What to Know About the Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach Resort & Club

Upscale and beachy, this Dana Point resort is a total find for families looking for a Southern California getaway.
View of beach club at Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach Resort & Club
(Photo: James Baigrie/Waldorf Astoria)

Pulling into the Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach Resort & Club, I was instantly taken with the beachy yet upscale vibe.  A Southern Californian beach vacation in early April was a gamble, but it was clear that regardless of the weather, the Monarch was going to be a great place to spend spring break.

Located in Dana Point, the Monarch Beach Resort & Club had everything we could possibly want during our stay.  Our room was spacious for our family of four, with plenty of surfaces and storage to hold our stuff.  I was particularly smitten with the large bathroom, complete with a deep bathtub and separate shower.  But we all agreed our favorite aspect of the room was our private patio with our own fire pit.  We spent several nights making our own s’mores with supplies provided by the hotel—sticky, sweet fun.

Things to Know About Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach Resort & Club

Kids roasting marshmallows for s'mores at a private fire pit at the Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach in Dana Point California
Private patios with fire pits are the perfect place for evening s’mores (Photo: Amanda Dillon)
  • It’s a self-contained beach and golf resort experience but is also close to Southern California attractions including Disneyland.
  • The resort is in the upscale beach town of Dana Point.
  • The water can be a bit chilly outside of summer, so wetsuits are helpful for kids who want to spend a lot of time in the water.
  • The beach club is a short tram ride from the main resort, and has its own restaurant plus chairs, umbrellas, and beach toys.

Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach Resort & Club Reviews

Tripadvisor users give the resort a 4.5 out of 5, which slots it comfortably in the Excellent category. Kayak users rate it 8.8 for “Great,” and praise the beautiful grounds, the well-appointed guest rooms, and the quality of the food.

Let’s Talk About the Beach

kids playing in the ocean at the beach at Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach
(Photo: Amanda Dillon)

Guests at the Monarch have access to a beautiful stretch of beach.  Accessible by tram (which runs every 10 minutes from 8am to 10pm), it’s a quick drive through the resort’s golf course and residences to arrive at the beach club. 

Maintaining the upscale, beachy vibe, the club offers guests free chairs, umbrellas, and beach toys.  Helpful, friendly staff set up a spot for you on the beach, which allows families to head straight into the waves.

FAMILY FUN: Standout Kid-Friendly Resorts in California

We brought our own boogie boards, but the club offers rentals and lessons for those interested.  If you plan to go for spring break, I’d highly recommend bringing wetsuits for anyone playing in the water.  The wetsuits kept our kids warm enough to enjoy a full day at the beach.

We had lunch at the beach club, just steps from our set up in the sand.  The menu was accessible for our group, which included people with gluten and nut allergies.  The wait staff was patient with us and kept careful tabs on what we ordered. The clam chowder and poke bowl were particular hits with my family.  

Back at the Hotel

view of pool at sunset at the Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach Resort & Club
The pool at the Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach Resort & Club (Photo: James Baigrie/Waldorf Astoria)

Back from the beach, our group decided to hit the pool. There was no shortage of loungers and the pool was a comfortable 84 degrees.  But after a day at the beach, everyone was jonesing to warm up and relax in the infinity hot tubs. The two tubs are spacious and offer expansive views of the golf course and ocean. The view is awe-inspiring at any time of day, but is particularly gorgeous at sunset.  My advice to you is to try and incorporate at least one sunset soak during your stay.

BOOK WISELY: Hotel Booking Sites, Put to the Test

We ate several meals at the hotel, including breakfast and dinner.  We dined mainly at Aveo Table + Bar, which was kid friendly but adult conscious.  Yummy gluten-free options on the breakfast menu and bespoke cocktail options at dinner kept us coming back.  Other dining options include an upscale steakhouse and a grab-and-go cafe.  

Things to Do Nearby

Off property, our plans included a day-trip to Disneyland (a 45-minute drive) and a shopping trip to Irvine Spectrum (about 20 minutes away).  Assuming I don’t need to sell you on Disneyland, here’s a quick plug for the Irvine Spectrum.  It’s a great destination for families with kids of all ages.  There’s a ferris wheel and large lawn for young kids to run around, and trendy boutiques for older kids.  With plenty of food options too, this is an easy destination that the whole family will enjoy.

More from FamilyVacationist:

Amanda Dillon
Amanda Dillon works at UC Berkeley, focusing on programs that support STEM student success and career search. She loves baking with her two daughters and planning local(ish) trips for her family.