It’s not everyday that you climb up onto a massage table, naked, with only a strategically placed hand towel covering parts of yourself that few other people should see.

It’s also not everyday that you stick out your tongue, have your pulse read, and receive a wealth of targeted health advice from a woman you’ve just met — all while sitting in a living room, a dog dozes at your feet, and dreamy assistants drift in and out from the other room.

There weren’t any white lab coats. No florescent overhead lighting. I heard a faint breeze instead of an intercom buzzer. As someone who had studied and prepared for a medical career for almost twelve years, I was having a hard time reconciling my environment. Just what exactly was Ayurvedic medicine? What was I about to experience?

In need of a vacation? Or how about just a mental break? While many might be quick to associate Laguna Beach with MTV’s reality (or was it scripted … ) show of the same name, in actual reality Laguna Beach is a shorefront California gem that’s sure to top any explorer’s short list.

It’s a town worthy of everything from a road-trip pitstop to a week-long getaway, and recently Darling had the opportunity to spend a few days south of LA discovering Laguna’s Surf & Sand Resort, one of the few hotels in the entire state that’s technically situated right on the beach. 

So, how to know if this place is for you?