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12 Best Resorts in Orange County

Written by Carri Wilbanks and Becca Blond
Apr 29, 2021

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Whether you are looking to play in the surf and get pampered at a top resort in Laguna Beach or ready to take the kids on a fairy-tale adventure to Disneyland, California's Orange County packs quite the varied vacation punch.

Located between Los Angeles and San Diego, the best Orange County resorts are found along the stunning coastline on beaches like Laguna, Newport, Huntington, and Dana Point, as well as in Anaheim, which is where Disneyland is located.

Find the best place to stay in this gorgeous and very famous (yes, this is the OC of television fodder), Southern California vacation destination with our list of the very best resorts in Orange County, California.

Note: Some businesses may be temporarily closed due to recent global health and safety issues.

1. Montage Laguna Beach, Laguna Beach

Photo Source: Montage Laguna Beach
Photo Source: Montage Laguna Beach

In the artsy seaside village of Laguna Beach, the Montage Laguna Beach has a fantastic location atop a 50-foot-high bluff facing the Pacific Ocean. In fact every room and suite at this swanky 5-star craftsman-style resort features ocean views from floor-to-ceiling windows, many opening onto private furnished balconies. The digs are gorgeously decorated in creamy hues and come with a museum-quality art collection. They also feature feathertop mattresses draped in high-quality linens, and oversized marble bathrooms.

The Montage has direct beach access with sun loungers reserved for its guests. If you'd rather hang by the pool, there are two to choose from. Both have chair-lined decks, hot tubs, and private cabanas for hire. Other amenities here include a massive spa offering a full range of treatments. Don't skip a sweat session in the dry redwood sauna or the eucalyptus steam room.

There are three restaurants to choose from. If you are traveling with children, the Montage is family friendly with a kids' play area. Babysitting can also be arranged. And there is no need to leave your pup behind either, as this property is dog friendly.

Accommodation: Montage Laguna Beach

2. The Resort at Pelican Hill, Newport Beach

Photo Source: The Resort at Pelican Hill
Photo Source: The Resort at Pelican Hill

In the trendy town of Newport Beach, The Resort at Pelican Hill is set on 500 acres on the bluffs overlooking the sea. The 5-star, 5-diamond resort has gorgeous bungalow-style rooms and suites, many of which boast direct ocean views. All come with private terraces.

There is no direct beach access, you'll need to catch the hotel's shuttle to Crystal Cove State Park (or drive yourself), which runs during daylight hours. The hotel will loan you beach chairs and umbrellas, and the state park has a pretty stretch of gold-sand beach and even a small historic district with restaurants.

The resort has a well-rounded amenity list. You can grab a bite to eat at one of several restaurants including one serving good Northern Italian fare. Or get pampered in the spa, which offers a full range of massages, facials, and other treatments. The most unique amenity is the Coliseum Pool, which is a large circular swimming pool with more than a million glass mosaic tiles on its floor. It also features tired decks and luxe cabana rentals.

Finally, you can play 36 holes of golf on a course designed by Tom Fazio. It boasts dramatic ocean views from nearly every hole.

Accommodation: The Resort at Pelican Hill

3. Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach, Dana Point

Photo Source: Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach
Photo Source: Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach

On 175 acres on a bluff facing the ocean in the seaside town of Dana Point, the Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach is a favorite with couples, who come for the romantic ambience. The rooms and suites come in a variety of sizes and shapes, but the best have direct ocean views. All feature elegant and luxe decor, spacious marble bathrooms, and furnished balconies. Book a ground floor room if you want a private fire pit on your patio.

It is a five-minute downhill walk to the beach, where there are complimentary chairs and umbrellas for guests to use. You can also reserve daybeds and cabanas for a fee. If you don't feel like walking, the hotel runs a golf cart shuttle service every 15 minutes during daylight hours.

Amenities here include two swimming pools, a posh spa with its own lap pool reserved for its guests, and a golf course. For dining, there are five on-site restaurants, including AVEO, which serves Mediterranean-inspired fare.

Accommodation: Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach

4. Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort & Spa, Huntington Beach

Photo Source: Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort & Spa
Photo Source: Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort & Spa

Huntington Beach (aka "Surf City USA") is one of the best places to surf in SoCal and one of the closest Orange County beach towns to Los Angeles. It is also a popular family destination, and one of the top resorts for families here is the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort & Spa.

The 4-star property is located right by the Huntington Beach Pier, where the surfing happens. The hotel has more than 500 rooms and suites with upscale decor, comfy beds draped in high quality linens, and furnished balconies. There is also a private beach house that can be rented.

If you have the kids with you, the Hyatt Camp here features daily staffed activities for children between the ages of three and 12 years. Other amenities include three pools with cabanas, a restaurant, and a spa. No need to leave your dog at home either, the hotel is pet friendly.

Accommodation: Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort & Spa

5. Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, Anaheim

Photo Source: Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa
Photo Source: Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

In a super central location in the Downtown Disney District, the Grand Californian Hotel & Spa is where to book if you want a luxe resort with direct access to the theme park. In fact guests here have early bird access to the rides and entertainment at Disneyland and use a private entrance to get into the park.

A favorite with families, of course, the 4-star hotel lives and breathes the Magic Kingdom in all elements, including the architecture that incorporates themes from different Disney productions. There are often costumed characters wandering the grounds and around the massive, six-story Arts and Crafts style lobby, especially during times when the popular Disney Princess Breakfast Adventures are held.

The rooms and suites come in a variety of configurations, and the largest have three-bedrooms. On-site amenities here include three outdoor pools, including one with a 90-foot waterslide; a hot tub; and cabana rentals. There are also a number of different restaurants on-site, a spa, and a fitness center.

