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This Is How The Rich And Famous Do Orange County

This Is How The Rich And Famous Do Orange County

I raise my hand freely and admit that one of my favourite pastimes is ranking each of the Real Housewives franchises from my most to least favourite.

Call it my form of meditation.

On any given day and depending on the story lines, first place will oscillate between Beverly Hills and Orange County. All bitchiness aside (and there’s so much to push aside), it’s the glitz, the glamour, and those stately manors. I live the high life vicariously through them.

Except for three days this year when I actually did get a taste of what life might be like if I were a rich and famous Housewife in Orange County, thanks to Air New Zealand and Visit California.

I saw things. I did things. I ate and drank things that have made it hard for me to go back to the life of a mere, single, freelance-wage earning mortal.

Allow me now to take you on a voyeuristic journey of my experience – I’ll do my best to make it feel like you’re right here with me.

Stay: Monarch Beach Resort, Dana Point

Pack a champagne lunch ladies – you’ll need it to get from one end of this expansive AAA five diamond resort and spa to the other. If you don’t feel like walking, it’s all good – I’ll throw a fantastic bottle of red in my (Bally) bag and we’ll just gossip by the fire pit on your balcony. The balcony of your gorgeous, marble-adorned suite.

The beds are as stately as the grounds at Monarch Beach Resort.
The beds are as stately as the grounds at Monarch Beach Resort.

We could probably spend an entire week here and not get bored. There’s a packed timetable of gym classes that includes drumming and floating meditation. But why would we want to DO anything, when there’s stunning views to be had from both the main bar and poolside. That was a rhetorical question.

Dine: Raya, The Ritz Carlton, Dana Point

They switch up the beautiful floral arrangements in the lobby of this Ritz Carlton every three days– but that’s not why we’re dining at Raya. We’re here because this could be the most glam dining experience one can have in Orange County.

The view from the Ritz Carlton restaurant.
The view from the Ritz Carlton restaurant.

Not only is the food on point, but you have expansive views of the ocean and a stunning sunset. We’re going to want to dress to impress if we’re here, my lovelies. Those of us who are unattached could snare ourselves the next Terry Dubrow if we play our cards right.

The rich and famous burn their calories to ocean views while staying at the Ritz Carlton in Dana Point.
The rich and famous burn their calories to ocean views while staying at the Ritz Carlton in Dana Point.

And if we need to work off some calories, we can always run down a level, throw off our Louboutins and jump on a treadmill in the gym – just watch your head with those chandeliers.

Shop: South Coast Plaza, Costa Mesa

Close your eyes and let me whisper sweet nothings into your ear: South Coast Plaza has the largest enclosed shopping centre on the west coast and has the highest concentration of luxury brands in one location of any shopping destination in the US.

Die and go to heaven? I did.

It gets better – many labels sell one-off and limited edition pieces throughout the centre’s stores. Gucci celebrated the plaza’s 50th anniversary by dropping a limited edition bag.

Access is Monarch Beach Resort VIP styling suite.
Access is Monarch Beach Resort VIP styling suite.

We’re not going to shop like a regular pleb. Gosh no. Because we’re staying at Monarch Beach Resort, we have access to ACCESS, the centre’s VIP styling suite. We’ll hydrate here with a glass of champs before warming up our hand-to-purse moves at The Webster (breathe in that beautiful signature scent of orange blossom). I expect we’ll have really hit our stride by the time we land at Roberto Cavalli, Fendi and Charlotte Olympia.

These one of a kind Roberto Cavalli pieces live at South Coast Plaza. You might recall Bella Hadid recently in the gold number, centre, and Naomi Campbell in the piece to the left.
These one of a kind Roberto Cavalli pieces live at South Coast Plaza. You might recall Bella Hadid recently in the gold number, centre, and Naomi Campbell in the piece to the left.

We’ll have worked up quite an appetite, so it’s off to AnQi noodle bar for lunch. The floor here turns into a runway for fashion shows. It’s very fitting.

Fly: Air New Zealand (Business Premier, of course)

Flying Air New Zealand Business Premier, we’re in for quite the luxurious experience. Firstly, the kiwis are renowned for their food and wine, and they stay true to form on their airline. I’m going the hotcakes for breakfast, the char-sui duck for dinner, and I’ll fit a cheese platter in there somewhere accompanied by some of New Zealand’s finest wines.

A single instead of two seater lay out means a more roomy sleep in Air New Zealand’s Business Premier cabin.
A single instead of two seater lay out means a more roomy sleep in Air New Zealand’s Business Premier cabin.

All Australian passengers travelling to Air New Zealand’s North American destinations in Vancouver, Honolulu, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Houston (and Buenos Aires in Argentina) will transit through Auckland.

But let’s face it – flying business class long haul is really all about the bed. In the Business Premier cabin, a 22inch wide leather armchair converts to a fully lie flat 6’7.5″ bed – one of the longest in the sky. A recent refresh means we’ve now get a thicker mattress, a fluffy duvet and full size pillows.

Get your beauty sleep, girls – we’ve got a big trip ahead of us!

Find more inspiration for your next holiday with:

Hip And Historical – Amansara’s Cambodian Royal Hideaway

Best Getaways To Escape The Winter Chill

Written by Ilona Marchetta

Ilona Marchetta is an expert in interiors and sustainable living.
She has a deep appreciation for beautifully curated spaces, and is completing a Statement of Attainment in Interior Styling through Sydney Design School. Ilona is passionate about artisan pieces, sustainable living, and the impact of design on mood and experience. She holds a degree in Arts / Communication and has worked in media and corporate relations for more than 15 years, now with a focus on human behaviour as a change manager.

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