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“Surf and Sand - Tight but could be Tighter”
4 of 5 bubbles Review of Surf & Sand Resort

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Surf & Sand Resort
Ranked #7 of 22 Hotels in Laguna Beach
Certificate of Excellence
Laguna Beach, CA
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Surf and Sand - Tight but could be Tighter”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 4, 2007

Booked our stay through Travelocity because when we called the Surf and Sand directly, they were all booked. On arrival day, we called the hotel at 3:15 PM to say we were arriving a bit later than 4PM. They didn't show our reservation. We stayed on the line with the hotel while we called Travelocity on another phone, and while on hold with both parties, Surf and Sand came back on saying they could check us in. We were never told what had happened but it was quite unsettling. What if this had occurred when we got there, causing us to stand in the lobby waiting for things to be straightened out-hardly how we wanted to start our vacation. Travelocity was still on hold when we left for the hotel as we could wait no longer for them to come back on line.

PROS: On arrival, the hotel apologized for the confusion with our reservation, and transferred us into a great room in the Tower. We stayed 3 nights, and 4 days. Over that time, we relaxed, room serviced, used the beach seating, and found most of the service excellent, and the accomodation great, and the surf sublime to hear and see 24/7. Many reviews noted the lack of AC, but because of those reviews, we came prepared for it, kept the balcony door and sometimes our room door open for cross breezes, used the ear plugs for sleep if the surf became too loud, and used the fan provided when required, and this balance kept the room comfortably cool. The front desk staff is excellent. Room Service, Housekeeping, Engineering (offered and brought us extension cords), Wait people in restaurants and on beach were excellent, working hard, and responded quickly. Plenty of towels, altho had to request more when they had cleaned the room but forgot some areas of the bathroom. Valet fast. Bell people very fast and courteous. Used Aguaterra Spa on site and was excellent.

CONS: Only mentioning these because, although the staffs were great, it was small details we had to ask to be attended to that were puzzling. This is a fantastic location and small details missed here and there the whole stay puzzling with the cost, location, and nearby competition of Ritz Carlton and new Montage. Felt like the staff is trying very hard. The food is above average, some excellent, but some average, not the sublime we had hoped for. We ate plenty of room service but the room service menu is the same as the restaurant and we tired of it. Light out in the bathroom got replaced only after we asked twice (first to concierge and second to housekeeping), asked for extra pillows the last night but they were never brought to us, we had three in the room-staff kept bringing two water bottles at night turn down like there was no third person. At 1st night's turn down, one bed platform would not light up-nice man from Engineering got it working and explained wiring on remodel of that area didn't set it up right so have to plug one side in, so that first night turn down got the bed platform lights on, the next 2 nights, no one turned the lights on. These small details tightened would save staff time, guest questions and requests, and serve up a tighter picture..

Suggestion- place #s for differing areas of the hotel ON the guest room cordless receiver so guest can call hotel services without having to return to the base unit to push the button e.g. labelled Room Service, etc..

  • Liked — Direct Location on the ocean with ocean view-seeing and hearing with all of the services
  • Disliked — Food and inconsistent service at times
  • Stayed August 2007, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank LovingtheTravelling
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
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English first
San Francisco, CA
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 18, 2007

My wife and I stayed with our two young children at the Surf & Sand in Laguna for a week in July of 2007 in a one bedroom Penthouse suite. Overall, we had a positive experience, but I need to start my review with one negative that was so significant that it will probably prevent us from returning, at least during the summer. Virtually none of the rooms and suites at this property have air conditioning. At these 5-star price points (I paid over $1200 per night), one shouldn't have to suffer with a warm or stuffy room. During the day it's a little uncomfortable, and at night the only way to stay comfortable is to open the sliding door, which cools the room but also makes it challenging to sleep due to the incessant sound of crashing waves. In fairness, my wife enjoyed the sound at night, but I had difficulty getting a solid night's sleep. My unequivocal suggestion to the Surf & Sand owners: put in central air conditioning!

On the plus side, the property was beautifully renovated in the last few years, and has a casual, beach cottage feel with shutters on the sliding doors, creamy neutral decor, and very comfortable beds and linens. The views are phenomenal, since almost all the rooms are directly on top of the ocean. This is not ocean view, but true ocean front. I also found the service to be responsive and courteous. We particularly enjoyed having a short elevator ride to get to the stairs leading to the beach, and upon stepping on the sand we were greeted by an attendant who helped set us up with chairs and umbrellas. Food and drink service is available through the attendants, and we found that useful to keep our children happy.

