Laguna Beach
Cozy boutique hotel gets major upgrade
If there is a better looking California  1resort city than Laguna Beach, we're not sure we've found it. La Jolla comes pretty close. Mendocino has an unbelievably scenic location. But Laguna Beach is the whole package - a picturesque, tropical location with dramatic hillsides, sandy beaches, rocky shoreline and a charming, artsy downtown with all the modern conveniences.

So it was no surprise that Classic Hotels & Resorts bought up the Laguna Cliffs Inn while it was still a diamond in the rough - a great location, but needing some special attention. This boutique hotel is just a short walk from downtown Laguna and next door to the spectacular gardens and rocky cliffs that make this part of the shoreline so perfect for a stroll.

That care and attention was duly given the hotel -- in the amount of $1.5 million -- and now the Laguna Cliffs has re-opened as the Laguna Beach House.  1All 36 deluxe guestrooms and public spaces (including the lobby and pool deck) were remodeled with a surfing theme "to reflect the carefree spirit of the property's beach town location," according to the new owners.

We got to sample one of the newly remodeled rooms while visiting Laguna recently and were amazed at the attention to detail. Visitors will notice that designers have created the look and feel of an open, airy beach cottage, using warm colors and featuring oceanic scenes in the design and artwork.

Guests will find vintage surf books, canvas totes, and coastal-inspired accessories along with custom-made surfboards hanging over the beds. Guests can even buy a surf board on site - and then go use it in the ocean, of all places.

It's a laidback California vibe, perfect for Laguna Beach. 1 There are Laguna Beach destination posters that look like vintage travel posters, surf-theme tee-shirts are available and vintage 1970's era Gordon & Smith skateboards serve as towel racks in all the bathrooms, which also have been fully remodeled. White shutters open to let in the natural light, and many units feature private balconies with garden tables, chairs and coastal views.

The pool area has been expanded to include casual lounge furniture and a fire pit.

For us, one of the true pleasures of Laguna Beach is the walkway between Heisler Park (near Laguna Beach House) and the Laguna Beach House's sister property, the Inn at Laguna Beach. This stroll might as well be called the "Walk of A Thousand Views," with its amazing vantage points of the Pacific Ocean. It's incredible how the ocean, beach and coastline conjure up so many picture-postcard views along this walk, no two of them alike. The fragrant flowers and the manicured plants just add to the sense that you're in one of the most luxurious and colorful beach locations on the planet.

Once you reach the Inn at Laguna Beach, the downtown area -- with its colorful art galleries, numerous restaurants and eclectic shops -- is just across the street and ready for you to explore. It's just further confirmation that Laguna Beach really does have the complete package and should be at the top of the list for California beach-lovers.

To make reservations at the Laguna Beach House, please call (800) 297-0007 or visit www.TheLagunaBeachHouse.com.
PHOTOS: From top: Laguna Beach; Laguna Beach House; Heisler Park
PHOTO CREDITS: Photos by Cary Ordway and courtesy Laguna Beach House
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