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A Surprise 40th Birthday at Montage Laguna Beach

This past month, on Monday, June 20th, my husband thought he was going into work on the day of his 40th birthday, but I had other plans.  This was the FIRST surprise I have ever pulled off since we have been married and let me tell you, it was so much fun!

To me, the big 4-0 is monumental. So I thought the day deserved to be spent at an amazing Orange County resort, and I couldn’t think of a better spot to celebrate a special occasion like this than Montage Laguna Beach!

Neither of us had ever stayed there before. Let’s just say it is a “save your dollars for awhile” kind of  splurge, because an experience like this does not come without a notable price tag.  However, after we stayed, or rather, EXPERIENCED what it is like to be a guest at the Montage, I understand why!

It comes down to three simple words that together added up to make an experience we will never forget.

Let me start at the beginning.

My husband usually sets his alarm for 5:30am and goes to the gym every weekday morning.  Since I did not want him setting his alarm on his birthday morning (which he would have) I hid this note under his pillow the night before.

When he read it he was shocked, and also a little confused! Then he asked if his boss knew and I told him I had emailed her to ask her for the vacation time so we were all set.

On my blog on his birthday morning, I wrote this post. When we woke up I was so excited I grabbed his phone and told him to read my blog for the day. I loved watching him read it and see his face change from shock to complete JOY.

To think you are going to work, but to find out you are going to stay at the Montage Laguna Beach for the night instead was, well, quite a pleasant surprise!

His parents so generously offered to stay with our girls, so we had 2 full days of JUST the TWO OF US in store. That being the case, we wanted to take full advantage of our time, so I requested early check-in and we got packed up and headed down later that morning.

From the moment you pull into the Montage driveway, the SERVICE starts.  I am talking about the make you feel like a VIP-type of service by every single person that works at the property.

This is the view you walk out to see when you enter the lobby…

The front desk attendant not only checked us in, but actually escorted us to our room.  There was no pointing in the direction of the elevator, she actually walked with us and told us all about the property all the while calling us “Ms. Scheumann” and “Mr. Scheumann” which made me chuckle a little inside because I don’t think of us as Mr. and Mrs. but at the same time, made me feel like a very important guest!

Then we got to the room.  Oh, the room. We opened the door and the ocean breeze and view almost knocked the breath right out of me.

On vacation, we love to sit on the balcony of a hotel room, have a drink, enjoy the view and chat. Hands down, this might have been my favorite balcony EVER.

The Pacific, the privacy, the views…

Just when I thought things couldn’t get better, which was the theme of the entire stay, the bellman arrived with our bags and then came back again with a half bottle of champagne to which we had to immediately open and toast his 40th birthday.

Nothing like having a glass of champagne on the balcony overlooking the Pacific on a Monday morning at 11am! Certainly beats my typical Monday morning which usually consists of serving yet another snack and cleaning up spilled apple juice.

After weeks of June gloom and overcast days, we happened to score with two of the first and most beautiful sunny days so we decided to go and plant ourselves at the gorgeous pool for the afternoon.

Let me tell you about the pool.  The lovely, lovely pool.

Again, the words comfort, service and detail come to mind. Everywhere we went (at the pool and all over the property) were were greeted and assisted and were never left wanting for one thing.

The pool attendant welcomed us and set us up front row to the glass overlooking the ocean.  I loved to be able to read and look out at the ocean.  I actually read a whole book. Imagine that!

From the impeccable service to the display of fruit infused water and magazines to the most comfortable, plush, sink yourself into lounge chairs, every detail about the pool was luxurious.

Not to mention every hour or so on the first day a pool attendant would walk by with mini cups of complimentary goodies.

Frozen grapes? Yes please.

Assorted mixed nuts? Yes please.

Fresh peach smoothie? Yes please.

And the entire time I was thinking THIS IS THE LIFE! By the way, the frozen grapes were soooooo refreshing!  Such a cute idea to do at home in summertime!

Late in the afternoon we decided to take a walk down to the beach.  Have you ever walked around and explored the paths and beaches surrounding the property? I couldn’t believe after living in Orange County for so long I had never gone and walked around down there!  There was a little beach directly below the Montage called Treasure Island that was so beautiful it looked like we were in a movie set.

When we headed back to the room after our beach stroll we were greeted with this surprise!

