Spa Montage, Laguna Beach

Spa Montage at the Montage Resort Laguna Beach in Southern California bills itself as a ‘resort spa’ but offers more for the wellness-minded than you’d expect to find at a typical resort.

The sprawling, terraced property with its manicured gardens is situated right on the beach of this popular tourist town about an hour’s drive north of Los Angeles. Located on the ground floor of the resort in its own wing, Spa Montage is large and spacious with 21 treatment rooms, full salon services, a private outdoor pool and terrace, a fitness studio and gym where you can work out while breathing in the fresh ocean air.

In the ladies’ lounge, there’s comfortable seating around a gas fireplace and, steps away, a Wet Area including a good-sized whirlpool with a stone wall fountain. and lounge chairs in a garden-like setting.


A dry sauna, a eucalyptus steam room and a small cold plunge complete the Wet Area.

The spa reception does double duty as a retail area with a variety of gift items, a collection of good quality resort apparel and beauty product lines. The plant-based Eminence and marine-based Spa Technologies are the spa’s two featured skin care lines.

Assistant spa director Michael Conte boasts that therapists at Spa Montage are regarded among the best in the industry. He says all therapists are ASTECC (American Spa Therapy Education and Certification Council) trained and accredited.

I only had time for one treatment, but I can tell you that my customized Swedish Massage with Ester was excellent. Such customization is one of the growing trends in the spa industry and Spa Montage has recently redesigned their spa menu to allow guests the opportunity to book a period of time – 30 minutes to 120 minutes – and select a category of treatment – for instance, Ocean Coast Therapies, Cleansing and Purifying, Touch Therapies and Facials.

Following a consultation with a therapist, individual treatments under each category are then customized based on the client’s desired results (i.e. relaxation, pain/stress management, detoxification) and body type.

The signature program – called Surrender – begins at 120 minutes and, Conte says, can be customized and ‘expanded to an entire week or more.’

But there’s more here for those pursuing ‘wellness’ than simple spa treatments, and that’s what gives Spa Montage a leg up on the average ‘resort spa’ category. ‘Montage is more about a way of life,’ says Conte. The Southern California resort has incorporated many of the elements of a ‘destination spa.’


Under the Wellness section of the Spa Montage menu, guests can book private sessions such as fitness training, nutrition consultation, life coaching and meditation. Plus there are regular wellness classes including Beach Boot Camp, daily yoga and the Thalassic (the term means “relating to the sea”) Beach Walk. Michael Conte, assistant spa director, says there are a total of 28 classes offered each week free to resort guests.

For those looking for an off-property fitness adventure, there are the maintained trails of Laguna Wildlife Park located about two and a half miles away and easily accessible by taxi or resort driver. Crystal Cove State Park is in nearby Newport Beach, and hiking and running maps are available at the concierge desk.

On the culinary side, I was impressed with the Studio Garden – a larger than expected herb, vegetable and fruit garden located adjacent to the resort’s signature restaurant – Studio – under the direction of Chef Craig Strong. Strong is passionate about eating locally and seasonally and is available for special-request cooking classes. The stone slab table tucked into a corner of the garden is the perfect setting for a cooking class.

Conte tells me that meals at the resort can also be tailored to specific guest needs such as gluten free or diabetic. There is a designated ‘spa menu’ for snacks and light meals, plus healthy food selections can be ordered from the hotel’s Mosaic Grill and served on the pool side terrace overlooking the ocean.

‘We put a lot of energy into the culture here, and to make a connection with our guests,’ says Conte. ‘We want to empower and educate people on how to live a more balanced life.’ More on Spa Montage & Montage Laguna Beach