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“Enjoyable, But Not Perfect”

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Monarch Beach Resort
Ranked #1 of 12 Hotels in Dana Point
Certificate of Excellence
Los Angeles, CA
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Enjoyable, But Not Perfect”
Reviewed September 7, 2008

Chose the St. Regis to celebrate an anniversary with my boyfriend. Overall enjoyable, but not perfect - not what I expected for a 5-star property...

Pros -
Beautiful hotel and tastefully appointed room - good bath products and great pillows. Most of the staff were very courteous and friendly. As it was our anniversary, the hotel was nice enough to provide us with complimentary bottle of champagne. The beach was far, but very nice and the food at the beach club was yummy. Liked the three different pools and the pool chairs were great, but see comments below about dislikes. Attendants at both beach and pool were very nice. Turndown service was thoughtful as they laid out our robes and provided slippers. Also, we forgot toothpaste and the staff was nice enough to deliver not only toothpaste but toothbrushes and mouthwash. Finally, as an SPG Gold member, we were able to check in early and check-out late - this allowed us to make the most of our quick trip.

Cons -
What bothered me the most was that the front desk person who checked us in/out was not friendly at all. She did not ask how we were doing when we arrived and did not inquire about our stay when we departed and did not smile. You'd think since she'd checked me in the day before she'd at least have remembered to ask about our stay. She also did not address me by my name. Also, I was not given an upgraded room although the person checking-in next time (also an SPG Gold member) was - I heard his front desk person announce it. That was annoying especially since we were on the 2nd floor. The champagne was nice, but there was note accompanying it. Was it for our anniversary or for being an SPG Gold member? At all my other stays at SPG properties - there has always been a nice personalized, welcome note. As I mentioned earlier, I like the beach but didn't necessarily want to do the golf ride. Also, it would be great if they had full beach chairs and food/beverage service right on the beach. Went night swimming and thought the heated pool could have been much warmer. Also, the pool area wasn't as clean as I expected it - saw cigarette butts, glass, and plastic cups. During the area was much cleaner. The valet service was inconsistent sometimes they'd open the door for me (regardless of how busy - or not busy it was) and sometimes they wouldn't.

  • Stayed September 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank IHeartTrips82
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (540)
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California
Level 3 Contributor
19 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed September 5, 2008

We've stayed here a couple of times, each time there's a need to getaway from the stresses of everyday life (often) we would spend a weekend here. Very beautiful place and the grounds are nicely maintained.

We were upgraded to a larger room given the platinum status, and really enjoyed the quality of the butler service. Would definitely recommend to any of our families or friends!

The Spa is nice too, and has it's own lap pool where you can hear music while swimming your laps (music is not too loud but audible). It's good to have a pool specifically for swimming laps in addition to the nice big pool to lounge in. Great gym as well and friendly/helpful trainers!

One tip--although we ate at the restaurants most of the time, on lazy days where we don't feel like a full-length meal, we'll go to Bristol Farms Market nearby (few miles) and grab their salad. Yummy and fresh salad bar + sushi. It's nice to have that healthy option nearby (3-minute drive, walkable if you're used to walking).

  • Liked — Aesthetically pleasing surroundings (awesome golf course!)
  • Disliked — Paying for parking and internet--should be free to Platinum members
  • Stayed May 2008, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank justsun
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Level 6 Contributor
114 reviews
90 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 73 helpful votes
Reviewed September 2, 2008

This property is an easy 30 minutes from Orange County airport. I arrived early on a Thursday afternoon for the Labor day weekend. My room was available and was immediately walked to the elevator by the desk clerk since I was carrying my own bags. Valet parking is $30 per day and I dislike depending on others for my car, but self parking is $25 per day but without in and out priveleges. I can't understand why suburban location hotels need to nickel and dime you for parking. Room was nice, but I agree with others, it simply felt 1/2 a step shy of a 5 star resort room. The bathroom had a large "window" into the room itself with shutters but no window. Why anyone would design the expelling of bathroom noises and other things into a 5 star bedroom eludes me, but I suppose it's all in your own tastes. Bathroom had two sinks, separate tub and shower and 5 star amenities. I never heard a peep of noise from the adjacent rooms, just from the hallway. Terrace door and windows blocked all noise from outside. Bed was very comfortable. Turndown service was uneven, sometime 5:30 one night at 9:55 PM which I think is a bit late. TV lacked channels for simple entertainment. The regular broadcast channles were there with a couple of kids channels as well as HBO but not much else.
I used room service twice as breakfast was included in the rate. Both times order was 100% perfect and arrived within 25 minutes. They promised 30 or less. Food was hot and properly presented and was as described in the menu. Did not try any of the hotel restaurants. Service at the pool was great, but I was there before it was genuinely crowded for the weekend. Also, I felt the pool needed a bit more room around it for chairs, although the kids pool was right next door with more space. I did go to the beach twice. You actually go to the private Monarch Beach club. They supply towels and those half chairs that sit low, close to the sand but that's all. There is a bar and a private restaurant. I'm not sure if you can charge items to the rooms at the hotel, but there is no food/drink service to your beach chair. The golf cart ride does get tedious, they really do their best to keep it organized and fair to those who wait, but when you have groups of families with all the assorted supplies and lots of people waiting for those small carts, it takes away from the experience. The beach was great though, clean, quiet, great surf, room to spread out. I loved the resort, but it's not quite perfect enough for the price in my opinion.

  • Stayed August 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
Helpful?
Thank Seven_Continents
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Geneva, Switzerland
Level 5 Contributor
55 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
Reviewed August 30, 2008

We just stayed 10 days at the St Regis and we loved the place. It is in one word excellent. This is a top hotel on every level. We are heavy travellers from Switzerland and the hotel is just fabilous. The service was great and the personnel were lovely. The beach was great and the spa is a world class. It is very well managed and maintained.

