Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach, California: Bottom Line Review


My wife and I recently spent two nights at the Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach in Dana Point, California.  We used a free night certificate for one night and paid 95,000 points for the second night.

This stay was part of my “workation” with my wife as we escaped Michigan’s winter and travelled the California coast for most of February 2022. For details about the trip, see: Workationing the Pacific Coast Highway.

a man sitting in a chair

Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach Bottom Line Review

This is a very nice and well run resort.  We had a nice stay, but this style of resort isn’t really my thing: it’s very large (~400 guest rooms) and too perfectly manicured for my tastes.  Everything at the resort, including the surrounding Dana Point area, was Disney-like perfect, but I prefer the more rugged beauty found in nature (like in Big Sur, for example).  Still, the Waldorf Astoria resort (which used to be a St. Regis) did a great job of doing what they do (i.e. catering to the rich who like this sort of thing).  My favorite feature of the resort was the beach club, which is about a mile away (with free tram rides back and forth), but the weather was such that we didn’t get to enjoy the beach during our stay.

  • Points Price: 95K per night.  Hilton dynamically prices awards, but when standard rooms are available, they typically charge 95,000 points per night.
  • Resort Fee: $55 per night. This fee is waived if you book an award stay with points or free night certificates.
  • Parking: $60 per night for valet parking.
  • Turndown service: Yes. Includes chocolates packaged as Monarch butterflies. Very nice touch.
  • Housekeeping: Daily service.
  • Internet: Excellent.
  • Dining: This resort has multiple dining options.  We tried the following:
    • Aveo for breakfast: Very good. Included unique and tasty options.
    • Monarch Bay Beach Club for dinner: Excellent. This was one of my favorite meals of our trip.  Plus, it was fun to go “out” to dinner via a tram ride but to remain within the resort.  I believe that the beach club is accessible only to resort guests and Monarch Bay Beach Club members.
  • Spa: Yep, but we didn’t try it.
  • Fitness Room: Yep, but didn’t visit it.
  • Hilton Gold/Diamond Elite Benefits: 
    • Upgrade: Not much. At the desk they told us that they basically upgraded our view.  In other words, they kept us with the same room type that we had booked, but gave us a room with a nicer view.  The hotel didn’t seem crowded during our stay and so I’d bet that they would have upgraded anyone similarly, even without elite status.
    • Club Lounge: No lounge.
    • Free Breakfast: Nope. Within the U.S., Hilton currently offers food & beverage credits instead of free breakfast for Gold and Diamond elite members.
    • Food & Beverage Credit: $50 per day ($25 per person).  This was not enough to cover breakfast charges.  For example, one morning we spent $71 at breakfast.  It’s tough to stay within $25 per person when drip coffee alone costs $9!
    • Late Checkout: We didn’t need it and so we didn’t request it.
    • Welcome amenity: We were given a small bag of candy.  I don’t think this was an elite benefit, but I’m not sure.
  • Would I stay again?  Maybe. I’d be happy to stay again, but there are other resorts in the area that I’d rather try first.
  • Would I travel to the area just to stay here again?  No

Photos and captions follow

a large courtyard with a pool and a pool in the middle
Resort view from Aveo Restaurant. Our room was on the third floor just past the palm trees on the right side of the photo.
a balcony with a view of a golf course and trees
View of pool and golf course from our small balcony
a couple of chocolates in wrappers next to a bag of candies
Chocolates were offered at check-in. Bag of taffy was waiting in our room.
a group of butterflies on a box
Turndown service includes these chocolates which feature adorable monarch butterfly packaging.
a bedroom with a bed and a television

a bathroom with a large mirror and tub

a group of white bottles with black text
My wife loved these Salvatore Ferragamo toiletries

a coffee maker and other items on a counter

a plate of food on a table
Breakfast at Aveo restaurant
a menu on a table
Aveo restaurant’s breakfast menu
a room with tables and chairs
Aveo restaurant
a display of food in a bakery
Part & Parcel: Coffee shop / convenience store
a white wall with chairs and umbrellas in front of a building
One of several spots around the resort to catch a tram ride to the beach club
a man sitting in a vehicle
Tram ride to the beach club
a beach with a grassy hill and a building on the side
Path near the Monarch Bay Beach Club. The Ritz-Carlton is shown in the distance.
a bar with a couple of people sitting at the counter
Monarch Bay Beach Club Bar.  I didn’t get a photo of the restaurant section of the same building.
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George the Blogger

Was this place BYOPC…..bring your own pillow chocolates?