The Top 10 New Resorts for 2003: The St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort & Spa, Dana Point, California

Forget Southern California casual: From its majestic artwork to its Mediterranean ambience and Tuscan-inspired architecture, this resort evokes the grandeur and grace of a Renaissance painting. Soaring palm trees, elegant fountains, and flower-filled courtyards greet your arrival. Step inside to gleaming marble floors, mosaic tile accents, massive crystal chandeliers, and sweeping staircases.

But despite the emphasis on old-world elegance, the St. Regis boasts the latest technology. Your guest suite is equipped with plasma televisions with NXTV in-room digital music, movie and game systems, CD/DVD audio systems, surround sound, and high-speed Internet access. Work out in the state-of-the-art fitness center, or swim to your favorite sounds piped through the underwater sound system in the private lap pool outside the spa.

When hunger strikes, you have no shortage of dining options. The resort’s eight bistros, espresso bars, restaurants, delicatessens, and lounges are exquisite. Chef Michael Mina, who heads the signature restaurant, Aqua, was named "Best Chef: California" at the 2002 James Beard Awards.

Whether you choose to bring your entire family—or not—you’ll appreciate the separate family and toddler pools. At the main pool, you may opt to work alfresco in your private deluxe cabana offering Internet access, television, fax, and phones. Also available: an 18-hole championship golf course, tennis courts, and shuttle service to a private beach club and oceanfront restaurant.

CONCIERGE
Suites from about $880 to $5,500 per room, per night.
Astor suites from $1,400; includes butler service, exclusive lounge, and private business center with computer, fax, and Internet access.
Packages from $695 to $1,375.
Contact 800.722.1543 www.stregismonarchbeach.com

Photo by Didi Lotze
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