Putting the ‘New’ Back Into Newport

The O.C. updates with a range of recent face-lifts

By: Terra Judge

Fashionable, fresh and friendly, Newport Beach, Calif., has been affectionately nicknamed “Little Hollywood” for many years. Famous residents, like John Wayne and Kobe Bryant, and the popular television series “The OC” have perpetuated the image of Newport as a retreat for the wealthy and glamorous. To keep up with its glitzy image, Newport Beach’s accommodations and activities are getting a makeover as part of the city’s centennial year.

One of the most recent and fitting additions to the city’s calendar is the Newport Beach Film Festival. Having just wrapped up its seventh year, the festival has presented acclaimed films, including Oscar-winner “Crash,” “Layer Cake” and “Spellbound” among others. The festival also boasts a Youth Showcase night featuring creative shorts by filmmakers under the age of 18.

Be sure to set clients up with tickets to at least one of the after-show galas, where they can rub elbows with the writers, producers, directors and actors featured in the festival’s films. These ritzy events also give guests a chance to sample dishes from Newport’s choicest restaurants and enjoy an open bar. (Tickets to all events and showings can be found on www.newportbeachfilmfest.com.)

To accommodate the influx of film buffs and stargazers, Newport offers a polished collection of accommodations many of which have undergone major renovations in an effort to keep Newport on the forefront of luxury.

The Island Hotel, formerly The Four Seasons, is the only hotel with a AAA Five-Diamond rating in Newport Beach. The 295 guestrooms include 63 Executive Suites and 19 Luxury Suites. The hotel recently completed a $21 million renovation that included rooms, corridors, the lobby and the addition of a new spa. Amenities include 24-hour concierge and room service, twice-daily housekeeping services, thick terry bathrobes, high-speed Internet access and marble bathrooms with lighted makeup mirrors and television.

Other area hotels include the Newport Beach Marriott Hotel & Spa, which has recently undergone a $70 million renovation to enhance the 532-room property, adding a contemporary restaurant and 20 luxury suites, including five new penthouse suites.

The Fairmont Newport Beach with a projected price tag of $27 million and the Irvine Company’s Pelican Hill at Newport Coast are also undergoing refurbishments. Pelican Hill’s multi-million-dollar renovations will also update the famed golf course of the same name. The inn is scheduled to reopen in 2008.

With these extensive renovations come improvements to Newport’s spa scene as well.

Opened in 2005, The Island Hotel Spa offers nine rooms for treatments, such as the Newport Beach Body Buff and O.C. Facial Drench. Guests can lounge in the relaxation room before and after treatments, and for added relaxation, advise clients to request the hotel’s gourmet chocolate truffles.

Other local spas include Pure Blu at the Marriott Newport Beach Hotel & Spa, Gaylee Signature Spa at Hyatt Regency Newport Beach and an 8,000-square-foot boutique spa at the Fairmont Newport Beach, set to open January 2007.

However, not everything in Newport is new: Old favorites have yet to go out of style even in the city’s 100th year. The OC Golf Trail car offers rounds on six famed courses at reduced rates. Golfers can also book their tee times online, and “Stay and Play” packages are available at area hotels.

Other activities include renting from the popular Duffy Electric Boat Company in Newport Harbor. For $95 per hour, clients can navigate their own charter to see the extravagant homes of Mariner’s Mile, pass the Balboa Island ferry and maybe catch a glimpse of a local seal dozing on a pier.


Duffy Electric Boat Company

Fairmont Newport Beach

Fashion Island

Hyatt Regency Newport Beach

The Island Hotel

Newport Beach Film Festival

Newport Beach Marriott Hotel & Spa

The OC Golf Trail

Pelican Hill at Newport Coast

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