Laguna Beach, CA sunset views

The Best Laguna Beach Hotel for a Southern California Staycation

Surf & Sand Resort in Laguna Beach has everything you could want for a Southern California vacation: hotel rooms with incredible ocean views, beach access, a pool overlooking the ocean, tempting dining, a spa and retail shops. The stay came as a gift from a friend, and now we are hooked. This Laguna Beach hotel is going to be our “go-to” for staycations to come, no matter what season is upon us.

Beach views from the hotel room balcony at Surf & Sand Resort in Laguna Beach, CA

The Trip to Laguna Beach

This trip was entirely unplanned. I was between treatment protocols, and I had a relatively limited reserve of energy. I was feeling better, but not ready for long drives or plane rides. We had made one trip out to Palm Springs for my birthday and realized that two hours was my limit for travel at that point. Just as we were starting to get real wanderlust, a dear friend offered us a stay at Surf & Sand Resort that she had already booked. I think it took us less than 20 seconds to say yes. We packed lightly and made plans for a writing retreat in Laguna Beach, CA.

The Hotel Rooms

We ended up getting a taste of two different hotel rooms while we were at the resort. The first room was lovely and comfortable with a dining/working area and a small balcony. The hotel advertises that every room has an ocean view, and that’s true. If you are out on the balcony of this room, there is a view, but we were positioned between two buildings, so the balcony ran sideways. It was cozy, and we were lucky to be there – especially since a wedding was at the hotel that weekend.

Laguna Beach Hotel Room
Hotel Room #1
Work desk, dining table, Laguna Beach hotel
Our work desk in the room #1
Beach views
A view from the beach from the side balcony

On a chance, Andy asked about changing rooms to get the full, ocean-view experience. If you know me, you know that I’m a wuss, so this seemed wildly daring. Miraculously, they moved us as soon as the wedding guests had departed, freeing up some of the other hotel rooms. As you can see, the second room had a broad ocean view, comfortable furnishings and a perfect perch for both ocean-gazing and working. Lesson learned – it pays to ask nicely if you want something. Also, it pays to have an Andy who is willing to ask.

Laguna Beach Hotel Room
Hotel Room #2
Laguna Beach Hotel Room
View from the bed — not bad at all!
Laguna Beach Hotel Room
Beach views from the hotel room balcony at Surf & Sand Resort in Laguna Beach, CA

Things to Do at the Hotel

As I said, we weren’t in Laguna Beach for a true adventure, although, I suppose going anywhere at that point was an adventure for me. Our goal (which we achieved!) was to start breaking the story of a film script. So, much of our time was spent working on our balcony or working at the table. BUT we did take some time to enjoy the hotel amenities.

If you see a notice about a Manager’s Party when you check in on a Friday, be sure to go. It was so much fun and mostly free. We enjoyed delicious hors d’ oeuvres and some wine while sitting on the open patio. There was live music, socializing and the sun, which had been hiding behind clouds most of the day, came out for an impressive sunset.

Laguna Beach Hotel Patio
Manager’s Party on the patio at Surf & Sand Resort
Laguna Beach, CA sunset views
Sunset views from the hotel’s deck

The beach is right below the hotel. Whether you are there with a partner and want to enjoy a sunset stroll, there with kids who want to play in the surf or there with your dog for a bit of calm, the easy beach access is a big bonus.

Laguna Beach Hotel beach property
Capturing Andy and the sunset in Laguna Beach, CA
Sunset views in Laguna Beach
Sunset Laguna Beach CA

The hotel pool seemed to be a big hit for families. I can imagine that during hot summer and fall days, the pool that overlooks the ocean is a pretty big draw for everybody. We walked through on the way to the restaurant, and it looked like everyone was having a good time.

Pool and Ocean views at Surf & Sand Resort
A view of the pool and the ocean as we came down for a light dinner in the hotel restaurant.

I hear talk of an amazing spa at Surf & Sand Resort, but I didn’t partake, so I can’t say with any authority. I can say that if I go back, the spa will be on my list of things to enjoy because a spa day is always a good idea. Always!

