Montage Beverly Hills: An Unparalleled Urban Retreat

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It’s no secret that I love Orange County.  I love it so much that I rarely leave my little Orange Bubble by the beach.

However, last month I had the opportunity to visit the elegant Montage Beverly Hills and it was a great reminder of how exciting it is to venture out of the Bubble every now again to experience a destination so close to home, but one that feels like an entirely different, glamorous world.

This unparalleled urban retreat was a welcome escape for us after all of the end of the year hoopla. Twenty-four glorious hours to relax with my husband, sans kiddos. Pure heaven.

We left the Bubble early on a Saturday morning, a little after 9am.  At that time, there was no traffic and we were pleasantly surprised to be pulling into our destination in under an hour. Easy peasy.

Tucked smack in the middle of what is known as the “Golden Triangle,” the part of Los Angeles with its center at Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, the property is just steps away from world famous shopping and dining.

Everything about this property is simply lovely. From the moment you step foot in the lobby, every detail is just exquisite.

The entry floral display alone nearly took my breath away.

But I have to say, the loveliest part of Montage Beverly Hills is the people who work there.

From the greeting at the valet to the front desk associate to the housekeeper in the hall, everywhere you go, you are greeted with the warmest smile and feel like you are a guest in someone’s home. Their unique hospitality makes you never want to leave.

Other properties should take lessons from Montage as they truly have perfected the art of impeccable service.

After our friendly check in, we were shown to our room, a spacious Junior Suite featuring 625 square feet of relaxation space.

All the suites feature a patio overlooking the Beverly Canon Gardens, which is a lovely lawn area with fountains, benches and greenery. The perfect spot to enjoy a cup of coffee and morning paper.

The view from our room was stunning. The architectural dome outside our window made me feel like I was staying in a luxury European hotel, and here I was, only one hour away from home.

[Photo credit: Montage]

Comfort, elegance and details are the words that come to mind when describing the accommodations.

After taking in the view, one of the first things I noticed was the bed pillow ~ on it was a beautifully monogrammed “S”.  Hmmmm…

Then it hit me, “S” is the first letter of our last name. The pillow was for us. I had to ask the woman that showed us to our room, do you do a monogrammed pillow for EVERY guest?

The answer, “yes.”

And details like this are what make Montage Resorts so very special.

And do they ever have the details covered to ensure you have the most delightful, comfortable stay!

His and her sinks in the bathroom, plush robes and slippers, flat screen TV over the bathtub, remote controlled shades, delicious bath products, complimentary Wifi, morning paper delivery, and my favorite, a mini bottle of complimentary champagne upon arrival. It really doesn’t get better than this.

After hubby and I had a little celebratory champagne we decided to take advantage of the beautiful weather and head up to the rooftop pool.

[Photo credit: Montage]

When you step out onto the rooftop and drink in the panoramic views of the Hollywood Hills, you feel like you are on top of the world. Literally.

The mosaic-tiled saline swimming pool and spacious Jacquzzi are flanked by chic cabanas and plush chaise lounge chairs which invite you to relax and stay awhile.

After settling in with our reading material, we looked at each other and said, “This is the life!”

For poolside fare, guests can order fresh California cuisine from The Conservatory Grill and dine leisurely in your chaise or opt to eat in the adjacent dining space. With choices like local halibut tacos, blackened salmon, harvest kale salad and flatbread specialities, it was hard to come to a decision. However, the BLT chicken wrap turned out to be a mouth-watering good choice!

After a few hours at the pool it was time for me to head to the 20,000 square foot Spa for a massage. Just when I thought life couldn’t possibly get any better, I couldn’t believe the experience waiting for me at the Spa. To be continued…

Now it is no secret that a luxury hotel like Montage comes with the accompanying price tag, but for a special occasion with your family, husband or a group of girlfriends, if you are looking for a property to splurge and live the good life, Montage is truly unparalleled.

Better yet, no flight needed! This unique city retreat is only a short drive from OC, and between the fabulous dining options, expansive spa and serene pool, I didn’t even want to leave.

But with its amazing location, you can easily walk the door to enjoy all of the local attractions that make Beverly Hills so famous.

For more information on staying at Montage Beverly Hills, visit or call 888.860.0788. Stay up to date on the latest by following Montage Beverly Hills on Facebook and tweet with @MontageBH on Twitter.

[Disclosure: I received the stay complimentary to facilitate this review. Thank you Montage for the dreamy experience! Photos in first graphic above provided by Montage.]


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Family Fun at the Fairmont Newport Beach

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By now you all know that I love Orange County.

I especially love raising a family in OC, and with so many incredible family-friendly hotels, attractions and of course, our beaches, there truly is a vacation waiting for us right here where we live all year round!

Recently the Fairmont Newport Beach contacted me to share a great family package called 4 for $400 they have going on this summer, along with their fun kids’ programs and my family was invited to come and stay to check it out!

