45 miles outside Los Angeles (famous for some of the best beaches in the USA) is the coastal city of Newport Beach, which boasts more water than land – 25 miles of water, 15 miles of land and 10 miles of coastline, to be precise. It’s also known for its boat-filled harbour, along with its rich nautical heritage, a whole host of dining establishments (over 450), and it’s been subject to a whopping $500 million of investment in new projects. To top it off, its Mediterranean climate makes it a great place to visit all year round. Sound tempting? California is calling.
The Weekender: 48 Hours in Newport Beach
Montage Laguna Beach
For a dose of seaside luxury, head to Montage Laguna Beach. Offering 30 acres and 260 guestrooms, including 60 suites, the hotel is perched on a coastal bluff high above the Pacific. Located 18 miles from Orange County Airport, in the heart of Laguna Beach, expect views of the ocean, as well as craftsman-style architecture and an array of artwork throughout. Plus, resort guests have exclusive access to its amenities, from the 20,000 square foot Spa Montagel; gourmet dining at its three eateries (Studio, The Loft and Mosaic Bar and Grille); and two outdoor pool decks.
BOOK IT: montage.com
Resort at Pelican Hill
Drawing inspiration from Italy and its grand villas – namely the 16th-century architecture by Andrea Palladio – Pelican Hill features Bungalow Guest Rooms and Bungalow Suites. These range from 847 to 634 square feet, with limestone fireplaces, hand-hewn wood beam ceilings and marble baths, along with private terraces, most of which have ocean views. Ideal for families, there are also villas set in an exclusive gated enclave donning a private clubhouse and pool, offering two, three, and four bedrooms, plus expansive ocean-view terraces. Adding to the Mediterranean feel, the hotel is set amongst olive, cypress, fig and pine trees, with restaurants that offer both Italian and Californian fare. There’s tons of amenities, facilities, and activities to keep the whole family entertained, too, from a world-class 36-hole course, spa, fitness classes with a picturesque backdrop, a salon, and area activities including surfing lessons and sea lion eco-kayak tours.
BOOK IT: pelicanhill.com
Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Hotel & Spa
Adjacent to the beach on the Pacific Coastal Highway is the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort and Spa, complete with two outdoor pools and a spa. There is also a range of eateries from elegant restaurants to casual poolside dining, including the acclaimed Watertable, which serves up Southern California cuisine featuring seasonal and locally sourced ingredients, whilst overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Kick back and relax in one of the cabanas or take a stroll along the 10-mile beach (it’s five minutes away). It gets better as it’s been rated Travel Sustainable Level 3+ by booking.com.
BOOK IT: hyatt.com
Opening later in the year, The Pendy will proudly exude Orange County’s laid-back luxury. As such, there will be 295 guest rooms, including 114 suites, Pendry Newport Beach all donning a sophisticated interpretation of Southern California’s easy-going style, a world-class Spa Pendry, along with three dining destinations, and The Elwood Club, a take on the classic members’ club.
BOOK IT: pendry.com
Crystal Cove State Park
Crystal Cove State Park offers 3.2 miles of beach and 2,400 acres of undeveloped woodland, making it a destination for a range of activities. It’s favoured by swimmers, surfers, mountain bikers, horse riders, scuba divers, campers, and explorers thanks to its tide pools and sandy coves. crystalcovestatepark.org
A harborside community which us accessible to the public via bridge, ferry and public docks, this is the spot to try out paddleboarding, rent an electric Duffy boat or go dolphin watching. Or stay on land and visit the quaint shops for souvenirs – or you can walk a loop of the island and pick up a coffee and sweet treats, such as one of the famous frozen bananas from Sugar ‘n Spice – a go-to since 1945. balboaisland.com
The Quiet Woman
A storied restaurant, this has been a favourite amongst locals since it opened in 1965. Expect a cozy atmosphere along with sophisticated comfort food, fine wine, cocktails and live music. quietwoman.com
Circle Hook Fish Company
Located in Newport Beach’s Lido Marina Village, Circle Hook Fish Company is a modern-day eatery that serves fresh, sustainably caught seafood. Dishes include crab cakes, crudo, fried calamari and tacos. circlehookfishco.com
After a spot of shopping at Fashion Island, head to JOEY Newport Beach, which not only offers a crowd-pleasing menu (from Mediterranean inspired dishes to sushi, salads and steaks) but features a gallery wall displaying works by local artists. joeyrestaurants.com
Ruby’s Diner Balboa Pier
Located at the end of the Balboa Pier, this diner serves up American classics. It’s the place to go for a good old fashion burger, fries and shake. rubys.com
For shoppers, Fashion Island is a classic American shopping mall in Newport Beach that’s been there since 1967. Alongside an array of stores (stop by Alo and Athleta for your outdoor clothing), you’ll find restaurants and The Lot movie theatre. fashionisland.com
Shirley’s Heart Balboa Island
A sweet gift-meets-home decor shop, pick up themed pillows and handmade seashell themed items such as wooden painted sign, starfish, conch shells, and sand dollars. shirleysheartbalboaisland.com
Newport Beach Farmer’s Market
If you love a farmers’ market, be sure to visit this one at Newport Beach Pier, that’s held every Sunday from 9am-1pm. There are seasonal vegetables, fruits and flowers, along with specialty foods such as small-batch breads, Mediterranean dips, vegan salsas, cold-press juices, handmade jewellery, and art. farmermark.com