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Hotels Doing Good / Orange County Hotels / Dana Point Hotels / Elephant Parade Hotels / Elephant Parade / → All Tags
You hardly need another good reason to visit Dana Point, Calif. as it's one of the most scenic spots in the country, populated with great resorts. But you will need to hurry up and plan your visit if you're hoping to catch the final weeks of the area's Elephant Parade which ends on November 17.
The Elephant Parade is a huge public art exhibition that showcases colorfully decorated, life-size baby elephant sculptures created by local and international artists (and some celebrities too.) It's totally free to see as the elephants are placed in high-pedestrian traffic areas and frequently visited spots around Dana Point, including the Harbor, local beaches, public parks and several resorts. Check out which elephants can be found where in Dana Point right here.
You can also scope out the elephants from your hotel room, so long as you're staying at one of the sponsoring resorts which are St. Regis Monarch Beach, The Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel, Marriott Laguna Cliffs Resort and Spa (where the grand auction will be held), and DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Doheny Beach. We're partial to the ellies out in front at the St. Regis but the Ritz-Carlton does boast a cute elephant done by Holly Branson, Sir Richard's daughter.
If you see an elephant that really catches your eye, then you can bid on it during the Grand Auction at the Laguna Cliffs Marriott on November 17th. A portion of the sale proceeds will go to the Asian Elephant Foundation. The Elephant Parade itself started in 2006 as a way to raise awareness, and money for the Asian Elephant whose population has shrunk over 90 percent. Today, about 3,500 Asian elephants remain, compared to 35,000 in 1960 and only about 1,500 elephants live in the wild.
[Photo: St. Regis Monarch Beach/Facebook]
Women-Friendly Hotels / Hyatt Hotels / Orange County Hotels / Irvine Hotels / California Hotels / → All Tags
Hotels catering specifically for their female guests is nothing new. Way back when in 2008, Kimpton Hotels rolled out the Women InTouch program which offered up a bunch of female-centric amenities and toiletries to use during their stay, like flat-irons and stain-removing wipes. Over at the Waldorf Astoria Chicago, the bathroom showers even have a special ledge for ladies (or men!) to use while shaving their legs.
But even so, we still got excited by the new offerings at the Hyatt Regency Irvine in Calif., home to a handful of big corporations like Taco Bell, Asics and Toshiba.
The hotel has created The Women's Experience program which includes 50 "women-specific" non-connecting guestrooms located away from exits and stairwells, as well as bigger vanity kits with make-up removers and a "convenience collection" of amenities that includes curling and flat irons, free-weight sets and yoga mats. The program will also include smaller-sized robes and slippers, which may work well for the women with size 7 shoe or smaller. But, not every woman has petite feet--sorry--so that might be our only gripe.
Celebrity Scoop / Cabo Hotels / Romantic Hotels / Hotel Sex / St. Regis Hotels / Orange County Hotels / Justin Bieber / Selena Gomez / Scarlett Johansson / Sean Penn / → All Tags
The pool at Las Ventanas. We declare it #winning.
The question that we’re chewing over as we chew over our oatmeal this morning: if you were embarking on a new affair with a sexy celeb, where would you take them for a night of passion?
In the red corner, we have Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez who, it turns out, spent the night before the Oscars shacked up with the cougars in a penthouse suite at the St. Regis Monarch Beach at Dana Point.
At the resort's spa bar, drinking margaritas, talking, smoking and nibbling on ceviche. When they finished, they left quietly and casually, but also hand in hand!
What it is about Orange County, California hotels? Way back in 2008 we asked if OC Hotels were, like, totally cursed because a string of strange incidents had happened at hotels down there that included a murder-suicide, a drugging and a body packed in dry ice.
It was about 2 a.m. when Baker saw Robert Sickles, 27, of Mission Viejo and his friends leave the event. Baker flicked a cigarette at them, prosecutors allege, then got up and confronted the group. Baker pushed Sickles then pulled out a knife and slashed and stabbed him in the chest, killing him, according to police.
Hotel Openings / Hotel Opening Rates / JDV Hotels / Laguna Beach Hotels / Orange County Hotels / → All Tags
The hotel is looking for a design that captures the "spirit of Pacific Edge and "communicate the special qualities of the hotel." However, only California residents may enter.
St. Regis Hotels / Hotel Dance Parties / Luxury Hotels / Michael Mustafa / Orange County Hotels / → All Tags
There’s no shortage of luxury resorts on the Orange County Coast, or the California Riviera as some fancy folks call it, but during a recent stay at the St. Regis Monarch Beach, we wanted to know what set California’s only five-star, five-diamond resort apart from the pack. Um...aside from being California's only five-star, five-diamond resort that is.
Situated just north of Dana Point, the hotel has the Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel and the Montage Laguna Beach for neighbors, but the St. Regis is situated on a links-style golf course (think St. Andrews) with an unobstructed view of the sea, and has its very own private beach, where guests can frolic during the day, and dine in the hushed elegance of the Monarch Beach Club restaurant in the evening.
