Hotel Spotlight

Laguna and the Pacific Meet at the Edge

by California Chaney
Exterior Pacific Edge Hotel's private access to Sleepy Hollow Beach. All photos courtesy of Pacific Edge Hotel.

Pacific Edge Hotel
Laguna Beach, California
Beach Chic $$

Nestled on a private stretch of Sleepy Hollow Beach, Pacific Edge Hotel has long attracted families and groups wanting a beachfront destination that can entertain all ages for long stretches at a time. Built in 1973, the property is the kind of place where the guests who came as children now return with their own families. In its 48 years, the hotel made from nine connected beachfront buildings has gone through several owners and many revamps, but the latest renovation was the biggest, and most expensive yet. Pacific Edge re-opened this summer after a multi million-dollar overhaul that saw 25 new rooms (bringing the total to 156) and a more cohesive lobby lounge design with a cafe and indoor and outdoor seating. The two on-site restaurants, both overlooking the Laguna coastline, also got a face lift and now have modern beach interiors to go with the updated menus and sundowner cocktails. While so much is new, one thing hasn't changed: the family-friendly charm and fun-in-the sun attitude that has been attracting beachgoers for decades.

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At a Glance

The Vibe: A long beloved SoCal beachfront getaway after a contemporary revamp.

Standout Detail: The key card unlocks so much more than a hotel room: It grants guests discounts at nearby restaurants and local businesses.

This Place Is Perfect For: Couples and families who want to maximize their beach time, yet still have close access to downtown Laguna's boardwalk restaurants, art galleries, and coastline outlooks.

Rooms: Most of the 156 rooms have beachfront views or direct access to the sand. Newly renovated oceanfront rooms in the Reef Tower also include an upgrade in style, with light and airy furnishings and modern beach design — rattan furniture and reclaimed wood bed frames. After a one-million-dollar renovation, the Pacific Suite, located on the upper floor of a former beach house, has a reimagined master suite and second bedroom, each with a private bathroom and fireplace. A number of one- or two-bedroom apartments, ideal for long-term stays, have a kitchenette, living, and dining areas.

On Site: Two heated pools and Jacuzzi, a poolside lounge with pool table and games, and five beachfront bungalows with their own living room, private bathroom, and elevated deck over the sand. Guests receive access to the Art of Fitness gym two blocks away. The Laguna Beach Trolley makes frequent stops between the hotel and points around town.&

Food + Drink: The hotel has two beach-front restaurants. The Deck serves an all-day menu of seafood towers, tacos, and beach burgers. Driftwood Kitchen is an upscale dinner spot with a large balcony and indoor dining room with floor-to-ceiling windows. Snag a table just before golden hour, as the sunset draws guests and locals alike for sundowner cocktails.

Seafood platter at The Deck.
Sunset dinner at Driftwood Kitchen.

What to Do Nearby

Located between Corona del Mar and Laguna Beach, Crystal Cove reveals shimmering tide pools, perfect beginner rolling waves, and majestic wooden canyons and ridges with views of the Pacific. Nearby Heisler Park is a picturesque lookout with access to several beaches along the shore. Pageant of the Masters at nearby Festival of Arts is a 90-minute stage show in a large outdoor amphitheater where entertainers pose as famous artwork, accompanied by a live orchestra. The Laguna staple took a break during the pandemic but is now back in full swing with new, surprise performances, which keeps frequent attendees coming back.

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