Laguna Beach

The hotel is within walking distance an array of restaurants, shops and other attractions. We ate at a variety of small places, sampled the wares of a couple of bakeries and enjoyed the lively atmosphere, even though it was April, and technically “off-season.” Andree’s Patisserie was a frequent stop (it was maybe a 2-minute walk from the hotel). Because it was slightly colder than anticipated, Andy now has a delightfully soft hoodie to commemorate the trip.

Resort pathway Laguna Beach
The winding pathway through the Laguna Beach hotel

Overall Impression

Surf & Sand Resort is a luxury hotel without the attitude. It works well for families, couples and singles. It also welcomes dogs under 25 lbs with a cleaning fee – a policy that we saw many people enjoying during the festive Manager’s Party. Even their smallest rooms do have some views, and if you are in a position to book the oceanfront rooms, it is well worth the splurge. And it gets four thumbs up as a writing retreat!

Laguna Beach, CA Sunset

19 Replies to “The Best Laguna Beach Hotel for a Southern California Staycation”

  1. This is what I want to do in California, as I seen places like this (not just hotels, but apartments) on TV shows like 2 and half men etc where the accommodation is right over the beach and have that perfect view of the ocean and sun. I would love to check out this hotel, so seriously cant wait to road trip Cali coast on my next visit (I only did San Francisco last time). Great review, made a note of the place 🙂

    1. Are you taking a road trip down the California coast? I’ve done it in pieces, but never the entire way. And I think you’ll love this Laguna Beach hotel!

  2. The Surf & Sand Resort looks so lovely. And the view over the ocean is fantastic. It must be so nice to fall asleep with the sound of the waves. I’ve fallen in love with California when I visited it a few years ago. This place makes me want to go back.

    1. It’s always a surprise to me how loud the waves are. We loved being so close — having a view from the bed is the best!

  3. We are headed back to Laguna Beach in December. So it was good to look at a new hotel to consider. We do love rooms with ocean views. And oh what a view you got. Even though it would might have been an adventure for you. A staycation like that is great to take a break. We will definitely want to try Andree’s Patisserie.

    1. It would be so interesting to be there in the winter! There would be fewer people, for sure, and the views change so much as the ocean changes with the weather. Plus, it would be a pretty incredible writing retreat, although a little expensive.

  4. This hotel looks great, but especially the location seems really intriguing: Like staying right on the beach – a dream come true!

  5. I love Laguna Beach but have never been to Surf & Sand Resort. It looks gorgeous! Sounds like the perfect place for a writing retreat. Now I’m curious to know what your film script is about! I love that Andy asked to upgrade you to the full ocean view room and that it worked! Great tip about Manager’s Party too. Sounds like you had a really fun trip 🙂

    1. The script Andy and I are writing together is a thriller, and it should be a lot of fun project (fingers crossed). Too bad we couldn’t stay there the whole time we were writing it!

  6. I agree. It does look like the best place to go for a southern California staycation (or any other reason to visit!). I would be one of those enjoying strolls on the beach and the pool for beating afternoon heat. (I’m so grateful California beaches are still so nice even at the beginning of the fall season.) I just LOVE that you could see the ocean from your bed — how dreamy is that?

    1. I loved that!! When it is really warm, you could leave the doors open and fall asleep to the crashing waves.

  7. I love Laguna Beach but haven’t stayed there. A staycation is in order! Loved the proximity to the ocean and the cool Manager’s Parties. I hope the getaway did you some good too.

    1. It did! We needed it so much, and we didn’t even realize how much we needed the getaway until we were there.

  8. This is so stereotypically Californian – sweeping beaches, poolside drinks, sunsets, palm trees – how wonderful. The Surf & Sand Resort sounds lush and a perfect treat for a writers getaway staycation. I feel inspired by that view for sure.

  9. I was just in SoCal. Missed the Surf & Sand Resort though, should have stayed there. Living here now in the PNW, I miss those never-ending sunshine days! I took my wife and she saw it for the first time and is now easy to convince to a move there 🙂

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