If there is such a place as heaven, I expect it would look a lot like the Montage Laguna. For one thing, I don't think it's possible to take a bad picture at the place.
I've been fortunate enough to stay at the hotel on two occasions (which I've written about here and here and here). The last time, I was determined to sample EVERYTHING the resort had to offer... but stopped short of using any spa services.
One reason is that it was an anniversary visit, and my husband is kind of high maintenance: When the two of us go away together, he expects us to do everything together. And unfortunately, he just isn't into activities like couples massage.
We did while away our final afternoon in the spa pool area, and I recall watching a bridal party relaxing there before the big event -- and thinking how much FUN that would be for a girlfriend getaway.
So you can imagine my response when my LA Moms Blog colleague Kimberley Clayton-Blaine asked me if I wanted to spend the Saturday before Mother's Day at Montage Spa with some of my favorite mommy blogging friends. I may even have uttered the phrase, "BOO-YEAH!" before shooting off an emailed reply.
It's a bit of a drive from my neck of the SoCal woods (the San Fernando Valley) down to Laguna Beach, so it was nice to have companionship in the form of my carpool buddies, Sweatpants Mom and Los Angelista. We had so much fun catching up with one another that the 90 minute trek flew on by...
...and once we got there, the day kicked into high gear as we were greeted by that fabulous view -- and mimosas, which we guzzled sipped as we waited for the rest of the LA and OC Mom bloggers to join us.
We were led on a tour of the property by Kacey Spies-Bruno, the hotel's Director of Public Relations -- and the first place she led us to was a part of the property I had no idea existed... even though I'd been there before, with my daughter.
Paintbox is the resort's children's club, staffed by an enthusiastic crew who oversee age appropriate games and crafts for children from 2-12... and now include activities for teenagers.
Director Stacy Adelman looks like a kid herself (and has the spirited demeanor of a cheerleader), so I was surprised to learn of the years and years of experience she's had overseeing programs like this - both at Montage (where she's been since they opened seven years ago) and at various Club Med resorts.
You can also ask the Paintbox staff to customize a special day for your entire family: dolphin and whale watching, surf lessons and plein air painting are just a few of the activities you can choose from.
I think my daughter would have enjoyed it if we'd known about it when she was 10. And now that she's 14... well, I would prefer to sign her up for teen activities than allow her to hang out unsupervised on the beach. So I think the new teen program is an awesome addition to the hotel's services.
After our tour of Paintbox, we were all whisked away and deposited at the Montage spa, where we were issued shoes and lockers. The place is simply gorgeous. While you wait for your appointment you can sit beside a fireplace and enjoy tea and healthy snacks -- or you can step outside and use the sauna, steam bath, whirlpool and cold pool, which are located on a shady deck.
A few of us with later appointments ended up lounging by the swimming pool which overlooks the beach (that's where I took the panoramic photo at the top of this post). We ordered lunch (and cocktails) poolside and I have to tell you -- it was all as yummy as it looked. A photo of the cocktails with the ocean in the background is now the wallpaper on my phone.
It was ironic that there are signs in the spa asking patrons to turn off their cell phones - but as we were invited specifically to blog, vlog and tweet while we were there, most of us were sitting around with several pieces of electronic equipment, all tapping away delightedly. Hey - this is how WE relax!
Having taken the Vlogamama Workshop the previous week, I DID attempt to create a video depicting our day... but I'm still learning how to use my camera and microphone and editing software, so rather than inflict my awkward little production on you, I'm going to show you what Kimberley created -- which will show you exactly how fabulous a Montage spa day can be.
This post continues on my food blog, "What's for Dinner?" ... and if you really want to see my awful video, you'll find it here.
DISCLOSURE: I received no compensation for this post other than the food I consumed and the facial treatment I received in the Spa. I have no business affiliation with the Montage Laguna.