Yes, that would be another half bottle of champagne along with a personal note from the general manager welcoming us and wishing my husband a happy 40th birthday!

Included was a decadent chocolate dessert and even a set of MATCHES with candles tucked in the napkin so I could sing happy birthday to him.

Again, the DETAILS. They think of EVERYTHING!

So we had a pre-dinner chocolate hor d’oeuvres and a glass of champagne and sat out on the balcony and enjoyed the gorgeous view before our 7:30pm dinner reservation at The Loft.

When we were greeted at the restaurant, they welcomed us by name and again, wished my husband a very happy birthday.

I felt like everyone in the hotel knew it was his birthday, and I loved how special they made him feel. So, just a tip, if you plan to visit the Montage for a special occasion, make sure to tell them ahead of time when you make your reservation.  I loved the attention he got because he deserves it!

We requested an outside patio table at the restaurant and it was the most gorgeous setting overlooking the pool. Here we are at his birthday dinner.


Dining at The Loft was a culinary delight on so many different levels. Again, the staff made it more than just a dinner, it was an entire experience.

After a tough decision, I ended up ordering the Vintage Beef Braised Short Rib while my husband opted for one of the house specialties, the Coffee-Crusted New York Strip.

The presentation on every dish was unique and inspiring. Everything almost looked too pretty to eat – they were pieces of art!  But how can you resist boneless short ribs? Oh, the flavors…I will be dreaming of that dish and might have to plan to return in a few years when it is MY 40th!

After a blissful night’s sleep to the sound of the crashing waves, we awoke to our choice of two different newspapers in a darling little tote bag on the door handle the next morning.

And, I had to smile, because my husband is pretty much a no-frills, guy’s guy sort of guy. 

He has never been to a spa in his life.

So when I saw him sitting on the balcony the next morning in a Montage robe and slippers relaxing and reading and getting a taste of what a little pampering is like, it made me so happy.

He is probably going to kill me for including this picture, but here is my “Man of Leisure!”

After a leisurely morning we decided to get a workout in at the fitness center before heading to the pool.

Again with the details…bottled waters, towels, fruit, water, magazines….everything to make your workout comfortable and enjoyable.

My only complaint?  I should have brought my sunglasses as the floor to ceiling windows that opened to the ocean made it quite bright when I was running on the treadmill.  It was tough, I know, but I made it through {wink.}

They were able to accommodate a late checkout for us, so after the fitness center, we packed up our things, got in our pool gear and checked our bags with the bellman so we could enjoy the pool for a few more precious hours before having to leave and get back to reality {sniff.}

The experience ended when we got in our car to go home and found the valet had bottled waters waiting for us along with two Montage baseball caps sitting on the dash for souvenirs.  Oh, Montage, I LOVE YOU!!

The next day I saw a girlfriend and she asked about our stay and I almost didn’t have the words to describe it because it was so remarkable. I asked her if she had stayed at a Montage before and she said, “RIDICULOUS, right?!” And I thought that was so fitting, because, YES, everything we experienced at that property was so over-the-top amazing it WAS ridiculous in the most amazing way!

I can’t more highly recommend this resort if you are celebrating a special occasion or if you are looking for a decadent, luxurious getaway.  What I loved most (well, actually there are a lot of things) but I really loved that the property is NOT pretentious.  For being incredibly an upscale, luxury resort, it is a place where you feel comfortable.

Although just 30 minutes from home, we were in a completely different world for two days. A world I hope to get the opportunity to visit again someday!

A word to families! If you are looking for a family-friendly Orange County resort, Montage Laguna Beach offers INCREDIBLE children’s activities through a program called Paintbox.  I was surprised at how many families I saw when we were there! One of the restaurant managers was nice enough to give me a peek at the Paintbox facility, it is darling and has so many fun things for kids!  This would be an incredible resort to stay with the entire family.

Now that I have relived this I want to go back! Guess, I am going to have to get my Montage fix at the Ashley Turner Yoga Workshops coming up!

Have a ridiculous weekend everyone!  See you back on Monday!

{Disclosure: Montage Resorts is a Tiny Oranges Sponsor. This post was not compensated and all my opinions are my honest ones. In fact, they couldn’t be more honest!!! It is INCREDIBLE!}

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