Dana Point and this hotel represent a perfect base camp for travelers planning excursions into both LA and Sand Diego. We spent a couple days in the local area also and found it to be a worthy destination in its own right. The hotel has maintained its original boutique feel and does not resemble a chain hotel. There was even a conference our first day and we did not feel any impact from it. The staff is exceptional; one of the best I have encountered. The pool area is quite nice and family friendly. The service is excellent and they offer daycare should you want to plan a couples event without the kids.
Our experience with the on-property Hertz counter was most disappointing. I planned on avoiding the $32 valet parking by renting from Hertz and returning on the same day; thus avoiding overnight parking fees. This did not work out well. The location is understaffed and lacks sufficient inventory. We spent an inordinate amount of time checking out cars in the morning. On our last day, the car was not clean and smelled of stale cigarette smoke. This is not the hotel’s fault. Just rent a car from the airport (OC is closest and avoids LA traffic) and pay the valet fee. There isn’t any place else to park around here so just budget for this to avoid feeling “nickel and dimed”. Same goes for the resort fee, see below. We also had an unfortunate issue with the on-property restaurant but management immediately dealt with it in a most impressive way. The food itself was quite good.
Pros and cons for platinum: upgraded to full ocean view (quite nice). Access to spa facilities (had no time to utilize but nice). General VIP treatment from staff. No free breakfast. No free Internet. No free parking. Charged a resort fee. This includes Internet but also all kinds of fun equipment rentals. Full list on website. Not too bad if you are active. It's very much in line with competing properties. I know we platinums hate nickel and dime fees but just set realistic expectations and move on. This is a unique property and you get what you pay for.
It is a short walk to Doheny state beach and lantern bay County Park. Good beach, clean and well maintained. The park shows movies on a large, outdoor screen on the weekends. Our son watched the Lorax from the perfect view given by our balcony. The marina also offers jet ski rentals.
Harbor Grill, home of the best swordfish (Japanese style) I’ve ever had. Served with Clam chowder, garlic mash and cobbler for desert. They have a wood-fired grill in the kitchen that is quite impressive. My wife opted for the lobster prepared on this grill. Amazing. We went back twice.
El Torito, home of the best fajitas I’ve ever had. Mine were mixed chicken and steak. The chicken was good but the steak was phenomenal. We also enjoyed fresh guacamole prepared tableside. I can still taste it.
Even the Denny's here was delicious. Maybe food just tastes better in California. The restaurant had a charming 50's diner design which I suspect is what it originally was. We ate here every morning. The food and service were excellent and we saved a bunch of money.
The surrounding location is really quite charming. There is a nice park next door that show movies on a large outdoor screen on the weekends. Our son watched Finding Nemo from our balcony. There is also a nice beach within a short walk. On the other side of the property is an epic 118 step staircase that leads to a marina with some amazing restaurants.
A bucket list experience. Not so much for the rides (lots of out of orders while we were there) but the pageantry is what makes this place special: parade, fireworks, Fantasmic, meeting characters (an 8yr old getting a fist bump from goofy is priceless). Disneyland may have the best and most friendly staff on the planet. It has become quite expensive. It is still worth it but set high cost expectations in advance to avoid being frustrated. The lines brutal. Fast pass was not a benefit the day we went. Half of the attractions were closed or out of order or booked for entire day. Just stand in line. Bring your fully charged phones, tablets, portable game systems, etc. to help pass the wait times. Bring a hat. Mouse ears are fun but 12 hours in the sun demands a hat with a bill or sunscreen. It is going to be a long day, plan for rest prior and recovery after.
This is a fun location for younger kids. The water park is fun and there is a pretty good roller coaster. The weekend we were there featured a full-sized, fixed wing fighter from Star Wars made entirely of legos. That was quite impressive. Other than that It’s a fun one-day experience but we probably won’t go back. If we do we will stay at the onsite hotel to avoid commuting.
One of the top highlights of our visit. The whole park is wonderful. You can spend multiple days here or just come back every year for a great time that never gets old. Our highlights included dinner with Shamu and the Shamu Rocks show, the sea lion and dolphin shows (you can swim with dolphins now!), and the behind the scenes tour. Have you ever seen a nursing dolphin or pet a shark? Do the behind the scenes show. Sew World fun for every age. The park is quite clean and well staffed also.
San Diego Zoo Safari Park:
As impressive as the SD zoo is we don’t go there anymore. We opt for the Safari Park instead. You really need at least two full days to hit everything. The plains exhibit is beyond description. There are hundreds of animals without cages living as they would in their natural habitat. There are several different safari packages to choose from that range from an exterior tour of the plains (and an amazing up-close look at the mountain goat enclosure) to a 4hr tour of the plains that includes feeding giraffes and rhinos. We have hit all the major tourist attractions Calif
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Dressed in charming Cape Cod style, the Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort rests atop the majestic cliffs of the "California Riviera" overlooking the Pacific Ocean and Dana Point Harbor and is fronted by 42 acres of park, rolling lawn, and radiant gardens laced with bicycle and jogging trails. Take a short walk to the Harbor’s numerous shops, restaurants and ocean activities and to the beautiful sands of the Pacific. Each of the Resort’s 378 rooms includes a TV w/remote, Nintendo, work desk, STSN high-speed Internet, CD/clock radio, coffee maker, hair dryer, lighted makeup mirror and individual climate control. 24-hour health club facilities top the list of amenities, along with tennis, croquet, bicycle rentals and more. Enjoy two ocean-view heated pools or relax in the adjacent whirlpools. Recognized for its excellence in meeting services with a Gold Key Award by Corporate Meetings and Incentives Magazine, the Resort offers 50,000 sq ft of flexible indoor and outdoor function space with state-of-the-art technological capabilities. Our newest addition to our AAA 4-Diamond resort is the 14,000 square foot spa. Enjoy treatments tailored to your own tastes. Our spa facilities, including a sauna and whirlpool, are also available. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Laguna Cliffs Marriott Hotel Dana Point
- Marriott Laguna Cliffs
- Marriott Dana Point
- Dana Point Marriott