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The Luxury Hotel Insider:Exclusive luxury hotel deals, features and special rates from the luxury hotel experts at Five Star Alliance.

Named one of Tripbase's Best Luxury Travel Blogs for 2011, below are Five Star Alliance's newest articles featuring exclusive information on luxury hotels worldwide including special offers and deals at the world's best hotels.


Featured Journeys: Luxury Road Trip Along California's Highway 1In this edition of Featured Journeys, we're going on a luxury road trip along California's iconic Highway One. Set along the coastline, and extending over 600 miles, this picturesque route is one of the most famous driving routes in the world. We recommend starting your journey in San Francisco then heading south to Monterey, Santa Barbara, and Laguna Beach. Please note: Due to winter storms, part of Highway One is closed. It is set to reopen mid-April, but please check on the status of road closures before planning your trip. 

San Francisco
Monterey
Santa Barbara
Laguna Beach

San Francisco

The journey begins in San Francisco. Offering an international airport with gateways around the world, begin your road trip here, spending a few days exploring what the city has to offer, then continue on down the coast. Known as the "City by the Bay" this iconic locale is home of the Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman's Wharf, Lombardi Street, and Alcatraz. Ride the cable cars, tour a Victorian mansion, take in the views at Golden Gate Park, and sample some authentic flavors in Chinatown. Editor's note: From April to September, the San Francisco Giants play in the heart of the city at AT&T Park, an ideal place to try some regional cuisine while taking in a ballgame with stellar views of the city. 

Here are a few of our top San Francisco hotels:

Fairmont San Francisco

Fairmont San Francisco Signature Golden Gate Suite

Set atop Nob Hill, the Fairmont San Francisco is a landmark hotel with an iconic setting, that sits at the only point in San Francisco where each of the city's cable car lines meet. Known for its grandeur and reputation for impeccable service, the grand property has a Penthouse Suite that spans the entire eight floor of the historic Main Building. Guest rooms blend historic charm with modern elegance, and there is the famous Tonga Room & Hurricane Bar, offering Pacific Rim Asian Cuisine and a Tiki-style setting where thunder and rain storms occur as part of the entertainment. Planning this trip with a family or group? The Fairmont offers a Double Queen with a pull-out sofa bed. 

Check rates at the Fairmont San Francisco

 

Palace Hotel

Palace Hotel San Francisco

Occupying an entire city block in downtown, the Palace Hotel was built in the Golden Age of Travel. The 1909 Beaux-Arts property greets guests with wrought iron filigree work, gold leaf embellishment, and angels over every doorway. Once inside, there are marble floors, coved ceilings, and soaring archways. Recently renovated guest rooms and suites feature historic details, mixed with modern amenities and furnishings in plum, charcoal, and dove grey. There are three famous restaurants: The Garden Court, GC Lounge, and the Pied Piper, plus an indoor sky-lit swimming pool, and 24-hour fitness center. 

Learn more about the Palace Hotel

 

Four Seasons San Francisco

Four Seasons San Francisco

Two blocks from Union Square's famed shopping district, the Four Seasons San Francisco offers a centralized SoMa location on Market Street across from Yerba Buena Gardens. Featuring modern decor with a neutral color palette, guest rooms have a residential feel with floor-to-ceiling windows providing city views, spacious marble bathrooms with deep soaking tubs, and glass-enclosed showers. There's an on-site spa, children's amenities, a 75-foot indoor lap pool for adults at the adjoining Equinox Sports Club, and the MKT Restaurant.

Check rates and availability at Four Seasons San Francisco

Explore more San Francisco luxury hotels

 

Monterey

About two hours south of downtown San Francisco, Monterey is a historic fishing town. Today, the famous Cannery Row is home to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, art studios, boutiques, and restaurants. Close to Big Sur, Carmel-by-the Sea, and Pebble Beach, the picturesque area offers a variety of luxury lodging, as well as golf, upscale shopping, vineyards, and opportunities to see local wildlife including whales, sea otters, seals, and sea lions. Be sure to go along the 17-mile drive for some of the best scenery and to visit our first featured luxury hotel in the Monterey area. 

