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The Best Laguna Beach Hotel for a Southern California Staycation

Beach views from the hotel room balcony at Surf & Sand Resort in Laguna Beach, CA

The Trip to Laguna Beach

This trip was entirely unplanned. I was between treatment protocols, and I had a relatively limited reserve of energy. I was feeling better, but not ready for long drives or plane rides. We had made one trip out to Palm Springs for my birthday and realized that two hours was my limit for travel at that point. Just as we were starting to get real wanderlust, a dear friend offered us a stay at Surf & Sand Resort that she had already booked. I think it took us less than 20 seconds to say yes. We packed lightly and made plans for a writing retreat in Laguna Beach, CA.

The Hotel Rooms

We ended up getting a taste of two different hotel rooms while we were at the resort. The first room was lovely and comfortable with a dining/working area and a small balcony. The hotel advertises that every room has an ocean view, and that’s true. If you are out on the balcony of this room, there is a view, but we were positioned between two buildings, so the balcony ran sideways. It was cozy, and we were lucky to be there – especially since a wedding was at the hotel that weekend.

Hotel Room #1
Our work desk in the room #1
A view from the beach from the side balcony

On a chance, Andy asked about changing rooms to get the full, ocean-view experience. If you know me, you know that I’m a wuss, so this seemed wildly daring. Miraculously, they moved us as soon as the wedding guests had departed, freeing up some of the other hotel rooms. As you can see, the second room had a broad ocean view, comfortable furnishings and a perfect perch for both ocean-gazing and working. Lesson learned – it pays to ask nicely if you want something. Also, it pays to have an Andy who is willing to ask.

Hotel Room #2
View from the bed — not bad at all!
Beach views from the hotel room balcony at Surf & Sand Resort in Laguna Beach, CA

Things to Do at the Hotel

As I said, we weren’t in Laguna Beach for a true adventure, although, I suppose going anywhere at that point was an adventure for me. Our goal (which we achieved!) was to start breaking the story of a film script. So, much of our time was spent working on our balcony or working at the table. BUT we did take some time to enjoy the hotel amenities.

If you see a notice about a Manager’s Party when you check in on a Friday, be sure to go. It was so much fun and mostly free. We enjoyed delicious hors d’ oeuvres and some wine while sitting on the open patio. There was live music, socializing and the sun, which had been hiding behind clouds most of the day, came out for an impressive sunset.

Manager’s Party on the patio at Surf & Sand Resort
Sunset views from the hotel’s deck

The beach is right below the hotel. Whether you are there with a partner and want to enjoy a sunset stroll, there with kids who want to play in the surf or there with your dog for a bit of calm, the easy beach access is a big bonus.

Capturing Andy and the sunset in Laguna Beach, CA

The hotel pool seemed to be a big hit for families. I can imagine that during hot summer and fall days, the pool that overlooks the ocean is a pretty big draw for everybody. We walked through on the way to the restaurant, and it looked like everyone was having a good time.

A view of the pool and the ocean as we came down for a light dinner in the hotel restaurant.

I hear talk of an amazing spa at Surf & Sand Resort, but I didn’t partake, so I can’t say with any authority. I can say that if I go back, the spa will be on my list of things to enjoy because a spa day is always a good idea. Always!

Laguna Beach

The hotel is within walking distance an array of restaurants, shops and other attractions. We ate at a variety of small places, sampled the wares of a couple of bakeries and enjoyed the lively atmosphere, even though it was April, and technically “off-season.” Andree’s Patisserie was a frequent stop (it was maybe a 2-minute walk from the hotel). Because it was slightly colder than anticipated, Andy now has a delightfully soft hoodie to commemorate the trip.

The winding pathway through the Laguna Beach hotel

Overall Impression

Surf & Sand Resort is a luxury hotel without the attitude. It works well for families, couples and singles. It also welcomes dogs under 25 lbs with a cleaning fee – a policy that we saw many people enjoying during the festive Manager’s Party. Even their smallest rooms do have some views, and if you are in a position to book the oceanfront rooms, it is well worth the splurge. And it gets four thumbs up as a writing retreat!

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The Best Laguna Beach Hotel for a Southern California Staycation


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