Combine the kind of coddling you’d expect from one of the world’s great resorts with an authentic sense of community, and you start to understand the appeal of the Montage Laguna Beach. In front of you, surfers ride in on Pacific rollers. Beside your chaise lounge, ice cubes clink in your G&T. Down on the beach, kids compete in sand-castle contests, while inside, guests curl up in overstuffed armchairs. The resort is about as green as it gets (there’s on-site composting) and yet undeniably decadent. Rooms come with deep soaker tubs; the menus feature “a tasting of french fries” along with local oysters, and boutiques carry House of Creed, Tina Turk, and Helen Kaminski.
One of Laguna’s go-to wedding locales, the Montage boasts a pair of ocean-view lawns, predictably most popular for sunset vows. The Arts-and-Crafts architecture (dark wood, stone, and copper, embellish the peak-roofed complex) guarantee handsome photo backdrops; have the rehearsal dinner on a private patio, brunch in a private dining room, a just-the-bridal-party gathering in the 14-seat Boardroom, and if you’re expecting a crowd, the glam ballroom spaces open onto foyers and courtyards. The after-party? Around an outdoor fire pit, of course.
John Wayne Airport, in Orange County, is only 15 miles away; if you’re driving from Los Angeles or San Diego, set aside at least an hour, depending on traffic.
Keep in mind
You’re required to bring in a coordinator who’s not affiliated with the resort; he or she has to be pre-approved by the Montage. If you want amplified music for dancing, you’ll need to bring the party inside.