By Chere Di Boscio
Southern California has a beautiful reputation. When people think of this sunny locale, they normally associate it with youthful, good looking people, healthy, fresh food and loads of fun outdoor activities – and indeed, all of these SoCal archetypes are abundant at The Ranch at Laguna Beach.
This luxury lodge is a haven for those who are seeking rest, relaxation and restoration to better health in verdant surroundings embraced by highly hikable hills.
Feeling like you need a serious recharge? Read on!
Sleep In The Trees
There are some truly lovely places to rest in this lodge: you can choose from the elegant Canyon Rooms, with their vaulted ceilings and furnished patios; the Creekside Studios, which boast pull out sofas in the lounge and balconies with canyon views; the two-level, two bedroomed Cottages, which are perfect for families or groups of friends – or my favourite: the Treehouse.
Tucked into the treetops high above the canyon, this three-bathroom, 1,600-square-foot suite is the perfect place for a romantic honeymoon, a family holiday, or even better: truly immersing yourself and your loved ones in nature.
You’ll awaken to the sweet sounds of birdsong from your wraparound deck. Walk barefoot into your full gourmet kitchen to enjoy the breakfast of your dreams, and gaze out at the sunrise from your floor-to-ceiling windows. As with all the rooms at the Ranch, you’ll find fine fabrics and furnishings adorning your accommodation; they beautifully compliment the board-and-batten walls, hand-carved furniture, and carefully selected pieces of artwork by Laguna artists.
All rooms in the hotel feature large walk-in showers and dual vanities, mini refrigerators, microwaves, and robes, but once again, this very special treehouse has another unique feature – namely, a Treehouse Gazebo for entertaining, or for simply meditating on nature as you drink in the incredible peace and tranquility that surrounds you.
To be honest, simply staying in your room here is relaxing enough, but to ensure every single stressor melts from your mind, The Ranch at Laguna Beach offers many wellness options, including:
- A spa and wellness center
- Outdoor heated saline pool and hot tub
- 24-hour fitness center
- Sustainably operated, nine-hole golf course
- Seven miles of sandy beaches you can explore by kayak or stand-up paddleboard
- Hiking or mountain biking on scenic canyon trails
- After sundown, enjoy cocktails and music around a crackling fire and enjoy exceptional SoCal stargazing.
The Ranch at Laguna Beach is truly designed to encourage you to get healthier through exercise, nutrition and de-stressing pampering.
After engaging in some light (or heavy!) outdoor exercise, why not head to the Sycamore Spa? It offers several wonderful treatments, including Beach Recovery, for example, which promises a full-body restoration experience beginning with foot exfoliation and re-hydration, followed by the application of a full-body aloe vera elixir, seaweed facial mask, finished off with a coconut oil scalp massage. Dreamy!
The Harvest restaurant is the main eatery here, and once again, your health is at the heart of what they do here. Loads of SoCal classics are on offer, such as granola, fruit salad and yogurt or avocado toast for breakfast, California Cobb salad or poke bowls for lunch, and homemade pastas for dinner.
Unfortunately, the menu is a too bit meat-orientated for my liking, but of course, vegan options are available, and all produce and fish is super fresh and locally sourced, often from the Ranch’s own garden!
The menu changes with each season, but always integrates fresh herbs, fruits and vegetables. If you find a bit of tipple to be what relaxes you best, the Ranch’s new bar is a haven of sociability, and features an innovative handcrafted cocktail menu, enticing wine list and 18 craft beers on tap—all designed for slow sipping whilst engaged in sincere conversation.
This focus on wellness isn’t just for guests – The Ranch at Laguna Beach cares about the health of the planet, too. They are very proud of their sustainability policies, as well they should be – they’re slightly unusual, and very innovative.
For example, not only do they have recycling and composting programs in place, but for every glass bottle used on the property is crushed back to its original state – sand – and is then sifted to be used as sand on the Ranch’s golf course.
But one of the biggest challenges The Ranch faces is minimizing their water use. California is prone to terrible draughts, so in 2015 the lodge implemented a new system that uses reclaimed water to irrigate their golf course. According to the South Coast Water District, this project will save over 21.2 million gallons of water each year.
The lodge’s Garden Manager, Leo, plants and harvests all produce on the ½ acre organic garden and also tends to their flock of chickens. Guests are invited to visit the garden and enjoy seasonal produce and herbs harvested for the restaurants artisanal dishes and drinks, mentioned above. In the dining room, only paper straws are on offer, and styrofoam and plastic bottles have been banned.
No wonder the Ranch at Laguna Beach is the first hotel of the exclusive National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World in California – Nat Geo Lodges are invited into membership based upon a demonstrated commitment to sustainability and authenticity of the local experiences.
Whilst a week-long stay here is highly recommended for truly unwinding and refreshing the body, mind and spirit, you don’t actually need to be a guest at the Ranch to enjoy what it has to offer – if you’re in California, come down at any time to indulge in a spa treatment, or gorge on a tasty, healthy weekend brunch!
The Ranch at Laguna Beach – rooms start at around $269.00. For more information, please click here.