Kicking off Father’s Day weekend, we surprised my husband when he got home from work.  Bags were packed and we told him we were off for a little getaway!  When we arrived the valet attendant gave us a warm welcome and immediately handed us information on the Fairmont Newport Beach’s Sunny’s Kids Klub and told the girls if they spotted Sunny the Sea Lion somewhere in the lobby there would be a special treat for them!

Their eyes lit up – quite a fun way to start the vacation!

After checking in and a Sunny spotting (I won’t give away his location), we went to our gorgeous room.

Included in the 4 for $400 package is a one bedroom suite for 2 nights.  The one bedroom suites feature a separate bedroom with king bed (and TV), and the living room includes a pull out sofa and/or rollaway bed.

The room was SO COMFORTABLE for our family. I have to say, staying in a room with a separate bedroom makes for a very nice hotel experience when traveling with small children. My husband and I were able to stay up later and watch TV in our “room” while the girls slept.

Highlights / favorite features of our one bedroom suite:

* Room to breathe and spread out

* Separate sleeping quarters from the kids

* Complimentary in-room Keurig Coffee Maker

* Morning paper delivery

* Bottled waters by bed

* DVD player in room (Pack some movies for the kids! Wish we would have!)

* Comfy robes and slippers

* Kid-sized robes. I can’t TELL you how awesome it is to have kid-sized robes! So perfect for the after-swimming shower.  They are available upon request.

* Salt water taffy at the turndown service.

* Quiet room.

Pool Time Fun at the Palms Pool & Cabanas

The Palms Pool & Cabanas is a cool rooftop location on the 3rd flanked by a fire pit and ultra-comfortable cushioned lounge chairs.

The pool staff really catered to the kids. Come mid-day, the staff would bring out all kinds of water toys for them to play with…inflatables, dive toys, water noodles, the works!

During the summer months, you can find live music by the pool on Friday and Saturdays from 5pm – 9pm.  Nothing says vacation like a steel drum band and a summer cocktail!

A summer dining menu is also available with poolside service.  GREAT service may I add. Makes such a different when the staff is attentive and friendly.

All throughout the property there is also a FAB kid menu with super reasonable prices.  From hot dogs to grilled salmon to whole grain pasta and pizza, there is a little something for every tiny palate.

While we were visiting the pool was under a slight facelift, so the cabanas were down, but I am told brand new ones are going to be put in this weekend, along with cool new lounge style furniture as well.

bambu restaurant 

Also included in the 4 for $400 package is a daily buffet breakfast for 2 adults and 2 children.  When dining with two young kids there is nothing I love more than a buffet, so you can sit down and then go and get your food quickly! Especially in the mornings with the kids tend to be the hungriest! The food was delicious and they had coloring activity booklets and crayons, along with kid cups with lids for the girls. We also had a delightful dinner in the bambu lounge Saturday night for dinner.

Sunny’s Kids Klub 

During the summer, Sunny’s Kids Klub at the Fairmont Newport Beach gives children 5 – 12 a place to go and play while parents enjoy a little R & R.

Activities include crafts, games, cookie decorating, interactive classes, and even an inflatable bounce house located on one of the property tennis courts!

Sunny’s Kids Klub is available Friday and Saturday, 10am – 4pm in June and Thursday – Saturday, 10am – 4pm July through Labor Day. Price is $30/child and includes lunch and a snack.  Reservations can be made through the concierge.

Kids’ Night Out!  Sunny’s is also available every Friday and Saturday night from 6pm  – 10pm and includes games, movies & popcorn, pizza and an ice-cream sundae bar. Cost is $20/child, ages 5 -12. Reservations must be made through the concierge by 5pm.

What a great place to send the kids for a few hours so you and the hubby can enjoy a nice, leisurely relaxing dinner at bambu!

4 for $400 Package 

This package, designed for a family of four, includes:

* Overnight accommodations in a one bedroom suite for 2 nights.

* Daily Buffet for 4 (2 adults and 2 kids) in bambu restaurant.

* Roundtrip shuttle service to/from Disneyland, Orange County airport and Newport Beach.

* Milk and cookies bedtime treat. Yes, that is the REAL treat your kids will get to the right. Brown sugar sand castles, are you kidding me? They FLIPPED out!

* Complimentary valet parking for one vehicle ($28 value.)

In addition, the hotel also offers a full-service family concierge where you can purchase tickets to many attractions directly through the hotel.   In addition, there is also a hotel transportation schedule that goes to South Coast Plaza, Fashion Island, Balboa and Corona del Mar beach.

So, if you are looking for a super fun local getaway, or perhaps, you have friends or family visiting you this summer in Orange County, I highly recommend checking out all that the Fairmont Newport Beach has to offer.  With its close proximity to the airport, you certainly can’t get more convenient for out of town guests.

For more information on the 4 for $400 package click HERE.  Thank you to the Fairmont Newport Beach for the most amazing stay.  The staff went above and beyond to make us feel comfortable and welcomed.

