Balboa Bay Resort

Newport Beach's splash of casual elegance
When you dream of a sunny Orange County escape, 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.
Our Inspector's Highlights
  • 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.
  • Over the past few years, the resort has undergone major indoor enhancements as it evolves from old-school nautical elegance to coastal, contemporary and modern. The goal was to reflect Newport Beach’s casual elegance.
  • Over the years, the club has hosted many celebrities, presidents, politicians and actors, including Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Jerry Seinfeld, Jim Carrey and George H.W. Bush. Former Newport Beach resident John Wayne was even on the club's Board of Governors.
Things to Know
  • 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.
  • Balboa Bay Resort has water on one side and the Pacific Coast Highway on the other in Southern California’s coastal town of Newport Beach, located halfway between Los Angeles and San Diego.
  • 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.)
  • Members have access to a private beach, waterfront pools, private restaurants and a 10,000-square-foot state-of-the-art spa and fitness center. While you can apply for a nonresident membership (though a member must sponsor you), Balboa Bay Resort guests do gain entry to the spa, which is closed to the public.
The Rooms
  • The three types of rooms — bayview, courtyard, Newport — are all approximately 500 square feet and have private balconies with outdoor chaise lounges. There are rattan wood lounge chairs inside in the living area, and the décor is tropical in hues of gold, rust and cream.
  • Bayview and courtyard rooms have two queen beds or a king bed and a fluffy down-filled duvet with oversized pillow shams. The Newport accommodations overlook Pacific Coast Highway and come with a king-sized bed, two queens or two doubles.
  • The 900-square-foot one-bedroom suites feature a separate sitting area with a fireplace and a bedroom with plantation-style furniture overlooking the water. The Presidential Suite is 3,000 square feet and includes a grand piano, a formal dining space for 12, and a large living area bridged by a dual fireplace, plus king beds in two bedrooms.
  • In all accommodations, there is a 42-inch LG high-definition flat-screen TV and a Sony or Magnavox DVD player. Inside the bathrooms, you’ll find dual sinks with granite countertops, marble sunken tubs and flooring and picture-window-sized beveled glass mirrors. Antica Farmacista bath products are provided throughout your stay.
The Look
  • With its distinctive red-terra-cotta-tiled roof, Balboa Bay Resort stretches along the bay like a luxurious Mediterranean villa. The lobby was conceived to resemble a traditional yacht club; hence finishing touches like a small, carved wooden boat hang under a painting in one corner.
  • And there’s the immense, colorful painting of sailboats by local artist Bill Denholm behind the reception area. The interior aesthetic is decidedly nautical, and there’s an understated luxuriousness to its classical columns and the cream-and-gold stone floors as well as the circular tiled mosaic illustrating the moon’s phases.
  • Designers have selected modern, contemporary colors: warm taupe and blues, accompanied with crisp white accents, rustic woods and relaxed woven rattan furniture pieces that are reminiscent of nautical fittings, while fabrics and upholstery mimic the hues of the rugged coastline.
24-hour room service
House car
Meeting rooms
Outdoor pool
Pet friendly
Getting There
1221 West Coast Highway, Newport Beach, California 92663
LGB (24-35 min)   LAX (45 min-1 h )  
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