This California dream of a coastal stay, Casa Laguna Hotel & Spa, has struck gold with a sea-view pool and spa, and design-led interiors. Bedecked in colourful patterned fabrics and lined in Catalina tiles, from its spa to its suites – it's all the work of design whizz Martyn Lawrence-Bullard, who brought the building’s traditional Spanish-colonial interiors into the 21st century. Days are spent relaxing by the palm-tree-flanked pool, lounging in the bay-facing outdoor spa or hot-footing it to the beach. This is one casa you’ll really wish was su casa.
Get this when you book through us:
A bottle of sparkling wine on arrival, and free early check-in and late check-out (subject to availability)
11am. Earliest check-in, 3pm. Both are flexible subject to availability; if a room is not ready, guests can make use of the pool and public areas.
Double rooms from £211.12 ($267), including tax at 14.195 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional resort fee of $31.97 per room per night on check-out and an additional service charge of $2.28 per room per night on check-out.
Rates usually include Continental breakfast with home-made breads and pastries, muffins, quiches, fresh fruit, cereals, Equator Coffee, and freshly-squeezed juices.
The hotel is on the east side of the famed Pacific Coast Highway – you'll need to cross it to reach the sea. Luckily, the hotel has a handy beach access map so you can plot out lazy days on Laguna.
At the hotel
Spa, gardens, and free WiFi throughout. In rooms: Samsung TV, air-conditioning, a minibar filled with Dean & DeLuca goodies, and Cowshed bath products.
Our favourite rooms
The hotel’s most exclusive room, the Bungalow is a private villa-style property, set in a its own secluded section of the hotel’s gardens. Within, the 700sq ft suite is decorated in Martyn Lawrence-Bullard’s colourful fabrics and wallpapers; and outside, there’s a comfy hammock on the balcony for swinging (no, not that kind) and sea views.
Set amid potted-plants and palm trees, the heated outdoor pool overlooks the Pacific and is surrounded by cushion-lined stone loungers.
Before selecting your pampering package, choose between the intimate indoor spa and the outdoor treatment area which overlooks the ocean and has a private bath tub. A Swedish or hot-stone massage will knead away any knots and the papaya-salt scrub will invigorate your skin; or, grab your beloved and book a couples treatment: a relaxing massage for two followed by a long soak in an ocean-facing jetted tub.
The more swimwear you can stash into your bag the better, but save some space for local artwork picked up in town.
Although none of the rooms are specially adapted, the public areas of the hotel are wheelchair accessible, and there’s a lift to help guests with mobility issues access the pool.
Only dogs weighing less than 40 pounds are welcome for US$100 a stay. There are special outdoor spaces for dogs and the hotel can provide bowls and water, treats and waste bags. Your dog must be kept on a leash outside your room. See more pet-friendly hotels in Laguna Beach.
This is a grown-up getaway for guests aged 18 and over.
In winter, enjoy a morning cup of coffee by the fire; in summer, take the bright-blue corner bench by the window or sit outside on the patio.
There’s no need to dress for breakfast; throw on a summery-dress over your swimsuit, or cover up with a colourful shirt.
There isn’t a formal restaurant, but breakfast is served in the casual dining and lounge area. These adjoining rooms have exposed dark-wood beams, and half white, half colourfully-patterned-tiled walls that match the blue and yellow velvet chairs: deep leather armchairs stand next to the fireplace and large star-shaped lanterns hang from the ceilings.
There isn’t a bar but the hotel staff will happily mix up a cocktail for you, or you can pour yourself a glass of wine and from the bottles in the lounge’s honesty bar.
Breakfast is served from 7am to 10:30am.
Room service is available from 11am to 11pm. Choose from a selection of light bites such as a smoked salmon, tomato and salami sandwiches, roasted Marcona almonds and olives.
Laguna Hotel & Spa stands on a sunny stretch of classic Californian coastline in the OC’s Laguna Beach.
International flights arrive regularly at Los Angeles International which is roughly a drive of 90 minutes to two hours, depending on traffic. Domestic flights come into John Wayne airport which is less than a 30-minute drive from the hotel. Call us around the clock on 0300 1003180 and we’ll help organise your flights.
Laguna Niguel station is a 20-minute drive from the hotel. Frequent Metrolink trains run north along the coast to LA and south to Carlsbad.
A car is essential if you want an impromptu road trip. Our Smith team can arrange car hire on request. There’s free on-site parking at the hotel.
