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Whenever I have a visitor who has never been to Laguna Beach, I drive straight to the Surf and Sand and head down to Splashes Bar. It’s hard to remember what the wine or cocktails taste like because the view is so distracting. All of your senses are engaged as you hear the waves crash along the shore, and view them at eye level though clear glass windows. At high tide, you are immersed in the ocean while drinking or dining on a menu heavily influenced by seafood. Even better than just stopping by for a drink, set up “camp” and use the newly renovated Surf and Sand as your home base. Descend into the Surf and Sand to stay oceanfront (all 167 rooms have ocean views!) with the crashing surf outside your window, right in the heart of town. I love that when you check into the hotel that they tell you what time sunset will be. You can borrow movies for free from the DVD Library at the front desk. Live on the edge and ignore the impulse to block the swoosh of the ocean with the packet of earplugs lying near the bed. The last time I stayed there, (no lie), I watched a lone Stand up Paddler navigate around frolicking dolphins as the sun set with an orange glow.
Don’t leave without visiting the Aquaterra Spa. Stop for a café on the comfy outdoor furniture to read the morning paper or watch the waves on your way to the spa. There is a lovely seasonal treatment called the “Made Fresh Daily” spa scrub and massage, which currently is a Sun Kissed Twist with lemon and Mandarin followed with a mint body butter wrap. I was lucky enough to have Katharina be my guide through the relaxing day where I was scrubbed and rubbed. I ventured outside and put my feet up on the private outdoor patio while I soaked up Vitamin D in my cushy robe. Aquaterra also has a cozy indoor sitting area that features an indoor fireplace and a cute shop with unique clothes, products and jewelry.