Local Insights

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The St. Regis Monarch Beach Chef Concierge Gundula Reile offers her top recommendations for enjoying Orange County this season.

BS_MB_17_Concierge_By Jody Tiongco-4

With the chill of winter fading into memory, it’s time to change gears to spring renewal. Gundula Reile, chef concierge of The St. Regis Monarch Beach, offers activities and ideas that will rejuvenate both body and mind.

Outdoor Adventures

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To take full advantage of Southern California’s beautiful spring weather, Reile recommends several outdoor activities to get the body moving after a treat-filled winter.

For the avid cyclist, there’s no better way to enjoy the California coast than on a road bike. SYNAPTIC CYCLES in Dana Point takes the hassle out of traveling with a bicycle by offering high-quality rentals to more experienced riders. “If your heart is set on road biking, this is the company with the high-end road bike rental,” Reile says. For those less familiar with the area, the company also offers scenic guided tours by request. (949-374-6079; synapticcycles.com)

And for visitors who prefer trekking on foot, there are numerous hikes that offer spectacular scenery to please the eyes and get the blood pumping. “Close to the coast, we love to offer CRYSTAL COVE STATE PARK. [It features] various hikes, from 1.5 miles up to 13 miles,” Reile says. Hikers will also enjoy the stunning ocean views. (949-494-3539; parks.ca.gov)

Brand-new Boutiques

Robin's Jean Storefront
Visitors who favor a more retail-oriented experience need look no further than charming Laguna Beach. Filled to the brim with lovely boutiques and cafes, it’s the perfect place to enjoy a stroll outdoors and revamp closets for spring.

The newly opened ROBIN’S JEAN is a shop that Reile recommends to those looking for apparel that’s a bit funky. “It looks like a motorcycle shop, but it really features very colorful, modern clothing [and a] very dominant jean collection,” she says. With only four locations worldwide, the exclusive brand offers high-quality fashion. “All [the] clothing is made in Los Angeles,” Reile adds. (949-371-8918; robinsjean.com)

And a new addition to the Laguna Beach boutique scene, LES POMMETTES, offers difficult-to-find brands in a more relaxed version of its original Los Angeles boutique. “I can assure you, you will find something you cannot live without,” Reile says. (949-929-7252; lespommettes.com)


Relax and Revitalize

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To rejuvenate the skin after the dry winter months, the treatments at SPA GAUCIN work wonders.

Reile recommends the Ageless Oxygen Facial to soften fine lines and rehydrate delicate skin. Using products from the Intraceuticals line, the skin is enriched with vitamins and antioxidants to provide a youthful glow.

To polish the entire body, there are a number of scrubs and treatments available. “A great body scrub or peel to shed the dull, winter dehydrated skin is our new Vie 3D full body facial,” Reile says. A dry scrub will smooth the skin before a calcium-enriched body cream is applied. The result is firm, toned and polished skin from head to toe. (949-234-3367; stregismb.com)

Shaken, Not Stirred

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Not all vices have to be abandoned just because the indulgent holiday season is over. Sweetened with agave nectar in lieu of simple syrup, these refreshing drink options are tasty without sabotaging that new year’s resolution.

“Delicious preparations by chef Josh invite you to splurge,” Reile says of the newly opened SELANNE STEAK TAVERN in Laguna Beach. The new venture of Anaheim Ducks right wing Teemu Selanne boasts a number of original cocktails to complement their delicious entrees. The Selanne cocktail blends Woodford Reserve bourbon, fresh lemon and a few other secret ingredients to create a refreshing spring sipper with a hint of spice. (949-715-9881; selannesteaktavern.com)

Similarly, the South of the Border beverage at the St. Regis’ STONEHILL TAVERN features tequila and lime, but adds sweetness with mango and an unexpected kick with Calabrian red chili peppers. “Jenny Buchhagen, our bartender, works very creatively to appeal to the diverse taste buds of our guests,” Reile says. (949-234-3318; stregismb.com)

Cleansing Courses

Mouthwatering dishes don’t need to defeat the waistline on the cusp of swimsuit season. There are many healthful options to be had that will please any palate.

A favorite for Dana Point locals, JACK’S RESTAURANT & BAR features grass-fed meats, free-range chicken and organic vegetables. Additionally, there is a separate menu dedicated to raw, vegan and gluten-free options. “I just recently tasted the raw, organic yellow squash and zucchini, and the taste was amazing,” Reile says. (949-489-1903; jacksdp.com)

ZINC CAFE & MARKET, a Laguna Beach staple, is located in the heart of downtown and features a multitude of vegetarian and vegan options. Reile says, “Their outdoor garden invites you to enjoy a very healthy breakfast or lunch.” (949-494-6302; zinccafe.com) B