Here are a few of our top Monterey hotels:

The Lodge at Pebble Beach

The Lodge at Pebble Beach

Set at the 18th green of the Pebble Beach Golf Links, The Lodge at Pebble Beach provides an oceanside setting. Guest rooms feature views of golf course and sea, along with wood burning fireplaces, patios or balconies, and marble bathrooms. In addition to the Pebble Beach Golf Links, the Spa at Pebble Beach is a recipient of the Forbes Five-Star Award, there are multiple award-winning dining options, a retail arcade with a variety of shops, and guests have access to the Beach & Tennis Club--Monterey Peninsula's private club. 

Learn more about The Lodge at Pebble Beach

 

Post Ranch Inn 

Post Ranch Inn

Set along Highway One in Big Sur, the Post Ranch Inn is a modern retreat blending rustic elegance with luxury and comfort. Perched along the coastline (ideal for seasonal whale watching), the adults-only property is designed for guests to reconnect with nature and travel partners, so guest rooms do not have TVs or alarm clocks. There is a heated outdoor pool, fitness center, and two heated whirlpools overlooking the sea, plus the award-winning Sierra Mar restaurant. Amenities include daily gourmet breakfast, morning yoga, art walks, star gazing, edible tours of the chef's garden, and culinary walks. Please note: this property is currently closed until mid-April 2017, due to weather-related road repairs. 

Check rates and availability at the Post Ranch Inn

 

Ventana Inn & Spa

Ventana Inn & Spa

Perched along the Big Sur coastline amidst 243 acres of redwoods, meadows, and ridges, the Ventana Inn & Spa features a rustic, yet refined atmosphere with a spa, two outdoor swimming pools--including one clothing-optional pool, daily yoga classes, hour-long guided property walks, and afternoon wine and cheese receptions. The Restaurant at Ventana is set within an upscale environment with an eclectic menu featuring locally sourced ingredients, and a patio overlooking 50 miles of coastline. For creatives, the property offers "Art and Seekers" programs such as photography hikes, mandala coloring for couples, and block printing. Accommodation options include guest rooms, suites, the Cottage House, and new in 2017, the Redwood Retreats providing an upscale glamping experience. 

Learn more about the Ventana Inn & Spa

Explore more Monterey luxury hotels

 

Santa Barbara

Considered the American Riviera, Santa Barbara has a Mediterranean-like climate, along with cool ocean breezes and sandy beaches. Set between the Pacific Ocean and Santa Ynez Mountains, the city is known for stucco buildings with red-tile roofs, palm trees, boutiques along State Street, and waterfront dining. For families, there's the Santa Barbara Zoo, art enthusiasts can see works by Matisse and early 20th century French and American artists at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, and the Santa Ynez Valley is known for pinot noir, chardonnay, and Syrah vintages. The Santa Barbara Harbor is ideal for kayaking, sailing, and boating, and Arroyo Burro Beach County Park offers waves ideal for surfing and bodysurfing. 

Here are a few of our top Santa Barbara hotels:

Bacara Resort & Spa

Bacara Resort & Spa Pools

Situated along 78 acres of oceanfront property in Santa Barbara, Bacara Resort & Spa offers 358 newly renovated guest rooms and suites. The full-service resort has an array of family-friendly amenities, including beach activities, infinity-edge pools, on-site hiking trails, and a seasonal kids' club. The Spa at Bacara is a 42,000-square-foot spa and wellness center with HydraFacial services, rooftop terrace, adults-only pool, wellness classes, redwood sauna, Jacuzzi, eucalyptus steam room, and fireside lounge areas. There's also the new Angel Oak oceanfront restaurant, lighted tennis courts, and the Sandpiper Golf Club is adjacent to the resort. 

Check rates and availability at Bacara Resort & Spa

 

Four Seasons Santa Barbara Biltmore

Four Seasons Santa Barbara Biltmore Resort

Nestled amongst 22 acres of lush gardens and foliage, Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara is steps away from beaches with private bungalows and terraces overlooking the Channel Islands and Pacific Ocean. Featuring Spanish-inspired architecture and accenting the casually sophisticated California lifestyle, the property offers the exclusive Coral Casino Beach and Cabana Club (for select room categories, award-winning spa designed by Peter Marino, Jose Eber salon, three tennis courts, and two outdoor swimming pools. Guests also receive access to the members only Montecito Country Club, and there are bicycle rentals, and Kids for All Seasons programs. 

