The Resort at Pelican Hill, a beautiful destination in Newport Beach, is a five-star luxury property with breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean. It has Italian inspired architecture and decor that brilliantly blends with the Newport Beach’s Southern Cali weather and vibe.
Driving into the resort , I can’t help but notice that the grounds and gardens (they have a lot beautiful olive trees here) are the most well-tended and
immaculate I’ve ever seen. If I didn’t know any better, I would have thought the resort had only recently opened – later on I found out that it has been in business for 8 years. How is it that no one’s told me about it before?!?
As an art and design buff, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that a lot of the artwork and furniture are antiques and originals imported from Italy. In fact the guide (you can go on a self-guided tour, small group tour or arrange for complimentary one from the concierge) mentioned that the two tapestries hanging in the great room across from the main lobby are 17th century Flemish originals.
This resort isn’t just for couples. It’s also very family friendly. There’s a kids pool and “Camp Pelican” which is an activity center for younger kids. For kids aged 13-17 they even have organized activities called “Latitude” so that they can be far away from their embarrassing parents. (I’m just guessing that’s the point.)
You can bring grandma along.
And the resort isn’t just for overnights and long weekends. The resort knows it’s local clientele well and offers extended-stay rates – Newport Beach and nearby Laguna Beach are wealthy communities and homes are always being renovated or built so families are displaced for a while.
The resort is also popular for family getaways and bridal parties what with their 128 villas ranging in size from 2, 3 and 4 bedrooms. The villas have their own equally well-appointed 10,000 square-foot clubhouse and pool, with private washer, dryer and personal villa staff which includes a concierge, butler and personal chef upon request.
All in all – a must visit for anyone looking for a relaxing luxury resort experience in Southern California.
But what about The Spa?
Oh yes – The Spa at Pelican Hill which was undoubtedly the highlight of my 3 day 2 night stay. Their spa has been voted “the no.1 spa in California by Conde Nast Traveler magazine “ and was awarded a Five Star rating by Forbes Travel Guide. I am happy to report that both accolades are well deserved.
Located off of the main building, and housing a state of the art gym and fitness studio, I whizzed right past those elements which would have required that I exert myself, and headed straight for the relaxing portion of the spa. Because of their extensive spa menu there is something for everyone. (PS: ask for Lydia for the most amazing facial ever) .
I can’t recommend this spa enough.
The spa waiting area features cozy blankets and a delicious spa menu so you can enjoy pre and post treatment meals. It has very spacious and well appointed with large individual shower rooms with en-suite benches for maximum privacy. And although the decor is grand and slightly imposing (it was inspired by Roman (classic) architecture, albeit a very cozy one) the staff is anything but.
From the time I checked-in, shown around the spa, right until I left, the various staff members were all very friendly and welcoming. I also love that even though a detailed protocol is given after treatment, describing what products were used and which you should have at home, there is absolutely no hard-sell.
I also found out later that the spa offers a Spa Suite VIP room (for up to 5 guests) for you and a group of friends to use for relaxing between treatments. There are also customized spa packages ranging from half-day, full day, couples, babymoons and even red carpet packages.
This spa has everything – hair services, mani-pedis, steam and sauna, a gorgeous Roman soaking tub, facials and massages, private spa suites for couples and groups – all in a high-ceilinged 23,000 square foot area. And for those more fitness-inclined, there are workouts designed head to toe: from meditation, to barre classes, organized beach walks, yoga, and more. In other terms they offer everything from A to Z: Abs to Zumba.
So they make their own pasta.
The resort is also home to Andrea Ristorante , an upscale restaurant that serves not only the most delicious Northern Italian cuisine, but also the most stunning sunsets.
The pasta here is made in-house and the olive oil is especially selected by the chef. (Plus you can take a bottle home as they sell their signature Pelican Hill olive oil at the resort.) As I watched By, my better half eating the delicious food in front of us, I had a flash of concern he would now refuse to eat my always over-cooked store-bought spaghetti , but then I realized I could us “ this is what they do professionally in their professional kitchen.” as an excuse why I am such a terrible cook. Oh well moving on.
We had a short stay and ate only at Andrea and the poolside Coliseum Pool & Grill, so we missed out on trying their Pelican Grill, Piccolo, Caffe & Market (one with freshly made gelato and free wifi), and a Great Room Social Lounge area- all the more reason to return! We especially loved Andrea because of the delicious food, romantic ambience and spectacular sunset over the Pacific.
Coliseum Pool & Grill
While Andrea may have romance and fine cuisine, the Coliseum Pool & Grill has it’s own pluses. This is the resort’s casual poolside dining. And before I even discuss the food, I have to discuss the view of the Coliseum Pool.
What a pool. Seriously – you’ve never seen anything like it. It’s a circle that’s apparently 136 feet in diameter. I don’t remember my geometry but I will say that it looks like a perfectly formed lake plunked down, overlooking the ocean.
