It’s so rough living in Orange County with the gorgeous coastal views, stunning resorts and perfect weather, so why would you rough it in anything other than a fully-appointed cabana at the beach or pool? We checked out five of the swankiest cabanas in Orange County just in time to get you set for summer. Think extra-luxurious fun in the sun with the ultra-indulgent amenities. Each of our five favorites has their own unique style, from private baths, day beds and Beach Sherpas to flat-screen TVs with Netflix to stocked refrigerators, recessed lighting and amazing cuisine. So which cabana to choose? Ahh, decisions.
Surf Cabanas at Pacific Edge
You’ll be seriously hooked up in a Surf Cabana at the Pacific Edge Hotel. These upscale cabanas were just created last year, so word is quickly spreading about how hot they are. They go way beyond a tent and some privacy. The good people at Pacific Edge Hotel must have been drinking a pitcher of their Laguna Mojito genius juice when they got the idea to convert five of their hotel rooms (just a few feet from the sand) into fully-appointed Surf Cabanas. There’s truly nothing like them in OC. Each cabana interior has an individual surf theme (with great stories behind them; be sure to ask) and fresh, contemporary style. Each also has a swank exterior lounge deck with lots of seating. The cabanas offer air-conditioning, flat-screen TVs, CD/MP3 Sound Systems, private baths and showers and a fully-stocked fridge and snack bar. Add to that a personal VIP Cabana Host, a Beach Sherpa who sets up all your beach chairs for you and a Cabana Girl to take your order off the delicious Deck Restaurant menu — don’t miss out on their new luxe party platters of cheese and fruit and more. You can have the cabana all day and into the night, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; they’re killer in the evening too with deck torch heaters. Each cabana accommodates up to 10 guests and comes with beach towels (just bring you, it’s a total no-hassle day from the moment you valet). You can even get the extras of a private masseuse, airbrush spray tanning, manicure/pedicure services and photo/video services. Plus there’s now lessons and rentals for stand up paddle boarding, body boarding and skim boarding. Who’s booking these swank spaces? Everyone from those having birthday parties to those throwing events to progressive CEOs holding a hip boardroom team meeting to everyday families. Psst, you don’t have to be a hotel guest either, but you do have to book fast. Pricing varies per month, but prime summertime weekend rates run $350 for the cabana rental with a minimum Food & Beverage cost of $500.
Montage Laguna Beach
What’s ideal about the six fabulous pool cabanas at Montage Laguna Beach is their discreet nature, reserved seating and fantastic sun and shade options. (And of course, you’re relaxing at The Montage, so you have the stunning Mosaic Pool right in front of you). The cabanas are tucked away and almost blend in with the lush vine coverings and individual pergolas; you may not have even noticed them before if you’ve spent time at the pool. The summer scene at The Montage can get quite packed, so it’s lovely to have reserved pool seating with cabana shade, as well as four luxurious lounge chairs outside the cabanas to catch some sun in your own pool-deck space. Inside each cabana is a dining area, Dyson Bladeless Fan (which is quite cool), the iHome, an iPad2 installed with new and classic games, newspapers and magazines and access to Netfix and Hulu. Coola Organic sunscreen lotion is a nice touch (who can be bothered with trying to remember everything?). Plus you will enjoy complimentary beverages in the fridge (bottled still and sparkling waters), a seasonal fruit bowl and a Montage Cabana Host and Server who exclusively cater to the six cabanas for dining orders. The pool cuisine and cocktails are excellent. The resort is really there for cabana guests too, in a fun, unassuming Montage way — offering to get you whatever you desire, should that be a drive to grab you some Gina’s Pizza, your favorite burger or practically anything else. It’s worth noting also that the cabana scene is going to get even better at Montage soon, as the resort is in the process of redesigning the cabanas to be more spacious and luxurious. Hotel guests may rent a cabana for $200 per day.
The Resort at Pelican Hill
You’ll be in cabana heaven at The Resort at Pelican Hill. They’re indeed ultra luxurious and make for a spectacular time while unwinding by the breathtaking Coliseum Pool — one of the largest circular pools in the world. The private cabanas, located on the pool’s upper level within the amphitheater-style architecture, are equipped with a Bose music system, 30-inch, flat-screen HD TV and a mini refrigerator stocked with complimentary sodas, juices and water. A ceiling fan, recessed lighting on dimmer switches, dining table and lounge chairs make it feel like resort-home away from home, particularly paired with the elegant cabana drapes for privacy. Personalized food and beverage service is also included, of course. The cabanas are for Bungalow and Villa guests exclusively and can be reserved through their Concierge at 800.820.6800.
St. Regis Monarch Beach
If you thought the palatial pool paradise at the St. Regis couldn’t get any better at the exquisite Forbes Five-Star, AAA Five-Diamond awarded resort, it does with a private cabana. The St. Regis Monarch Beach has eight luxury cabanas for your leisure. Each offers seclusion, outstanding food and bar service (you’ll love the gourmet foodie fruit bowl) and a flat-screen TV. The resort features three swimming pools, including the Main Pool, the more family-oriented Lagoon Pool and the three-lane lap pool located at the Spa Gaucin fitness center. The Main pool is heated to 82 degrees with underwater music and an outdoor Jacuzzi is available. Cabanas start at $300 per day.
Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa
Pool cabanas inside the Disneyland Resort? Indeed. It’s really wild, serene — and surreal — to be cabana-kickin’ it in your own glorious space while knowing there are crowds of thousands and thousands just outside. It’s a treat to relax poolside during the day, then hit the park late afternoon or evening. The private cabanas feature a flat-panel television, a breezy fan, a safe for your personal belongings, wireless Internet access and personalized Cast Member assistance. So pick your cabana, then pick your pool, as the Grand Californian has three: the peaceful Fountain Pool and outdoor hot tub, the Redwood Pool with water slide and the refreshing Mariposa pool and outdoor hot tub.
Debbie Lavdas is a Southern California writer and cabana enthusiast. She writes features, cover stories and columns at Bask Magazine, Laguna Beach Magazine and more. Keep up with her on Twitter @deblavdas and at DebbieintheOC.com.