Learn more about the Four Seasons Santa Barbara Biltmore

 

Belmond El Encanto 

Belmond El Encanto

An iconic landmark since the 1920s, Belmond El Encanto is set within California Craftsman and Spanish Revival bungalows. Perched above the city amongst hills and lush gardens with panoramic views of the town and ocean, the property has a zero-edge pool, seven-acre garden, and a spa. There's a fitness center and studio with a variety of clases, plus bicycles for use, and a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter to shuttle guests around the nearby area. 

Check rates and availability at Belmond El Encanto

Explore more Santa Barbara luxury hotels

 

Laguna Beach

Our luxury road trip ends in Laguna Beach. Situated in Orange County, about half way between Los Angeles and San Diego, this coastal city is known for its seven-mile stretch of sand with surfing, art boutiques, and basking on the beach. During the annual grey whale migration (March to May), Laguna Beach provides an ideal vantage point for watching these gentle giants. While art enthusiasts will find plenty to enjoy including the Laguna Art-A-Fair featuring local and national artists, open daily from June 30 to September 3, 2017, and art classes offered year-round at the Sawdust. 

Here are a few of our top Laguna Beach hotels:

Monarch Beach Resort 

Monarch Beach Resort

Perched on a hillside, the Monarch Beach Resort features a family-friendly beachside setting in Dana Point, Orange County. Following a two year, $40 million transformation, the resort exemplifies the California Coastal lifestyle with a Miraval Life in Balance Spa, five gourmet restaurants including Michael Mina's Stonehill Tavern, and a championship golf course designed by Robert Trent Jones, Jr. Accommodations feature ocean-inspired color palattes with a coastal feel, and there's an expansive multi-level pool complex which includes a Family Pool with splash zone, the adults-only Monarch Pool, and a second level dedicated to sunning and lounging with cabanas and firepits. There's also a private beach club with water-related activities, paddle boarding, trail hikes, and surf lessons led by the resort's Surf Host. 

Learn more about the Monarch Beach Resort

 

The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel

The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel

Set halfway between Los Angeles and San Diego along the coast of Dana Point, The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel provides a luxurious surfside retreat. Perched atop a 150-foot bluff above Salt Creek Beach, the property offers cascading views of the Pacific Ocean. There's California Coastal cuisine, a spa focused on the essential elements from the ocean, and a variety of adventures including surfing experiences, basketball, Ping Pong, two tennis courts, and two swimming pools. There's also an Eco-Adventure Center with expert naturalist-led programs for adults, families, and children, along with the Ritz Kids programs with activities for young travelers.

Check rates and availability at The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel

 

Montage Resort and Spa

Montage Laguna Beach

Perched atop a coastal bluff, Montage Laguna Beach is a luxury resort featuring craftsman-style architecture and an idyllic SoCal setting. In the midst of the city's preeminent artist colony, the resort offers a collection of museum-quality works of art, plus two outdoor pools, and gourmet dining at Studio, The Loft, or Mosaic Bar and Grille. Situated within 30 acres of oceanfront property, there's a 20,000-square-foot Spa Montage with panoramic Pacific views, ocean air whirlpools, fireplace lounges, redwood saunas, lap pool, movement studio, and eucalyptus steam rooms. 

Learn more about Montage Resort and Spa

Explore more Laguna Beach luxury hotels

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Sponsored Post*

Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel Family Beach VacationNestled along Southern California’s most recognizable and breathtaking coastline, The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel provides the inspiration for guests to create #EpicMemories in 2016 with original and enduring packages and activities that awaken the soul, stimulate creativity rejuvenate the spirit and inspire the heart.

Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel Outdoor PoolSea legs are embraced and the soul is awakened on the Eco-Adventure Center's Biggest Show on Earth excursion. See first-hand why Dana Point is the Whale Capital of the West. A famous gathering area for aquatic animals, Dana Point attracts not only marine mammals but marine biologists and whale lovers from around the world. While on the adventure, majestic blue whales or gray whales can be seen as they travel past Dana Point, which is believed to serve as a visual landmark for several species of whales that migrate along the Pacific Coast. The Biggest Show on Earth is $110 per person and includes transportation to and from Dana Point Harbor.

The history of art is filled with stories of solitary artists abandoning society to pursue their creative expression. The 2016 Pageant of the Masters sets out in search of stories of compelling collaborations that led to the creation of unforgettable artworks in this summer's presentation of "Partners". Filled with provocative and passionate tales of some of art's dynamic duos - artists and patrons, models, muses, even dance partners, be sure to bring someone special with you, as "Partners" pulls back the curtain to reveal the significant others without whom the creation of great masterpieces might not have been possible.

