We recently headed south from Los Angeles for a long weekend getaway in Newport Beach at the newly created Resort at Pelican Hill. It took just about an hour to arrive at this magnificent new retreat overlooking the Pacific. Our friends have a house in Laguna Beach and I always feel as if I am on the French Riviera when I look out from their home in the hills. I got that same feeling and more from the views at this amazing new oasis. Opened in November of last year, they have spared no expense nor have they missed an opportunity to make their guests feel welcome and pampered.
The resort is set on a 504-acre site with views from all the rooms. There are 128 villas and 204 bungalow suites all designed with comfort in mind. The villas range in space from about 2,000 to 4,000 square feet with expansive terraces, dining areas, one or two car garages, granite countertops, and a butler and 24-hour staff at your beck and call. HDTV’s, Bose audio systems, limestone fireplaces are just some of the wonderful attributes of the villas.
The bungalow suites range in size from about 800 to 2,400 square feet with fantastic appointments including ultra-soft linens, super-plush beds, tiny lights overhead so that you can read without waking your partner, Cuisinart coffee makers with built-in-grinders, cleverly hidden safes, flashlights in the drawers, cozy fireplaces, and large private terraces with incredible views. The robes in all the rooms are the softest robes I have ever worn. I have never come across a better or more quality robe at any resort I have visited!!!
There are shuttle busses for guests available 24-7. Simply dial the operator and a vehicle will be outside your area in minutes. You can take the busses from the bungalows to the spa – although it is a simple 5 minute walk. You might need a bus to go from the hotel to the golf club for a round of golf or a meal at the Pelican Grill. And, you can take a quick ride to Crystal Cove for a magnificent walk along the Pacific coastline for miles.
One of our favorite activities was to take advantage of the salt-water Coliseum pool. Perfectly round and 136 feet in diameter, it is the largest circular pool in the world. There are cabanas available which are like mini-suites with wet bars, Bose music systems, HDTV’s and curtains for privacy. While at the pool, we lunched on some wonderful salads and paninis. We also had a great breakfast and buffet brunch with splendid omelets, French toast, yogurt, and all types of fruits and breakfast meats.
As a change of pace, we marched upstairs to The Caffe and had an iced coffee and some of the homemade gelatos. Favorites included the pistachio and the salted caramel, which should not be missed!
One of our days was spent at the 23,000 square foot spa. We began by working out in the fitness area on the treadmills, each equipped with individual televisions, TV guide listings, sanitized headphones, towels, and bottles of water. We followed that with a course of the weight training machines. There is also a “Crystal Cove Fitness Walk” available daily as well as yoga, cardio, and several other lifestyle fitness classes. After we felt we had worked out and hopefully burned up a few calories we decided to indulge in the Spa facilities. Not a detail has been overlooked at this relaxing retreat. Don’t miss the Global Traditions herb, massage, and heat therapy, or the reflexology therapeutic massage. There is a sugar glow massage, thyme body buff, coastal renewal, and marine “wrapsody” as well as my personal favorite, a body gelato! You can have facials of all types, manicures, pedicures, warm paraffin hand or foot masques, and of course hairstyling.
Our favorite meal of the weekend was at Andrea, the elegant Italian restaurant in the main building. The chef relies on local and fresh farmersâ€™ market ingredients coupled with fine imports from Italy including a thoroughly satisfying burrata cheese that was more than memorable coupled with a touch of tomato and wild arugula. We also sampled a wonderful pureed onion soup with brilliant flavors and an extraordinary risotto finished off tableside in a hollowed-out wheel of Parmigiana Reggiano cheese. Our waiter was not only knowledgeable in the food, but in the wine pairings. The best part of dining at Andrea is to watch the sunset over the water while listening to the strains of classical guitar music. It is a romantic and awesome sight while sipping a Bellini or some wonderful wine from the huge cellar at Andrea and munching on the crispy homemade grissini breadsticks.
We also sampled the food at the Pelican Grill at the Pelican Hill Golf Club. We had a superb lunch on a cold and not so pretty day with hot tortilla soup and tuna burgers while watching the US Open on two huge nine feet by six feet HDTV’s. In the evening, we ate in a delightfully quiet room, with a cozy fireplace, views of the sunset, and the ultimate in service. I had a wonderfully juicy Kurobata pork chop, and tasted a perfectly cooked steak with sauteed spinach, and extra crispy onion rings. The tuna tartare is enough for a full meal but still light and very flavorful.
For golf aficionados the course is Nirvana. Pelican Hill Golf Club is one of the nations’ premier golf clubs with 36 holes designed by Tom Fazio set atop an ocean vista that is totally breathtaking. The attached 44,000-square foot clubhouse has luxurious locker rooms and lounges and all that you might need after enjoying a round of golf.
Our weekend took place during the “June gloom” weather in California but that didn’t dampen a single moment of our memorable and fantastic stay at this new and not-to-be missed resort.
22701 Pelican Hill Road South
Newport Coast, California 92657