We will definetely go back. Please keep up the good work. We will definetely recommend this place for our friends.

  • Stayed August 2008, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank OnlyTop5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
california
Level 4 Contributor
21 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed August 26, 2008

Not what you would expect for a 5 star hotel, I have a laundry list but basically the service was terrible. When we first checked in it took 40 minutes to get our luggage from the car to the room when they told us 10. We wanted to go to the pool but had to wait for our luggage. We had only been there for about 15 minutes when they came by for turndown service which was fine, but all the sudden some guy bursts in and starts yelling at the turndown lady and asks whats going on in here and what was going on with a room down the hall, he had no regard for my privacy and just used his master key to come in my room. The next day we were at the pool and could not get a server for lunch and it took 45 minutes to get our food. You can even get ice at this hotel without calling room service its ridiculous, the time it takes for them to do anything. All I can advise is that if you are looking for 5 star service this is not the place take your money elsewhere.

  • Liked — room was nice
  • Disliked — service
  • Stayed August 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank dtravelerCalifornia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Montreal
Level 4 Contributor
31 reviews
30 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 110 helpful votes
Reviewed August 21, 2008

Lets start with the check in. We were coming from the east coast with a 5 & 3 year old. I had requested early check in and was assured that we could be accomodated. We were staying in a $1200/night suite so I expected nothing less. When we arrived at 12:30 we were told our room was not ready but would be in "about an hour" but no later than 3:00 and they would call us. we went to the pool which was OK. At 4:30, after not receiving a call, I checked at the desk and they told me it was still not ready. After arguing with a manager for about 20 min I got the room. Nice room granted, but on the first floor. Whatever, I just wanted to shower and wash up. Not a good start

Room as I said was nice with huge king bed and massive bathroom. Kids had a den which closed off from master as well as their own shower. No problem at all here. You are promised a butler. I never saw him or anyone resembllng a butler

Pool service was practically non existent (see my review on Four Seasons Aviara for what service is)
Pool was average at best. Kids had a wading pool. Not much going on here

The beach is down the hill and they have a shuttle. Great beach with nice views. We had great weather so that helped.

Laguna is about 5 miles away and is pretty cute with good walking streets and SoCal feel.

All in all not worth the money. We ended checking out after three nights and switching to the FS in Aviara. As I said above, night and day between these two hotels

  • Liked — Room
  • Disliked — Price
  • Stayed August 2008, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank jeezer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles
Level 4 Contributor
24 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed August 7, 2008

Stayed for a long weekend with family at the St. Regis. It is a luxury hotel throughout and most of the services and amenities are first class. Almost everything was perfect, however there were three things that I experienced that left me scratching my head and wondering.

First, the hotel positions itself as a beach hotel. It is NOT right on the beach. You need to take a tram to the beach. It is about a 7 minute ride and the trams run every 15 minutes. The tram ride itself is very odd-- they zip up plastic covers over the sides and back of the tram. I presume this is to prevent passengers from being hit with golf balls when crossing the course. However, it is both weird and also a bit claustrophobic. Once at the beach, the private club and chair / towel service are GREAT. My real complaint with the tram service, however is that the hotel doesn't seem to run it every day. One day there was a sign saying that due to weather and rough seas the beach was closed. Well, we ended up walking to the beach on the road (about 15 mins) and there were a zillion people on the beach! The weather was great and the high surf attracted lots of surfers. So, why did the hotel close the tram that day? And why did they give a totally lame excuse for it? Why couldn't they have run shuttle busses?

Second, there are no ice machines. I asked the bellman where the ice machine was and he told me that they don't have them-- you need to call room service and wait for them to deliver you a bucket of ice. OK, I thought, that's high touch. Well, I ordered ice twice during my stay and once it took 45 minutes and the other time it never showed up! I ended up walking up to one of the restaurants and asking for a cup of ice.... The hotel is plenty large, I'm sure they could discreetly tuck away some ice machines. Heck, they'd probably increase their sales from the minibar.

Third, a minor pet peeve, but there was no coffee or tea service in the room nor was there an urn of coffee or tea (or water for that matter) in the lobby. I find it a nice touch to offer complimentary coffee and felt "nickel and dimed" by having to buy $4 coffees in the pastry shop. For what we paid for the room, you'd think you could throw in a cuppa joe...!

All in all, this is clearly a great place and you will certainly have a great time. Two tips are 1) call ahead for ice and 2) plan pay a lot for (bad) coffee or walk (~10 mins) down the road to the local Starbucks.

  • Liked — Beautiful property. Great pool. Lots of 5 star services
  • Disliked — not close to beach
  • Stayed August 2008, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank LeisureErik
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Monarch Beach Resort

Property: Monarch Beach Resort
Address: 1 Monarch Beach Resort, Dana Point, CA 92629-4085 (Formerly St. Regis, Monarch Beach)
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 Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 On the Beach Hotel in Dana Point
#3 Romantic Hotel in Dana Point
#3 Business Hotel in Dana Point
#4 Family Hotel in Dana Point
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Monarch Beach Resort 5*
Number of rooms: 400
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Our AAA Five-Diamond resort overlooks the Pacific and offers private beach club access, with watersports, oceanfront golf, award-winning Miraval Life in Balance Spa, swimming pools, upscale dining, activities programs and more. Located in Dana Point, the resort offers easy access to a variety of Southern California attractions including Catalina Island, Dana Point Harbor, Laguna art galleries and events, Disneyland and more. ... 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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