Monarch Beach Resort Review and Highlights for Families

Monarch Beach Resort, located in southern California between Los Angeles and San Diego, sits on a rolling hill overlooking the resort’s winding golf course and the Pacific Ocean.  The hotel is wonderfully designed to keep all eyes focused on this magnificent ocean view.  If you’re looking for a California family vacation, Monarch Beach Resort offers an activity for every age. And for those that want to explore, there are a plethora of things to do with kids in Laguna Beach, just a short drive from the hotel.

St Regis Monarch Beach fountain and stairs

Poseidon watches over the fountain

The Mediterranean Meets Orange County

The ambience at the resort is Mediterranean elegant with statues, fountains and cascading staircases dotting the grounds. Ask your kids if they can name the famous Greek god who stands guard at the main fountain.  There is an endless amount of green space, which may be one reason why there are so many families with toddlers and babies at this resort.

Modern Guest Rooms 

While the grounds feel Mediterranean, the rooms are modern with brown and gold tones.  We stayed in one of seventy-five suites at the hotel with butler service. Butlers provide a variety of services like packing, unpacking, and garment pressing; however, the amenity my kids like best is the morning beverage service with hot chocolate and mini-marshmallows.

Suites have a master bedroom and living area with a pullout sofa plus enough space to set up a rollaway bed. There’s also a second full kids’ bathroom so parents don’t need to share theirs.

St Regis Monarch Beach room

Modern rooms with private balconies

Date Night at Sandcastle Kids’ Club

The resort has a year round daily kids’ club for ages 5-12 from 9a through 5p and a Friday date night from 6 through 10p.  While the kids’ club room is not large, the counselors make it a point to take the kids out to play or to the pool with your permission.  My kids played soccer during date night and then settled in with a movie although my son noted that they had a good video game selection too.  Each child leaves with a backpack filled with vacation goodies.

Pools for All Sizes with Ocean Views

The Lagoon Pool area has a four feet deep family pool and a smaller kiddie pool that is one-and-a-half feet deep.  The Main Pool welcomes supervised kids and is surrounded by statues and fountains.  It has a quieter ambiance and just looking at this pool relieves tension.

st regis monarch beach quiet pool

Quiet pool exudes a feeling of relaxation

Service and Sunsets at Monarch Bay Private Beach Club

Sometimes on vacation there is one standout highlight that makes your trip.  For us, it was the time we spent at the Monarch Bay Private Beach Club. Monarch Beach Resort guests can visit this club during their stay and enjoy private lifeguards on duty daily, clean bathrooms, and a tranquil beach.

st regis monarch beach private beach club

Dinner at the Monarch Bay private beach club

Guests access the beach club via a skinny European-looking tram that leaves from the hotel and winds its way through the golf course to the beach club; total transit time is five to seven minutes.

Guests arrive at the club and either head down to the beach where the beach butlers set up chairs, towels and umbrellas or to the restaurant for lunch or dinner.  I live here and have never had a more gorgeous dinner watching the sunset with the birds flying around.  Best of all for parents, there’s a grassy area and the beach for kids to run around while waiting for the food to be served.  Service is outstanding.

st regis monarch beach boogie board lesson

A good ride during boogie board lessons

Through the hotel’s Orange County Wave Rider program guests can reserve paddle boards, surf boards, boogie boarding or kayak equipment and take lessons and tours.

We chose to do a boogie boarding lesson. The surf butler was in contact with us several times during the weekend regarding wave conditions; safety is a priority and if there are large swells the lesson will be rescheduled.  Our instructor, Keoni, focused first on safety and the local wave breaks and rip currents with the kids before taking them out and showing them proper boogie boarding form.  At 6 years old, my daughter had a tougher time than my older son, but both kids loved this.  After an hour lesson, we retired to the beach to catch sand crabs — a favorite beach activity for local kids.

Catch some waves and highlights from our weekend video.

Editorial Note: Kristi and her family were hosted by Monarch Beach Resort. As always, all opinions are our own on Ciao Bambino. Photos by Kristi Marcelle.

Relevant Links:

Summer Things to Do with Kids in Laguna Beach

5 kid-friendly activities in Los Angeles

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