Surf And Sand Hotel

4.5 out of 5 stars4.5 Stars

1555 South Coast Highway, Laguna Beach, California, 92651, United States

3 Reviews

Surf & Sand Resort
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Satisfaction Excellent
Very Good

Value Score Poor Value

Costs 34% more than similarly rated 4.5 star hotels

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Good For Couples
  • Families82
  • Couples88
  • Solo80
  • Business88
  • Rude and Dishonest Staff


    Due to some problems with our wedding, we were offered a complimentary room for 2 nights and a reduced rate after that. We accepted their offer and booked our 2-week stay.

    We checked into our 1st room, which was not facing the ocean. When one searches accommodations or for a reservation on the Surf and Sand website, all of the rooms that appear are all ocean-facing rooms. We had no idea the view would be of the parking lot and we would be kept awake by the sound of traffic.

    We knew that our upcoming complimentary nights were in an Oceanfront Towers King (OTK) room. We knew that we were offered the opportunity to stay in that room for the duration of our stay, if there was availability. And, we knew there was availability, based on reservation searches on the website and phone calls to the reservations desk.

    I contacted Pamela Hopkins (assistant to the VP of Hotel Operations), with whom I communicated prior to our stay, and I copied Joanna Bear (assistant manager). I shared with both our frustrations with the room type and the noise. I also shared with both my knowledge that the OTK rooms were available. I asked if we would be able to, as we were originally offered, stay in our OTK room for the duration of our stay, since it was available. My first email went ignored; after my 2nd email, I received a reply from Pam saying she would look into it on the morning of July 30.

    I continued to check the availability of rooms online. Through the evening of July 29, when I searched for availability from August 1-August 7, four different oceanfront room types showed up. On the night of July 29, we decided to stop at the front desk, to inquire about availability, and we were told that rooms were still available and it should not be a problem. Lisa Silva, manager, overheard our conversation and immediately told us that no rooms were available. How frustrating that a manager would lie to us about availability, when it was clear rooms were available. That was our first indication that, while rooms were available, they were not going to be available to us.

    Oddly enough, after our conversation with Lisa and our dinner that evening, we came back to our room, and I decided to check availability once more. At this point, no more than a couple hours after I just heard and saw multiple rooms were available, suddenly, the online reservation system indicated that only Towers Double Queen and Seaview rooms were available. I thought it an odd coincidence, so I asked a friend of mine to call reservations the next morning, the morning of July 30, before we stopped down to speak to someone about the room extension, and ask for room availability. My friend spoke with Heather. After being asked four times to share her name (I am guessing to check that her name was not my name, so she could speak honestly), Heather checked availability for the same dates I had been requesting, and she shared with my friend that an Oceanfront Towers King room was available. My friend then asked if more than one of those rooms was available, in case other friends wanted to join her, and Heather told her YES; Heather then asked if my friend wanted to book or place a hold on the room, and my friend kindly declined and then shared this information about availability with me.

    A mere fifteen minutes later, my husband went down to the front desk to inquire about staying in our Oceanfront Towers room beyond our complimentary two night stay. He spoke with Tami, who shared with him that NO Oceanfront Towers rooms were available. When he asked her why Heather would tell someone who called for a reservation for an Oceanfront Towers room fifteen minutes prior that multiple rooms were available if they were not available, she had no explanation. You might be thinking what I am thinking; that Heather was telling the truth (multiple Oceanfront Towers rooms were, indeed available) and Tami was lying to my husband (saying that NO Oceanfront Towers rooms were available). I am not sure why the staff would be dishonest or would choose to not be accommodating, but I find it extremely disheartening.

    Tami told my husband that she would be speaking with Pam later that day to see if they might be able to offer a Seaview room to us. She said that one room was available for all but one day for August 1-7, and she and Pam were going to see what they could do. Interestingly enough, a Seaview room came up on the online reservations system without trouble or restrictions for the entire August 1-7 range, and that is without anyone needing to speak to Pam or anyone else at the Resort for that matter. By end of day, we still had not heard from Tami, so we followed up with a phone call and were told that once we checked out of the Oceanfront Towers King room on August 1, we could check into a Seaview room for the duration of our stay.

