California is one of the few places where business planners can find a resort to fit their needs just about any time of the year. From the technology companies in Silicon Valley to the movie industry in Southern California, local businesses have the luxury of knowing they don't have to travel very far to find a first-class golf resort. For obvious reasons, the Pebble Beach resorts get the nod as the place to go for golf-happy executives: The Pebble Beach Golf Links is No. 1 in Golf Digest's ranking of America's 100 Greatest Golf Courses. But the weather in Southern California is near perfect: That's one of the reasons four of the five California resorts that made the Top 18 list are from this region. Our panel of meeting planners also recommended several others, including La Costa Resort & Spa in Carlsbad, Westin Mission Hills Resort in the Palm Springs area, and Four Seasons Resort Aviara, North San Diego.
HILTON LA JOLLA TORREY PINES (LA JOLLA): There is talk of a U.S. Open coming to this 36-hole, cliffside golf facility just north of San Diego. But even if it doesn't play host to golf's national championship, Torrey Pines' reputation as a must-play destination has long since been secured. Even better, the golf courses and hotel recently underwent major renovations. The resort also has plenty of activities besides golf, including a spa and nearby shopping in the towns of La Jolla and Del Mar. Or you can always hike down to the beach and watch the Pacific Ocean come crashing in. It's the perfect way to relax after a long meeting.
LA QUINTA RESORT & CLUB (LA QUINTA): The Palm Springs-area resort describes itself as a "complete meeting and incentive destination," and that's tough to debate. With five golf courses, 66,000 square feet of meeting space, and nearly every kind of amenity you could hope for (except a beach)--plus a scheduled $6 million room renovation, La Quinta was highly recommended by several meeting planners. Set against the San Jacinto Mountains, La Quinta has the look of a classic Hollywood resort. You almost expect Clark Gable or Cary Grant to be sitting in the lounge chair next to you.
MARRIOTT'S DESERT SPRINGS RESORT & SPA (PALM DESERT): It's the largest resort in the Palm Springs area, with 884 rooms, and although it's out in the desert, there are 23 lakes and waterways on the property, creating the feel of an oasis. The two golf courses are ordinary by Pebble Beach standards, but plenty good as an escape when the meetings wrap up.
PEBBLE BEACH RESORTS (PEBBLE BEACH): The Pebble Beach Golf Links is not the only gem here. The resort-owned Spyglass Hill, Del Monte, and Spanish Bay courses complete an impressive set of options for golfers. There's something mystical about putting as the waves crash into the rocks along Carmel Bay. The Inn at Spanish Bay also has plenty of meeting space and is a quieter option than the bustling grounds of The Lodge at Pebble Beach, 10 minutes away on the famous 17 Mile Drive.
RITZ-CARLTON LAGUNA NIGUEL (DANA POINT): Of all the Ritz-Carlton properties nominated for their ability to play host to business meetings, Laguna Niguel has the best reputation. Lounging on a bluff high above the Pacific, one can easily get caught up in the awesome views and forget that the resort has received industry acclaim for its meeting facilities and service. The 18-hole Monarch Beach Golf Links is adjacent to the property, and other enticing courses such as Pelican Hill are just up the road.