Spectacular is a word made to describe this pool. You’ll never want to leave, which is precisely why you’ll be trying the Coliseum’s poolside menu which is delivered right to your chaise lounge or cabana. The setting is so heavenly that they could be forgiven if they served average food but they, again, do not disappoint. The food is fresh and refreshing.
Luxury does not mean wastefulness.
The Resort could, frankly, dine off their reputation for amazing service, delicious food, sumptuous spa and beautiful bungalows but they don’t stop there. Unseen is their commitment to being “green.” All the water used to water the grounds and golf course is recycled water. The resort has numerous awards and accolades attesting to their environmental-friendly activities.
Two years (and I don’t even want to think about how much money) were spent creating elaborate underground rainwater runoff collection tanks. On top of that, they built two bio-filtration/bio-retention devices that clean the runoff water. And this resort actually does what all hotels should do – if there’s an area of the property that’s unoccupied, they have the ability to shut down the electricity and gas there so that no energy is wasted.
I love that they are so environmentally conscious however I will admit that I didn’t come away thinking green, I came away thinking blue-
Blue skies, blue water and all my blues washed away…
When I hear kids using the word “totes” instead of “totally” I can almost feel my high school English teacher sighing loudly and muttering “how much time does that abbreviation even save you?”
So when I first overheard a friend singing the praises of Le Tote Subscription, I was momentarily worried that this was some variation on the slang. As it turns out, Le Tote is destined to stick around, unlike a passing verbal phrase.
Basically Le Tote sends 3 pieces of clothing and 2 accessories in each delivery and you can keep what you like for as long as you like and send back what you don’t. If you want to own something outright they’ll just charge you a discounted price. It’s like having your own personal shopper, deliveryman and assistant to return things for you. All for $59 monthly price!
Now, as we know, I love to shop. But I just don’t have much free time these days. My favorite thing about Le Tote is the amount of time it saves me.
I have to admit it sort of feels like Christmas every time I get a delivery. What will be in the box?!? (Although I also sometimes use their “preview” option so that I can see what’s coming and swap out some of the items that I don’t think I’ll want. It’s less exciting, but the control-freak in me love this feature.
The Le Tote shoppers get to know my style preferences over time by looking at my virtual “closet” and watching what I keep and what I return, and how I rate the items they’ve sent. It’s so eerie that I almost feel as though they’ve become my close friends. Is it awkward to invite them to a party I’m throwing? Probably. But at least I know they’d pick out something great for me to wear to it.
I don’t get sick of the clothes in my closet because there’s always something new to wear. And I don’t feel guilty about packing more clothes into my very-real closet, because I can send the Le Tote clothes back when I’m tired of them. When I miss the piece, I just ask for it back!
I like that I can try out wearing pieces before committing to buying them. Sometimes I’m sure I love a piece and then a week later I realize I don’t really have anywhere to actually wear it. Or I wear it and then see a picture of myself in it and think “why did I think that neckline would look good on me?!?” This takes away that pressure.
Fortunately Le Tote has done a better job picking than I have in the past. Of course they see me for who I really am, not a 5′ 10″ , size 0 and blonde. ( Note to self: Do not buy something just because Gigi Hadid looks fabulous in it … because Gigi Hadid looks fabulous in anything.)
Well… it could happen – I’m just one hair-dye job and a couple of pilates sessions away. Right?
Some Le Tote Member Perks
Shipping is FREE both ways
Unlimited pieces at one low price
No styling fees
You always get to customize your tote
Convenient — forget crowded malls, buyer’s remorse, and poorly fitting products!
Le Tote takes care of the laundry
Brands: Vince Camuto, Sam Edelman, Kate Spade, French Connection, House of Harlow, BB Dakota, BCBGeneration, Max Studio, Levi’s, Free People, Rebecca Minkoff and more.
Photographed by the lovely Sabrina Hill. Makeup and Hair by the talented team at StyleBee
Annie Leibovitz said “I didn’t want to let women down” and with her new traveling exhibition Women: New Portraits (which launched in London in January of 2016 and will make it’s way to ten cities around the globe) she most certainly holds up her end of the bargain. I’ve always been a fan of Ms. Leibovitz’s art and apparently the international bank UBS has too because they partnered with her to exhibit her photos and to remind all of us that we are surrounded by everyday heroes.
Which made me think about my everyday heroes. One of whom is my friend Kathy Patalsky. And it’s not just because she is obsessed with cute kittens as I am. Kathy’s love and dedication to animals took her on the journey that has made her a leading vegan recipe cookbook author and blogger extraordinaire. Not only has she devoted her life to healthy eating (while honoring animals), she also extends her gracious nature to the rest of us and I’m so happy to call her a friend.
Not every hero has to slay a dragon. (In fact Kathy would be very against that). This hero of mine makes the world a better place with small, but powerful, gestures of kindness and caring for all creatures while managing a successful blogging and cookbook career. We should all aspire to such compassion and achievement.
Come to think of it, it could be said that Annie Leibovitz has accomplished the same two goals.
