I live in Los Angeles, and sometimes I get the urge to have a little staycation. There is such a large array of locations to choose from in this area, though one of my favorite places to visit is Laguna Beach. About an hour from Los Angeles, Laguna Beach is one of the most gorgeous places to visit in southern California. It reminds me of Hawaii, with a laid-back vibe and stunning ocean views.
I had the pleasure to stay at The Ranch at Laguna Beach, a newly renovated hotel in the heart of town, just above Laguna’s main beach road. Tucked into a canyon, the property is surrounded by wildlife, winding creeks, lush greenery and 360-degree views of nature’s beauty.
This newly renovated rustic retreat offers an unparalleled escape for those looking to experience pure relaxation. It’s within walking distance of Aliso Beach and has the only golf course in Laguna Beach. The 9-hole, Par 32, Ben Brown’s Golf Course, designed by Gary Roger Baird, offers guests a private playing experience with stunning views and elevation changes on every fairway.
If you’re not a golfer, you can find great relaxation at the Harvest Patio, the hotel’s expansive outdoor lounge that overlooks the first fairway. There you can enjoy some tasty hors d’oeuvres and a glass of wine while admiring the stunning views of the canyon.
The hotel features a saline pool, which is heated year-round. A fitness center and a new Sycamore Spa, which is also open to the public. The bungalow-style building is home to locally-inspired treatments such as the Stone and Shell Signature Treatment Massage and the Beach Feet massage. I decided to relish in a signature facial. At a resort like this, it’s hard to not indulge in a spa treatment.
The Ranch at Laguna Beach was designed to have all of the amenities of a resort while also offering a comfortable and tranquil setting. The 97 rooms, suites and cottages were designed by Laurie Alter, a Laguna Beach interior designer and the co-owner of Tuvalu Home Environment, a home decor boutique and design studio. The rooms are decorated with everything from antique-inspired furniture to ocean-themed artwork, and plush bedding is in each room.
One of my favorite things to do in Laguna Beach is to stroll along the main street that parallels the ocean. Known for its eclectic range of talented artists, the streets in Laguna Beach are lined with art galleries, restaurants, and boutique stores.
…and the beach
I ate lunch at The Cliff, a restaurant that boasts an undisrupted view of the beach and a wide variety of menu options. I opted for a salad and ceviche.
After lunch, we checked out something I had not seen or known of on past trips to Laguna Beach. One of the most unique landmarks in Southern California is at Victoria Beach, only steps away from the street. A structure known as “La Tour” (French for “tower”) was built in 1926 in conjunction with a house that sits above it on the bluff. Inside the tower is a wooden spiral staircase. There is no access allowed in the tower, but this enchanting structure is captivating and adds the perfect backdrop for photos.
Right on the beach is a partially buried, circular cement wall, which fills with salt water when the tide is high enough. It is believed that the same builder of the tower also constructed the pool, a true gem and an ideal way to enjoy a hot day.
To find the pool and tower, park near 2713 Victoria Drive, beside which are public stairs that give direct access to the north end of Victoria Beach. At the bottom of the stairs, walk right, over the rocks. The pool will be first, and directly beyond that is the tower.
see what beauty this staycation consisted of…
Since we were spending only one night at The Ranch at Laguna Beach, we wanted to indulge in the fresh farm cuisine at the resort’s restaurant, The Harvest.
The Harvest is a creative take on Californian comfort food. The menu is seasonal, integrating fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs grown and gathered from the property’s half-acre garden. The new bar features a menu of innovative handcrafted cocktails, an enticing selection of wines, and 18 craft beers on tap.
The interior of The Harvest is striking and offers the sense of being inside a cozy cabin. The open space has vaulted wood ceilings, woodsy lighting, a large burning fireplace and rustic furniture.
Everything on the menu sounded appetizing, and we ended up ordering much more food than we could handle in one sitting. The four appetizers and entree I tried were all incredible.
Ended the evening here. Finishing off a glass of red while sitting cozy next to the grand fireplace.
We woke up to a sunny morning and started the day with breakfast and coffee at The Harvest.