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“A Second Review - From Bungalow to Villa”

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The Resort at Pelican Hill
Ranked #5 of 17 Hotels in Newport Beach
Certificate of Excellence
New York, NY
Level Contributor
18 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 93 helpful votes
“A Second Review - From Bungalow to Villa”
Reviewed 2 July 2014

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.

  • Stayed June 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank jofog1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
PelicanHillResort, General Manager at The Resort at Pelican Hill, responded to this review, 8 July 2014
Thank you for taking the time to share your detailed thoughts with us. I am pleased to read that you and your family enjoyed your Villa accommodations, as well as the service you experienced by our staff. I have personally passed along my gratitude to the staff members you graciously referenced by name.

I am disappointed to read about the difficulties you experienced during your stay, and have taken this opportunity to share your comments with the respective culinary and restaurant service staff you mentioned.

Once again, thank you for the detailed comments you have posted here. We look forward to welcoming you and your family back in the future.

Kind regards,

Giuseppe Lama
Managing Director
The Resort at Pelican Hill
Report response as inappropriate
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English first
San Francisco, California
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 July 2014

As many others have noted before, TERRIBLE service. From the time of making reservations, to the time I have been spending trying to get clarifications on mysterious charges after checkout, this "resort" has been one of the most frustrating experiences we have had with any hotel, much less a supposed high end resort. My wife and I both travel extensively for both business and pleasure. We have stayed at high end hotels and resorts in most metropolitan areas of the United States, as well as internationally. My point being, is that we are very familiar with what is acceptable service and what is not, so please do not think that my review is just coming from someone who had a bad honeymoon, or has never stayed at anything beyond the Hampton Inn.

Let's start with reservations. I was searching for a place to stay for a business trip to Orange County and found The Resort at Pelican Hill alongside The Montage. We had stayed at the The Montage before , (excellent experience, btw), so decided to give this place a try. All the 3rd party sites online had the rooms listed at a much lower rate, but I like to book directly with the hotels, and they always match rates. Not this place. In fact, I was rudely told that they would have to escalate to a manager for a rate match, and they wouldn't be available until the next day. I didn't want to find out the next day that the rate wouldn't be matched, so I ended up booking through a 3rd party site. This should have been a sign as to how they operate, but I assumed that I just spoke to a bad reservation agent. I received an email from the hotel concierge a couple of weeks prior to arrival asking who would be accompanying me on the trip, and if we had any special requests. Being that the kids are on summer break, my wife and I decided to bring them along and make an anniversary trip out if it. I gave the hotel their names and ages as requested, and also asked for an earlier check in time and a crib. All of these items were noted by the concierge.

We arrive to the hotel and I proceed to check in at close to 5:00pm. I am told that our room isn't ready and that we can wait in the lobby area or walk around. I tell her that I had requested an early check in, and you don't even have our room available an hour after the normal check in time? This was a Sunday evening, not the busiest check in time. I believe that she sensed that I was about to become livid and she somehow "found" an available room for us immediately. When we get to the room, of course there is no crib to be found, nor is there an ice bucket or bottle opener. We call to have these items to be delivered. To our amazement, it took over an hour to receive. We decide to try room service for dinner, as we were exhausted from the travel and waiting. Room service took about an hour to receive as well, which wasn't too bad, except the food was absolutely terrible. It was on par with what you would expect from a cafeteria or other food line sort of offerings, not a resort.

Next day, I am off to my meetings, and wife and kids head to pool around 9:30am. They were unable to get service for food or drinks until 11:30am. No idea why, but no one ever came around. They ended up eating at the pool restaurant and said it was the same terrible food from the night before. We didn't bother trying the higher end restaurants, as we didn't have faith that the service and offerings would be much better. After all, it is run by the same company that served the other items.