Going backstage at the Pageant of the Masters stimulates creativity. The resort's Behind the Velvet Rope experience offers an exclusive opportunity to see how this grand production comes together behind the curtain and offers a peek into the mystery of how art comes to life. The experience also affords guests to rub elbows with the artists while on a private docent tour of the Festival of Arts. The resort also offers a Pageant of the Masters "Partners" package that includes two tickets to the performance. Pageant packages start at $849 per night and are available July 7 through August 31, 2016.

Rejuvenate the spirit with the Rejuvenate You package. Celebrate a new you with two 60-minute signature spa treatments, oceanfront Pilates and yoga, as well as a delectable lunch for two in Raya. The Ritz-Carlton Spa offers a selection of massage, facial and body treatments in a relaxing and tranquil environment. Rejuvenate You starts at $749 per night.

Guests can extend their stay with the Treat You package. Starting at $875 per night, the Treat You package includes accommodations on The Ritz-Carlton Club Level and one complimentary night when guests stay four nights. The Club Level experience offers the comfort, convenience and privacy of a hotel within a hotel. Located on the fourth floor of the resort, The Club Level is not just about luxurious surroundings; it's about personalized service. A dedicated concierge is available to meet any needs from hard to get restaurant reservations to assistance with changing airline flights. Only guests registered on Club Level can access the floor through use of a special elevator key, ensuring a sense of personal security. The focal point of Club is a spacious lounge area, furnished to resemble a comfortable living area and well stocked with books and a variety of magazines and newspapers.

Inspire the heart and fall in love all over again with the resort’s Sunset Romance package that includes overnight accommodations, Champagne and chocolate dipped strawberries, and breakfast for two. Enhance the experience with an upgrade to a fireside ocean guestroom where guests can toast the sunset by the warmth of the fire on the private patio and create #EpicMemories. Sunset Romance starts at $699 per night.

Throughout 2016, #EpicMemories experiences will be highlighted on the resorts social media channels including Facebook and Twitter. These experiences range from watching the sunset over the Pacific Ocean with your loved one to building a sand castle on the beach with your children. Guests are also encouraged to share their #EpicMemories.

Sunset at Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel

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*The content of this sponsored article was provided by Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel. Offers and packages are subject to change.

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Following a year-long $40 million renovation Southern California's Monarch Beach Resort, formerly a St. Regis property, has announced the completion of the project, which includes a new Miraval Life in Balance Spa, new pool areas, updated guest rooms, and fresh dining options. Read more below from our sister publication, Luxury Hotel Insider.

The resorts renovated arrival area now has beach house-inspired details with panoramic windows, over-sized seating, wide plank wood floors and blue and sea-glass green accents.

Monarch Beach Resort Front EntryAlso new is the Miraval Life in Balance Spa offering more than 70 treatments at its Monarch Beach Resort location. Each is designed to “awaken the senses, create balance and promote a sense of well-being” for guests throughout the spa's 24 treatment rooms. There is also a lap pool, multiple spa suites, a boutique, Drybar, Deborah Lippmann Nail Salon and relaxation and tranquility zones. Healthy menu items inspired by Miraval’s philosophy are also available at the resort's restaurants, as well as the new Miraval Spa Café inside the spa.

For dining, chef Michael Mina's Stonehill Tavern continues to provide a private beachfront dining space for guests, while the resort is also debuting five new dining concepts led by executive chef Collin Thornton as part of the renovation. The new dining options focus on using fresh ingredients from local purveyors and exercising sustainable practices, and include:

- AVEO Table + Bar: A Mediterranean restaurant and bar designed by San Francisco-based hospitality firm Puccini Group.  Dishes are inspired by the cuisine of Spain, Italy, Greece and Morocco, and are crafted using local ingredients. 

- 33° North: This venue includes three separate dining areas; a contemporary bar serving hand-crafted cocktails; a living room salon; and an outdoor patio with fireside seating and live music Thursday through Sunday.

- Part & Parcel Market: Also designed by Puccini Group, the all-day dining option serves small bites and healthy options for guests on-the-go.

- Club 19: A refreshed indoor-outdoor gastro pub situated near the golf course offers beers on tap, cocktails, and classic American fare. 

