The best hotels in Orange County

The best hotels in Orange County

Travel journal

Some of America’s most spectacular coastline, a widely acclaimed international dining scene, stylish bars, cafes, endless shopping. And so. Much. Sunshine. Orange County, California is a must visit.

Known for its beach communities, surfers, glamorous residents, and the countless TV series and movies filmed, at least in part, in Orange County (Catch Me If You Can, Jerry Maguire, Iron Man, The OC, The Real Housewives of Orange County, Dead To Me, Selling Sunset) this particular slice of SoCal is a sought after luxury vacation destination, and there are plenty of upscale resorts and hotels to choose from. We’ve picked a selection of the best hotels in Orange County below to help inspire your next SoCal adventure.

There’s a lot more to Orange County than its coast, but the miles of epic shoreline and secluded coves could easily take up your entire holiday and you’d have no regrets at the end of your travels if that’s all you got to see.

Laguna Beach is arguably the best of the lot, both for its picture-perfect beaches, scenic walking trails, some of the best hotels in Orange County, and a level of natural beauty not found in very many places, anywhere, but also, for its boho chic town packed full of art galleries, restaurants, and bars. Nick’s Laguna Beach off South Coast Highway is a favourite with locals and visitors alike, as is The Deck on Laguna Beach, which offers fresh seafood on the beach with oceanfront views. Las Brisas also delivers stunning ocean views, serving classic Southern California food infused with traditional Mexican flavors. It’s known as a good spot for brunch and cocktails.

Upscale Newport beach is another place that should be high up your things to do in Orange County list. 10 miles of pristine coastline and sandy beaches (Corona del Mar beach is a particular highlight) a beautiful harbour, and the Balboa Fun Zone, one of Southern California’s oldest and last great coastal amusement areas located on Balboa Peninsula across from Balboa Pier, all make this a luxurious, and nostalgic, place to see. There is also excellent shopping and a myriad of dining options at Fashion Island.

It would take more than one article to cover all the best Orange County beaches, but Huntington Beach, Surf City USA, should always feature. With a population of more than 200,000 people Huntington Beach is a fair bit bigger than Laguna Beach (22,000) and Newport Beach (85,000). The main attraction is without doubt the broad 10-mile stretch of shoreline, and the crashing Pacific Ocean waves that break regularly onto the sand. It’s an epic sight to behold from whatever angle you’re looking – the iconic Huntington Beach Pier is as good as any – and easy to see why the city has such a big beach and surf culture.

There’s plenty to choose from in terms of food and drink, with a variety of beachside bars and restaurants, many with local craft beers to try. For sunset views and dinner Watertable is a rustic-chic Hyatt bar and eatery with refined, regional comfort food, vintage wines and of course, local craft beers.

There’s so much more to discover along the coast and inland with other notable cities such as Anaheim, Costa Mesa, Irvine and San Clemente each with plenty to uncover. Find inspiration for the best hotels in Orange County below, and then work out how long you can stay for. However long it is you’ll want it to be longer.

Have you been to Orange County, California? Where did you stay? If you had the trip of a lifetime let us know so we can add your hotel to the list of the best hotels in Orange County below. Tell us about your experiences and let’s raise the profile of the places that are truly unforgettable. Contact us and let us know.

And if California is only one stop on your American tour take a look at these USA luxury resorts too.

Wild Bay Co is as much a celebration of the people who make these incredible experiences possible, as it is a celebration of the luxury resorts and hotels themselves. If you’ve stayed somewhere outstanding that deserves recognition for its exceptional attention to detail as well as its stunning setting then contact us and let us know.

Where canyon and sea meet.

The Ranch at Laguna Beach

The Ranch at Laguna Beach. A luxury Laguna resort nestled in Aliso and Wood Canyons, home to Harvest, Ben Brown’s, Lost Pier and Sycamore Spa.

The perfect convergence of land and sea

Secluded within a peaceful blend of canyon and sea, The Ranch at Laguna Beach private resort invites guests to get caught up in the world of a Laguna local that’s off the beaten path in every sense.

Grafted into the Laguna culture and notched into the perfect convergence of land and sea, a stay at The Ranch LB is a microcosm of the best of Laguna in one organic, refined place. Staff offer an insider’s take on hidden surf spots, shops and specialty galleries. This laid-back luxury hotel speaks to the Laguna mindset.

