The Orange County Visitors Association Announces The OC’s Top Splurge-Worthy Resorts, Spas, Restaurants, Local Indulgences And Newest Additions
Located in the heart of Southern California, “The OC” offers once-in-a-lifetime vacation 365 days a year. Visitors seeking exceptional travel experiences can find it all here: from ocean views at coastal resorts to world-class designer shopping to unforgettable spa treatments and exquisite dining experiences. Because of The OC’s “Forever Summer” lifestyle, pleasure-seeking vacationers can enjoy a mild climate even during the fall and winter months, beating the peak-season crowds for a more intimate and rich destination experience. Below is a “best-of” roundup featuring local indulgences, fine-dining, five-star spas, haute shopping and luxury oceanfront resorts for 2015 and beyond.
Yachting in Newport Beach – Newport Beach is the largest recreational boat harbor on the west coast. Boating activities are organized by five private yacht clubs, including the Newport Harbor Yacht Club, the Balboa Yacht Club and the Bahia Corinthian Yacht Club, South Coast Yacht Charters or Anchor Yacht Charters. Newport Beach is also home to one of the West Coast’s premier regattas, the Newport to Ensenada International Yacht Race, which takes place annually in April.
Romance of the Mission Benefit Gala – Mission San Juan Capistrano hosts its can’t-miss event of the year on September 18. The Romance of the Mission Benefit Gala, concert and dinner is the most exclusive gala in Orange County and is presented by the Mission Preservation Foundation. The evening features a pre-show hosted reception, extravagant entertainment in the Great Stone Church and a romantic dinner setting in the Central Courtyard.
ChocXo Bean to Bar Chocolatier – Head to the city of Irvine to channel your inner Willy Wonka and take a behind-the-scenes look into the world of chocolate making. Learn how chocolate is crafted straight from the bean. Enjoy tastes of chocolates in various stages of production starting with the fruity pod pulp and ending with luxurious liquid chocolate. Only thing missing from this tour is an Oompa Loompa.
John Wayne Airport – The OC’s sole airport offers a world-class experience to its travelers. Folks can indulge in a relaxing massage or a wine flight and appetizers before their flight. XpresSpa is the Airport’s full-service spa offering convenient massages, manicures/pedicures, waxing, facials and hair styling services. Vino Volo wine lounge offers wines from around the world by the glass, plus tasting flights and bottle purchase so they can take their wine with them or have it shipped.
Marché Moderne (TM) – Ranked among the top-30 restaurants in Southern California by the Los Angeles Times, Marché Moderne is in the penthouse of the Nordstrom wing of South Coast Plaza, serving some of the finest French cooking in the region. Expect to see renditions of French cuisine at its best like seared foie gras and Angus filet with pommes frites. Located in the heart of Costa Mesa, known as the City of the Arts.
Din Tai Fung – The New York Times has rated Din Tai Fung as one of the Top 10 Gourmet Restaurants in the World; the only Chinese or Taiwanese restaurant to receive this accolade. Located in South Coast Plaza.
Titanic Dinner Gala – Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition in Buena Park offers the chance to dine like a first class passenger aboard the ‘ship of dreams’ during a lavish Titanic Dinner Gala, offered on select Friday and Saturday evenings inside the Premier Exhibition Center. Guests will be transformed to the opulent 1900’s, enjoying a sumptuous three-course meal, while notable passengers and crew share their stories and experiences on board the famous RMS Titanic.
Mastro’s Steakhouse – Consistently hailed by diners and critics alike as “masterful” by the Los Angeles Daily News and “high end” by the Los Angeles Times, Mastro’s Steakhouse in Costa Mesa is a glitzy restaurant serving the finest mouthwatering hand-cut prime steaks and fresh seafood with live music, while also striving for excellence in guest service and a distinct ambience. Some of the noted dishes besides its signature 400-degree steak plates are carefully crafted lobster mashed potatoes, a two-foot-tall seafood tower and a melt-in-your-mouth pound cake.
Spa Montage is a resplendent ocean retreat nestled along the Pacific coastline at Montage Laguna Beach. Beauty and wellness goals are attained through an exceptional palette of spa therapies, beauty treatments and wellness offerings. Among them are yoga on the beach, world-class salon services, and the best in nutrition to balance the body and restore vitality. Half and full day packages allow you to experience tranquility, revitalization and harmony. The outdoor mosaic-bottomed swimming pool and state-of-the-art fitness center are the crowning jewels.
