What are the best places to stay in Orange County?

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You can spend an idyllic vacation in Orange County, especially considering that the area is also home to luxurious resorts — several Forbes Travel Guide Five- or Four-Star resorts are located here. These resorts have top-notch spas and restaurants, making a stay here relaxing and pampering.

1. The St. Regis Monarch Beach. Even seasoned travelers will swoon over the luscious, secluded setting and the Tuscan-inspired design of Five-Star hotel St. Regis Resort, Monarch Beach, which is tucked away on 200 acres high above the Pacific Ocean. The resort has an 18-hole championship golf course, swank poolside cabanas, award-winning spa, beach club (with surfing lessons) and nature trails. Restaurants include Michael Mina’s acclaimed Stonehill Tavern.

2. Montage Laguna Beach. Reigning over Laguna Beach from its rugged cliff-top location, Montage Laguna Beach blends arts and crafts style with the luxury of a full-service resort. Dining at this Five-Star hotel takes sophisticated California cuisine to a new level, particularly at the romantically cozy oceanfront bungalow restaurant, Studio. The full-range spa has more than 20 treatment rooms and the poolside cabanas are decked out with flat-screen TVs and DVD/CD players.

3. The Resort at Pelican Hill. The area’s newest place to stay is located in the small enclave of Newport Coast. The Resort at Pelican Hill resembles a beautiful (and very large) Tuscan villa. The Five-Star property has 204 hillside bungalows and private villas that overlook the world class Tom Fazio-designed golf courses. The pool is supposedly the largest circular pool in the world, and you’ll likely want to spend all day there as the staff delivers fruit-scented water and food from the Coliseum Restaurant. End the day with a visit to the luxurious Spa at Pelican Hill and a meal at Andrea.

4. Inn on Mt. Ada. Four-Star Inn on Mt. Ada is a colonial-style mansion, with its sparkling white exterior and hunter-green shutters, recalls the grand summer residences more often seen on the East Coast. It is the highest point on the island, and rests amid beautiful shrubbery and landscaping. Completed in 1921, the former home of chewing gum magnate William Wrigley, Jr. hosted important social gatherings during its heyday. Nowadays, you’re the guest of honor in the cozy Inn’s six guest rooms and suites, which feature ocean or harbor views (some rooms have fireplaces and others have terraces or decks).

5. The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel. Situated atop a 150-foot bluff overlooking the ocean, Four-Star Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel is a Mediterranean style villa and an elegant retreat. The resort has three restaurants, including the unique wine tasting room, ENO, which offers an extensive menu of wines, cheeses and chocolates from around the globe. Surfing lessons are available at the beach, and the spa is fabulous with its contemporary California-glam décor and full menu of luxurious treatments.

Giuseppe Lama

The Resort at Pelican Hill offers two distinct accommodation options along the coast of Newport Beach. Whether it’s a Bungalow or a Villa, both options come with complimentary parking, wireless Internet and access to pools, fitness centers and spa facilities with no added resort fees.

Bungalow Guest Rooms and Suites range in size from 847 to 2,486 square feet. Luxurious appointments and residential touches provide an intimate ambiance. Not one detail is overlooked to provide the most luxurious, relaxing and comfortable accommodations, including hand-crafted wood-beam ceilings, fireplaces framed by Italian limestone, deep soaking marble tubs, 40-inch flat screen televisions, wet bars, Bose sound systems, MP3 ports, wireless Internet, 500-thread-count sheets, and private terraces with unobstructed ocean panoramas.

As the largest inventory of luxury, ocean-view home accommodations, the Resort’s Villas are available for daily rental. Villa guests enjoy every imaginable ultra-luxury appointment and the most thoughtful, comprehensive and personalized service program of amenities, pampering and individual attention of any resort in the world. Ranging from 2,200 square feet to 3,581 square feet with two, three or four bedrooms, spacious Villas feature expansive terraces, gourmet kitchens, dining areas, personal butlers and staff available around-the-clock to fulfill your every need and desire.

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