Like a butterfly emerging from a chrysalis, the former St. Regis Monarch Beach in Dana Point, California, is spreading its wings. The Forbes Five Star and AAA Five Diamond 400-room property in Orange County is now owned by KSL Resorts and has been rechristened Monarch Beach Resort.
Following a $40 million renovation completed last month, it offers a more casual vibe designed to resonate with those seeking a less formal, yet sophisticated hotel experience. Planners will find more than 30,000 sq. ft. of flexible indoor event space and 60,000 sq. ft. outdoors.
The centerpiece of the rebranded property is Miraval Life in Balance Spa. Patterned after Miraval Resort & Spa, near Tucson, Arizona, it offers an immersive wellness program that includes a world-class spa, movement and meditation classes, culinary workshops, access to nutritionists and guest speakers, a lap pool and a salon.
Monarch Beach Resort is Miraval’s first partnership with another hotel. There are many similarities, but Miraval Southern California takes its inspiration from the ocean instead of the desert. Spa treatments feature seaweed wraps, sea-salt scrubs and marine muds. Many of the yoga, boot camp and meditation classes are conducted beachside.
Guests are pampered with massages and facials, can get their hair styled at the popular Drybar or have a mani/pedi at Deborah Lippmann Nail Salon. On a recent weekend, I opted for the latter. As she worked, the friendly practitioner chatted about celebrities’ nails she has serviced, including Barbra Streisand, Julia Roberts and Kobe Bryant.
Dozens of classes challenge your body. I tried cardio drumming. During this intense workout in the airy studio, I beat drumsticks on a giant rubber ball to contemporary music. Contortionists sampled aerial yoga in harnesses hanging from the ceiling, while others practiced mindful spinning on stationary bikes. I was privy to an anti-aging lecture, and got stretching and diet advice from a knowledgeable trainer. Those seeking more traditional activities can exercise in the state-of-the-art fitness center or golf on Monarch Beach’s Robert Trent Jones Jr.-designed 18-hole course. Whatever you choose, you’ll surely leave feeling better than when you arrived.