Aquaterra Spa at Surf & Sand Resort is home to the Body Surfer Treatment, which was voted one of the 10 Best Summer Spa treatments Under the Sun by USA Today in June 2015. After a day of surfing, standup paddle boarding, or a relaxing day on the beach, this 90-minute spa treatment replenishes sun-damaged skin and alleviates joint and muscle pain. A soothing Ocean Dew body polish infuses aloe vera and red marine algae, followed by a healing amica and helichrysum body and scalp massage. The Body Buff Treatment features a coconut oil massage, grains & flower petal scrub, and hot oil hair & scalp treatment. All treatments provide the perfect oceanfront escape, located right on Laguna Beach’s pristine coastline.
South Coast Plaza is where the world comes to shop. Its 250 boutique stores and restaurants all in one location, represent the highest concentration of designer, fashion and brand retail in the United States. Its unparalleled collection of diverse retailers, from international luxury icons to famous American brand, along with its customized concierge services, makes it Southern California’s premier shopping experience. This year, South Coast Plaza showcased CHANEL’s newly redesigned boutique, Charlotte Olympia and Dolce & Gabbana. Boutiques recently opened and opening soon (2015) include Celine, Moncler, Samsonite Black Label, A. Langhe & Sons, Massimo Dutti and Vitra. Located in Costa Mesa.
Fashion Island is Orange County’s haute outdoor coastal shopping destination in Newport Beach and offers a blend of designer, specialty boutiques, fine dining and an expert team of complimentary personal shoppers. Fashion Island offers something for everyone, from the likes of Tesla and Halston Heritage to Neiman Marcus and several fine jewelers.
Pacific City, a new outdoor retail and dining complex opening in late fall of 2015 in Huntington Beach. Pacific City will include dining from California based restaurants as well a public market style building called Lot 579. This urban shopping and dining experience will also provide a concierge service and interactive children’s area.
The Irvine Spectrum Center, is the place for hip and trendy dining, shopping and entertainment, where one can peruse over 130 nationally-recognized retailers including; award-winning Australian retailer Lorna Jane, which offers stylish and innovative active wear designed by women, for women; Brandy Melville featuring affordable, bohemian apparel highlighted by oversized, beachy and comfortable styles; and Kaitlyn Clothing offering a current collection of trendy designer brands including Fresh Laundry, True Religion, Juicy, Seven and more.
Luxury Oceanfront Resorts
Surf & Sand Resort is located steps above Laguna Beach’s pristine shoreline right on the sand. This 167-room oceanfront resort offers newly remodeled guest rooms and suites with panoramic ocean views, a newly renovated beachfront pool with a chic California coastal vibe and relaxing cabanas, and unforgettable seaside cocktails and cuisine at Splashes, Splashes Bar and 15fiftyfive Lounge.
The Waterfront Resort, a Hilton Hotel – This AAA four-diamond rated hotel overlooks the Pacific Ocean and miles of white sand along world-famous Huntington Beach. With stunning California scenery and a dramatic indoor waterfall, the Hilton hotel offers a casually elegant destination for a family vacation, business meeting or romantic getaway.
Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort & Spa – Shimmering views of the Pacific and luxurious amenities can all be found at the oceanfront Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort & Spa. This stunning, Spanish-inspired hotel will delight every sense, with pampering spa treatments, irresistible restaurants, ocean adventures and superior service.
Paséa Resort & Spa, a four diamond resort, opening in early spring of 2016. Located at Pacific Coast Highway and First Street, just steps from downtown, Paséa Resort & Spa will offer 250 guest rooms including 10 suites, all with exceptional ocean views and 25,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting space. The resort will also feature a Balinese-inspired spa, and rooftop deck and bar overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Huntington Beach.
The Resort at Pelican Hill is a stunning 504-acre property modeled after Andrea Palladio’s Renaissance philosophy. Located in Newport Beach, the resort’s private grounds offer sweeping ocean views as well as access (via chauffeured Mercedes-Benz vans) to nearby Crystal Cove beach. For recreation, the resort offers two Tom Fazio-designed golf courses and a Forbes Five-Star spa with cutting-edge LED light facials and organic body treatments. Inspired by Rome’s famed landmark, the resort’s Coliseum Pool is one of the largest circle pools in the world, measuring 136 feet in diameter.