The Montage is one of the country’s best spa resorts (that Melisse and I have both ever been to). The cliffside Pacific-Coast setting is spectacular with views, beach, and a running path. The staff excels at super-attentive service. And it has a seriously luxe yet intelligent spa with some of the country’s best therapists and natural spa products. It’s a budget-be-damned kind of place. But we thought you should know what a dream this place is. If only in pictures.
The Wellness Scene
The spa has a rigorous in-house training program (think Ph.D. level), so every therapist can perform facials, hydrotherapy treatments, reflexology, and massage. During a two-hour Surrender treatment, your therapist uses your intake form, state of mind, and level of stress to custom-create the perfect head-to-toe treatment drawing from a handful of spa treatment therapies.
Yoga and Fitness
LA-based yoga teacher Ashley Turner is the Montage’s “artist-in-residence.” She heads up monthly retreats and has trained the rest of the Montage yoga staff—we can’t think of another spa resort that’s worked this closely with a top yogi. But we really support the idea. Those who like sweaty NYC vinyasa will like the Tuesday night flow class but might find the other classes too gentle. The Pilates classes are challenging, and the morning spin classes are always packed.
Food and Lodging
If you limit yourself to the spa menu you can eat healthfully, but there’s only so much tabouleh one person can eat. The three restaurants—Studio (expensive, modern French, and much lauded), the Loft (American bistro), and Mosaic (the poolside restaurant)—all serve reliably delicious resort food. The Craftsman-style aesthetic in the resort public areas is more played down in the rooms, where a light palette melds with cosseting comfort. And we love the deep bathtubs. —Alexia Brue
Montage Laguna Beach, rates start at about $325, www.montagelagunabeach.com