A trip to Orange County is not complete without paying a visit to one of the most sought after shopping destinations in the world, South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa.
While it’s rare that I go to a mall and spend time indoors when I am on a vacation, it was different this time around during our visit to Orange County… Not only did I go to the mall once, but several times during our time in Costa Mesa, because, South Coast Plaza is unlike any other mall that I have ever visited during my travels, here’s why…
To begin with, South Coast Plaza (SCP) feels like walking on Rodeo Drive, except, this one is indoors. With more than 250 stores and 30 restaurants, this premiere shopping destination has one of the largest concentration of high-fashion retailers in the world, alongside other affordable shops, fine dining options, and locally owned stores. We were told that sometimes people travel to Costa Mesa exclusively to shop at SCP, and I am not surprised.
SCP is located minutes from many popular attractions in Orange County and is adjacent to the famous Segerstrom Center for the Arts and the Orange County Museum of Art. With its proximity to beaches and John Wayne Airport, customized concierge services, upscale amenities and unparalleled collection of diverse retailers, SCP has something for every budget and it is a true shopping mecca!
And not to forget that us women also have a variety of spas and salon services to choose from to make our shopping day complete.
SCP was just a 5 mins walk from the Westin Hotel we stayed at in Costa Mesa which made it easier for me to pay several visits to the mall and get my retail therapy fix among other things…
Below are a few highlights:
ACCESS VIP LOUNGE: South Coast Plaza offers an exclusive Access Lounge to Amex Platinum or Black card holders, or if you are an elite shopper, you can get a day pass from one of the stores at SCP.
The lounge is a rather intimate and private setting with chic interiors. They have a few private rooms to hold meetings or for families and friends, a separate nursery area, a zen room, and a common lounge area. They offer complimentary alcoholic drinks and beverages, plus snacks such as nuts and chips. They also have free WiFi.
So this is exactly where you want to be after a long day of shopping or is very well a place to take a break and recharge during your shopping spree.
JO MALONE: Some me time and pampering sesh done right at Jo Malone… their tailored scented experience at the tasting bar was the perfect beginning to my vacation in SoCal. When I walked into the store I was welcomed with drinks and sweet treats by the extremely knowledgeable and friendly staff member, Dana. She gave me a walkthrough of the expansive range of scents – a huge fragrance aficionado that I am, I absolutely loved smelling each one of them and instantly fell in love.
I then got to enjoy a very relaxing hand and arm massage. She also gave me some samples of Jo Malone signature fragrances (from their new Spring Collection that I got to test firsthand, it still hadn’t launched at that time).
A Jo Malone experience is surely a unique, fun, and thoughtful gift that you can give to yourself or your loved ones. They said people include these pampering sessions as part of birthday party experiences too. So next time you are looking for a unique gift, you know where to find one.
FRESH BEAUTY: Another day and another pampering sesh, yes, please! This time it was getting a mini facial at Fresh Beauty. I’ve always been a fan of Fresh and love their Soy Cleanser and Lotus Youth Preserve Rescue Mask, but hadn’t really tried much else from them, so this was my chance to learn more about their other products and test them out.
Mariana was absolutely amazing and sweet. She offered me a completely tailored experience. First, we discussed my skin problems and then she walked me through all the products that she would use for my facial. And explained to me how they would work with each other in addressing my skin concerns and how I could incorporate them into my daily skincare regimen.
I went to get my facial with my baby boy as the hubs had to tend to some work calls at that time (yes, on vacation) and they didn’t mind all the toddler tantrums or the mess he created as I got pampered while sipping on some rosē at 10 am in the morning (all goes when you are on vacay, right!? ;)). I walked out of the store all smiles from an awesome experience and glowing skin.
KID FRIENDLY ACTIVITIES: After my little boy sat through mama’s pampering sesh, which I am sure was absolutely boring to him (especially being constrained in his stroller), I wanted to make up for it. So it was time for us to do something inside the mall that he would love.
And I didn’t have to look too far, right outside Fresh Beauty is a Carousel Court and we both enjoyed him riding the bunnies (Easter special) and going up and down and round and round, again and again, and again.
We then ran around inside the mall, more like he was running and I was trying to stop him, until he finally was ok to sit quietly in his stroller as I walked into some kids stores to pick up a few toys and clothes for him. And that was our little mommy and baby time.
SEASONAL ACTIVITIES: These one-of-a-kind events that are offered year-round based on the time of the year makes shopping at SCP even more fun. Currently, they have a spring theme on display combined with springtime crafts.
The Easter Bunny Garden is a colorful wonderland in the Carousel Court. It is decorated with life-size cherry blossom trees, a mix of real and lifelike flowers, figures of friendly animals and Easter eggs. Kids can also get their photos taken with the Easter Bunny.
SCP also features two springtime crafts areas that offer a delightful variety of children’s springtime art activities and crafts.
So to sum up, spending time at South Coast Plaza, shopping, dining or pampering yourself, is nonetheless, an extravagant affair for sure!