The number “100” does not have to mean temps this summer.
With the Palm Springs thermostat resting above the century mark, give the A.C. a break with an easy, 100 mile drive west to the 5-star, St. Regis Monarch Beach in Orange County’s Dana Point.
Putting the finishing touches on a recent $40 million property renovation, the reimagined resort is debuting a host of fresh amenities, including a new pool area, new dining, and a world-renowned new spa space.
Oh, and as my gal and I recently learned, the on-site golf course meets the St. Regis standard.
PHOTOS COURTESY OF ST. REGIS MONARCH BEACH
Hole No. 3 has a breathtaking resting place by the ocean.
One of just nine Cali course with a hole on the Pacific, the Monarch Beach Golf Links is far more than just a one-hole show pony.
Yeah, the 315-yard, mounded, bunkered, dogleg left par-4 third with the ocean backdrop behind the green makes a lovely impression to be sure. But the entirety of this Robert Trent Jones, Jr. design offers a whole lot more across the links-style canvass.
And for valley visitors, the host always enjoys welcoming desert friends.
“In the traditional sense, it’s more like a resort course in the sense that there’s not a lot of forced carries or peripheral hazards,” says Eric Lohman, general manager of Monarch Beach Golf Links, and a graduate of Palm Springs High. “But there are huge elevation changes and there are some – but not a ton – of risk-reward challenges. The golf course is designed to get harder the farther you hit, as you back along the tees. o it does narrow if you hit from 260-290 yards.”
Cross the bridge to Hole No. 9. Water is part of nine holes on the course.
Such narrowing, we found, was still pretty benign for most tee play, though the course counters with countless challenges for the short and sand game.
“You certainly need to navigate around the big, white open-faced bunkers and then the greens have a lot of undulation to them – which is fair because we’re only 6,600 yards,” Lohman adds.
With the resort-style setting, ocean hole and links design, this track presents a decidedly-different look and vibe than most desert plays, along with a mix-and-match feel of real variety along the way.
“It’s not uncommon for guests to come away with the comment that they were challenged, but not overwhelmed,” says Lohman. “With the lake water features on nine holes, combined with the natural habitat, it’s a bit of a mix. So we’re a good blend of some homes, some native area, the artificial lakes and the Pacific.”
The post-round pamper at the St. Regis just got kicked up a peg with the April 2016 unveiling of the world-class Miraval Spa. The sister spa to Miraval’s original, Tucson, Ariz., location, the Dana Point debut marks just the second-ever locale for award-winning Miraval.
Offering a menu of more than 70 options and known for its “Life in Balance” approach to wellness, the 30,000-square-foot space sports a coastal take on treatments (think algae and marine mud . . . in a good way) and takes full advantage of the setting, with yoga and meditation classes accompanied by soothing ocean views.
Dining & Retreat
The renovation includes four new on-site dining options, highlighted by the new AVEO Table + Bar, offering local ingredients across a Mediterranean-style menu (the Cioppino is already getting raves), and a “Farm-to-Bar” approach to healthy dining.
We enjoyed an excellent night at the Monarch Bay Club, which proved very romantic and cozy with its oceanfront setting and knowledgeable, well-trained staff. Seasonal specials move a menu anchored with supper club staples and, of course, the seafood options need to be explored by one of your party.
The Monarch Bay Club at sunset.
The St. Regis Monarch Beach
1 Monarch Beach Resort N.
Dana Point, CA 92629
Judd Spicer is a member of the Golf Writers Association of America. Have a golf tip or golf story idea to share? E-mail Judd: firstname.lastname@example.org. Listen to Judd on KXPS 1010 AM from 8-10 a.m. Sundays with Matt McKay for “The Press Box.”
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