The Resort at Pelican Hill
If you haven't been planning a trip to Southern California, first, you need to change your plans. Second, you MUST stay here! The Resort at Pelican Hill in Newport is absolute perfection. It is both a Forbes Five-Star rated Spa and AAA Five Diamond resort. Poshbrood spent an amazing 24 hours here recently and are anticipating our return.
Pelican Hill is situated in the lush green hills between Newport and Laguna Beach. The resort is modeled after an Italian seaside village and the entrance to the main lobby resembles a beautiful piazza. The decor inside the main building is casually elegant. It houses a great room featuring live broadway entertainers on weekends, an italian cafe featuring seasonal gelato (made on site with local produce from the Irvine Ranch), a resort boutique, and Andrea, a Northern Italian restaurant which serves 17 hand-made pastas daily. The main building also houses the state-of-the-art fitness center, luxurious spa with its own line of scrubs and teas, a beauty salon which features it's own Spa Rituals vegan nail care line, and a spa boutique.
A short walk from the main building down a windy tile path leads to the show-stopping Coliseum Pool. The circular mosaic-tiled pool is a 130-feet in diameter and the centerpiece of the Coliseum Pool & Grill and private cabanas. Both the Grill and Cabanas form a semi-circle around the pool and have breathtaking ocean views. A short walk from the main building and pool are Villas housing the bungalows.
We stayed in a spacious 1,639 square foot King Suite bungalow with a gorgeous ocean view. The suite consisted of two generous rooms. The first room featured a King Bed, sitting area, and full bath. The other consisted of a dining area, living area, a fold-out queen bed, and full bath. Both rooms also featured a flat-screen TV for lounging and a cozy fireplace--which, brilliantly, automatically shut off after 90 minutes. If you have a larger family, consider staying in a 2, 3, or 4 bedroom Villa. They have their own gated entrance, a 24-hour butler, and will fully stock your kitchen for you prior to your arrival. There is a separate pool, great room, dining room, and fitness center exclusively for Villa guests.
When we arrived, our kids were given a welcome card from the staff at Camp Pelican, a coupon for a free Gelato, and a cute stuffed pelican. In the afternoon, while the adults lounged at the cabana, the kids enjoyed themselves at Camp Pelican. The camp is situated in the same building as the Coliseum Pool & Grill. It is truly amazing, and made us wish we were kids again! It has games, art supplies, computers, Rock Band, large flat screen TVs for movie night, a private patio, sandbox, and kids pool. It can accommodate up to 50 kids during the busy summer season, but we were there pre-season, when the there was only a handful of other kids.
When we picked our kids up later, they had little Camp Pelican backpacks filled with sand toys, paddleball, a frisbee, and beach football. We planned on dining with them that night, but they were begging to go back to Camp Pelican for movie night! So we reserved massages at the spa--how could we resist?
Then had a quiet, relaxed dinner at the Coliseum Pool & Grill by ourselves. Happy, full, and a little tipsy, we drifted off peacefully that night to the ambiance of the stars and the glow of our fireplace. Heaven! As for Camp Pelican, our kids gave it a perfect 10 and we agree that Pelican Hill offers superior amenities for families.
The next morning, we considered doing the morning hike to Crystal Cove Beach a short distance away. However, with two small kids, we thought it best to take the coach there. Crystal Cove is a beautiful state beach down the hill from Pelican Hill. It has great walking trails and tide pools for kids. It also features a cute community of cottages originally settled by Japanese farmers in the early 1920s. There you can also find the scrumptious Beachcomber restaurant in a small wooden building on the sand. If the ambiance of the restaurant weren't enough, the food is delicious. Their beignets were warm and delicious, and, for convenience, they can charge your meal to your room account at Pelican Hill.
If you are planning a day at the beach, Pelican Hill will pack a tote bag for you filled with sunscreen, toys, and towels. They have staff on hand at the beach to set up your umbrellas and chairs for you. They will also arrange private surf camp, StandUp paddle board lessons, whale-watching safaris, or trips to Catalina Island. During the summer, nearby Laguna Beach has wonderful art festivals including Pageant of the Masters and the Sawdust Festival. The Sawdust Festival showcases Laguna Beach artists, glassblowing demonstrations, a kids' crafts area, live music, and restaurants.
Since our stay was brief, we did not have time to enjoy the golf at Pelican Hill. Mr. Poshbrood was sorely disappointed, especially since Pelican Hill Golf Club recently won the 2011 Conde Nast Traveler Readers' Choice Award as "#1 Golf Resort in California." The Golf Club features two Tom Fazio-designed oceanside courses which are the setting for summer junior golf camps (ages 7-13), Saturday half-day workshops, and a Women's Weekend Golf Academy. The junior golf camps take place 9-12 on Monday through Thursday, which gives golfing families on opportunity to play together on Fridays.
Pelican Hill is also open to the public, so locals can reserve Tee times, private cabanas, or participate in custom wellness retreats. There are also special events for weekends and holidays. Most guests that stay at Pelican Hill come from Southern California or the surrounding states. In the summer, you will also find Europeans and even Middle Eastern VIPs that come to escape the heat. You will feel like royalty if you stay here, so don't miss this one!
The Resort at Pelican Hill is located at 22701 Pelican Hill Road South, Newport Coast, CA 92657. Prices start at $495 mid-week for a bungalow, or $695 mid-week for a two-bedroom villa.