We've always recommended JDV Hotels when visiting the San Francisco-area but the options in the Southland were few. However, now Chip Conley and co. are readying a property in surferdom, Huntington Beach, called Shorebreak Hotel. (Secretly, we wish this was called Point Break Hotel and it was located in Malibu.)
The hotel won't be open until sometime this spring but here's what it will include:
Opening in Spring 2009, Shorebreak Hotel in Huntington Beach, California – the original Surf City USA – is a showcase of modern hotel design at the cusp of lifestyle trends. Shorebreak Hotel draws its inspiration from Southern California’s cultivated yet laid-back surf culture, combining four-star touches with a penchant for fun.
Highlights include guestrooms with ocean views, exquisite furnishings, versatile event space, romantic fire pits and ready access to a variety of exciting recreational activities. Shorebreak’s Zimzala Restaurant and Bar will be a popular attraction for locals and visitors, offering rustic Mediterranean cuisine with an emphasis on fresh seafood, surf-inspired décor, and free-spirited good times.
We hope that Shorebreak includes a surfing concierge...named Johnny Utah. We can't find any rates just yet but JDV Hotels' rates are always rather reasonable. Keeping in mind, this will be a full-service, luxury hotel we say rooms will probably start around the $250 mark. For those of you who want a more pampered experience in the OC, don't forget JDV is coming to Laguna Beach.
While Newport Beach isn't exactly lacking on the hotel side of things, we're kind of excited about the opening of The Resort at Pelican Hill.
The resort is stuffed with jaw-dropping features. The sorts of things that seem just a little too extravagant during a recession, and yet we can't help but drool and yearn. Just keep the folks from AIG away from this place and it should be A-Ok.
We had the chance to check out the sparkling new Pure Blu Spa at the Newport Beach Marriott recently. We're grateful to spend any day at the spa, but it certainly doesn't stop us from looking at the experience with a critical eye (what? It's our job!).
After the jump, we break down the whole thing for you -- the good, the bad, and the fees you shouldn't bother with.
It's no secret that Orange County, Calif. hotels are having kind of a crappy year as far as strange crime goes. You can see what we're talking about here.
Now, a woman was found barely conscious and naked in a hot tub at a Ramada in Costa Mesa. The LA Times reports:
The unidentified 20-year-old woman, a guest at the Ramada Limited & Suites, was discovered Sunday about 7 a.m. when a hotel employee went to unlock the spa area for another guest, said Costa Mesa Police Lt. Paul Dondero.
The woman was taken to a hospital in Newport Beach where she was treated and released. Apparently, she's "fine" now. Meanwhile, police detectives are trying to find out how this all happened.
We're not trying to be alarmists here. Crime happens in all hotels everywhere. But it is unusual for the OC, especially considering the previous events took place at luxury hotels. However, we spent a night in Costa Mesa recently and we came out just fine. Can't say the same about the hotel after our dog stayed there though.
Things have not been going well for hotels in Orange County, Cali., recently. Last year, a man and wife were killed in a bizarre murder-suicide at the Montage Resort. The other month a woman's body was found on dry ice inside the Fairmont Newport Beach and now an Olympic ice dancer was slipped the date-rape drug at the St. Regis Monarch Beach.
Grishuk, who won Olympic gold medals for Russia in ice dancing in 1994 and 1998, was attending a business meeting at the St. Regis Monarch Beach on April 12 when she began to feel ill and numb, sheriff's spokesman Jim Amormino said.
While eating dinner, she spotted a partially dissolved pill in the bottom of her drink. Investigators later found another dissolved pill in the bottom of a drink she ordered in the hotel's lounge.
Amormino says toxicology tests that came back Tuesday were positive for GHB, but it wasn't immediately clear how the pills got in Grishuk's drinks or who put them there.
Grishuk, 36, is native of the Ukraine but now lives in Los Angeles. The St. Regis has not issued a statement to the press as of yet.
In the meantime, you may want to avoid these $400 a night rooms. You never know what will happen during your stay.
Normally, we don't like kicking off a Monday with grisly hotel crime but when it happens at a luxury hotel in Orange County, it's hard to ignore.
A woman's body was found packed in dry ice at the Fairmont Newport Beach Hotel Saturday and the details surrounding her death are mysterious to say the least.
The body of Monique Felicia Trepp was discovered in Room 966 at the Fairmont Hotel just before midnight Thursday, shortly after narcotics investigators say they arrested [Stephen David] Royds with a small amount of cocaine.
There's no cause of death yet but both Trepp and Royds had several prior drug-related arrest. Royds also told the O.C. Register that "Everything that happened was for religious reasons."
This is certainly not the kind of publicity the Fairmont wants after having just completed an extensive $32 million renovation. Maybe the Mondrian West Hollywood has some tips on how to cope.