The food at the hotel is adequate (although overpriced), but comparable to other luxury properties. We particularly had good experiences with room service, and they were also unusually expedient in removing our plates once we called.

The location of the Surf & Sand is outstanding. It's minutes away from the heart of Laguna shopping and dining, and better located than its superior rival, the Montage.

My bottom line: if you're contemplating a stay in Laguna during any potentially hot period, particularly the summer, pay the higher fare and opt for the Montage. I would personally trade the superior view for an air-conditioned room. If you're traveling in the off-season when it tends to be cooler, take advantage of the Surf & Sand's explosive ocean views.

Final Note: the Los Angeles Times wrote a negative review of this property in the August 19, 2007 edition (travel section), highlighting the air conditioning issue.

  • Liked — Amazing Views
  • Disliked — Lack of Air Conditioning
  • Stayed July 2007, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank LCB5678
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
California
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 13, 2007

The Surf and Sand has the best of everything...the sounds, smells, feel of the ocean is right there, surrounding you. If you don't like white sandy beaches, with powerful surf then don't go to the Surf n Sand. The service was impeccable, the rooms are updated with all the latest and the food is everything you would expect from a top notch California chef. I did not want to be any where else. We stayed in a suite with a wonderful balcony overlooking the turquoise water with white foamy surf of the Pacific Ocean. I loved it and want to go back!

  • Liked — Being so close to the ocean and the freshness of the room.
  • Disliked — No air conditioning available.
  • Stayed August 2007, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank AnnieQCalifornia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Atlanta
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 12, 2007

Vista suite is beautiful - the large deck made the room which is a good size feel huge. Everything abouth the resort was really good except that they do need airconditioning. In a regular room you could open the sliding doors and cool room down howewer in Vista suite the bedroom is right in the back so it was difficult to cool down as was the bathroom. At $1200 per night - we should not have had that issue - other than that view, service and food was superb.

  • Liked — proximity to ocean and view
  • Disliked — no airconditioning
  • Stayed August 2007, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank BC5555
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Level Contributor
87 reviews
35 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 62 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 12, 2007

This is a difficult place to review, because the location is so good and the property is quite classy so those factors are likely to dwarf any other issues.

We stayed 4 nights and had a really memorable time there. Sleeping with the waves crashing outside is wonderful, if you sleep well! My wife and teenage family thought the place was great.

The rooms were ocean front double queens and were nice and certainly clean, modern, well equipped and very comfortable with wonderful views.

However, I have stayed in some great hotels round the world and at $600 per night this should be comparable and frankly it wasn't. The location is truly excellent, but the service (which marks out really good hotels) was lacking. Any request typically required 2-3 repeats to get activated and I gave up after asking about a few things as I was looking to relax - which is a tad disappointing. Maybe by mid-August, all the staff are getting worn down.

I would go back, and would know what I was getting. It is definitely a very nice place - just over priced - BUT it IS difficult to know how to price such a great location.

  • Liked — Great Location
  • Disliked — Price and Service (if service had been better maybe the price would be justified)
  • Stayed August 2007, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank PaulD-UK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Orange County, CA
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 22, 2007

So we stayed for 2 nights in the King Surfside room on the 1st Floor. The hotel itself has nice grounds and amazing location on the beach. However for $575 per night there were definitely problems. First it felt like we were in a dungeon in the hallway to our room (1st floor problem). (I think the Tower rooms must be nicer but they were more $$). When we got to the room the view of the ocean is fantastic so I guess it makes up for it. I know the hotel was recently renovated and the room was nice but really not that great. THe sliding glass door to the balcony was rusty and hard to open and close, the shower door was missing the plastic which keeps the water in and it ended up all over the bathroom each time, the toilet ran every 20 min which was irritating at night and the hairdryer didn't give off any hot air. The hotel was apologetic and was supposed to bring a new one but it just never happened. Took 4 requests for the crib to show up. Made it up to us with a free movie and chocolate covered strawberries however it showed up as a room service charge which once we called it to their attention was taken care of. It was overcast most of the time so the room wasn't too hot but a/c would really make it nicer at night as keeping your sliding door open is just too loud with the surf. (yes it really is very loud). The pool was small and cold and just felt too crowded. Can't beat the beach location which the kids loved and it was really great having the chairs and towels brought out to you by the hotel staff. We had dinner at the Montage and we were just blown away by how much nicer it was. If there is any way to make it happen I would pay the extra $150-$200 a night and stay there! If it's all about the beach for you the Surf and Sand has better beach access but you can stay at Vacation village for amazing beach access and mediocre rooms for 1/2 the price.

