As long time readers may remember, last year I was invited to participate in the Starwood American Express “Stars” program. This entailed attending several cool events including the Tribeca Film Festival, the US Open, and New York Fashion Week, as well as some hotel stays at several Starwood properties in the US. The best part was that for each experience I was invited on, I was able to give away a similar experience to a lucky blog reader.
The Starwood American Express invited me to participate in their “Stars” program again this year. The first such experience was a couple of weekends ago, where I could choose a summer getaway from a list of hotels. I chose the St. Regis Monarch Beach, one of the St. Regis properties in the US that I’ve always wanted to visit. Best of all now that I live in Seattle it’s just a short flight away.
So in the interest of full disclosure the Starwood American Express covered the cost of my flights and the hotel stay, though I was responsible for all other incidentals.
Furthermore, stay tuned till tomorrow, because between 11AM and 5PM ET I’ll be giving away 30,000 Starpoints on Twitter in conjunction with my stay. I’ll have a post on the blog at 11AM ET sharp with the details on how to win.
Anyway, usually I associate Orange County with nice weather, though go figure the two days we were there we had nothing but clouds and rain, while it was sunny in Seattle. We flew into Orange County Airport, rented a car, and drove to Dana Point, where the St. Regis Monarch Beach is located. It was about a 30 minute drive without traffic.
As we pulled up to the front of the hotel the bellman offered to assist us with our bags, though we only had carry ons, so declined the help. We did take them up on valeting the car, which cost $35 per night.
The lobby was fairly grand, certainly not as blinged out as the one at the St. Regis Bal Harbor, though still nice. The reception is located immediately inside the lobby on the left, where we were quickly helped. The check-in desks were “traditional,” while I’ve found most St. Regis properties to have individual desks where you sit down during the check-in formalities.
The check-in process was efficient and I was offered the Platinum amenity, for which I chose breakfast. Unfortunately no room upgrades were available, which I wasn’t surprised by given that the hotel showed as sold out for an entire week prior to our stay.
The lobby is located on the fifth floor, and then most guest rooms are on lower floors. We were on the third floor, room 329.
The room itself was extremely spacious for a standard room and felt “fresh” given that this isn’t a brand new hotel or anything.
The room had two extremely comfortable queen beds, a desk, and a flat screen TV.
There was Music Choice music playing on the TV as we arrived, though I couldn’t help but laugh at the ad they were running.
By the window was a desk with two padded chairs.
On the desk was a card and welcome amenity consisting of pralines and macarons.
Then there was a patio. Unfortunately the room didn’t have a view of the pool, but rather of the back side of the hotel.
The bathroom featured double sinks, a soaking tub, a walk-in shower, and a toilet in a separate room.
As is the norm at St. Regis properties, the toiletries were Remede branded.
Breakfast is served daily at Motif restaurant from 6:30AM till 10:30AM. As a Platinum member the breakfast benefit consisted of a $20 credit per person. We could either order off the a la carte menu or eat from the buffet for a $13 upcharge per person. That seemed worthwhile, so that’s what we did.
The buffet consisted of all kinds of cold options like pastries, muffins, croissants, cereal, yogurt, muesli, salmon fresh fruit, etc.
Then there were some hot dishes like scrambled eggs, eggs benedict, sausage, breakfast potatoes, as well as an omelet station.
In terms of the hotel’s other facilities, there’s a very nice pool located at the bottom of the resort, which can be accessed either by elevator or by descending the rather grand exterior staircase of the hotel.
The pool was beautiful, though go figure the sun didn’t shine once in the two days we were there, which must be some kind of a new record. So we spent most of our time driving around, since it’s not all that fun to lay out at a pool when it’s cloudy and in the 60s.
In addition to the main pool there was a lap pool over at the spa.
The gym was nice and always busy, which I guess shouldn’t be surprising for Southern California.
Anyway, despite the weather I had a great stay on the whole. Rates at this hotel are usually $375+ per night, which isn’t surprising given that this is Dana Point. The hotel seems to be sold out almost every weekend, often weeks in advance, so it seems to have a pretty big “following.” That’s no surprise given the amount of money people in the area have and the desire for a weekend getaway, I assume. If you’re looking for a week long vacation or a nice relaxing pool, this place probably isn’t for you. But if you’re looking for a weekend getaway at a “hip” SoCal hotel, the St. Regis is where it’s at.
The hotel is a category six Starwood property, making it 20,000 Starpoints per night (with the fifth night free) or if cash & points is available that’s 10,000 Starpoints plus $180 per night.
Thanks for reading and remember to stay tuned till 11AM ET tomorrow for a chance to win 30,000 Starpoints from the Starwood American Express.