This low-key, beach-chic hotel is a longstanding favorite with celebs, politicians and international dignitaries.
Who says you shouldn't mix business and pleasure? With its location at the heart of business-savvy Orange County near Southern California's enticing shoreline, Island Hotel Newport Beach makes it easy to enjoy the best of both worlds. One of the many pluses of this hotel is its location adjacent to pedestrian-friendly Fashion Island, an entertainment and shopping enclave that's particularly upscale (boasting Orange County's only Neiman Marcus). In addition, the hotel overlooks the nearby islands of Balboa, Lido and Catalina, and ocean-facing rooms boast commanding views of the harbor on clear days.
The 292 guest rooms and suites are spacious, tastefully furnished and offer step-out balconies for enjoying fresh ocean air. Accommodations reflect the hotel's locale, with bright, inviting colors and an airy atmosphere. Contemporary, comfortable furnishings and custom bedding and mattresses contribute to a restful night's sleep. Top-notch amenities also include large flat-screen TVs and Bose DVD/CD systems, but perhaps the most appealing aspect is the quiet and the abundance of natural light. For those seeking yet more in the way of pampering, Island Club rooms feature continental breakfast, an evening wine hour and more.
Oak Grill executive chef Marc Johnson brings his signature interpretation of contemporary cuisine to a sleek, completely redesigned dining space that was formerly known as the Palm Terrace restaurant. The adjacent Aqua Lounge is a bar concept with outdoor seating, craft cocktails, an extensive wine list and small bites, as well as regular live music events. Of notable value for a hotel of this caliber is the buffet served poolside. As for the resort pool itself, it boasts a nice selection of cabanas (reservations required) and shady areas, as well as a secluded hot tub.
Even the event spaces reflect the Island Hotel's surroundings. Meetings are brightened up with lush tropical interior plants and walls painted in soft gold, and spaces include a boardroom, ballroom and flexible meeting rooms. Outdoor venues can also be used for conferences, social events and weddings, with staff on hand to plan celebrations for up to 600 guests.
For those in need of relief from the tedium of business meetings, the exhaustion of travel or simply a long day of shopping, the hotel boasts a 4,000-square-foot spa. Among the signature treatments is the 90-minute Travel Recovery for jetsetting guests; there is also a salon with manicure, pedicure and waxing services, and a fitness center with 28 different Matrix machines including one that allows guests to take "a run" in the French Alps.
With the Island Hotel's seemingly endless flow of business and community functions, its focus tends more towards the accessible and sociable than the exclusive. Off-site recreation is within easy reach, as the hotel is just minutes from Newport Harbor and the Pacific Ocean's numerous water activities, as well as golf at the Pelican Hill Golf Club, hot-air ballooning and horseback riding. With its beautiful vistas over the nearby water, the hotel can also add a romantic ambience to the list of qualities that make it such popular escape.