Having previously stayed at and favorably reviewed Pelican Hill, it was a privilege to return to the property nearly three years later. For this stay we were joined by grandparents and young children and elected a Villa accommodation rather than a bungalow. My comments will focus on the differentiating factors from this visit vs. prior stay. Please read my prior review for additional feedback.
Villa Accommodation: Our two bedroom villa easily absorbed 8 people, including children. Cribs and rollaways were readily available, as was laundry detergent for use in the en-suite machines. We benefited from an ocean view upgrade and a room that was ready in the morning upon arrival. Check in at the Villa Clubhouse was seamless and we were escorted to our villa by accommodating and attentive staff. A welcome surprise were copious amounts of fruit, water, beer, cereal and snacks that were provided complementary in our Villa. We appreciated that. Kudos to Travis who won the affection of the children when he brought them extra Frosted Flakes.
Our room was at the far end of the North Villa area. We enjoyed walking either to the Villa Clubhouse/Pool or to the Main Coliseum pool. When we needed a ride, the staff Mercedes was there promptly nearly every time. There were a couple of exceptions requiring a follow up call, but we were tolerant of a busy property.
Regarding the Villa Clubhouse and Pool: We found the staff at the Villa clubhouse to be terrific- attentive and responsive. This applies to the Villa front desk, pool food and bar service (which we used quite a lot), breakfast service and the concierge. The mixed drinks were consistently fantastic and the staff readily swapped out an alternative if we were unhappy. The kids had a ball at this pool and the parents enjoyed as well. Overall, we did not feel underserved for a moment at the Villa Clubhouse.
Regarding the Coliseum Pool: The main resort areas are a short walk or car ride from the Villa area. This did not stop us from heading to the Coliseum pool. Service WAS superior at the smaller Villa Pool, but was certainly reasonable at the Coliseum pool. Notably, both have accommodation for younger children- a wading pool at the Villa Pool and a children's pool, sandbox and water feature behind the cabanas at the Coliseum pool.
Regarding Service: Overall, service was strong and contrary to other reviewers who seem to take a blanket negative view. We experienced flashes of brilliance, such as (i) when Mallory arranged a tour of Andrea restaurant's pasta and pastry making facilities- thank you very much, or (ii) when our breakfast server at the Villa clubhouse- his name escapes me- remembered our orders each morning.
We also experienced some difficult moments, such as (i) when we showed up for the facility tour mentioned above and we received a mildly rude greeting and were told no one was there to give us said tour (ultimately, an assistant chef provided a terrific experience), or (ii) when a bartender at the Andrea Bar requested photo ID from a 31-yo member of our party and would not back down despite offers to validate age from Grandma who was in the next room. We spent 15 minutes heading back to our N. Villa room to obtain the ID, only to be unexpectedly re-greeted rudely and dismissively by him and (most importantly) without direct apology for the actual and obvious bother and inconvenience. The author does not begrudge a bartender asking for ID- not for one moment, that is the law- but there is an elegant and service oriented way to handle it. This was easily the most glaring service misfire of the entire weekend and should be flagged as an area of improvement so future guests do not have to encounter the roughshod, condescending behavior that we did.
Some additional notes:
(i) Other reviewers have noted difficulty having their invoices adjusted for AMEX privileges. We had the reverse experience- it was our Villa staff once again who made sure our charges were adjusted before we asked for it.
(ii) We noticed- and enjoyed- that much of the staff was the same over the few days we were there. This provided a welcome consistency to our experience.
(iii) The Villa rooms and accommodations are superior to any other family accommodation at competitive properties we have stayed at, including Montage LB, Terranea, St Regis LN and the Ritz LN. The only option that comes close are the Terranea casitas which are admittedly terrific. In our view, the Pelican Hill property and service is just flat-out superior.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Set on 504 acres by the Pacific Ocean in Newport Beach, The Resort at Pelican Hill(R) features: 128 two-, three- and four-bedroom villas with magnificent coastal views and an unparalleled array of appointments, immersing guests in the absolute finest of everything; 204 luxuriously appointed bungalow guest rooms and suites with private terraces; a rejuvenating Five-Star spa with a menu of the world's most celebrated therapies; world-class restaurants, including Andrea serving authentic Northern Italian cuisine; an iconic "Coliseum Pool," one of the largest circular pools anywhere with tiered decks and luxurious cabanas; and Pelican Hill Golf Club with 36 dramatic holes by Tom Fazio, nearly all with ocean panoramas. A Five-Star, Five-Diamond destination, Pelican Hill has earned acclaim as the 2012 Grand Resort selected by Andrew Harper's Hideaway Report; as Conde Nast Traveler Readers' Choice Awards Top Southern California Resort (2013 & 2012), Top U.S. Resort (2011), Top-Rated Golf Resort Worldwide (2012) and Top-Rated California Resort Spa (2012); in Travel + Leisure's "Top 100" World's Best Hotels (2011 Readers' Poll), and with two courses ranked among Golf Digest's America's 100 Greatest Public Golf Courses (2011). ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Pelican Hill Hotel Newport Beach
- Hotel At Pelican Hill
- At Pelican Hill Hotel