I’m sitting in a brown wicker lounge chair, my feet propped up on a chaise, my sunglasses on, a glare coming off my computer screen. My balcony is eight stories up from the sand of Laguna Beach in California where groups of two, three, six, a dozen kids shriek in delight as they run toward the pounding waves, then rush away from them, trying to avoid getting wet. In the end, they’ll all be wet, a coat of sand between their toes and a layer of salt stuck to their hair. Their cheeks will have a rosy glow as they head toward the family cars or across the thoroughfare to their homes, towels held around their shoulders while moms gather up skim boards and flip flops and t-shirts.
I watch from my balcony, a glass of lemonade in my hand, my bare toes cool on the bare concrete. The sunshine heats my core, and I feel a smile growing across my lips. I’m not much of a beach girl, but this makes me happy. The scene playing out below me lifts any stress I brought into Laguna Beach. I feel light and unrestrained, like I’m holding a handful of yellow balloons.
When I checked into Surf & Sand Resort this afternoon, I did not expect to feel this way. A recent trip to Laguna Beach was grey and overcast, with a breeze that bit my skin. Obviously a resort can’t plan the weather, but this care-free atmosphere embodied in Surf and Sand makes it so easy to enjoy what nature freely provides.
Surf & Sand is one of only a handful of luxury properties along this portion of the Southern California coast. Upon being dropped off in valet, I was immediately greeted by several bellmen, who offered to carry my luggage and show me to my room (to which the answers were no and no; I like to carry my own stuff). Before heading up to my room, I asked concierge for a few recommendations for a light lunch, which they provided with a smile.
And when I finally made it upstairs to my room, I unlocked the door to find a white and beige, airy suite with a large balcony door and a spacious outdoor space where I’ve been fortunate enough to type away at my afternoon assignments. The waves continue to crash below me. The kids still haven’t tired of the waves. A couple of middle-aged men now jog along the coastline. A son and father toss a football back and forth. This. Now this is the kind of environment I love to find at a beachfront resort.
A note left on my bed during turndown service says “Our best asset is our loudest asset—the Pacific Ocean.” As I sink into my king-sized bed, I turn my head so I can hear the waves below. The roar crescendos into a crash, then fades away. Seconds later, the growing roar begins again. Crash! And fade. A set of complementary earplugs sits on the nightstand. I push them aside, turn off the light and immediately sink into sleep.
The beach begs me for a run. The tide is starting to come in, and I know I’m in a race against the clock to get on the sand before the longest running path is blocked by waves. I stop by the pool to drop off my flip flops—“They’re in good hands,” promises the bartender at Surf & Sand’s pool—and head down the steps to the beach below. The sand crunches beneath my toes as I walk toward the hard-packed shoreline. I find that delicate spot between too wet and too dry and take off for an afternoon jog. I dodge washed-up piles of kelp and kids shoveling holes to the other side of the world. A song plays through my ear buds, but I barely hear it as my feet touch the earth, no soles beneath them.
Most stand-up paddle boarders push their boards past the breaking waves and navigate the smoother water far from the shore. Three tall guys stand on their SUP boards surf style, balancing precariously where the energy of the wave is visible just beneath the surface. They paddle widely, pushing their bodies through the current and surfing in as the water breaks. If it can kiss the wave, it’s welcome to ride.
At the pool, I search for a lounge chair overlooking the beach. They’re claimed with towels or otherwise taken and I hunker down in one facing the pool in the shade. It’s slightly chilly here, and I pull my legs up for warmth as I read my book. It’s better for my body, I know, to be in the shade, but I long to soak up rays in the sun instead.
On my last morning at Surf & Sand Resort, I wake up almost an hour before my alarm goes off, which isn’t to say I’m up early. I will enjoy breakfast at the make-your-own-pancake mid-morning before I push off for the airport, and I have plans to enjoy a leisurely morning prior to that, but the speed at which the world moves here means that even an early rising isn’t that early at all. I push back the doors shading the light from the room and crack open the glass balcony doors so that the rush of the ocean can fill the room completely. Slowly, I pad around the room, folding clothes, placing items in my suitcase and stopping to watch the white-tipped waves pound into the sand below.
Learn more about Surf & Sand Resort on its website.
I was a hosted guest of Surf & Sand Resort, but all opinions are my own.