The Savvy Stews had a layover in Newport Beach and found a slice of heaven, a captivating coastal retreat located between Los Angeles and San Diego along the “California Riviera.”
Even in a state known for great beach towns, Newport Beach shines. Within its borders lies a luxury paradise, but it is also home to unspoiled stretches of pristine natural beauty along with all the activities one hopes for in a beachside city It boasts some of the country’s most luxurious homes, hotels, resorts, yachts, shopping areas and restaurants plus the legendary Balboa Bay Club and Resort, but it is also a perfect destination for those seeking fun in flip flops and picnics. Those seeking glitz and glamour, as well as a good deal, flock to Fashion Island, the seaside shops of Corona Del Mar and the new developments along the Newport Coast. Tourists enjoy the seaside eateries, sandy beaches and myriad water-based activities. Nature lovers and birders find a paradise in the estuary on Back Bay, and hikers find communing with nature a joy along the protected beach at Crystal Cove. Surfers bob just outside the breakers waiting for the perfect waves at The Wedge, and children revel with their families at the FunZone on the Balboa.
For more than a hundred years Newport Beach has been a playground for the Hollywood set. In early days celebrities rode the famous Red Cars to the city a day of surf and sand, and often featured Newport Beach in films. Some of the most familiar names are tied to Newport Beach: Rock Hudson, Shirley Temple (crowned the first Miss Newport at age 13), June Allison, Nicholas Cage, Jay Leno, Kobe Bryant, Michelle Pfeiffer and Candace Bergen, to name but a few, have owned homes in this spectacularly beautiful area. Newport Beach provided the setting for the original Cleopatra and All Quiet on the Western Front. A Few Good Men, Around the World in Eighty Days and Jerry Maguire were also filmed here.
We searched Trivago to find the Hyatt Regency Newport Beach, our home away from home.
The waterfront hotel, opened in 1962, was a favorite of celebrities and politicians such as John Wayne, John F. Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe. It is one of the most iconic resort-style properties in Southern California with 407 rooms, many with balconies, set on twenty-six acres of lush grounds with dramatic views of Newport Bay. It recently underwent an extensive $15 million renovation.
Among the amenities is a complimentary shuttle to / from John Wayne Airport, Fashion Island & Balboa Island. There are three pool environments. The “Indulge” pool outfitted with comfy day beds, a private whirlpool spa, arm chairs, bright green umbrellas and energizing music. The “Serenity,” a luxurious pool and private whirlpool spa that creates a quiet retreat. During the summer months movies are shown deckside. And, the “Oasis,” a large lagoon-style pool, featuring the only waterslide in Newport Beach, a water fountain play area and kid’s putting green.
Want to get a bit more active? The Hyatt offers a 24 hour StayFit Health Club. a nine hole, par three golf course; table tennis and shuffleboard; volleyball; tennis (available via nearby Palisades Tennis Club. For those who want to try stand-up paddle boarding, kayaking and boating access is convenient view the nearby Newport Dunes.
We stopped for a scrumptious breakfast at SHOR American Seafood Grill. Located at the Hyatt, the restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Breakfast ranges from a seasonal fruit selection, cage-free eggs, and natural bacon to regionally inspired dishes such as a signature breakfast burritos and Valencia Orange French toast. Lunch offers seasonal soups, creates your own salads, organic chicken sandwiches with jalapeno bacon, prime Point Reyes beef burger, mint marinated lobster salad, and grilled harpooned sword fish. The dinner menu includes Pacific oysters, diver scallops, bone-in rib eye, rack of lamb, and the choice of seasonings and sauce combinations.
Executive Chef Leo Gianulis creates dishes that highlight regional seafood and the freshest ingredients. Heather Humphries, director of sales and marketing says
“Not only do we support our local farms, but we also make sure that we are providing organic ingredients and the freshest food available—and that’s the main goal of the restaurant,”
After breakfast it was time for a cruise along the harbor. We visited the World’s largest Duffy electric boat fleet. Duffy promises “a quiet boating experience.” Wine in hand, we sat back and nibbled on cheese, crackers and fresh fruits while gliding along.
After enjoying a tour, Gailen and Bobby took turns captaining the boat. Easy to drive, a Duffy boat can be “driven by anyone who can drive a golf cart.” It is a perfect way to enjoy the harbor and its many sights, or just to relax at the end of a busy day ashore. There are places in the harbor where you can tie up and enjoy a picnic or restaurant meal. The Duffy staff will be happy to give you information.
We pulled up to a local restaurant for a “dock and dine” meal at Sol.
Sol celebrates traditional Baja cuisine with a fresh, modern interpretation. Located on Balboa Marina the restaurant offers three slips for boaters to tie up for “Dock & Dine.” Of course, landlubbers can simply stroll in from the sidewalks.
A popular local restaurant, the menu includes traditional Baja cuisine, and all items are made from scratch including more than 12 different salsas and sauces. Grilling is done over open mesquite fires. The bar features over 60 artisan tequilas
We just HAD to go shopping! Fashion Island is Orange County’s premiere coastal shopping experience. Here you will find chic luxury boutiques, cafés and restaurants set among lushly landscaped piazzas accented by fountains and palm trees. Lavish hotels and the new Civic Center nearby mirror the shopping destination’s sophisticated coastal style, while cultural and culinary offerings abound in Fashion Island and around the surrounding Newport Center neighborhood.
Not your typical mall, Fashion Island Newport Beach offers three valet stations, complimentary trolley service through the center and parking areas, and an expert team of complimentary personal shoppers. These amenities, added to the vast shopping options, events and activities that take place year round, make a visit to Fashion Island an exceptional experience.
We found a new meaning for “jetting to Newport Beach!”
Gailen was outfitted and became a real life rocketman in the waters of Newport harbor. The folks at Jetpack provide adventurers with the first ever recreational jetpacks that equip participants to zip into the sky at up to 30 mph. With 15 or 25 minutes of flight time you can learn to “walk on water,” dive and climb as high as a three story building. Truly a one-of-a-kind adventure!
Savvy Stews would like to extend our gratitude and thanks to the staff at Visit Newport Beach.
Set sail with us for #CWTS2015!! We’ll be sailing on Norwegian Cruise Line‘s newest and largest ship, “Getaway!” We will be making port at St. Maarten, St. Thomas and the Bahamas! Check out CRUISE WITH THE STEWS to read all about it. We are offering AMAZING discounted prices. Don’t procrastinate. Register soon before all of the cabins with our special marked down rates disappear. A small deposit is due at booking with the rest not due until December. We look forward to welcoming you on board!