    August 1 came, and we received a phone call from Elaine from the front desk. She wanted to make sure knew we were checking out of the Oceanfront Towers King room that day. A couple of hours later, we received another phone call from a member of the front desk staff, telling us our Seaview room was available. The front desk manager gave us our key with a smug smile and said, it is on the first floor. Well, having spent a week at the Resort already, we understood that the first floor Seaview rooms had very little view of the ocean (due to the solid wall on the patio) and were perhaps the loudest because of its location directly next to the pool and Splashes. I suspect her smugness can be attributed to the fact that she knew the same to be true about the room as what I already realized.

    Then, as if these problems were not enough, on the morning of our checkout, we noticed that the two nights that were supposed to be complimentary (July 30 and July 31) were charged to us and that we also had a charge for the Honor Bar, which we did not use. We went down to the front desk and again met with Lisa. We shared with her that the room was supposed to be complimentary for the two nights, and she told us there was nothing in her notes to indicate that it was supposed to be, so she was going to charge us for the nights and then IF she found out that it was, indeed, supposed to be complimentary, she would issue a refund. At this point, my husband said, the complimentary nights were the whole reason behind being here; to which she sarcastically replied, if they were the whole reason for being here, then why is it not in the notes?; We were appalled! I then indicated that I had email confirmation from Pam, and my husband asked if she wanted to see it, thinking that this front desk staff member (a manager with a business cared with the title of concierge?) would not expect a guest who is packed and about to leave to catch a flight to pull out the laptop, find the emails and PROVE that the complimentary nights were supposed to be complimentary. She raised her voice and said, Absolutely, I would! We were enraged! I had to unpack part of my bag to locate my laptop, boot it up, open my email and search for the emails from Nick and from Pam to prove to this woman that the room was supposed to be complimentary and we should not be charged for any reason. Can you fathom this situation?

    When we shared our feedback with the president of JC Resorts (Paul Reed) and the VP of Hotel Operations (Blaise Bartell), we received a reply, through an assistant (Pam Hopkins), after telling her that I was going to post the feedback online. The letter was justification for all of the above rather than a sincere apology. We were not contacted directly, and we were told that if we wanted to speak with management directly, we should call a phone number provided. We did not hear from the president of JC Resorts at all.

    Bottom line: try the Montage, St. Regis or the Ritz, but stay away from Surf and Sand.

  • davequ's Profile Photo

    High end, right on the beach


    Here's a good place to stay in Laguna Beach if you don't mind spending more than a few bucks.

    Luxury all the way. Check out the website below.

    Unique Quality: Multi-star, high-end resort. Decks on / above the beach, spa, the works.

    This is where you go in Laguna Beach to spend some cash and be pampered.

    Directions: Like all good hotels, right on the coast highway with back facing/on the beach.

  • Erin74's Profile Photo

    Surf & Sand: An upscale option in Laguna Beach


    The Surf & Sand is a very elegant resort, perched right above the beach along Pacific Coast Highway. It's very convenient to downtown Laguna Beach-- just a short cab ride or nice walk away from all the main shops and restaurants. The Surf & Sand also has an amazing beach right in front of the hotel. You can walk out onto the sand from several points at the hotel. At night, they light up the beach a bit (very romantic!) and people like to sit out there and listen to the waves crash in semi-darkness.

    Unique Quality: One of my favorite things about the Surf & Sand is its ocean-side bar/restaurant, "Splashes." This is my favorite place to have a sunset cocktail in Laguna Beach. It's very romantic and the ambience can't be beat. There are often weddings taking place at the Surf & Sand. If you want to get married in Laguna Beach, this is a great place to do it!

    There is a great pool here, right next to the ocean. The rooms are large and well-decorated. I believe that they all have ocean views, but if I'm wrong on that, be sure you request one with an ocean view.

