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Balboa Bay Resort

Newport Beach - Hotel Review

Join the Club

By Alain Gayot

Balboa Bay Resort in Newport Beach, California
Balboa Bay Resort in Newport Beach, California

Balboa Bay Resort Review

Since 1948, The Balboa Bay Club & Resort on the sunny bay of SoCal's Newport Beach has been known as a very exclusive private club for luminous guests including presidents, royalty and Hollywood's A list. John Wayne, Humphrey Bogart, Gerald Ford, Richard Nixon and Lauren Bacall have frolicked here. Today, The Balboa still attracts an elegant crowd but what most people don't know is that there's also a vast hotel portion open to the public.

Beverly Ray, the widow of the man who bought the place in 1971, has poured $65 million into its restoration and since May 2003 the tradition-rich property shines in new splendor as the only luxury resort on the bay in Newport Beach.

As luminous as some of the guests are the people behind the scene. Ringmaster and well-trained, award-winning hotelier Henry Schielein (formerly of The Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel; he has managed luxury resorts worldwide) adds his 50-plus years of experience in the biz.

A guest room at Balboa Bay Resort in Newport Beach, CA
The spa at Balboa Bay Resort in Newport Beach, CA
Guest room
Hot tub at the spa

Mrs. Ray, with the help of Schielein and a well-trained, brand-new staff of nearly 300, is certain that the hotel's original wealthy club crowd will not be impeded by the new developments. They have their own private entrance and besides, the hotel portion is absolutely luxurious, service and everything are topnotch, from the 132 elegant rooms and suites to the huge ballroom space, excellent spa, racquetball and maple wood floor basketball court.

Waterline restaurant highlights Southern California-influenced seafood dishes. Those who wish to stick to turf instead of surf can choose from contemporary-themed entrées. The restaurant also offers breakfast and lunch, as well as a sleek bar serving up wine and craft cocktails.

Hotel guests enjoy spacious suites with marble baths, duvets filled with down and oversized pillow shams and twice-daily maid service. Many have private outdoor patios furnished with comfortable lounge chairs; there are tennis courts at nearby Balboa Bay Racquet Club, nearby golf and the full-service destination 17,000-square-foot luxury Ladies and Men's Spa. The Resort's gardens are lush with Bougainvillea, hibiscus, dwarf bamboo, daylilies, sea lavender and beds of English daises, delphinium and foxgloves. Finally, there's the prime attraction, the Pacific Ocean and the fabulous bay with million-dollar yachts bobbing on the water. John Wayne liked it here and so do we. The history of The Balboa Bay Club & Resort has only begun.

The Balboa Bay Resort
1221 W. Coast Hwy.
Newport Beach, CA 92663
949-645-5000, 888-445-7153


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