Fantasy Fitness Spa: Montage Laguna Beach

To beat winter blues, we're declaring this Fantasy Spas week! Check out the spas we checked into recently. They make great cubicle travel and even better escapes.
The Montage Laguna Beach sits on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean (Photo: Alexia Brue)


To banish the winter blues, we’re declaring this Fantasy Fitness Spas of the West week! What exactly does that mean? Are we flying you and a friend to Palm Springs? Not exactly.

Instead we’re kicking off a week of cubicle travel (cause who really sits in armchairs?), during which we whisk you away to our five favorite spas. (More precisely, the five spas we’ve visited recently and loved.)

While luxe details like bedding thread count make for good living, they don’t necessarily make for good reading. So we’re focusing on the top three awesomely memorable experiences at each of our five fantasy spas. First up, the Montage Laguna Beach.


The Montage gets all As from us, and an A+ for service. Try coming with a request they won’t accommodate. Need towels? They arrive 63 seconds after you put down the phone. Your child loses a stuffed animal. They launch a major search and recovery mission. Complain of soreness after a tough workout. The fitness instructor sends an Epsom salt care package to your room. We experienced all these feats of service finesse and more.

You can also expect a dramatic perch over the Pacific Ocean, a legendary spa, and a fitness program that can be bootcamp bad-ass or beach walk gentle. And a visit from Ashley Turner, who’s the “yogi in residence here,” is worth planning a trip around. A recent visit to this luxurious resort delivered the perfect winter pick-me-up and the high lasted for weeks—the good habits even longer. —Alexia Brue

Beach Bootcamp is no walk in the park (Photo: The Montage)

1. Beach Boot Camp
I usually dial down my vacation workouts because of lack of inspiration. Beach Bootcamp, however, hurts so good, and the setting’s so spectacular, that I did it three times. Imagine super challenging sprints and circuits on the sand while waves crash 20 feet away. I literally spotted dolphins during jump squats.

2. A Surrender Treatment
You book time, not treatments, at this forward-thinking spa. A thorough intake form tells the therapist what she needs to know to weave together a curative spa experience just for you. My prescription included reflexology, which was both diagnostic and relaxing, then segued into a massage and a facial. My liver needed some support, she said, and she sent me off with all the tools (detoxifying clay and mylar) to do a hydrotherapy detox back in my room.

The Spa Pool is ideal for swimming laps and soaking in silence (Photo: Alexia Brue)

3. Reading a Novel. At the Spa Pool. While drinking a Blueberry Lemon Whey Smoothie.
This is where the true decompression happens. We loved swimming laps in the heated, adults-only spa pool while it was 20 degrees back in NYC. Then snuggling up in the Montage’s butter-soft robes and enjoying a blueberry lemon smoothie. And I don’t remember when I last read more than 50 pages of a novel at a time. Divine.

Montage Laguna Beach, Laguna Beach, California, 866-271-6953,; Rooms start at $645 per night

Check back tomorrow for an inner-life spa retreat in Arizona!

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