More about Surf And Sand Hotel

A wonderful place right on the sea

by TripAdvisor Member NYCBeachBoy

We just returned from a long weekend at the Surf and Sand. I must say that the location directly on the beach is spectacular. And I for one could spend the rest of my days happily going to sleep to and waking up to the sounds of the surf outside every window...(there's a review here that cannot be for this hotel because every single room faces the ocean). But obviously the surf sound is not for everyone becuase every room comes equipped with earplugs! We had a king bed room overlooking the pool. The first night there were some revellers in the pretty jacuzzi whose voices travelled up. There are dozens of rooms with the ocean and without the pool view if this proves a problem to you. Our room was comfortable, the bed very much so. To my mind, the place could be spiffed up a bit in terms of the furniture. Not that there's anything wrong with it but it is beach casual. And they are constantly sweeping and wetting down and generally taking very good care of the place. But as anyone with proeprty near the sea knows, it's a constant struggle. There had been a huge storm there within a week of our arrival and the beach showed the erosion that had taken place. And yes, there are baclonies that need attention. But all that being said, I would recommend this place in a heartbeat.

The reason for our stay was that my son was married there this weekend. My daughter-in-law chose a suite for her quiet wedding. It was perfection, directly overlooking the Pacific and they were married at sunset on the terrace. There were three rooms so we used one for the ceremony and later for dancing, one as a sitting room (with working fireplace) and finally their bedroom with a beautiful big jacuzzi in the bathroom.

The staff of this hotel could not have been more helpful. They set up chairs for the 20 guests and took them down while we were at dinner. The housekeeping staff, the front desk, the bellmen, the room service waiters-- everybody was so helpful, obliging and quick to hop to. There are a number of options in the area for weddings by the sea --the Ritz, Montage, The St. Regis-- but the casual atmosphere of the Surf and Sand-- to say nothing of the cost differential --made this an ideal choice for this beautiful wedding. We had our wedding dinner for 20 at a long table set out on a terrace just outside Splashes Restaurant. It was perfect and even though it was October 31st, the weather cooperated completely and the heat lamps worked perfectly. Amazingly, the hotel let us order off the regular menu-- quite a feat for a crowd this size. And I was able to arrange to have 'ladie's menus' so no guest felt obliged to order chicken. The food was very good, the quality excellent and the check was well within reason for what was a really nice dinner.

I would hope to go back to the Surf and Sand and think that anyone looking for amazing sea views and quality service--without the sticker shock of its competition--would be very happy there.

Two Thumbs Down

by A TripAdvisor Member

This hotel doesn't come close to four-star, Preferred Hotel quality. I booked a room at a rate that was about half the regular price based on a special I saw on a discounter's website and was really excited about that. Trouble is, we had workers on scaffolding right outside our window both days of our stay. Not only did their scaffolding block some of the beautiful view, but it woke my three-year-old up in the morning, and the pounding and drilling made it impossible to take a nap. When I called to complain about this the first day of our two-day stay, I was assured the workers would be gone by 2 pm. They actually worked until 5. Worse still, I was told they'd be gone the next morning (Christmas Eve, so it made sense). We were offered another room, but I thought - we don't need it - they won't be working tomorrow. Wrong - the workers were at our window again by 8 am Christmas Eve! I complained bitterly and was able to take another $100 off our stay. I was told I'd be sent a gift certificate we could use to give the hotel another chance - I'm still waiting for it.

The construction wasn't the only problem. The showers were very difficult to manipulate - a mixed bag as to whether you could get hot water out of them consistently. Our phone didn't work, as I've seen others post here. We were out of the room for 5 hours the first morning, but no housekeeping came - we had to call the front desk to request a cleaning when nobody showed by 3 pm. When we used one of the double sinks in the room, the other one backed up with some kind of green and sulfur-smelling stuff.

The plus side? An amazing view, private beach, and marvelously well-heated pool - like bathwater. But I think my comment to the manager the morning of our departure said it best - I feel like we were treated like third-class guests in a third-class room. I was also embarrased to have pitched this deal to my family with such excitement, only to have the room be of sub-standard quality.

Suggest you make other Arrangements

by TripAdvisor Member kph

Usually I will look at the ---- site and if the hotel is listed then I know "it's up to scratch". Not this time! I found a deal on the Surf and Sand and decided it was worth the risk. Big mistake!

