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Transformation at Monarch Beach Resort

Monarch Beach Resort is one of the top luxury golf resorts in Southern California. Situated along the Pacific Coast, it is a Forbes Five-Star , AAA Five-Diamond award property and is also rated a Gold Medal Resort by GOLF Magazine.  My wife joined me on this trip and fell in love with the look, feel and ambience of the property.

400 exquisitely appointed guest rooms and suites adjoin the 6,600-yard Par 72 Monarch Beach Golf Links which rests atop bluffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Designed by Robert Trent Jones, Jr., Monarch Beach Golf Links resembles a Scottish links with tight fairways and rolling greens that meander along the coast.

In June, Denver-based KSL Resorts acquired the destination resort, formerly the St. Regis Hotel. The revamped property now includes a fabulous lobby, five dining concepts, a more expansive pool area and bar, renovated public spaces and also has an exclusive spa partnership with Miraval, a global leader in spa and wellness.

Each restyled guest room is flooded with natural light through expansive glass doors leading out to a private balcony. The master bathroom is designed to provide spa-like comforts: deep soaking bathtub, rainfall shower and a spacious amenity-rich vanity. Each of the resort’s premium suites also features their signature Monarch Beach Resort Host Services, for intuitive or on-demand service, any time, day or night. Guest accommodations range from 535 to over 3100 square feet.

Monarch Beach Resort

The resort’s beach location in Dana Point affords its guest access to many activities including surfing lessons, whale watching and marine adventures through the Ocean Institute. I took advantage of the ocean kayaking, which was a blast. Dan Stafford of Ocean Adventure Programs gave me “how to” instructions including what to do and where not to go, which gave me confidence and eased my worries.  The resort has a variety of special offers and packages which can be found on their web site at It’s also a pet-friendly hotel.

The resort’s private beach is a great place to get your morning started with the Rise and Shine Yoga classes on the sand, the soothing sound of crashing waves as background music. More privacy is offered at the “guests-only” Monarch Bay Club on where breakfast overlooking the ocean is a great way to end your yoga session.

For health conscious and fitness devotees, the resort’s association with the Miraval Life in Balance Spa at Monarch Beach Resort, offers more than 70 signature treatments developed at the company’s flagship Miraval Resort & Spa outside Tucson, AZ. According to their literature, each are designed to “awaken the senses, create balance and promote a sense of well-being.” I experienced a soothing massage. Featuring a waterfall, the spa Jacuzzi was exceptional. An array of snacks and beverages was complimentary.

Beach View

This new spa facility encompasses 24 treatment rooms, spa suites, boutique, Drybar, Deborah Lippmann Nail Salon plus relaxation and tranquility zones. It offers many of the brand’s signature wellness programs, such as energy and body renewal rituals and treatments that incorporate coastal-inspired ingredients, including sea salt, crystal salt stones, algae and marine muds. Custom yoga and body movement studios in the spa’s new Body Mindfulness Center feature the brand’s Cardio Drumming, Mindful Spinning, Aerial Yoga and Floating Mediation programs.

Miraval-inspired healthy menu items are also available at Monarch Beach Resort’s restaurants, including the new Miraval Spa Café that is among the restaurant offerings – six with ocean views, including Chef Michael Mina’s lauded Stonehill Tavern, Club 19 and the Aveo Terrace. Especially at Stonehill, the selections were extensive and the food, superb. As a vegetarian, they created a delicious variety of dishes to suit my tastes and my wife raved about the seafood. She would like to return for an extended trip!

The Monarch Pool, facing directly towards the Pacific Ocean, has been expanded to include 150 additional lounge chairs and new, private cabanas. Two new infinity edge whirlpool spas seemingly spill over into the stunning seascape. A kid-friendly Family Pool has also been enhanced with a graduated entry and new cabanas surrounding the perimeter.

Access to the 8 lighted hard tennis courts is complimentary for resort guests. A ball machine can be rented for $25 per hour. Loaner racquets are available upon request and guests can purchase tennis balls for a nominal fee. Private and group lessons are available.

Coastal Golf

The golf experience at Monarch Beach equals the luxury experience of the hotel. Under the expert direction of GM Eric Lohman, the Links at Monarch Beach is an excellent test of golf that requires players to use every club in the bag. The views and layout make for an exhilarating, memorable round. Shifting winds constantly make club selection critical; undulating greens really separate good, from great putters.


The Par-4 third is the signature hole, yet measures only 315 yards from the back tees. But this dog-leg running along the beach requires exacting shot-making to make a good score. The Par-5 seventh is the most unique on the course with accuracy, more vital than length, even for a hole that can stretch to 612 yards. Two shots are over hazards on this dog-leg left, and the options to attack it are many. Par is a good score.


A popular Flex-rental program allows guests to individualize their own bag by mixing and matching the latest models a from variety of top equipment makers and to create a unique set of clubs for optimum performance. Titleist, Callaway, TaylorMade and PING are among the many brands offered. The club’s forecaddie program is outstanding as is the service. This is taken to another level with the “Fit Fore a King” experience that the resort is offering through the remainder of 2016, as a golf package for those interested in the experience of a lifetime. “The “Fit Fore a King” golf package is an ultimate guys’ golf getaway, as well as an ideal vacation for avid golfing couples, either for a weekend trip or an extended stay.

Available throughout 2107, the awesome package includes:

  • Private limousine service (to and from airport)
  • A luxurious suite for two nights at the Monarch Beach Resort (double occupancy)
  • Personal Butler Service throughout the stay
  • Club-fitting at world headquarters of Callaway (cost of new equipment is additional)
  • Unlimited golf daily on the Monarch Beach Golf Links
  • “FlexSet” golf club rental (while the new set is being built)
  • Golf cart and Monarch Beach “Waterman” personal forecaddie service for each round
  • Access to the resort’s private beach and “guests-only” Monarch Bay Club
  • Breakfast daily
Leonard Finkel
Leonard Finkel
Leonard Finkel is the author of The Secrets to the Game of Golf & Life and former editor in chief of Golf Journeys Magazine. His work has been featured in almost 200 publications including Golf Magazine, Golf Digest, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Golf Illustrated, Golf Tips and Player Magazine. He has written more than a dozen cover stories for Golf Today Magazine. He has written extensively about golf and travel and added poker to his writing repertoire and also works as a marketing and public relations consultant. Prior to his career in golf, Finkel owned a chain of retail stores and a consulting and import company based in Asia. He attended the University of Utah.


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