Driving the California coast means more than raw natural beauty. Not only are you hit with striking ocean views, the coastline is littered with luxury. With 5 star resorts serving up local and seasonal cuisine, there is no shortage of healthy spots for those focused on wellness. The Southern California coast covers a lot of real estate. So we tried it all and made a shortlist of 3 coastal locales where you can relax and recharge (and of course eat and shop) in straight up luxury, yet good for the soul.
Laguna is the spot on the So-Cal coast where wellness meets coastal luxury. It’s a great place to chill out, surf and relax—yet the shopping, eating and hotel experiences are premium. What we love about Laguna is that the sun’s always out and the town has a swanky sophistication for those who are more beach chic, than beach shack.
At this New England style luxury hotel perched on the ocean, the food stuns as much as the rooms and the view. Although you may feel as though you landed in Palm Beach when perusing the glitzy gift shop, the Montage at Laguna Beach pulls no punches. The food is 5 star, as are the prices. But worth every bite. Their all day brunch delivers with a cast iron huevos rancheros (sans dairy) or a wellness shot of your choice – as the menu brims with healthy options. If you have a hankering for a more casual scene, hop across the street to the earthy burrito joint La Sirena Grill, for the wild salmon tacos. It’s a nice break from the big resort feel and a bit of authentic Laguna Beach to experience.
At this transformative yoga and hiking luxury spa the focus is on mind, body and spirit. Daily meditations are emphasized for the busy traveler who wants to unwind and de-stress. After the required one week stay you will leave feeling rejuvenated and relaxed.
This small exclusive spa (12 rooms) is nestled in the Laguna Canyon yet is only a 5 minute ride to the beach. Their signature daily therapeutic massages include custom organic oils made exclusively for The Pearl.
This spot is all about the edit. Designers like Etoile Isabel Marant and Ulla Johnson mingle with James Perse and Tom Ford sunglasses for that casually premium coastal feel. It is for the luxe bohemian beachgoer, although there is plenty around if you want a dressier coastal look.
A coastal town combining beachy luxe with health and wellness. While Malibu definitely has its share of surfers and beach shacks, a sophisticated ethos permeates this beach town. Miles stretch along its sandy coast, boasting shopping and restaurants that bring tourists here just for an afternoon. It is hard to shake the cache that attaches itself to Malibu, as this is where most of the Hollywood jet set go to relax. But what we love most about Malibu is that there is a true sense of raw nature and raw beauty here, away from the hustle and bustle of its more urban neighbors; Santa Monica and Venice. If you want to just chill, this is the place. But for those that crave more, here are 3 spots where the food and the scene bring together a So-Cal organic vibe with a more cosmopolitan coastal chic.
Food snobs with a preference for organic and local farm to table food need look no further. Perched steps from the ocean, with a beach town no-reservations approach (the line moves fast) this gem does it all. It’s got your simple, beachy luxe locale, plus local and seasonal cuisine. Their cauliflower crust pizza almost made us forget the view. Their fresh squeezed watermelon juice is the perfect beach debloater…while their grilled chocolate cake compliments the organic soft serve yogurts. Although the focus here is clean and healthy, there is plenty of room to indulge at this celebstocked spot on the pier.
“Luxury ashram” is no longer an oxymoron. One week stays are like a stylish boot camp (so yes, weight loss is a perk). But their daily massages and plant-based cuisine are some of the best around, and all presented with a view toward seaside chic.
Although you’ll feel as though you just spent the week enjoying a 5 star resort, their daily calorie limits and strenuous exercise will give you a sense of accomplishment and most likely a new dress size when you leave. Most importantly, a “mental detox” is encouraged by a majority of screen free time. They even allow for “naptime” in their rigorous daily routine. The Ranch wants to nourish the body, mind and soul, from the inside out.
If you’ve never been to the Mailbu Country Mart you’re missing out on more than a celeb sighting or two. In typical coastal style, this outdoor shopping experience melds retail, restaurants, and even a playground, with everything from vintage Hollywood jewels to upscale beachy boutiques. Madison and Calypso house all of your go to beach frocks.
On the wellness side, catch a yoga class at 5 Point Yoga and finish with a fresh green juice from Sunlife Organics. For some really insane authentic Greek food, hit Taverna Tony’s. The Mart has it all, you can even pop in for some acupuncture.
If Ralph Lauren created a town, Santa Barbara would be it. Its classic luxurious surroundings from fashion to hotel decor, stun even the most sophisticated traveler. It offers sweeping ocean views with the mountains as a backdrop. Pack cashmere for cool nights; it’ll fit in perfectly with the luxe hotel, food and shopping experiences.
An all-time favorite hotel, complete with farm-to-table gardens on the ranch and a full-service luxury spa. The property sits on its own oasis minutes from the beach with killer ocean views. A fun fact: JFK and Jackie honeymooned here. Another fun fact: all of their signature scented oils used at the spa are grown on the property. It is worth coming for lunch and perusing the grounds and their organic gardens.
Diani is a one-stop-shop for anyone with a taste for fashion. With a clean coastal vibe, this boutique founded by Caroline Diani hits all the right notes, from the perfect Henro vest to a Raquel Allegra maxidress. The best part? They offer a concierge shopping experience where they will ship you as many items as you’d like to try on, and you can keep what fits. They also have a fab shoe store a few doors down.
?When a classic, minimal look is your thing, Jenni Kayne is the answer. With a home and clothing store in Santa Barbara (Montecito) and other stores in Bentwood, West Hollywood and several other locations Jenni Kayne is top notch. She designs most of her loafers and cashmere luxe pieces but her store is sprinkled with select designers as well. Her home goods are as good as her fashion. This has become an all-time favorite shopping experience for many on the west coast.
Image Credits: All photos courtesy of the resorts, restaurants and retailers..