The hotel must have been a "beaut" in it's day but sadly that day had come and gone. Perhaps if you are splurging for the best room in the house you'll be satisfied but we stayed in a very average room. We were not in the Tower but instead overlooking the pool and ocean on a low floor, although the view was uncompromised. However, the room felt musty as if it had been flooded not long before our arrival, the decor was fine, but, overall the service poor, room was noisy (pool doesn't close so hope no all night parties are going on, as was the case during our stay) and generally, we were very disappointed. I wish we had spent extra and booked into the Monarch, Ritz, Montage or even the Marriott.

Location is good and easy walk to town but any pluses were easily negated by the hotels strong need for renovation... even paint would be a step in the right direction. Finally, of our three night stay we paid a cancellation fee and left a day early. I must stress that we have never done that before. Our standards are not typically those of a Ritz or 4Seasons, we like Marriott, Westin, Hyatt, etc. The S&S just did not meet that standard.

I rated it as "OK but problems." When we travel, the precious days we can get away from the office, I don't want just OK... I want awesome, great, special, cool, etc. 'OK' and 'Fine' just don't cut it!

We had a great time

by A TripAdvisor Member

Granted, we stayed in a Tower room on a high floor, at $330/night. However, there was a promotion that gave you $100 credit, so we had a great dinner at the restaurant as well. Our room was very nice, clean, spacious, and had a 180 degree view of the ocean - it was really beautiful! The hotel itself could be nicer, but we mainly walked around town (it's kind of far to walk there, so we just drove). The pool area is great, but the spa is atrocious, it's just a little room with a tiny steam room and a jacuzzi (that wasn't working). I rated it "above average" because we got wonderful service and because the room itself was excellent. Our stay was a very relaxing experience, but I would really advise to stay in a Tower room.

We didn't want to leave!

by TripAdvisor Member thefriesfamily6

My husband and I stayed at the Surf and Sand this weekend for our anniversary. From the moment we arrived the staff was friendly and professional, and no matter where you were in the hotel the service was impeccable. The evening started with a complimentary welcome cocktail party with appetizer and drinks. This hotel is pretty old but very well maintained. There is a neat little gift shop in the hotel with anything you could possibly need and many high quality gifts. The city of Laguna Beach is known for its quaint and relaxing but old atmosphere. This town has much personality and there is something for everyone. This hotel was no exception. Our room faced the ocean over the pool with a view of the waves hitting the beach. There was not a lot of noise from the pool. The waves from the ocean drowned out any noise that could have been disturbing. Our room was equipped with bathrobes, a fairly comfortable king size bed, in room internet connection and a stereo and a Jacuzzi tub. The balcony had lounge chairs and a table and it was extremely relaxing to sit and watch the ocean. At night we left the sliding glass doors open so we could hear the waves crashing on the sand. Turn down service was offered to each guest that did not have a do not disturb sign on the door! We had ours out so we missed this opportunity. As we woke in the morning we looked out our windows and low and behold there were dolphins swimming outside our windows! I know it sounds unreal but it was actually happening! There were groups of 3-4 dolphins together no more than 25 feet from the shoreline. It was amazing and what a perfect way to end our stay. This quick overnight was refreshing and relaxing and I could not have asked for a more wonderful getaway. Although we did not bring our children this would have been wonderful for them as well. As we were leaving the valet gave us two ice cold botted waters for the road. Just another example of the attention to detail and excelent customer service provided by this hotel. We plan on returning for years to come!

Not worth the Price!

by TripAdvisor Member ninaangelique

On our one year wedding anniversary my husband surprised me with an ocean front room. I normally would love it, but the waves were deafening! So much that they put ear plugs by your bedside. the restaurant was mediocre, the decor was dated and the place was not clean! We spent over $300 for a Sunday night stay! I have lived in Laguna Beach and know the area, always wanted to stay there, but was terribly disappointed.