- Sombra: A Mexi-Cali, family-friendly poolside cantina offering a fusion of Mexican/American dishes along with salads, vegetarian options and modern Mexican comfort food. 

Dining at the Monarch Beach Resort

The resort's new pool areas include an adults-only Monarch Pool, Family Pool with splash zones and two infinity-edge spas. Private cabanas have built-in music and stocked outdoor mini-bars, while chaise lounges and an outdoor fire pit provide space for guests to gather in the evenings. The pool area’s multi-level design now has a second tier dedicated to sunning and lounging. 

Refreshed guestrooms designed by Los Angeles-based Rodrigo Vargas Design have a color palette of blues, greens and whites. All rooms and suites have balconies furnished with modern patio furniture, and all first floor balconies include fire pits. 

Monarch Beach Resort Suite Living Room

Tip: In addition to the renovation, Monarch Beach Resort is also offering several new land and sea experiences in Dana Point. At the resort's private access beach, guests can enjoy activities like standup paddle boarding, trail hikes, bonfire communions and one-on-one surf lessons led by a resort Surf Host. 

Check rates and availability at the Monarch Beach Resort >>

Monarch Beach Resort Beachfront

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St Regis Monarch Beach Resort features three swimming pools, including the Main Pool (pictured),
the more family-oriented Lagoon Pool, and the 3-lane lap pool, located at the Spa Gaucin fitness center.

St Regis Monarch Beach Resort

Book a stay at St Regis Monarch Beach Resort >> 


Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel
Let The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel add epic memories to your bucket list!

Perched atop a seaside bluff with panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean and miles of sandy beach, The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel continues to redefine guest experiences by creating distinctive, unforgettable and epic memories. The resort is kicking off 2015 by each week highlighting an Epic Bucket List experience guests would want on their Bucket List. These experiences are for guests to enjoy while visiting the oceanfront resort and Southern California. From sipping champagne at sunset or meeting world renowned marine life artist Wyland to snorkeling with a Garibaldi or going behind the scenes at Pageant of the Masters, an epic experience will be added to the Bucket List each week via the resort'social media channels including Facebook and Twitter. Guests are invited to follow the Bucket List through #RCMemories #BucketList and are invited to share their Bucket List ideas.

The Epic Bucket List Experience includes overnight accommodations in The Ritz-Carlton Suite featuring cascading views of the sparkling Pacific Ocean and California Riviera. Guests will experience personalized surprise and delights designed by expert memory makers – the ladies and gentlemen of The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel.

The Epic Bucket List Experience includes:
Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel
o Three night’s accommodations in The Ritz-Carlton Suite
o Dinner for two catered by a personal butler on the patio of the suite
o A private butler, creating personalized experiences such as
o Private star gazing lessons and a magnum of Moët & Chandon
o Surf Lessons with a Pro
o Shopping Extravaganza
o Reserved seating on 180blu, the resort's bluff-top lounge
o A couples massage in The Ritz-Carlton Spa
o Personal paparazzi to capture the epic memories
o Round the clock transfers from the airport and around town

Book the Epic Bucket List Experience >>

Wonders of Wyland Reception at Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel
Wonders of Wyland Reception

The Wonders of Wyland Reception will be held Friday, March 6, 2015. The evening will include film highlights from Wyland’s thirty-year campaign to create 100 life size marine life murals in more than 12 countries around the world. Spanning the sides of skyscrapers, sports arenas, and structures, these landmark public murals have captured the imagination of millions and helped inspire a new generation to become better stewards for our environment. The evening presentation will share the story of Wyland’s epic campaign, from its humble beginnings to the final, all-encompassing project for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. Through original video footage and photographs, guests will get an up-close look at the murals and one man's dream to change the landscape of art - and to create a gentle reminder to communities around the world that everyone, everywhere can make a difference. The Wonders of Wyland Reception will also feature Wyland painting twelve original sumi brush paintings to be auctioned off that evening. Sumi brush paintings are done in traditional Chinese brush-style with black ink on paper. The reception is $125 per person, with $25 of the ticket price going to support the Wyland Foundation. Reservations are required for the reception.
 

