February 23, 2014

Valentines Day At St. Regis Monarch Beach

So this is what being a celebrity is like?? This is the thought that kept running through my mind during our recent stay at the St. Regis Monarch Beach. Eddie surprised me with a romantic trip to Dana Point, CA right after my 2 week cross country road trip.

But this wasn't your average hotel stay. Not only is St. Regis known as one of the best hotels in the world, this stay marked our Lifetime Platinum status award with Starwood Hotels. Eddie has been a platinum member for a very long time. And being a platinum member has amazing perks. We always get free room upgrades at any Starwood Hotel. Occasioanly to the penthouse suite. We get discounts at restaurants, free food and drinks inside club room, occasionally a free open bar, free water bottles, an ambassador who you can call 24/7 to do anything for you that you desire, gifts mailed on your birthday, free snacks, fruits and champagne to greet you in the room, just all around exceptional service. But to reach Lifetime Platinum is a whole different ball game. To reach Lifetime you need to have been a platinum member for 10 consecutive years and to have at least 500 stays total. Apparently there are very few Lifetime Platinum members so once the St. Regis found out about our stay they went above and beyond to make our stay special.

As we were checking in at the front desk, two managers came out and greeted us with balloons and a wine stopper. They shook our hands and took a photo with us. I felt like I was on a game show or something.

There was a card attached to the balloon which was signed by the entire management staff of the hotel.

I swear that the photo they took of us was passed around by the staff members because wherever we went in the hotel everyone knew our names! Its was so creepy but cool at the same time. The hotel upgraded us to one of their 7 suites with a personal butler. The suite we had at the St. Regis in Hawaii was pretty small so I figured this one would be too. But I was so wrong. This suite was spacious and much nicer than the other one. And just to make it extra special, as we entered the room there was a frickin hawk/eagle whatever it was sitting right on our balcony!!! The thing was huge! I ran over to take photos and even our butler broke character for a second to take photos. I was starting to think that Starwood has planted the bird there for show but they can't be THAT good right? Hmmmmm. The hawk then took a dump on our porch and our butler immediately went back into butler mode and asked if we would like our balcony hosed down LOL. We aren't finicky people so we said it was fine and continued to explore the room.

There was a bottle of champagne and chocolate strawberries in our room to celebrate the occasion.

And more balloons in our living room. This time pink YAY!

Our bedroom...

And gorgeous bathroom. My favorite room in the suite. Sadly we didn't get to use the jacuzzi.

The view from my balcony was of the golf course. I'd prefer a closer beach view but honestly who can complain when you are surrounded by such luxury?

The pool didn't get any use either as it was about 10 degrees too cold to lay out. But it was one of the most beautiful pool I have ever seen. It reminded me of something out of a European fairytale with a little bit of Vegas mixed in. There were also many homes on the property of the St. Regis which were enormous. I asked our driver about one of the homes that caught my eye and he matter of factly said "Oh ye, that house is for sale. It's about $20 million but it's just a summer home. Not to actually live in".

Ummmmmm ye.... If I was going to spend $20 million on a home you better believe I would spend every waking moment in it. Crazy rich people I swear.

 Right before sunset we headed to the hotel viewing balcony. All of the St. Regis Hotels have a champagne sabering ritual at sunset.

Basically this guy sabers the end of a champagne bottle off with a saber sword and serves the champagne to the hotels guests. Here's the cool part... I always thought he was just chopping off the cork but he actually cuts the glass like it's butter. How do I know this? Because after chopping it off he gave the chopped off bottle end to Eddie and I as a keepsake.

We were told the tequila Bloody Mary's were a must try but since I'm Russian I had to stick to my vodka heritage. It was still pretty good though.

Watching the sunset over the balcony, the grounds reminded me of The Breakers mansion in Providence, RI. Iimpeccable, and dreamy.

Valentine's Day couples photo!

And finally the sun set making the grounds even more beautiful as the lights illuminated the entire hotel.


Right before dinner, Eddie spotted a piano at the bottom of a winding grand staircase. He insisted I go down and lay on it because he had the perfect shot in mind. After saying no and him not backing down, I finally went and laid on the damn thing. Not even 5 photos in, a couple staff members walked out to see what I was doing. I could tell they wanted me off the thing but we kept taking photos. After they finally kicked me off we headed to Stonehill Tavern for dinner. At least we got the shot!

 As we entered the restaurant we were again greeted by our names. I was starting to think we had people following us during our stay. They seated us and gave us champagne on the house. According to Eddie it was really expensive champagne but to be honest I couldn't tell. Cheap wine, expensive wine, cheap champagne, expensive champagne...it all tastes the same to me. Now vodka, that's a different story. I can smell bad vodka from a mile away.

Dinner was incredible with many things brought to our table compliments of the chef. He was obviously informed of the occasion. Michael Mina's food did not disappoint. We had...

-Toasted olive oil & sea salted bread with a ricotta cheese and honey spread
-Kale chips
-Potato souffles with black truffle
-Pumpkin ravioli
-Blini with black caviar
-Filet mignon
-Black cod

It was definitely in the top 2 meals I've ever had. I hesitate to say it's the best meal I've ever had because I might be forgetting one or two past meals.

It is so hard staying in shape with so much good food. Had to work extra hard at the gym after this meal.

The next morning we flew back home but not before having breakfast outside on the balcony. BTW check out the bill. Benefits of being a Starwood Platinum member...you only pay .05 cents for breakfast haha. Screw Marriot and Hilton. You will NEVER get treated this well with any other hotel membership.

Places I Visited
St. Regis Monarch Beach
Stonehill Tavern
Monarch Bay Club

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