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Reviewed January 19, 2012

I was greatly looking forward to my stay at the St Regis Monarch Beach as a Starwood Preferred Guest Platinum member. I have seen some outstanding Starwood hotels with my 12 years as a Platinum member.The St Regis is supposed to be one of Starwoods top 5 star luxury brands.Having had the pleasure of staying at the St Regis in Houston last year with their outstanding service and fantastic beds I thought this too would be about as good as it gets. How wrong I was. My expectations run somewhat higher as a loyal Starwood program member and I realize that my published benefits wouldn’t apply to all guests regarding some of my concerns or expectations below
Upon Arrival
• I drove up to the front of this multi million property at night in the pitch black.
Imagine a luxury resort charging between 400 and 800 dollars a night for a guest room plus tax, parking and resort fees. Yet they cannot afford a light up sign directing incoming cars to the property where the check in and lobby are. It wasn’t a big deal however after a day of work and hours of car travel no one wants to go back and forth looking for the correct complex in the darkness of night where parking and check in take place
• The front of the house was polished and professional reception was friendly and welcoming.The valet parking team were outstanding.Great first impressions
There was no mention of my program benefits at check in. That’s where the experience that was positive up to that point essentially ended.

•There was no upgrade mentioned nor amenity offered or delivered at any time during my stay ( a program written benefit based upon availability upon arrival)
A welcome letter is typically more standard too in a 5 star hotel and resort especially to top tier members but not a big deal if the rest of the experience lives up.
Received a standard room on one of the slowest weeks/days of the year.
I don’t have a concern when a hotel is full but the hotel made no effort at to explain why and I received the silent treatment though upgraded rooms and suites were readily available online during my stay.

• There is no club lounge and no courtesy of any kind extended to top tier members of any kind unusual in my experience as a long time program member
The hotel has an irritating mandatory charge of 25 dollars per day resort fee that’s typically useless for many.
(Let me share I don't object to the charge if the property is a standout in the overall experience)
Apparently the 25 dollar a day fee gives one free Local calls(in the days of wireless who cares?)
Internet(free to to top tier members anyway)
Access to health club which they don’t make guests aware until arrival that it closes shut for the night at 8 PM.
Considering I arrived at 7:30 PM this was incredibly disappointing.
The signage in this hotel is appalling/confusing outside and inside if and when it even exists
And for the first time ever it took phone calls and a number of individuals to find the health club which was closing anyway

• The bed was hard as a rock ( extremely odd for the St Regis brand)
Too create a dramatic look in the room the bed is positioned far away from the back wall
While this has a nice appearance there are two issues.First the small room looks smaller and the night tables are unreachable with arms length without getting up and walking backwards towards the wall.
What were they thinking?
•The bed frame is reasonably dangerous due to the construction of its attractive but unusual frame design. I had a slight injury as it has sharp edges. Families/children and singles could be at significant risk
• The lamp shade fell to the floor when I went to turn on the desk light (no screw bolt securing it down)
• Not so important but noted here anyway the room has cheap looking pens, budget institutional garbage cans.Small perhaps unimportant details you would expect in a motel not a luxury property
• Phone service warning! If one has TMobile it is inoperable inside the hotel (may be more a carrier issue in the region) However hopefully helpful to those Tmobile customers thinking of staying and communicating if deciding to stay here.
• The do not disturb sign is located on the in room thermostat (who thinks of such stupid confusing things?)
• Cheap noisy refrigerators
• Extremely disturbing loud and unusual clanking/flushing plumbing sounds from the guest room floor above that awoke me several times through the night. I have heard some moderate sounds on occasions over the years elsewhere but nothing to this extent anywhere and certainly not in a hotel of this expected caliber.
• In the morning not a single newspaper was delivered at the door however it I consistent with the rest of this stay where there is next to nothing offered to make for a positive guest experience.
•A single concierge on duty talking away on the phone between 10 and 15 minutes while I stood waiting and waiting without a single eye contact nor a moment on hold to see if a quick question could be addressed
• The in room wifi is slow
• The in room lighting is terribly poor for reading and working
• Billed for an in room movie I never watched and billed after checkout for the in room mini bar I never utilized
• At check out a promise of about 4 dollars worth of good will gesture bonus point was offered for what they agreed was a poor stay.That too was never honored or fulfilled on.They simply broke their promise.Petty for sure.......

In closing there is nothing terrible here just a property where management is 100% to blame. The hotel appears too have a reasonable disregard for most Starwood Preferred Guest members.The reviews on other social media sites seem to support my view point.
After detailing my concerns directly with the Hotels management through their executive office after check out a few days later their reply was" Thank you for your visit we will notify the appropriate departments.We look forward to welcoming you back when you give us another chance.Have a nice day.
I think that wraps up the verdict on if the St Regis Monarch Beach if it truly cares about their guests or ever did.
The grounds are lovely they have the right folks working on property now .All they need is the proper management that is willing to honor the terms and conditions of the Starwood Preferred Guest program genuinely and sincerely. Interact and engage with guests and their satisfaction.
With some basic effort make sure the guest experience exceeds expectations not deliver the least of their capability.