Whales, Wonders, and Wyland event at Ritz Carlton Laguna NiguelWhales, Wonders, and Wyland

The Whales, Wonders, and Wyland overnight experience is offered nightly through April 30, 2015 and includes overnight accommodations, two tickets for a whale watching excursion with Dana Wharf, a special Wyland gift while on the whale watching cruise, an in-room Wyland amenity, a personal note from Wyland and resort fee. The experience starts at $620 per night.
 

Guests who attend the Wonders of Wyland reception and book the Whales, Wonders, and Wyland overnight package that evening will also receive a Wyland coffee table book.

Located halfway between Los Angeles and San Diego, The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel sits on a 150-foot bluff with panoramic white-water views of the Pacific Ocean and two-miles of sandy beach. The resort is a re-imagined surfside retreat that awakens guests’ senses with its unique ocean-front setting and remarkable service heritage. As the premiere destination for travelers who desire a playful approach to Southern California luxury, the resort has been the recipient of many awards over the years.

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Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel
The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel
celebrates its 30th Anniversary in 2014. Traditionally, a 30th anniversary is celebrated with a gift of pearls, so in honor of its Pearl Anniversary, the resort has joined with luxury pearl jeweler Mikimoto to provide guests with The Pearls of Inspiration Experience.

A celebrated icon along the California coast, The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel is perched atop a 150 foot bluff,  and set against cascading views of the Pacific Ocean. This surfside retreat has a unique beachfront setting and remarkable service heritage, and is located halfway between Los Angeles and San Diego, along the coast of Dana Point. The resort boasts amazing dining options and all 396 guestrooms have been redesigned with decor that reflects the sparkle of the Pacific Ocean. Outdoor fireplaces have been added to the patios of first floor oceanfront guestrooms. Additional enhancements to the luxury property include major changes to the resort's gardens and grounds, and an Eco-Adventure Center. The Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel


The Pearls of Inspiration Experience
is exclusive to The Ritz-Carlton Club Level and includes:

• The opportunity to discover a His and Hers Mikimoto cultured pearl jewelry gift on your pillow in your guestroom
• Overnight accommodation on The Ritz-Carlton Club Level or Suite
• Pearls of Inspiration White Chocolate amenity
• Breakfast for two either through In Room Dining or in Raya
• Round trip transportation to and from South Coast Plaza
• Lunch for two at South Coast Plaza and visit to Mikimoto.
The package is available January 1 through April 30, 2014 and starts at $750 per night.

Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel
Package is subject to availability and cannot be combined with any other offer. Additional rules, regulations, and restrictions may apply. 

In conjunction with the Pearls of Inspiration Experience, the hotel has created three events that explore the genius of Kochi Mikimoto, and an exclusive look at the jewelry company and how it uses a blend of talent, discipline and artistry within their craft.

 Events include:

The Pearl King - January 23, 2014; 4-8pm
The skill of a scientist and the soul of an artist combined to create the genius of Kokichi Mikimoto, the inventor of cultured pearls. A visionary on a quest for beauty, it was his dream to "adorn the necks of all women around the world with pearls."

The Romance of Pearls - March 6, 2014; 4-8pm
The pearl's iridescent luminosity has bewitched men and women alike for thousands of years. Whether offered in romance or taken in victory, worn as a symbol of chastity or a mystical aphrodisiac, pearls have been and continue to be among the most coveted gems in the world.

Birth of a Pearl - May 8, 2014; 4-8pm
In 1893, after years of painstaking efforts, Kokichi Mikimoto succeeded in creating the world’s first cultured pearl. The method he developed is still used by Mikimoto today to form beautiful, lustrous pearls.

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Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel
During the holiday season, The Ritz Carlton Laguna, Niguel is transformed into a holiday wonderland with sparkling lights, sweet treats, and special events. In celebration of the season of giving, the resort is collecting canned goods and non-perishable items for the Orange County Rescue Mission and toys and books for Miracles for Kids.

The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel premiered as the first luxury beach resort along coastal Orange County. Today, the Dana Point resort boasts a newly re-imagined vibe, services and spaces, yet still occupies its perch atop 150 foot bluff featuring cascading views of the Pacific Ocean. The beautiful seaside city of Dana Point is located in Orange County, Southern California, about halfway between Los Angeles and San Diego.

 

 

Festive Holiday Events at the luxury hotel include:

-Surfing Santa Competition:Saturday, November 23; 7:30 a.m.
A fun surf competition where men, women and children dress like Santa or other holiday inspired characters and surf Salt Creek to benefit Surfers Healing.

-Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony: Sunday, November 24; 4 p.m.
Holiday music performed by The Jeeps and a special appearance from Santa Claus. Guests are asked to bring a new, unwrapped toy to be donated to Miracles for Kids.

Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel

-Holiday Surf Board Auction: November 23 through December 31, 2013.
The Sixth Annual Surf Board auction benefits Surfers Healing. More than three dozen surf boards donated from well-known surfers and local artists that have painted the boards, will be on display with bidding closing at noon on December 31. Bid online at www.biddingforgood.com/surfershealing.

-Gingerbread Spectacular: On display November 23 through December 31.
This year's display is dedicated to all of the Community Footprints partners the resort supports throughout the year. Each year the luxury resort's pastry team creates a sweet decadent edible spectacular that is on display throughout the holiday season.

-Holiday Tea: Monday through Thursday, November 18 through December 19. Seating from 2 to 2:30 p.m. in Raya.
$55 per person.
Enjoy a more contemporary version of tea served oceanside from Raya. 

-Yappy Howl-iday Celebration: Saturday, December 7; 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Located on the Dana Lawn This festive gathering of canines and their companions provides Fido with the opportunity to be photographed with the "Big Dog" himself – Santa Paws. Guests are asked to bring unopened canned or dry dog food, treats, or dog toys to be donated to the Friends of Orange County's Homeless Pets.

-Holiday Storytelling: Friday and Saturday, December 6, 7, 13, 14, 20, and 21 at 5 p.m.
Complimentary in the Eco-Adventure Center. Guests are asked to bring a new children’s book to be donated to Miracles for Kids. 

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20 million people gathered across the country to show support and their increasing concern about the visible ruined environment, on the very first Earth Day on April 22nd, 1970. Led by Senator John McConnell along with a small team of environmentalists and scientists, concerned citizens and the like, they successfully raised awareness about the absence of green issues from the United States’ political agenda. It has grown to be recognized as an annual global event, and even has been adopted by the United Nations in 2009. Celebrated in more than 192 countries every year, numerous communities celebrate Earth Day by participating in activities focused on environmental issues.

It is becoming a norm for companies to participate in being green and responsible corporate, by adopting green initiatives within their business model. The Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel, has followed suit by extending the invitation of being more green, and being an eco-hero to their guests and local residents. The hotel chain has teamed up with the Southern California’s expert-naturalist organization, the Eco-Adventure Center to help with this effort. The Beach Clean Up is the Ritz-Carlton property’s annual Earth Day initiative where they invite local residents and their hotel guests to come join them and help do their part in keeping Salt Creek Beach clean. Naturalists from the resort's Eco-Adventure Center will provide trash bags and gloves for participants, and will manage the removal of the trash that is collected.   The Ritz Carlton hopes that this event helps guests and locals to extend eco-efforts in their own homes.

The Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel beach clean-up will be held Saturday, April 20 at 10 a.m.  

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Why have an ordinary hotel stay when you can have an eco-adventure?

The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel, which premiered as the first luxury beach resort along coastal Orange County, is located halfway between San Diego and Los Angeles.  It sits high up on a 150 foot bluff that features cascading views of the Pacific Ocean. 

Set amidst such a beauty, it's not surprising that the luxury hotel has an Eco-Adventure Center that turns the local surroundings into a natural classroom and living laboratory.  The Center offers adventures for all ages, with the aim to encourage sound environmental practices and a deeper respect for nature. 

 

Sample events and adventures include:

-Garden tours where guest will learn about sustainable gardening practices and about the indigenous flora and fauna of Southern California.  

-Whale-watching excursion to Dana Point, which is the Whale Capital of the West. Blue, Humpback, and Gray Whales are all visible as they migrate along the Pacific Coast.  

-Exploration of Strands Beach. Guests will investigate the local foliage and wildlife of the Dana Point Headlands and learn how they adapt to the ever-changing coast.

-Body Boarding at Salt Creek Beach.  Learn how waves are created, study the effects of a rip current, and discover the longshore drift.  Then cap off all that learning with some body boarding. 

-Snorkeling the kelp forest. Learn about the harmonious and diverse kelp forest and learn what can be done to protect it. 

-Customized programs for groups, including unique team building activites that bring individuals in touch with the ocean, planet, and themselves. 

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Posted in: Laguna Beach, CA