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Casa Laguna Inn and Spa
2510 South Coast Highway
Laguna Beach, CA 92651
800-233-0449

Casa Laguna Home Page

September 2006

Welcome to www.weloveourlife.com. This is our page dedicated to our experiences while staying at the Casa Laguna Inn and Spa in Laguna Beach, CA.


Accommodations Amenities Food Bar/Lounge Service Attractions Dining Nightlife Weather Tips

Accommodations

The inn has 20 rooms, ranging from rooms up to a cottage. We stayed in the 500-square-foot Laguna Suite, which overlooked the highway (and presumably the ocean). One thing we failed to note when booking the room is that the balcony is described as “step-out” which is literally what it is – you cannot sit on the balcony. Besides, the noise from the highway would not have made that a pleasurable experience.

The room contained a sitting room with a comfortable sofa (which was also a double sleeper), chairs and table, wet bar with refrigerator, TV, and two-sided gas fireplace.
The bedroom – on the other side of the fireplace – had one of the most comfortable king-size beds we have ever slept on, as well as bedside tables and an armoire that contained an additional TV.
Beyond the bedroom was the large bathroom, with a corner whirlpool (underneath shutters that opened into the bedroom), corner shower, sink, and a separate water closet for the toilet. Plenty of thick towels were provided and the inn supplies high-quality bath amenities (in large sizes). There was also a large closet in the bathroom, useful for storing bags, and a versatile nightlight and make-up mirror in the bathroom.

The décor of the suite was crisp white softened by sage and bamboo, wicker, and sisal accents. The one air conditioning unit was located in the bedroom and there were ceiling fans in the bedroom and sitting room. If we had designed the suite, we would have added an air conditioning unit in the sitting room, as it got quite warm in there (the sitting room received the afternoon sunlight). We made an effort to shut the drapes to keep the sun out but it still got very warm in there, and opening the sliding door to the balcony wasn’t really an option be cause of the highway noise.

Our suite was clean and comfortable. The inn offers multiple sizes and options of rooms to accommodate all sorts of needs, but the inn is definitely not handicap-accessible – there are too many stairs. We would return, but we would likely opt for a room set further back from the highway.

Inn Amenities

Casa Laguna definitely makes an effort to be a full-service bed and breakfast, even though they do not have a restaurant on-site. The grounds are beautiful and are constantly being looked after (the maintenance personnel wore shorts that read “restoration crew”).
The heated pool was small but beautiful and inviting, surrounded by built-in seating and an upper deck of lounge chairs.
There is a deck even further up that contains a private Jacuzzi (that must be reserved ahead of time) that affords a beautiful view of the setting sun and the grounds.

The inn boasts a spa that offers multiple services. On our last day, we had booked the couples togetherness massage – a 90-minute massage for each of us, followed by an hour in the private outdoor Jacuzzi and a bottle of champagne. It was a great way to wind down our stay there.

The inn also offers free high-speed internet access in all rooms, DVD & CD players in rooms with access to the inn’s selection of movies, very luxurious robes, and afternoon refreshments.

Public transportation is available right in front of the inn, and during the summer, a free trolley can take guests into Laguna Beach (we used this the first two days of our visits, but the trolley stopped running on Labor Day).

One thing the inn does not have in abundance is parking. There is definitely not enough parking for all 20 of the rooms, and the spots that are available are small and difficult to get to. Also of note, is that the parking is accessed via a very steep street that can be a challenge for the best of drivers. We had rented a large SUV and it would not really fit in any of the covered spaces (and the uncovered ones were full), so we parked on the steep side street adjacent to the parking lot. We realize real estate is very expensive in this area, but parking is definitely a challenge.

On our second evening at the inn, we discovered the bell tower, which is a private room in a tower with windows open to the outdoors. There are two chairs and a table and it is the perfect place for viewing the setting sun while enjoying a glass of wine. We got some great pictures from this location and were lucky enough to have it to ourselves the two nights we went up there.

The inn offers spa services, and we had ordered the couples togetherness massage ahead of time. Late in the afternoon on Labor Day, we ventured to the lower level of the Mission House, where we were met by two friendly masseuses. As with any decent spa, the atmosphere was nice, spa music was playing, and we were left to change. We slipped onto the massage tables and had wonderful 90-minute massages. It was followed up by a private one-hour soak in the therapeutic tub outdoors overlooking the pool and ocean beyond it, accompanied by a bottle of champagne. It was a most welcome indulgence and a great way to end our stay.

Inn Food

The inn has a wonderful breakfast. Guests can dine in the main building (the Mission House) or outside on the beautiful decks (we chose to eat outside). Casa Laguna offers at least 6 breakfast entrees every morning. Once you are seated, your server asks if you would like a mimosa (we did). Guests choose their entrees off of the menu, then go into the Mission House to help themselves to a nice selection of fresh fruit, breads, and granola. Juices, water, coffee, and tea are available just outside, adjacent to the kitchen. On our first morning, Keith had the Omelet de la Casa (a large and flavorful mixture of southwestern flavors) and Lori had the Quiche Verde (a spicy quiche); the second morning we switched entrees. We also enjoyed large, fresh bagels and fresh fruit. On our third morning we had to check out early, so we contented ourselves with bagels and fruit. Breakfast is a leisurely affair. A difference we noted here is that there are lots of individual tables, so if you don’t like to spend your first waking hours chatting with strangers, you don’t have to.

