Set to swoosh across the country for a free two-night stay at Montage Laguna Beach, I inquired about rates. Why not splurge for a couple of extra days at this luxury resort, right? At $795 I had to decline, yet I got to experience the resort's ultra-pampering touches during my 48-hour adventure.
Let me start by saying I am well-traveled. For business and pleasure, I've slept in some mighty pricey beds. In the more upscale inns, I've had access to bathrobes and slippers, lighted make-up mirrors and real artwork on the walls. Yet none was in a hotel so extraordinarily expensive that the most basic room came in at $800. Below are some of the small indulgences that, added together, make Montage Laguna Beach exceptionally worth the high price.
First, the front desk clerk, personally, walked us to our room. That room was an Ocean Horizon King. It may be basic for Montage Laguna Beach, but, with its posh decor and Pacific-view balcony, it is quite the comfy accommodation. Note the quilted footstool by the sofa.
The bathroom alone has several noteworthy components.
Even chain motels often have coffee makers in the room. They're not like this.
The service was notably wonderful in every single area of the hotel. It begins at the valet area -- where two gentlemen always rushed to our car, one to open each door -- and continues to the pool deck, where an eager team would find us loungers, covers, towels, umbrellas, and tables the second we looked like we wanted to sit for awhile.
That's a charity-driven group. Each November, travel bloggers around the world put together prizes ranging from hotel stays to multi-day itineraries (last year's Provence trip by the Provence Post seemed especially fabulous). The trips are raffled off at $10 a pop. I bid on a few items several times each (hey, it's only $10 per and it helps folks in need) and a few others once apiece. I am extremely happy with my prize, and I sincerely thank Montage Laguna Beach for handing me this experience via the travel blog Pit Stops for Kids.
As for my extra time in Southern California, I booked three nights at the more modest Newport Beach Hotel. It lacked the pampering, and in fact my guestroom didn't even have a whole window. But you know what? I loved it just as much. The 15 rooms are large with a refreshing sun-bleached-looking decor. The common rooms are spacious with water views. The boutique facility is right on the pier and beach. And guests are invited to use the facility's bicycles, sand chairs, beach towels, and beach umbrellas for no extra cost. The super-nice staff helps with everything. Plus, the modest breakfast is included.
I don't need slippers by the bed and a bath pillow and artisan foods to greet me, but I sure did enjoy all that. I'd suggest following Passports with Purpose on Facebook so you know when the next raffle launches. I'll be competing against you for enticing trips.
Delve into the world enthusiastically,