Local Insights

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Tommy Bahama

The St. Regis Monarch Beach Chef Concierge Gundula Reile shares Orange County’s best summer spots.

By Alli Tong

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The St. Regis Monarch Beach concierge team: (L to R) Gundula Reile, Felicia Gilboa, Shawna Ropp, Marty Koontz, Susannah Fairbanks, Cristina Coury; not pictured: Paul Goreen

From blue skies to warm ocean waters, summer in California provides guests with an abundance of activities perfect for spending the day outdoors or dining alfresco. Here, The St. Regis Monarch Beach Chef Concierge Gundula Reile offers her picks for the top places to eat, play and shop on a sunny summertime day.

Bespoke Beachwear

Whether spending the day engaging in stand-up paddleboard or relaxing on one of the local beaches, look your best sporting the perfect beachwear. For modern suits in an array of styles, colors and brands, Reile suggests DIANE’S BEACHWEAR in Laguna Beach. From bikinis and tankinis to cover-ups, Diane’s offers swimsuits that fit like a glove. (949-376-9194; dianesbeachwear.com)

For those that consider the beach their runway, MOLLY BROWN’S in Laguna Beach specializes in the latest swimwear from high-end retailers. “If you would like to be dressed on the beach in the latest fashion, visit this very modern, contemporary shop with selections from Mikoh, Luli Fama and Lolli Bow Bottom, just to name a few,” Reile says. (949-494-5737; mollybrownsswimwear.com)

Men and women will also love the classic island style of TOMMY BAHAMA in Laguna Beach, which offers colorful styles and prints in comfortable fabrics. “They [also] offer the matching [cover-up] for you to walk comfortably on the beach or in the downtown of Laguna or Monarch Beach,” Reile says. (949-376-6886; tommybahama.com)

On the Water

Glistening ocean waters off the coast of Orange County beckon guests to enjoy the outdoors. At WESTWIND SAILING in Dana Point, guests can partake in private sailing lessons with pros or just enjoy the ocean breeze with sailing rides. Guests can also try stand-up paddleboard: “The staff at Westwind is very kind and will work with you, helping you to get on the board in the protected harbor of Dana Point by Baby Beach,” Reile says. (949-492-3035; westwindsailing.com)

Tommy Bahama
Tommy Bahama

In Southern California, where the Pacific Ocean is everyone’s playground, guests can take full advantage of the sea at DANA POINT JET SKI & KAYAK CENTER. Rent a Kawasaki Jet Ski and soar over the open ocean waters or leisurely kayak around the Dana Point harbor. (949-661-4947; danapointjetski.com)

There’s much to explore around the beautiful coastline of Laguna Beach, and LA VIDA LAGUNA makes every aquatic adventure a memorable one. Take a kayak tour and get a glimpse of sea lions, fish, marine birds and even dolphins in their native habitat. “What an impressive experience to kayak around Seal Rock in north Laguna and see the seals directly in front of you,” Reile says. The eco-adventure company also offers stand-up paddleboard and surf lessons. (949-275-7544; lavidalaguna.com)

Dana Point Jet Ski & Kayak Center
Dana Point Jet Ski & Kayak Center

Dine Alfresco

With the warm ocean breeze softly blowing and views of the Pacific in the distance, dine outside at one of Orange County’s ocean-view restaurants. For comfort food with international flavor, Reile recommends SAPPHIRE LAGUNA in Laguna Beach. “Stroll through all the shops at The Old Pottery Place and end on the patio of Sapphire to enjoy either a lovely dinner with flavors from around the world or just an appetizer with a glass of wine,” Reile says. Delectable dishes run the gamut from a roasted Mediterranean sea bass to a Lebanese lamb sirloin. (949-715-9888; sapphirellc.com)

At THE FISHERMAN’S RESTAURANT & BAR in San Clemente, however, guests can literally dine over the ocean due to the restaurant’s exclusive location on the pier. Offering some of the freshest seafood in the area, guests can feast on Dungeness crab, prawns and coconut shrimp as they watch the sun set below the horizon. For a more casual setting, sit at the Oyster Bar, which offers a full-service menu and happy hour Monday through Friday from 4-7 p.m. (949-498-6390; thefishermansrestaurant.com)

Sapphire Laguna
Sapphire Laguna

Combining a South African vibe with coastal elegance, MOZAMBIQUE in Laguna Beach invites guests to savor exotic flavors while enjoying sprawling ocean views on its outdoor patio. “Mozambique is fun, vibrant and different,” Reile says. Indulge in one of the many signature dishes, such as the peri-peri prawns. The Shebeen Bar also offers inventive cocktails to sip on, from the Pink Mamba (premium gin, pink grapefruit juice, agave nectar, fresh lemon juice and tonic) to the African Sunset (citrus vodka, pineapple juice and guava juice). On the weekends, the restaurant’s nightlife scene flourishes, with live music and dancing in the Coastal Lounge. (949-715-7777; mozambiqueoc.com) B