How badly do you want to be ocean side in Laguna?

by TripAdvisor Member tracyvision

After many Vegas vacations, we wanted the beach experience...sitting under a cabana on the beach, reading books, having people fetch us drinks with umbrellas in them, romantic walks on the beach, sleeping to the sound of the ocean. Considering all our options driving distance from Vegas, and after much research, we picked the Surf and Sand.

The warm welcome of the staff upon our arrival was wonderful, very "Ritz Carlton"-esque. And it was pretty much as anticipated: older (a little "pieced together") but very well maintained, clean, and *right* on the beach. I was disappointed there was no hotel service actually ON the beach like there is in South Beach Florida (apparently it's against the law to have alcohol on the beach itself). The hotel pool was a disappointment too - it's small and rather plain. And while we saw plenty of staff passing *through* the pool area, we didn't see any wait staff actually serving the pool area. To be fair, however, there were only 2 adults and one kid at the pool - hardly worth attentive wait staff. So already I wasn't going to get exactly the beach experience I wanted, but I was willing to keep an open mind...

There are some comments on this site about the place being outdated, but that is no longer the case. There was not a hint of age to anything in the room. The bathroom in our room was clearly new, with stone counter tops, designer fixtures, and a newly tiled floor and shower. The Aveda products were a nice touch. Not the most beautiful room I've ever stayed in but it was perfectly fine. And we knew we were paying for the view, which we certainly got.

Because it was a special occasion, we popped for one of the best room in the hotel, an ocean front, Tower, corner room. $480 a night (not that much more expensive than the other rooms in the Tower). They initially had us on the top floor, but the top floor has a step-out balcony only, and they happily moved us one floor down. The room was generously sized, with plenty of space for a sitting area. Our corner room afforded us beautiful views in both directions. The balcony was a little scary initially due to the low railings, and the little bit of a slope, but once we got used to it it was a great spot to soak in the Pacific.

We had a late lunch as well as dinner at Splashes, the onsite restaurant, which is clearly very popular. Because the restaurant was full for dinner, we ended up dining in the bar downstairs, but it was a wonderful atmosphere, beautifully lit, with the waves crashing just outside the open windows. Our server, Roberto, was friendly and attentive, without being obtrusive. And the wine and the food were very good (although not outstanding). The romantic after dinner walk wasn't a possibility since the tide was in and the waves were crashing right outside the window, but the atmosphere was lovely nonetheless.

Waking up to the sound of the waves was wonderful and after a walk on the beach we enjoyed breakfast at Splashes. Fresh farmer's market berries. Yummy. That's when my husband's tooth flared up and it was clear that instead of enjoying the beach we were going to be driving home to our dentist! On our way out, we rescheduled the rest of our trip for the following week.

That's when we saw the bill. One night's lodging, lunch, dinner, and breakfast were almost $1000. Reality Check! They even dinged us $22 for valet parking (maybe I've lived in Vegas too long, but for $480 a night I don't even get parking?). This was a special occasion, we were quite willing to spend some cash to have a special trip, in fact the high price of the room was one of the selling points of the hotel - it MUST be great for that price, right? And we did get some of the beach experience we were looking for, sleeping to the sound of the ocean was great. But during our drive home (admittedly one of us had quite the tooth ache) we decided that while there was nothing to complain about, it just wasn't worth the money. For almost $500 a night, I expect to be WOWED and I just wasn't. Bottom line, you're paying for the view, and we decided the view wasn't worth it.

So one root canal later, we've cancelled our reservations at the Surf and Sand and instead we're heading out to the Ritz at Lake Las Vegas. No ocean to listen to, but clearly that's not enough for us. I can have the ultra luxury "sitting under a cabana, reading my book, pool side Evian spritzing, going for romantic walks, enjoying great food" experience without going to the Pacific ocean. So instead of hoping for the the Ritz Carlton experience we're taking no chances and opting for the nearest Ritz Carlton!


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 Surf And Sand Hotel

We've found that other people looking for this hotel also know it by these names:

Surf Sand Hotel
Surf And Sand Resort
The Surf And Sand Hotel Laguna Beach

Address: 1555 South Coast Highway, Laguna Beach, California, 92651, United States