So, who are your everyday female heroes and what goals do you think they’ve achieved? Not only will thinking about this inspire you, but it could also enable you to win a trip for two to NYC
To see the WOMEN: New Portraits exhibit. Here’s how: post a photo of your hero on Instagram and add the hashtag #ShareYourHero and tag @UBS. Every month between March – October there will be one winner.
Form should always follow function and Banana Republic holds true to this mantra by presenting us with perfectly tailored ready to wear pieces during New York Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2016. From sleek trousers to cashmere sweaters, tailored coats, bright blazers and textured turtlenecks, their array of colorful clothes paired with bold patterns and textures definitely leave more than just a lasting impression– it is the must-have RTW collection of the season!
Here’s my favorite looks that would be perfect outfits for work from Banana Republic’s NYFW Fall/Winter 2016 Collection :
1. This chic yet comfortable turtleneck poncho layered onto a black and white striped long-sleeved top and paired with cigarette pants is perfect for the smart contemporary office. A classic striped clutch and black heels completes the look. Saunter into work on Monday looking like this and its a work-week slam dunk.
2. For a classic yet modern office look I love the blues in this outfit. The deep sapphire blue blazer looks amazing with other shades of blue here, or with other neutrals you would likely have in your closet. And if you can wear it with almost anything else in your wardrobe, isn’t that an investment?
3. Feeling a little femme fatale-ish? 50 Shades of Grey is not exactly office appropriate but wearing different shades of this classic neutral is always a good idea. Banana Republic gives us ample options from the deepest charcoals to the lightest smokey shades. I especially love the fact that because of grey’s muted tones here, The fur cardigan, leather gloves and pointed clogs in black gives the look just enough edge.
4. Almost the weekend, but you’re filled with meetings? Well secretly enjoy making an entrance to your appointments with chic ensembles like the ones below. The best thing is they look modern, yet still classically tailored that they would last you a few seasons. That is if Banana Republic doesn’t come up with yet more gorgeous coats for their next FW season.
5. Casual Fridays is finally here! Add some color to celebrate – I LOVE the mustard yellow blazer and distressed boyfriend jeans and lets not even talk about that brown leather jacket in the background.
So the question is – should I switch my king-size bed for a twin bed in my bedroom so
I can have more space for all this fabulousness?
PS: Thank you Gina Doost for attending the NYFW Banana Republic FW16 show for me.
When you think of New York, you might think of the Chrysler Building or the Empire State building. Both have long, lean lines and are sleek and classic, but never boring. Same goes for the New York woman. She never goes out of style yet always looks cutting edge.
The NY work outfit of the moment is:
1. Tailored black pants tucked in to riding boots (or skirt)
2. Black turtleneck and long sleeveless blazer (not black) hitting right below knee
3. Chunky watch
If you can’t or don’t want to follow the latest vogue on the runway, check out the iconic New York woman’s clothing style which includes:
1. Mixing high-end/low-end together
2. Knowing that black never fails
3. Showing your own personality
4. Jewelry / Accessories count
5. A Great Coat
6. A Statement Watch (because she’s busy, busy and always has to be somewhere)
7. Stylish yet comfortable shoes because there’s a lot of walking
8. A pair of black boots
9. Men’s cut blazer
10. Leather jacket
Just keep in mind that New York women, like their buildings, are built on
firm foundations and will reach for the sky with an unyielding power. Strength is her virtue.
This year Valentine’s Day fall on a Sunday which means you may be gazing into your beloved’s eyes over bagels as opposed to Beef Bourguignon. Omelets in lieu of oysters. Frittata instead of Fricassee.
But this doesn’t mean your outfit can’t be just as alluring as that LBD you save for your special nights out. Daytime attire can be flirtatious if you consider these options:
Red is sexy and passionate. You don’t want to overdo this at the brunch table, but you can still incorporate the color into your outfit, or even just relegate it to your lipstick. This Tibi Strapless stretch-crepe dress is ladylike and comfortable therefore a good choice for brunch, but the red color keeps it in the provocative range. I’d definitely complete this look with my favorite go-to lipstick from Armani in classic Rouge which by the way was also among Allure’s Best of Beauty Award Winner 2014!
It can be fun to play with a pattern such as hearts or lips. One of the few days where you can pull this off and not look like you’re trying to recreate your childhood days.
Channel Brigitte Bardot with this Nicholas off-shoulder dress, both romantic and classic in its reference.
As always, its all about your attitude. And remember, no matter what you wear or where you are – perfume is always appropriate. Today’s occasion definitely calls for Viktor&Rolf’s Flowerbomb Rose Explosion Eau De Parfum!
Luckily, this year they’re also rolling out a limited edition Valentine’s Gift-Set that comes with the perfume, body cream & shower gel. & if this winning trio isn’t enough, wait until you hear about their Valentine’s Gift-Set for Men as well!
Need more inspiration? Shop More Valentine’s Day Essentials