[Disclosure: My family received the 4 for $400 package complimentary to facilitate this review. My opinions are, as always, 100% my own, honest, genuine ones!]

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Free or Cheap OC Summer Movies on Just Spotted

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When I spotted this post over on Just Spotted  a couple weeks back, I had to share it with you.

The Just Spotted gals have compiled an awesome list of free or cheap movies going on all summer throughout the OC.

Click here to read their post and see all the great options for OC affordable family fun!

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Best Beaches for Kids in Orange County

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Happy Memorial Day everyone!  Since we are officially entering beach season, I wanted to do a post on the beach beaches for kids in Orange County. Awhile back I asked my Facebook fans for their favorite kid-friendly OC beaches. Just one more reason to “like” us on Facebook. I have the most amazingly resourceful mamas on there. Here are all the great recommendations…

Sunset Beach

“Parking at Sunset Beach is FREE which is an added plus!” ~ Lisa

Seal Beach

Super cute playground, and lots of lovely shops & food places.” ~ Amber

“Great bathrooms, playground, shops, places to eat and parking all close by.” ~ Andi

Playground at Balboa Pier

“Playgrounds, restrooms & close parking. Just have to go early!” ~ Lisa

Ruby Beach Balboa Island

Great beach for little ones, it’s on the bay, so no waves. Biggest downside is no restrooms, but great for a couple hour beach visit. It’s located at the end of Ruby Avenue at North Bay Front.” ~ Jen (me!)

Corona del Mar

“No playground but not a lot of sand walking needed to get to the bathrooms and a tame crowd.” ~ Jennifer

El Moro Beach (Crystal Cove State Park)

“This is a beach that is accessible from the Moro Canyon Camping entrance by El Moro school. I believe it’s $15 to park for the day. If you go early, you can park very close to the beach at the bottom of the hill and and take path under the freeway. Nice, clean new restrooms, hardly any sand walking.” ~ Jen (me!)

Crystal Cove Beach by Crystal Cove Beach Cottages

“Tidepools are wonderful, and they have The Beachcomber restaurant.” ~ Amber

“We LOVE Crystal Cove but it can be a trek down to the beach with younger kids and parking is expensive.” ~ Katie

“I also love to check out the historic Crystal Cove Beach Cottages. If you don’t want a sit down restaurant, you can also head up the hill for a hot dog from Ruby’s Shake Shack.”  ~ Jen (me!)

Aliso Beach

“Close parking, good bathrooms and a playground.” ~ Aracely

“Nice and easy to lug stuff to and from the car!” ~ Vanessa

Salt Creek Beach

“Bathrooms are close to beach and there are lots of walking paths and parking is inexpensive.” ~ Katie

Treasure Island Beach in Laguna Beach by the Montage

“Stunningly gorgeous.”  ~ Jen (me!)

Mother’s Beach at Dana Point

“Nice as they have a barrier so there are no waves close to the shoreline, good for the little kiddos!” ~ Nicola

Capistrano Beach

“Easy Parking and beach access…my son loves it because of the train that passes by often. I am not sure about their bathrooms…” ~ Melissa

Did we miss any? Please comment below on your faves! And have a beachy keen day! xo

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51% Off Tickets to Taste of OC on OCSavertime!

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Some of the hottest, premier restaurants in OC will come together the weekend of June 16th – 17th at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater to showcase a variety of tastings at the Taste of Orange County. There will be a little somethin’ for everyone and every palate, along with great wines, beer and great live music to make it a foodie festival like no other!, a local daily deal site focused on Orange County, is running an exclusive deal for 51% off tickets to this 5 star foodie festival, so if you would like to go, head on over and snatch up your tickets HERE!

This deal can be bought starting today through 5/31/12 and is only $44 for Admission & More to Taste of OC Festival (a $89 Value!)

Deal Includes:

·         40 tasting & drink credits

·         Preferred seats to the OC Star Chef Demos that’s hosted by KFWB Talk Radio Host, Chef Jaime Gwen, and showcase demonstrations from Haven Gastropub’s Chef Greg Daniels, 370 Common‘s Chef Ryan Adams, and more.

·         Live music and entertainment, restaurant tastings, cooking demonstrations, and more

·         Valid for admission on June 16th (21 and older ONLY) OR June 17th (all ages)

·         Mingle with and taste popular restaurants in Orange County, like 118 Degrees, Tamarind of London, Mastro’s, and dozens more, and quench your thirst with great wines, craft beers, and classic cocktails served up by OC Mixologists.

Click HERE to get more information and to buy your tickets! What a fun way to spend Father’s Day with the family! Or, hook up a sitter and take your hubby for a date day on Saturday without the kiddos! Either way, this sounds like a culinary event not to be missed.

And talking about “missing”, don’t miss a deal!  Subscribe to and get hot OC daily deals delivered to your inbox.

[Disclosure: This is a sponsored post to spread the word on this event and it sounds like a whole lotta fun to me! Especially for that ticket price!]


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