There are few places that you can travel to in a little over an hour that feel like a whole new world from Los Angeles. One of them is Dana Point. Dana Point reminded me of a small Cape Cod town where everyone knows each other. I kept referring to it as an Ojai by the sea. This small town with a down home feel won my heart for it’s kitchy coffee shops, small breakfast cafés, and its harbor filled with tchotchke shops. The crown on top of the hill is Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort & Spa.
Although Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort & Spa is a luxury resort, I loved the staff there because they were relaxed, warm, and people. We continuously found ourselves visiting certain staff members to say hello or chat. Lindsey checked us in and explained the dozens of activities the resort had to offer. From a 10 am yoga class (that brings hundreds of people to the front lawn), to bocce ball, to board games, to tennis, they have it all. Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort & Spa is like an adult playground.
We made our way to our room, where Tyler and I looked at each other in anticipation of opening the double doors. Inside, we found a space that was three times bigger than our small, Venice Beach, one bed room. We had a foyer, full living room, office/lounge, large bathroom, three TVs, and a bedroom with a king size bed. The best part was the balcony that wrapped around the whole presidential suite with lounges and a dining area.
After settling in, sipping the champagne and munching on the chocolate covered strawberries, I went downstairs to meet with Rey, one of the managers. We instantly hit it off (if she wasn’t heading home for the day, I could have hung out with her all night). She gave me a tour and I learned the resort has two heated pools, multiple meeting areas, a bar/lounge with a wrap around patio, and an upscale restaurant hidden on the bottom floor. Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort & Spa is one of those resorts where you can stay the whole weekend and never get bored of things to do.
Tyler and I spent the evening watching the sunset and enjoying cocktails and appetizers at OverVue Lounge and Deck. The cocktails were tasty and creative with concoctions like the Coconut Margarita made with Hornitos Black Barrel Tequila, coconut puree, fresh lime juice, agave nectar, and Roasted Coconut; the California Cowboy made with Templeton Rye, blueberry, apple juice, fresh lemon juice, and ginger beer; and the Green House made with Bison Vodka, Elderflower, green tea, fresh lemon juice, and topped with Prosecco. As for food, we ordered up the Lobster Salad Sliders, and fresh Blacked Tilipia Tacos.
We woke up early (Because Dana Point has a ritual of blowing the fog horn during heavy fog) for the breakfast buffet at Vue and headed to the gym, which had everything we gym rats would need. After a good workout, we got bikes from the front desk and took a short bike ride to the harbor. The harbor was quaint and filled with souvenir shops and restaurants, where we stopped for a Bloody Mary. Back at the resort, Lindsey who helped us to the board games and we found a spot in the sun, ordered up some wine and had an afternoon of playing Jenga and watching the wedding below. I couldn’t ask for anything more. It was pure bliss.
We went upstairs to find more champagne and chocolate covered strawberries (thanks, Lindsey), and got ready for dinner at Vue. Dinner was delicious and the accommodated our dietary changes. I ordered up the Ahi Tuna, which came with an apple jicama slaw. The savory ahi worked perfectly with the sweet apple. For our entrees, we both had the Seabass and it was juicy and flaky. I had it with veggies, while Tyler had it over linguini.
The next morning we explored the town for a little bit. We got coffee at J C Beans Inc, which was absolutely adorable. They had shelves and shelves of books, that made a book worm like me happy. Plus, the cappuccino was hearty, sweet, and awakening as well. From there we went to RJ’s Cafe and had a large, filling breakfast. I loved how RJ was walking around in his tropical shirt, hanging out with his buddies. Again, Dana Point is such a small, relaxed, easy town, where everyone says hello.
After a quick work out it was time for my spa treatments! Before heading into my massage, I hung out in the relaxation room, where you can read magazines, sip Champagne, or sit on the patio by the fire. My massage was relaxing and rejuvenating because the masseuse asked before about my activity level and I explained how I workout a lot. She understood which muscles to work on harder, while some needed just a little attention. It was exactly what I needed. I then headed to my facial, which I was in need of after a weekend of wining and dining. She did extractions (my favorite), a mask, exfoliated, and moisturized. When I left, I felt like a new person. I was refreshed and invigorated.
Overall, Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort & Spa has everything you could need in a weekend away. Whether its a couples retreat, a girls weekend away, or simply a day at the spa, the staff will feel like a second family, you will feel special, and you most importantly have fun and enjoy yourself. I can’t wait to go back!