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Luxury living in California: Pamper-perfect destinations for dream getaway

Tue May 17 2016, 6:11 pm
  • These pamper-perfect destinations make sure that you have that dream getaway that you deserve, with choices ranging from desert retreats to endless ocean views from your private balcony. Toss in top golf and amazing spas and you may never leave. Orange County's Luxury Resorts: While choosing for your honeymoon getaway one can also look for resort destinations too. With spas, elegant dining, posh lodgings, and impeccable service—plus endless ocean views—these lodgings set the bar for coastal luxury. Relax on your own private oceanfront balcony at the Mediterranean-inspired Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel. Nearby, relax in contemporary suites, play golf on the Robert Trent Jones, Jr.-designed course, or cool off in the enormous, main ocean pool at St. Regis Monarch Beach. (There’s a private beach too, where you can sign up for a surf lesson.) The oceanfront Montage Laguna Beach is set on an oceanfront bluff with Craftsman-style design, and celebrates the town’s rich artistic history by displaying plein air works by notable California artists in the lobby and reception area (non-guests are welcome to visit the lobby to see a sampling). Just north in posh Newport Beach, The Resort at Pelican Hill wraps you in Tuscan luxury, with over-the-top amenities such as villas with butler service and a private clubhouse. Golfers will beeline to the two Tom Fazio courses, known for nonstop ocean views. Now wait for another twist all leading resorts offer spa services, open to guests and nonguests, so even if you are not spending the night, you can get rejuvenated. (Photos: Visit California)

  • Luxury in the Deserts: California is a one stop destination not only for its opulent landscapes but also for its desert resorts that can enrich your experience in more than thousand ways. You’ll find resorts in all styles--from lavish opulence to sleek modernism--with many lodgings reflecting the era they were built. The Parker Palm Springs, the former ranch of singing cowboy Gene Autry, has the sleek, low-slung coolness of Mid-century Modern design. The flower-filled courtyards and red-tiled adobe casitas at the expansive La Quinta Resort & Club, opened in 1926, hint at romance under a desert moon. At The Willows historic Palm Springs inn, once a millionaire's private retreat, terraced gardens beckon. And everything old is new again at the styled-to-the-roughing-it-nines at Sparrows Lodge, where vaulted wood ceilings, stone details, and restored horse troughs for bathtubs give a relaxed ranch feel--though no luxury is spared. There’s all-out luxury too. At Ritz-Carlton Rancho Mirage, settle into a suite with contemporary furnishings and mountain views, and then play a round of golf before enjoying a body treatment featuring desert herbs and minerals. (Photos: Visit California)

  • Spoil-yourself lodgings in the wine country – Napa and Sonoma: With surroundings as blissful as the Napa Valley and Sonoma County wine country, it was only a matter of time before blissful lodgings followed suit. In the 1980s, St. Helena’s Auberge du Soleil started seriously pampering visitors, offering tucked-away rooms with wood-burning fireplaces and French doors leading to private verandas, and a peaceful pool with romantic valley views. At country-club-like Meadowood, on Napa’s Silverado Trail, guest can swing a golf club, thwack a tennis ball, play croquet, or relax in an exclusive spa, then primp for dinner at three-Michelin-starred The Restaurant at Meadowood. (The multi-course Chef’s Tasting Menu is a dazzler.) Sonoma Mission Inn—now a Fairmont property—focused on healing waters and lush surroundings, and visitors still enjoy the silky mineral pools in lap-of-luxury surroundings. In Yountville, relax on the swanky rooftop pool at ultra-modern Bardessono, built from salvaged stone and reclaimed wood. (Photos: Visit California)

  • At Calistoga Ranch, 50 freestanding guest lodges are nestled among oak trees and babbling brooks, and fire pits warm outdoor living rooms. If you think all this indulgence is for couples, think again. Solage Calistoga may be as high-end, but it’s also got nice family-friendly touches, liked a children’s pool and free bikes. (Photos: Visit California)

  • Ahwahnee Hotel, Yosemite National Park: It costs a bundle to spend the night, but there’s no charge for wandering inside, taking in the splendor of this 1920s-era hotel. This National Historic Landmark in Yosemite Valley has several “public rooms” where visitors can soak up its 1927 architecture, designed by Gilbert Stanley Underwood. Everything in the Ahwahnee is built on a grand scale, from the massive hand-stenciled timber beams to sandstone fireplaces so large you could hold a tea party inside. Adorning this hefty structure are colorful stained-glass windows, Native American tapestries and baskets, Turkish kilim rugs, and Yosemite-inspired 19th-century paintings depicting the park’s waterfalls and giant sequoia trees. Many famous people have slept in the Ahwahnee, including John F. Kennedy, Greta Garbo, Queen Elizabeth II, and Winston Churchill. It’s a worthy splurge to stay in one of its 123 rooms, suites, or cottages, but even if you don’t, you can still book a table for the sumptuous Sunday brunch at the Ahwahnee Dining Room, or simply sit by the fireplace in the Great Lounge, look up at the wrought-iron chandeliers dropping from the dining room’s 34-foot, richly painted ceilings, or enjoy a cocktail at the bar. Free one-hour guided tours of the Ahwahnee are offered throughout the year. (Photos: Visit California)

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