Feature: California’s finest luxury beach resortsTuesday, July 05, 2011 2:34 PM
America’s most liberal state is a land blessed with varying landscapes, welcoming people and an all-round climate of sun, sun, sun! One of the world’s most affluent areas, luxury resorts abound in the Golden State, offering elegant respite from the everyday bustle of the modern world. With 840 miles of pristine sandy coastline, Pacific whales and dolphins swim surprisingly close to land and endless wooden piers jut out to sea.
The food is fantastic, the cocktails divine; it sure sounds like an incredible destination right? Right. But finding a beach resort in California is quite hard, as numerous all inclusive hotels are nestled inland surrounded by mountains or near desert. So to help you along the way, we’ve searched high and low to bring you the best beach resorts in this sun-kissed destination, in the next part of our guide to luxury hotels around the world.
The exclusive resort
Located half way between San Diego and Los Angeles on its own 15 acres of pristine waterfront property, The Balboa Bay Club and Resort is luxury at its finest. This 160 room resort sprawls along Newport Beach like a huge Mediterranean villa. The First Cabin Restaurant offers first class dining along with nightly entertainment and dancing in the neighbouring lounge. In addition, the Balboa Bay boasts a huge spa and fitness centre.
Surf City USA
With sunsets to take your break away and iconic wooden piers jutting out into the Atlantic, southern California is a sun worshipper’s paradise. The Hilton Waterfront Beach Resort is located along this picturesque coastline in the heart of Surf City USA, Huntington Beach. Lounge on the beach, have a game of volleyball, let a master teach you how to surf or mingle over a beach BBQ under those tranquil California stars. The choice is yours! An added bonus is the close proximity to three major airports. So all you need to do is hop off the plane and start lounging!
The famed Orange County is an area of exuberant luxury in some of the most relaxed settings imaginable. Head to the land of the rich and famous with a stay in the lavish Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel. Perched over pristine beaches near the city of Dana Point, the sunsets here are spectacular, where the red sun sinks below the horizon, blanketing the green and yellow bay in red splendour. The beaches are very wide here, making them perfect for a romantic stroll. Or you might prefer to cleanse yourself in the brand new spa? There are also eco and wildlife tours available.
Luxury at its best
Situated on the beautiful Laguna Beach where the waves of the Pacific meet 500 feet of pristine land is the charming Surf and Sand Oceanfront Hotel. All 154 suites command magnificent views of the Pacific where the waves lap gently on the wide, golden shore. The resort also houses Splashes Restaurant which features a Mediterranean inspired seafood menu and a huge oceanfront spa which offers a range of beauty and massage treatments. Shop like a Californian in nearby South Coast Plaza which boasts more than 250 boutique stores, or have a go at sport fishing or whale watching on a charter from Dana Wharf. If you’re on a family holiday, Disneyland California is quite close!
Santa Barbara is located just north of Los Angeles and epitomises the laid back and sophisticated Californian lifestyle. Nestled between the Pacific Ocean and the Santa Ynez Mountains, the landscape is lush and almost tropical, being close to the border with Mexico. Graced by sunny skies and a mild climate, the ambience is more Mediterranean due to its Spanish colonial heritage, giving Santa Barbara a riviera feel. So come relax on the beaches of the Four Seasons here and let all your cares slide away.
The big city
Los Angeles is a big place; more of a collection of cities rather than one city itself. And one of the most premier beach towns is Santa Monica. Blessed with a historic pier, fun fair and hippodrome, the town epitomises the laid back LA lifestyle and makes a fantastic holiday destination. Shutters on the Beach is located right on this golden shore beachfront, set against a backdrop of long swaying grass and constantly populated by walkers and runners. Cycle the glorious Manhattan Beach, have a round of tennis, volleyball or a bit of pool swimming. There are yoga classes available on the sand and a beachside spa too!
California offers elegance beyond measure to luxury holidaymakers. Hollywood movies and teen serials have all helped mark out the Golden State as an area worth visiting. But, we have one final word of warning: while many beaches in California are safe for swimming, it is worth checking locally before you take a dip. Remember this is a wild coast and sharks, rip tides and strong currents can all be dangerous! But beach living aside, there is such an abundance of things to do in California and the weather is so hot, you’ll never be bored!
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