Casa Laguna served wine and cheese each day from 5-7 p.m. when we visited. There were both red and white wines available, as well as a featured wine of the day, home-made sangria, iced tea, lemonade, and water. Several types of cheese were served (and usually a local California cheese was included) along with bread, crackers, fruit, organic macadamia nuts, chips and home-made salsa, raw vegetables and dip, and other savory treats. Honestly, you could practically make a meal out of this offering.

From 8-10 p.m. the inn invites guests to enjoy cookies and cordials. We went one evening, and a selection of cordials were available (including ice wine) and sweets.

Inn Bar/Lounge

The inn does not sell alcohol, but does provide wine and cordials to guests (see Inn Food). In addition, we had our own, and they were more than happy to help open a bottle and give us an ice bucket (ice is available for free to all inn guests).

Inn People/Service

We were constantly amazed how many people the inn seemed to employ – sometimes it seemed there were as many employees as guests, but they were never intrusive. They were all friendly, helpful, knowledgeable, and it was obvious they were in the hospitality business. Although this is one of the larger bed and breakfasts we have been to, they do their best to make it seem as if you are in a small place and you are the only one who matters. And, after all, that is why people choose small inns like this.

Area/Attractions

This is Laguna Beach, so obviously the beach is an attraction. The public beach in downtown Laguna Beach is beautiful and well-kept. There is also a winery nearby but we did not check it out while we were there. This was the beginning of a trip for us so we spent our few days in Laguna relaxing. There is plenty of dining and shopping available in Laguna. For more info, see lagunabeachinfo.com.

Dining

Brussels Bistro - 222 Forest Avenue, Laguna Beach, CA 92651 Phone: 949-376-7955
Brussels Bistro Home Page
We discovered this Belgian restaurant while researching our trip and decided it was a must for us, since we dearly love Belgian brews. We were not disappointed. The restaurant is downstairs in a funky setting with brick walls, brightly-colored tables, and a definite bistro-like atmosphere. There were six Belgian beers on tap. We each started with Chimay drafts, eventually followed up by bottles of Duvel. Keith had an interesting appetizer: white asparagus with eggs mimosa, followed by steak tartare with salad and frites. Lori had the appetizer sampler, which consisted of shrimp croquettes, gouda, and frites, followed by crab cakes. The frites were incredible and the best fries we have ever tasted. The portions were huge and we could not finish our meals. We loved the atmosphere and selections and would definitely recommend it and return ourselves. We’ve been turned on to Belgian cuisine for sure. We went here early on a Saturday evening and were seated promptly, but the place did fill up and reservations are recommended, especially on weekends.

C’est la Vie - 373 South Coast Highway, Laguna Beach, CA 92651 714-497-5100
C'est la Vie Home Page
We were looking for a restaurant where we could have lunch outside and hopefully have a view when we came across C’est la Vie on a beautiful, bright Sunday afternoon. The restaurant is just off of the main beach. We wanted to sit outside and accepted a table in the sun, but soon regretted it. Keith saw a couple next to us at a table with an umbrella were leaving, so we took over their table. C’est la Vie has a nice brunch on Sundays. Keith got the Cajun Benedict with andouille sausage and peppers, and Lori had the Oscar Benedict, which substituted shrimp for the meat and added avocado. Brunch entrees came with a free glass of champagne (and additional glasses thereafter were only $1 each). We also had icy frozen margaritas (one peach and one mango) to take the edge off the hot sun we had been sitting in. This is a great setting, overlooking the ocean, and the service and food were good. It is a busy spot and does get a bit noisy. There are also plenty of tables available inside and there is a bakery on the premises.

White House Restaurant – 340 South Coast Highway, Laguna Beach, CA 92651 949-494-8088
White House Home Page
We stopped into the White House on a Monday (Labor Day) for lunch. We’re not sure why it’s called the White House – that name evokes something very traditional in nature, which this is not. On the inside, there are dark wood tables and banquettes and a long bar along one side and a dance floor (there is live entertainment – on the day we were there, a reggae festival was going on). There is seating outside along the sidewalk as well. It’s been around since 1918. We were both wanting burgers, and satisfied that craving, washing it down with ice cold draft beer. Service was a bit slow, but we weren’t in a rush. The food was good and it would likely be a good destination for a casual meal.

Nightlife

This being southern California, there is certainly nightlife to be found. We noticed quite a crowd hanging out around Woody’s. We didn’t necessarily partake of the nightlife ourselves, seeing as how we were staying at a beautiful inn.

Weather

We were in Laguna the first weekend in September and the weather was beautiful. The skies were a crystal clear blue. There was a light breeze that came off the ocean. During the day, it would be fairly warm in the sun – in the 80s. But at just the right moment, we could catch a little bit of that breeze. In the evening when the sun sent down, it got cooler, down into the 60s. It’s a good idea to have a jacket for nighttime. California definitely has its seasons, and it is a good idea to check the general weather outlook for the time of year you expect to visit.

Tips/Suggestions

Happily we didn’t encounter mosquitoes in this part of California, so our usually die-hard recommendation of bug spray isn’t necessary. Do remember of have good, reliable sun protection as the sun is very strong. Comfortable shoes are a must as walking is the best way to get around the town of Laguna Beach. Do make reservations if there is a special restaurant you want to experience. Plan ahead regarding your transportation needs, as we did not necessarily notice a plethora of taxis.