My advice the Hyatt Huntington Beach delivers 100% more in a comfortable attractive setting for less than half the price typically and a whole host of other outstanding choices in the general region including non resort properties that are truly exceptional
My final assessment/prediction this property will be another brand,have other ownership and or have new management within 12 months which at present would be best for all parties.

It is interesting to note the previous posters experience AH from Toronto ,Canda here
This demonstrates how they received their upgrade and improved in house experience by making a formal complaint to Starwoods Hotels Customer Service complaint dept and returning to yet more disapointment.I too understand their feelings!

I rest my comments here in this review :) Thanks for reading the novel all!

Room Tip: Find another hotel even Platinum top tier members are ignored when the hotel has low occupancy
  • Stayed: December 2011, travelled solo
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5  Thank frequentstaydude
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed January 19, 2012

I recently stayed at the St. Regis Monarch Bay in Dana Point. The property is beautiful, grounds incredibly well maintained, and building reminiscent of a classic that could be much older - a compliment. The staff were very well trained and therefore service top notch, not Pelican Hill top notch, but very, very good. The food and spa also excellent, rooms very well done, with beautifully designed bathrooms and incredibly comfortable beds and bedding - what you'd expect from a five star hotel. Finally, the location was terrific, located just off PCH, just down the street from another wonderful hotel, the Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel.

  • Stayed: January 2012
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Thank donc880
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed January 13, 2012

We are starwood platinum members with ambassador privileges, who earn most of our points by staying at St. Regis Monarch Beach 3-7 weeks a year for past 8 years. We have stayed at this property through good times and slow times and always remained loyal because the service was great. They even got us James Taylor concert tickets on very short notice. However, recently during our 2 week stay we were treated horrible on check in and over charged on checkout. When we happened to mention this incident to Starwood Platinum service they passed the feedback onto one of the managers who urged us to change our plans and returned to their property. We decided to give them a second chance. For our return we were rewarded with an upgraded suite but with no welcome fruit basket which used to be refreshed once a week, no butler treats, on laundry bag, no flowers in the room and no slippers. Next time we are going to Pelican Hill!!!

  • Stayed: November 2011, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank A H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed January 11, 2012

I was here with my kids in October 2011. This is a beautiful property, and a little more boutique or intimate feeling property than the Ritz, which I really liked. Overall very nice experience, and the attitude of the staff was outstanding, but we had several service mishaps. In comparison to many resorts, I found the spa to be oustanding. Nice pools, nice bars, restaurants. It's a little bit of a jaunt on a golf cart to the beach, but that's not the hotel's fault per se. They do a nice job of making the beach accessible.

When we first arrived, our room was not ready but one of the gentlemen in the lobby was kind enough to show us the entire hotel while we waited, very nice and welcoming. The common space is great and again, it doesn't have the giant hotel feeling. I upgraded to a suite at a reasonable price and I really liked the suite: spacious, aesthetially pleasing, and nice amenities. The butler service was okay, but our coffee service took an hour to arrive one day even after calling. That was dissapointing because we ended up delaying our day's plan for coffee...which is not a scarce commodity. The calling ahead for our car with valet was not reliable, each time we arrived at the front door and we had to ask for our car again and then wait for it, and after three times, that was actually very annoying. On a Friday or Sat night (I no longer recall which night it was) we waited at the concierge desk for 10 minutes and no one there...surprising on a Friday night. Once she arrived she was very helpful. It also took me repeated tries with Starwood to have my Starwood account credited for the stay, Starwood finally took care of it.

What was surprising was that I emailed these issues to Starwood via their website, and Starwood forwarded it to the hotel and no one ever responded or addressed it in any way. I am a Platinum member and I guess I am not enough of a VIP to warrant a response. Oh well.

Anyway, other than those service issues, we enjoyed our stay and the property itself is lovely. Nice place to relax for a few days. For those coming from far away, one piece of advice: spend the extra money to fly into Orange County. We flew into LAX and the commute was a bit taxing on the way back to LAX due to traffic.

Room Tip: If offered a suite upgrade for a fee...I thought it was worth it. The suite was great.
  • Stayed: October 2011, travelled with family
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Thank Chris D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed January 7, 2012

As a caveat to this review, I used free nights through Starwood to pay for this stay, so I cannot comment on the overall value of the accommodations. I will say that it is ludicrous "nickel-and-diming" that the free nights do not cover the resort fee.

The hotel is large and majestic, but not very close to the beach. Rooms were clean and reasonably large. Service was generally excellent, although I had to fight tooth-and-nail to get a late checkout, which should come as a matter of course for SPG platinum members. Valet service was also a little understaffed or slow at times.

The true stand-out aspect of this hotel is the spa area. Even if you are not receiving a treatment, the steam room, whirlpool, and multiple saunas are worth several visits. I cannot recall feeling more relaxed, even after having received spa services at other hotels, than after leaving the St. Regis' spa area. The coup de grace, and something I've yet to see copied elsewhere, is the touch of menthol in the steam room. It tempts me to this day.

Again, not having paid for it, it's difficult to say whether I would recommend that someone else do so. However, if you have the opportunity to stay there without paying, I highly recommend it.

  • Stayed: July 2011
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Thank ItinerantNewYorker
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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