You really should read a review of the Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort and Spa before you go and book a room. Keep in mind, you have three days before your vacation to cancel your room at the Laguna Cliffs Resort and Spa without a penalty.
I was setting up a nice Couples spa and Nice hotel for my one year anniversary with my girlfriend. Besides staying at a nice hotel to make it special, I wanted to be close to Laguna Beach. I called around, The Ritz at Laguna Beach right up from Salt Creek and the St. Regis across the street from the Ritz. Because of the name, I also called The LAGUNA CLIFFS RESORT and SPA. I told them exactly what I wanted. A nice hotel walking distance to Laguna Beach or a 5 minute taxi ride. They said, “you could walk from here, but a taxi would be nicer” so I booked the room. The room rate was $255 a night for a basic room. Good price compared to the Ritz at $599 and the St. Regis Resort at around the same price. I was stoked, Summer and I were off for a relaxing weekend in Laguna Beach…And a Couples massage…Good stuff.
It all went down hill when we arrived at the Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort and Spa. It wasn’t on the Laguna Cliffs and it was no where near Laguna Beach. It was just north of San Clemente, above the Harbor. Smiling, holding Summers hand I tried not to show my disappointment. We rolled on up to the parking garage where we were told Guest of the Laguna Cliffs Marriott need to pay $22 dollars a day to park! Come on! This isn’t a San Francisco boutique Hotel like Hotel Vitale or a New York City must see Hotel like Ian Schrager’s Hudson…it is San Clemente. Since we are both young, we told the hotel staff that we would park on the street and walk back…We only had one little bag each for an overnight stay. The Bell Hop informed me that there is no hotel parking on the street (even though there are plenty of space for onstreet parking) and that we would get towed. There were signs down there that said “NO HOTEL PARKING” He then informed me that Valet parking costs exactly the same, so we parked there. Summer was getting annoyed…We were getting railroaded.
So we had the valet park our car and went to check in to our room; we had a 3:30 couples massage on site so we wanted to relax and shower before heading down to the spa. I gave them my name and American Express card and they told me check in wasn’t until 4:00pm! What? I did my best to talk our way into a free upgrade for the inconvenience but ended up getting a room with a “better view”. Well, I can’t imagine what the view would have been in our original room, because the view was of the rest of the Laguna Beach Marriott hotel. Nice architecture?
We finally relaxed, went down and got our spa treatment. It was awesome! We went back to the room, watched an “in room movie” (40 year old virgin) for $13, got ready and headed up to get our Taxi to Laguna Beach. Surprise…Laguna Beach is a $25 dollar taxi ride away…Definitely not a long walk that would be more convenient if we took a taxi.
That’s when I figured it out: Laguna Cliffs Marriott Hotel and Spa has a bunch of “closers” on the phone that will tell prospective guests anything they want to hear in order to get the business in.
When all was said and done, upon checkout my bill was close to $400 with all of the extra charges plus another $50 in taxi fees and another $20 in tips to the Valet Crew for getting my car evertime I wanted to drive…Coffee in the morning…Champagne…Snacks.
The long and the short of it is this: Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort and Spa was a sub-par hotel. Not only were my expectations set wrong by there staff, the rooms, the set-up and restaurants reminded me of a Hotel/Motel off I-10 for Cross Country drivers looking for a place to crash for the night before waking up and driving again.
My recommendation: Check out the Surf and Sand Hotel, it is IN Laguna Beach…Or stay at the Regis or the Ritz. If you are looking for a less expensive hotel…Find a Howard Johnsons or Motel 6 in Dana Point…Don’t waste your money at the Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort and Spa…Unless you go there just for the spa…Because that was the only saving grace.
Overall Rating: 9 thumbs down and a growl from my dog for the Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort and Spa.