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159 Rooms / 10 Suites

When you dream of a sunny Orange County getaway, you probably imagine a place like Balboa Bay Resort. Sitting along 15 acres on the water, the hotel hosts summer concerts, screens films and throws Fourth of July barbecues. Plus, it can make any Southern California daydream a reality: The concierge can arrange a 1965 Mustang rental — in the color of your choosing — and arm you with maps and a stocked picnic basket. Drive along the winding and gorgeous Pacific Coast Highway to nearby Corona Del Mar or Laguna Beach (a local favorite) with the wind in your hair and sun on your face. With luck, you’ll spot blue whales, fin whales and dolphins swimming off the coast.

The lushly landscaped resort — fragrant jasmine and succulents surround the Mediterranean-style building — has three Duffy boats that ferry guests to local waterside restaurants; they’ve been used for conferences and scavenger hunts in team-building exercises. (The resort has 18,200 square feet of meeting space and Wi-Fi can be accessed throughout the property.) When you stay at the Newport Beach hotel, you also have access to an outdoor, heated, Olympic-size pool. (You may never want to leave the pool: The resort uses mineral ionizers and low levels of chlorine to keep eye irritation to a minimum.)

In 2014, the resort plans major indoor enhancements as it evolves from old-school nautical elegance to coastal, contemporary and modern. The goal is to reflect Newport Beach’s casual elegance. You’ll note a steady tide of Maseratis, Mercedes and Jaguars at the valet, but a relaxed no-jacket-required dress code has been instituted at the restaurants and, as a result, sandals abound inside, a refreshing change from years past.

DETAILS - Insider Information About This Hotel

DETAILS - Insider Information About This Hotel