Accommodation: Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

6. Disneyland Hotel, Anaheim

Photo Source: Disneyland Hotel
Photo Source: Disneyland Hotel

Just a hop, skip, and a jump from Disneyland in Anaheim, the Disneyland Hotel is another top property with easy access to the Magic Kingdom. The 4-star hotel has a mix of rooms and suites, which are done up with contemporary decor and are clean and comfy, with enough space for the whole family.

Kids will love the hotel swimming pool, which has two giant monorail-themed waterslides, as well as plenty of sun loungers and umbrellas. Expect to see Disney costumed characters wandering the grounds: Chef Goofy, for instance, is a frequent visitor to his Goofy's Kitchen restaurant. It is one of a number of dining options at the hotel.

Accommodation: Disneyland Hotel

7. Balboa Bay Resort, Newport Beach

Photo Source: Balboa Bay Resort
Photo Source: Balboa Bay Resort

In trendy Newport Beach, Balboa Bay Resort is a 4-star, 4-diamond property on the marina. The rooms and suites, including options for families, are contemporary and elegantly decorated, and all have balconies. The more expensive ones have waterfront views (note, this hotel is not on the beach itself, however, the views face the marina area).

Amenities include a nice swimming pool with sun loungers and cabanas, a fitness studio, restaurant, and dry bar salon. There is also a full-service spa. If you are traveling with a dog, the resort is pet friendly.

Accommodation: Balboa Bay Resort

8. Surf & Sand Resort, Laguna Beach

Photo Source: Surf & Sand Resort
Photo Source: Surf & Sand Resort

On a hill facing a beautiful section of Laguna Beach, the Surf & Sand Resort is another great option. The 167 rooms here are spread across three buildings, and all have sea-facing balconies. Expect trendy beach-inspired decor with a blue and white color scheme, plantation shutters, and original artwork.

Amenities include a pool facing the ocean and a large workout room. The on-site restaurant, Splashes by the Sea, features a California-inspired menu that focuses on locally sourced, seasonal ingredients. The views at sunset from its deck are lovely.

The Aquaterra Spa here is also worth a visit. It offers a number of different treatments using ingredients made in-house, including a strawberry sugar body scrub.

Accommodation: Surf & Sand Resort

9. Casa Laguna Hotel & Spa, Laguna Beach

Photo Source: Casa Laguna Hotel & Spa
Photo Source: Casa Laguna Hotel & Spa

If you're looking for a romantic, good-value property in Laguna Beach, check out Casa Laguna Hotel & Spa, which is a boutique property in a historic building with resort amenities. Catering to couples, the rooms and suites here have a max occupancy of two people, regardless of age. They are artsy and comfy, with splashes of bright colors and bespoke furnishings, and many feature ocean views. The beds are covered in luxe, eco-friendly linens, and the TVs have smart technology that allows you to stream your favorite shows.

Amenities include private beach access and a free-form swimming pool surrounded by palm trees and flower pots, and breakfast is included. If you need to work some tension out of your muscles, the spa here offers a full range of treatments. And while Casa Laguna does not cater to human children, the four-legged variety is welcome - the hotel is dog friendly.

Accommodation: Casa Laguna Hotel & Spa

10. Kimpton Shorebreak Huntington Beach Resort, Huntington Beach

Photo Source: Kimpton Shorebreak Huntington Beach Resort
Photo Source: Kimpton Shorebreak Huntington Beach Resort

Facing the ocean, the Kimpton Shorebreak Huntington Beach Resort is a super pet-friendly hotel with no size or breed restrictions (or pet fees) for dogs. It is also the closest resort to Huntington's dog beach and not far from the Huntington Beach Pier where you can watch the surfers play. The rooms are modern, with surf-inspired decor and super comfy beds. They also feature soaking tubs, plush robes, record players, and sleep sound machines.

On-site amenities include a restaurant serving California fare with Asian and Latin American influences. There is beach access, and guests can borrow chairs to take to it. Cruiser bikes are also free for guests to use. The gym here has a climbing wall, and at night guests can make s'mores at the outdoor fire pit.

Accommodation: Kimpton Shorebreak Huntington Beach Resort

11. The Ranch at Laguna Beach, Laguna Beach

Photo Source: The Ranch at Laguna Beach
Photo Source: The Ranch at Laguna Beach

Set on 87 acres in a canyon just across from the Pacific Coast Highway and the beach, The Ranch at Laguna Beach is a great choice for a romantic getaway. The rooms and suites are California cozy, with appealing decor, and set in one- and two-story bungalow complexes.

Although you are not directly on the beach, the resort runs a golf cart shuttle via a tunnel under the highway that takes you right to Laguna's best stretch of sand. Other amenities include a well-regarded restaurant, a swimming pool, a nine-hole golf course, and a 24-hour fitness center. You can also book a treatment at the on-site Sycamore Spa by Hudson.

Accommodation: The Ranch at Laguna Beach

12. Paséa Hotel & Spa, Huntington Beach

Photo Source: Pasea Hotel & Spa
Photo Source: Pasea Hotel & Spa

Just a few steps from the ocean and within walking distance of Huntington Beach Pier, the Paséa Hotel & Spa is a great choice for couples. The rooms and suites here are modern, spacious, and luxe in decor, with floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors opening onto private balconies. If you are traveling with your dog, the resort is pet friendly.

There are lots of amenities on-site. These include Tanner's Restaurant, which focuses on wood-fired California fare, and a rooftop lounge with great views, especially at sunset.

Allow yourself to be pampered at their Balinese-inspired spa that features a full range of treatments in indoor and outdoor settings. There is also a swimming pool and fitness center on the grounds.

Accommodation: Paséa Hotel & Spa

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