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Orange County’s heavenly beaches and jaw-dropping scenery place it at the forefront of California vacation destinations. Nestled between Los Angeles and San Diego on the Pacific Ocean, areas like Newport Beach and Laguna Beach boast shores that are among the nation’s finest — not to mention most famous. Here in the OC, the pace of life is slower, the sky is bluer, and the beach beckons. With a range of oceanfront hotel options, it’s hard to narrow down the best of the best, but we’ve combed through the offerings to find sea-facing resorts and hotels for every traveler. Here, the best beachfront hotels in Orange County, including luxury, budget, and family-friendly options.
Best Overall: Monarch Beach
With a little bit of something for everyone, Dana Point’s Monarch Beach Resort is sure to wow. Traveling with kids? There are both family and kids pools, plus the Monarch Beach Kids club, which offers games, arts and crafts, magic shows, treasure hunts, and more. Hoping for a romantic couple’s weekend? Unwind and reconnect with a couple’s massage at one of Orange County’s finest destination spas, Miraval Life in Balance Spa, before enjoying a romantic dinner at Michael Mina Bourbon Steak, an upscale restaurant from the beloved celebrity chef. Hoping for a relaxing girls’ weekend? Lounge by one of the three pools or request a Surf Host to arrange umbrellas, lounge chairs, and towers for a stress-free beach day, before hitting Drybar for a blowout, Deborah Lippmann Nail Salon for a mani-pedi, or 18-hole Robert Trent Jones, Jr.-designed golf course. Each of the resort’s 400 rooms is modern and spacious, and there are enough restaurants on property — including AVEO Table + Bar, 33 North, Monarch Bay Beach Club by the water, and the aforementioned Michael Mina Bourdon Steak — that you could literally stay on property the entire time.
Best Budget: Lido House
Luxurious hotels and budget motels are abundant along Orange County’s coast, but it’s rare to find a property that seamlessly combines style and savings. Luckily, Lido House is a charming exception. Done up in Cape Cod style, the historic property offers guests 130 comfortable rooms and suites with preppy nautical decor. For those seeking more space, Lido House offers five three-story cottages — each with two beds and baths — offering amenities like a kitchen and dining room, as well as the one-bedroom Presidential Suite which can accommodate up to four guests. The property also hosts the Boost Spa — with treatments including couple’s massages, facials, body wraps — and a saltwater pool, but the hotel's real calling card is its stunning oceanview, which guests can enjoy from the rooftop bar, lounge, and restaurant.
Best Kids' Club: The Resort at Pelican Hill
Checking into The Resort at Pelican Hill? Be prepared to say goodbye to your kids for hours at a time! The hotel's Camp Pelican is a veritable kids’ paradise; designed for children ages four to 12, the clubhouse offers a wide variety of activities and amenities as well as outings to the kid’s pool which is complete with a sand area and bubble jet fountain. For mini introverts, there are ample computers and books, as well as plenty of arts and crafts and a movie night, while budding stars will enjoy the camp’s karaoke and talent shows.
Rooms at the 504-acre Mediterranean-flavored resort are luxurious, and adults will enjoy activities like 36 holes of golf at the Pelican Hill Golf Club, three and a half miles of Crystal Cove beach, a five-star spa, and the Coliseum pool done up with hand-laid glass mosaic tiles. Rooms are refined and elegant, with sumptuous feathertop beds, European-style linens, private terraces — many with ocean views — espresso machines, fireplaces, and spacious tubs. While the resort’s location is close to numerous dining options in Newport Beach and Corona del Mar, the hotel also offers eight restaurants on-property, including Northern Italian spot Andrea.
Best for Dog Lovers: Pasea Hotel & Spa
Huntington Beach’s Pasea Hotel & Spa is one of Orange County's newer hotels — and it's entered the competitive beachfront resort scene with a splash. With airy, modern style and luxurious details in both rooms and common spaces, the hotel offers amenities such as a spa, surf butler, restaurant with wood-fired Southern California cuisine, and an oceanside rooftop bar called Tanner’s Treehouse. Rooms are plush and bathrooms are spacious, with balconies, pillowtop mattresses, Frette linens, and Fresh beauty amenities. A short walk to Main Street, the hotel is also adjacent to the new Pacific City shopping area. The hotel is also super pet-friendly with an 1,100-square-foot outdoor play area for dogs. The spot is complete with a lifeguard station dog house and off-leash fenced-in area, plus, in-room, guests will find food and water bowls and welcome doggie amenities.
