Laguna Beach is an idyllic piece of heaven, best known for its white sandy beaches, art-centric shops, great food, stunning views, and gorgeous people. Any trip to Southern California wouldn’t be complete without a stop at this charming slice of Paradise, less than two hours south of L.A.
If you’re looking for a special way to enjoy Laguna, look no further than the Retreat at Laguna. In these eight unique, Tuscany-inspired villas, owner LloydCharton has realized a lifelong dream of bringing a luxurious taste of Italy to the California coast. Each private villa boasts a fully-equipped gourmet kitchen, flat-screen TVs, WIFI, fireplace, and beautifully appointed master bedroom. Not to mention, unprecedented access to Laguna’s restaurants, shops, galleries, and of course, the ocean.
My wife Cindy and I stayed in the intimate and cozy Villa Da Vinci, with our 4-year old son, Ben. We loved the villa’s exquisite artistic touches, including crown moldings, dark wood cabinetry, designer tile work, and the original paintings by local artists. This charming hideaway also features magnificent ocean views from its glass-fronted living room and private deck. Each morning, we descended the wooden stairways leading to the beach for family walks in the company of surfers, dog walkers and the local flavor that makes Laguna such an extraordinary destination. At night, Cindy and I retired to the master bedroom’s custom mahogany queen bed, while Ben slept soundly on the queen leather sleeper sofa.
The Retreat at Laguna takes pride in providing a “home away from home.” For guests who like to dine at home, the Retreat will arrange a private chef or catered meal from one of the local restaurants. Concierge service is also available for booking art tours, yoga and massages. Cindy and I opted for eating out.
For breakfast, we walked to the nearby Beach House, the former home of Hollywood character actor, Slim Summerville, for omelets and French Toast that weretasty and filling. Lunch came via The Stand, a Laguna Landmark known for its incredibly wide selection of vegan specialties. I enjoyed a bean & vegetabletamale to die for, while Cindy and Ben split the tastiest meatless burger you’ll find anywhere. For dinner, we drove to The Savannah Chop House in nearby Laguna Niguel, renowned for its steaks and 100% sustainable seafood. Chef Mark Anthony Pariano delivered the goods with a brilliant sense of panache. After starting us off with glasses of Treana Red Blend from the Chop House’s impressive and fully stocked bar, we feasted on an immensely flavorful macadamia crusted Alaska halibut and a perfectly grilled filet mignon.
Leaving Laguna Beach was difficult. But our spirits were brightened by the knowledge that we would soon return.