Loosely scattered about the park-like grounds, within the incomparable setting of Mother Nature’s own magnum opus, spacious Canyon Rooms, Creekside Studio Suites, Creekside One Bedroom Suites, Cottage Two Bedroom Suites and The Treehouse enjoy a seamless dance between casual elegance and the breathtaking 360-degree vistas.

The pristine 87-acre canyon rooms oasis makes The Ranch at Laguna Beach one of Southern California’s top resorts and spas. This AAA Four Diamond-rated romantic getaway, nestled just a short walk from one of Southern California’s finest beaches, brings the best of coast and canyon rooms together in one uniquely Laguna experience.

Memorable moments on the California coast.

Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach

Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach. AAA Five Diamond accommodations, 7 culinary experiences, 3 pools, Waldorf Astoria Spa, golf course & private beach club.

The inspiration of sea and sand

Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach Resort & Club, formerly known as Monarch Beach Resort, is the perfect blend of Southern California’s legendary laid-back luxury and the iconic culture of True Waldorf Service.

Perched on 175 acres atop a 150-foot seaside bluff and featuring a private beach club, this elegant AAA Five-Diamond retreat offers both indulgence and inspiration—from oceanfront culinary experiences to unique coastal activities and adventures. It’s a place to celebrate your love affair with the beach, passing moments and memories from generation to generation.

An iconic SoCal luxury travel destination and one of the best hotels in Orange County.

A blend of comfort and elegance.

Montage Laguna Beach

Montage Laguna Beach. Set on a coastal bluff overlooking the Pacific in the heart of Laguna Beach, offering 30 acres of oceanfront luxury. #MontageMemory

Seaside luxury

Perched on a coastal bluff above the Pacific, Montage Laguna Beach welcomes guests into the heart of Southern California’s preeminent artist colony.

Spanning 30 acres, the beachfront sanctuary features two outdoor pool decks, a 20,000-square-foot spa and three signature restaurants with spectacular views of the California coast, including Studio, which serves modern coastal cuisine with California influences on its ever-changing à la carte menus, chef’s tasting menus and private dinners at the Chef’s Table. Savor every dish with perfectly paired selections from an extensive, carefully assembled wine collection.

The Loft, a favorite of guests and locals alike, is the resort’s comfortable all-day dining restaurant. Situated on the fourth floor, this popular Orange County restaurant features stunning panoramic views — the perfect backdrop for enjoying creative American cuisine.

Montage Laguna Beach hotel offers an idyllic, luxury setting from which to explore Orange County.

Italian inspiration, California splendor.

The Resort At Pelican Hill

The Resort At Pelican Hill. A sanctuary of seclusion and a feast for the senses. #PelicanHillResort

Feel a world away

Perched upon 504 acres of unrivaled coastal beauty, Pelican Hill is set apart as a world unto itself, offering a sanctuary of seclusion, a feast for the senses, and a retreat for family and friends.

The relaxed comfort of Pelican Hill® takes inspiration from the grand villas across the Venetian countryside. Like the Mediterranean, the sun-drenched climate of Southern California allows for indoor spaces to open up to the outdoors with quintessential coastal breezes and panoramic Pacific Ocean views.

Each one-story Bungalow Guest Room or Bungalow Suite features a limestone fireplace, private terrace, most with ocean views, hand-hewn wood beam ceiling, marble bath and adjacent parking. They are a spacious 847 to 1,634 square feet.

Villas are set in an exclusive, gated enclave and are a more intimate way to enjoy The Resort with a private clubhouse and pool, butler service and dedicated staff. Ranging from 2,193 to 3,581 square feet, The Villas offer two, three or four bedrooms and expansive ocean-view terraces.

Our luxury Laguna Beach resort embodies the spirit of Southern California. 

The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel

Perched on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel is a coastal paradise with a playful side.

Beach hotel in Laguna

The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel offers a transformative resort experience in Southern California’s Laguna Beach community. Fusing modern luxury with playful creativity, this ocean-view hotel embodies what makes Laguna Beach special: a welcoming nature that caters to kids and pets, locally sourced cuisine, direct access to the ocean, opportunities to explore California’s natural beauty and a revolving collection of works from local artists.

The luxury rooms and suites at The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel’s Dana Point hotel draw from the ocean in more ways than one. Soothing décor evokes the water through its colors, textures and artwork. Experience Laguna Beach-inspired living in rooms and suites with large living areas, outdoor spaces and stunning Pacific views.

One of the best hotels in Orange County and a stunning luxury travel destination.

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