  • Liked — beach access
  • Disliked — feeling like our room was in the dungeon
  • Stayed July 2007, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
2 Thank oc4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Arizona
Level Contributor
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 5, 2007

It's been about 8 years since I've been back to the Surf & Sand. This time, I brought my husband who'd never been here but only heard about. I was really excited to take him to the property but what was so wonderful was how the experience exceeded what I remembered! Back then it was wonderful - this time it was excellent!

We arrived 4 hours early - since check in was at 3 pm. The front desk staff apologized to us for not having a room ready and gave us free drink coupons in their bar! We weren't expecting anything since we knew we were early and here they were apologizing to us! After about 45 minutes, we were called and our room was ready early!

We also arrived to a bottle of chilled champagne in our room. I believe every guests receives it when checking in. We had a gorgeous view of the beach (as all rooms are oceanview) and our room was spacious and very clean. The staff out on the beach were friendly and attentive. I love how they bring out your umbrellas and chairs for you...(please remember to tip these people!). Please note that there is no alcohol allowed on the beach. And they have undercover cops that patrol the beach and will fine you heavily if you have some. We noticed it happening to these guys next to us.

The valet boys were so wonderful and even though they wrote your name on the corner of your windshield, it's always still nice when they greet you by name.

The "Meet your Manager" happy hour on Friday was wonderful! Free food and drinks out on their courtyard. The food was great!! Cheese, crackers, avocado salad, mini filet sandwiches, shrimp skewers, crab cakes...they were all fantastic and super tasty. We never did see the manager though. Maybe he was there and we didn't know?

Turn down service is done every night that you are there. They leave you with candy and a list of activities going on the next day including the weather and tide levels.

You don't need a car there really. Everything is right around the corner from you. To get to downtown Laguna where all the restaurants and shops are, takes about a 20 minute walk one way. It's pretty lively there at night with lots of restaurants to choose from. There are also plenty of restaurants and shops that are less than a 5 minute walk if you don't want to go to downtown Laguna. If you do park a car there, it is $27 a night which was actually waived for us, luckily.

The food in Splashes was alright. A bit pricey and not all that it is raved to be. We had breakfast and lunch there and did not walk away full or overly impressed. That would be the only downside.

They also have tea time in the spa daily at 5 pm. You just go into the spa boutique and pick which tea you would like and take some shortbread with you and sit out on a bench and enjoy! You can go back as many times as you want. I tried 2 different teas each day.

I can go on and on about this property. It's wonderful and perfect for any type of group: family, couples, honeymoon, retired...it's just perfect and I can't wait to go back!

  • Liked — all rooms are oceanview
  • Disliked — that i had to go home!
  • Stayed June 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
4 Thank Peanutpuff
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Surf & Sand Resort

Property: Surf & Sand Resort
Address: 1555 South Coast Highway, Laguna Beach, CA 92651-3299
Phone Number:
Location: United States > California > Orange County > Laguna Beach
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#4 Business Hotel in Laguna Beach
#4 Romantic Hotel in Laguna Beach
#4 Spa Hotel in Laguna Beach
#6 On the Beach Hotel in Laguna Beach
#8 Family Hotel in Laguna Beach
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Surf & Sand Resort 4*
Number of rooms: 165
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Surf & Sand Resort, a member of Preferred Hotels and Resorts Worldwide and holder of AAA’s Four-Diamond Award, lies on California's Laguna Beach shoreline where the waves of the Pacific meet 500 feet of pristine sand.All 151 guest rooms and 16 suites at Surf & Sand command spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean. The resort also houses Splashes Restaurant, featuring a Mediterranean-inspired coastal menu by Executive Chef David Fune; the intimate Aquaterra Spa; 10,000-square-feet of meeting space and wedding venues with stunning ocean views. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Surf And Sand Hotel Laguna Beach
Surf And Sand Hotel
Surf Sand Hotel
Surf And Sand Resort

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