Worth getting out of bed for
Laguna beach is one long stretch of gloriously golden shoreline. Once you cross the Pacific Coast Highway, 1,000 Steps Beach and Victoria Beach are two of the area’s best and are less than a 10-minute drive along the coast. California is famous for its surfing and Laguna Beach has plentiful schools where you can book lessons: tryLa Vida Laguna, whose intimate sessions are limited to just three students. Before hitting the surf, head to Molly Brown’s on the South Coast Highway to buy the latest designer swimwear. Hike or drive up to the Top of the World for panoramic views of the Pacific and surrounding mountain ranges. Held every summer, the Festival of Arts showcases the work of 140 top local artists. Stroll along the makeshift path that winds around the alfresco Sawdust Art Festival; another popular art fair in the area, but with more affordable finds to take home. The Laguna Art Museum has a large collection of Californian art from the 19th century right up to the present day. While in town, catch a show at the Laguna Playhouse.
Local institution, Nick’s Laguna Beach is a must for lunch or dinner during your stay. The seasonal menu includes fresh salads, grilled seafoods and meaty dishes that’ll make carnivores’ mouths water. Favourites include the San Francisco Cioppino stew with jumbo Mexican prawns, salmon, sea bass, Carlsbad mussels and Littleneck clams, and the beer-braised baby-back pork ribs with Nick’s house-recipe barbecue sauce. The evolving menu at Sapphire Laguna Restaurant changes seasonally depending on what caught chef Azmin Ghahreman’s eye in the local markets and nearby small farms. The menu is inspired by international cuisine and features dishes like Argentinian swordfish, Russian zharkoe (braised beef cheek) and sirloin lamb from Colorado. The Deck on Laguna Beach is one of the few waterfront restaurants on this stretch of the Californian shore. Take a surf-side table overlooking the ocean and tuck into one of their sharing plates, or see what fresh catches are on the menu that day.
How do you like your eggs in the morning (and at brunch)? Heidelberg Café serves them in more than 10 ways, so chances are they’ll have your favourite. If there for lunch, tuck into one of their juicy burgers, a large bowl of angel-hair pasta with chicken, or opt for a crispy salad. Zinc Café has been drawing in locals since 1988. This streetside eatery offers a wide range of healthy vegetarian dishes: be sure to check out the daily specials board which includes mouth-watering options like their signature salad with pine nuts, feta cheese, kalamata olives and their own vinaigrette. La Sirena Grill is a Mex-eco café serving tacos, tortas, burritos and quesadillas with a side of sustainability. From the reclaimed wood walls and bar to the locally-sourced ingredients, the team here is committed to protecting the planet and minimising waste – save the world, eat up.
Combine dinner at Driftwood Kitchen with a few drinks at their Stateroom Bar. Sink into one of the oversized sofas on the oceanfront patio and have the Last Word (a gin- and maraschino-based cocktail), or have an Old Fashioned made to order with your whiskey or cognac of choice. With breathtaking ocean views, rooftop bar Skyloft is a hive of activity every night of the week: happy hour runs all night on Mondays, there’s tacos and tequila on Tuesdays, and live music five nights a week. Feeling peckish? Order from the Californian barbecue or a fresh seafood plate to share.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this colourful Cali hotel in Laguna Beach and unpacked their flip-flops and body-boards, a full account of their coastal break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Casa Laguna Hotel & Spa in Orange County…
Built in the early 20th century by Frank Miller and Arthur Benton, as a gift for Frank’s wife Marion, Casa Laguna Hotel & Spa is a love letter to both one lucky lady and Laguna Beach. We can’t speak for Miller’s missus, but the hotel’s aspect is certainly worthy of gushing prose: terracotta roofs tickled by palm trees, sun-kissed sands, and the ocean just a tiptoe away. Within the Spanish-colonial-style stay, designer, Martyn Lawrence-Bullard has restored the colourful Catalina tiles and original decorative features, adding bold fabrics and wallpapers for a cool 21st-century feel that’s reminiscent of the hotel’s former life at an artists’ colony in the 1970s. The hotel is mere metres from the area’s best beaches and surf spots, but you needn’t leave your room to admire the bay; you can spy them from the pool and the loungers on the deck, or while absorbing the goodness of Himalayan bath salts in the wellness tub, or as you have a relaxing massage outside. This is the kind of wedding gift any Mrs Smith would appreciate…