of rooms: 400
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Overlooking the Pacific Ocean stands The St. Regis Monarch Beach. Crowned with the Forbes Five-Star, AAA Five-Diamond Award, the resort delivers an experience beyond expectation. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
St. Regis, Monarch Beach Hotel Dana Point
St Regis Dana Point
St Regis Resort Monarch Beach

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