Best for Luxury: Montage Laguna Beach
The Montage Laguna Beach provides guests with the ultimate in luxury and pampering. Rooms feature 400-thread-count sheets, 100-percent goose down pillows, private patios or balconies — some with ocean views — and marble soaking tubs. Additionally, one-, two-, and three-bedroom suites offer spacious accommodation with private patios and lawns, kitchens, living areas, outdoor gas grills, and fireplaces. Three-bedroom, 3,000-square-foot residences are also available, complete with washer/dryer and entertaining kitchens. Restaurant options are plentiful with four to choose from, including modern French-Cali cuisine Studio, all-day dining The Loft, and poolside Mosaic Bar and Grille. For me-time, the 20,000-square-foot Spa Montage offers treatments such as a 120-minute Salt and Stone Kur, including a botanical soak, scalp and neck massage, and full body massage with heated Himalayan salt stones. There's also an outpost of celebrity hairstylist Kim Vo's hair salon if you're looking to get dolled up for a night out.
Best View: Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel
Considering its perch on the edge of a bluff overlooking Dana Point, it’s no wonder the Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel boasts legendary views. The resort caters to families, singles, and couples alike, with a variety of amenities — including a Robert Trent Jones, Jr. golf course, a relaxing spa with twelve treatment rooms, two pools, two Jacuzzis, two tennis courts, a fitness center, and access to Monarch Beach Golf Links close-by. There’s also a stocked Ritz Kids Club with activities ranging from treasure hunts to movie nights.
Rooms here are large and comfortable, offering preppy beach-casual décor and amenities such as double marble vanity sinks in the bathrooms. Though the resort’s location means off-property restaurants are a short car or Uber ride away, the upscale property offers six onsite venues, including Raya — serving up Pan-Latin cuisine with the Pacific Ocean as a backdrop — outdoor music lounge and eatery 180blu, and elegant enoSTEAK for filets and Cabernets. There is beach access, although the resort’s elevated location means guests must either take a five-minute trek down to the beach or call one of the Ritz’s house cars for a quick ride.
Best for Surfers: Hotel La Casa Del Camino
A Spanish-style oceanview inn with laid-back charm, Laguna Beach’s Hotel La Casa Del Camino is tailor-made for surfers. The hotel features 36 guest rooms in total, but eight were specially designed by surf companies such as Roxy, Quiksilver, and Billabong. Accommodations are comfortable and stylish but on the smaller side; of course, guests can always hang out at the rooftop café which serves a complimentary continental breakfast overlooking the ocean. At night, live music plays in the lobby lounge, while the pet-friendly rooftop dining space also offers happy hour specials, lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch. A small daily resort fee covers Wi-Fi, parking, and breakfast. Of course, the best perk is the hotel’s location just steps from the beach; guests can wake up and be in the surf in a matter of minutes.
Best for Business: Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach
Located directly on the shore in Huntington Beach, the Hyatt Regency is ideal for not only beach vacationers but also guests in town for work. The Spanish-style hotel offers free Wi-Fi and has a bevy of amenities to make life easier, including fridges and USB ports in rooms, a Starbucks on-site, a 24-hour gym, and room service. Rooms are spacious, with flatscreen TVs, Keurig coffeemakers, free bottled water, and balconies or patios with firepits. There are four restaurants on property as well as grocery store, and when the sun goes down, guests can unwind over cocktails at Watertable, or roast s’mores by the fire pit. It’s also close to the pier, with the Pacific City outdoor shopping mall nearby.
Best Boutique: Capri Laguna
Beachfront Capri Laguna is an ideal property for guests looking for a more intimate and personalized hotel experience. Located directly on the beach, just steps from the water, each room has an ocean or beach view, many with large balconies and some with kitchenettes. Guests report friendly, helpful staff, with clean, comfortable rooms featuring coconut Hawaiian Tropic products, killer views, and homey touches such as fresh flowers and handwritten notes. Continental breakfast is included — complete with Starbucks coffee — and though there is no bar or restaurant on site, the hotel is within walking distance of multiple dining options.