I love a quick getaway and one of my favorite places to go, whether driving or flying, is Newport Beach. Aside from the obvious benefits such as a fantastic climate, it also has a local airport in Santa Ana that is easy to get in and out of. I can’t tell you how many times I have boarded a flight in 110-plus degree temperatures and less than 48 minutes gate-to-gate have been at a perfectly chill 75.
When I hit town there are always a couple places I head to first.
Where I Stay
I judge my hotels by their bathroom, closet and amenities. I like them big, extravagant and ample. The Island meets all of these criteria. Check out a Premier Executive Suite, of which there are 22 in the hotel, located on floors 6-20 each measuring 600 square feet. I adore this room type because it offers a king size bed separate from the living space (there is also a pullout in the living room). The 42-inch Sony television and a Bose 3-2-1 DVD/CD multi-speaker audio system is so advanced I almost couldn’t change the channel (which is a good thing). Best of all there are two patios to take in that amazing ocean view — or sleep with the windows open, as I do, to get the full effect. The highlight of is the dressing area with a vanity and an upholstered bench. This is a nice touch that you don’t often see in hotels, and it’s perfectly tailored to female guests who like to spend time primping.
Speaking of beautification, no trip to The Island is complete without a trip to the spa, which is located on the lower level. The intimate 4,000 square-foot space is a welcome reprieve from Las Vegas’ mega-spas and the programming focuses on Island-centric rituals with the essences of coconut, pearl and hibiscus. Seasonal treatments are also offered and for a great price.
The falling of the leaves also brings changes in the culinary program. The hotel, located on the The Irvine Ranch, is ripe with inspirations drawn from the fertile soil on which it sits. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the Palm Terrace Restaurant with Chef David Man at its helm. Man is a farm-to-fire master and says that this fall, we see “fresh figs and a lot of local citrus and root vegetables on the menu.” Signature dishes include the Slightly Smoked Chilean Sea Bass, Clam and Corn Chowder, Wild Rocket and Fig Salad and some new seasonal crispy flat bread. The Island is also known for its wine dinners, so its best to plan ahead to attend one, like the Tres Sabores dinner Nov. 1.
And since “Friday eve” is the official start to a Newport Beach weekend, the Palm Terrace Lounge, which is famous in the area, has added entertainment to round out its weekend roster. Happy Hour is also quite lively Monday to Friday from 4 to 7 p.m.
Where I Shop
A short walk from The Island hotel, Fashion Island is shopper’s paradise and it has all the stores I wish we had in Vegas like Kitson, Trina Turk and Jonathan Adler. Much like the requisite trip to Ikea, its best to bring an extra suitcase and load up on loot that no one will have back home.
Where I Play
Crystals Cove State Park and its beautiful trails make for an ideal beach walk. About 10 miles from The Island, the journey will take you through Corona del Mar, one of Southern California’s most quaint seaside towns. Plan for lunch at Javier’s Cantina & Grill, which just opened a location inside Aria. The Island Hotel also offers guests activities in Newport Beach’s Back Bay with miles of jogging and biking trails. Pick up a custom trail map, water bottle and fresh towel.
Hotel Deal: The Island’s Escape to Newport weekend room package includes continental breakfast for two in Palm Terrace Restaurant and complimentary valet parking for one vehicle. Rates start from $225 per night.
Act Fast: The Endless Summer weekend room package (available through Oct. 31) includes a $35 hotel credit valid at Palm Terrace Restaurant and Lounge or The Spa and complimentary parking. Rates start at $229 per night.
Spa Deal: Pumpkin Spice Pedicure at The Spa. This pedicure begins with an exfoliation and a pumpkin masque and then is completed with a leg and foot massage and fresh coat of polish. 90 minutes for $95.
Meal Deal: Tres Sabores Wine Dinner in Palm Terrace Restaurant. Executive Chef David Man, his culinary Team and Tres Sabores Winery pamper guests with an evening of fine wine and dining. The four-course dinner is $110 per person on Nov. 1.