Check out is at noon. Question is, why did they send three different groups to kick us out before noon? Housekeeping came around 10:30 and told us that check out is at noon. They came again about an hour later to say the same thing. Housekeeping also did not do much of a job, as we noticed the same areas in our room not being cleaned or vacuumed for 3 days. Right before noon, they sent someone to come to refill our coffee. I told him that we are checking out and we do not need any more coffee. He forced his way in anyways, and said that he is refilling it for the next guest then, and reminded us for the third time that checkout was at noon.

After we get back, I check my AMEX statement and find a charge for $610.40, separate of the exorbinant charges for the terrible food and in room coffee. I call the hotel twice and unable to reach someone in accounting etiher time. I leave voicemails as instructed both times, and neither are returned. I finally just got off the phone with someone in accounting after I asked to speak to a manager. Apparently, you can secretly speak with a person here if you ask for a manager, as I couldn't get a hold of anyone when I told them I needed clarification on some charges. Turns out, this was charged incorrectly, but they would not tell me why, or how.

Overall, it has been a disappointing waste of time. These people hve no idea how to run a business, much less a resort. Save yourself the trouble and frustration by staying elsewhere.

  • Stayed June 2014, travelled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
13 Thank Chris K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
PelicanHillResort, General Manager at The Resort at Pelican Hill, responded to this review, 8 July 2014
Chris,

I appreciate the detailed feedback you have taken the time to post. I regret that your experience fell short of your expectations and our goals. Please know that I have personally followed up on the reservations, dining, housekeeping and check-in comments you provided.

Additionally, I would like to take a moment to speak with you personally to discuss your experience in detail. I will provide my contact details separately in a private message.

Please know that your candid thoughts are appreciated, as we strive to continuously heighten the overall guest experience. Thank you for sharing your feedback.

Kind regards,

Santosh Kuruvilla
Director of Rooms
The Resort at Pelican Hill
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Windermere
Level Contributor
69 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
Reviewed 29 June 2014

For a resort as up-scale as this and at the price for a room, certain amenities are expected to be included for free. Do-it-yourself in room coffee is one of them. I couldn't believe the $10 price tag for in-room coffee. Overall, everything at the resort carried a hefty price tag (for example, $6 for shave ice at the pool -- come on, it's flavored ice.) Another major irritation was the check-in process. Although check-in is supposed to be at 4:00 pm, when I arrived at 1:00, I was told that the maid were presently in the room and it would be a short wait. No problem, I could kill some time by the pool. But as hour after hour passed and I was told that the room was "waiting inspection," my irritation grew. When the room was finally ready (after 4:00 pm), the room was hot and stuffy. As I know hotels often cut the air to save on the electric bill, I expected the room to cool down. It didn't. We complained the following morning, but the problem wasn't fixed until after 4:00 pm in the afternoon. Some inspection process. As we only had reserved a two-night stay, we weren't happy that half of the time the room was an unpleasant temperature. We also had the mixed blessing of our room being close to the Coliseum pool. On the positive side, it was close to the pool. On the negative, the valet took all the spaces in front of the room so we had to park a distance from our room. Overall though, the facilities are gorgeous, the room was generously sized (but the "queen" beds appeared smaller than usual), the staff were always pleasant and professional. The live music on the weekend was a nice touch.

  • Stayed June 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank bjp941
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Orlando, Florida, United States
Level Contributor
322 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 72 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 June 2014 via mobile

The hotel was nice with wonderful views. Loved the patio and think a heat lamp would be a great addition so we could have enjoyed the evenings on the patio. The rooms were somewhat spacious. We enjoyed the fireplace and used it every night. I wouldn't say the room offers more than any other hotel but it is nice. We did love the plush bath towels.
The service was top notch at the front desk, with bellman and house keeping. The service with the fitness staff could be better. The yoga instructor carried on a conversation in the door to the studio as we were waiting to walk in. She never acknowledged we were waiting and actually made us wait to walk in to the studio until she was done talking. Very rude.

Stayed June 2014, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
1 Thank Alisa D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 June 2014 via mobile

My wife and I were celebrating our anniversary and the end of another year of our medical residencies with a quick staycation to this great resort. From the spa to the grounds to the politest staff in California, we could not have wished for more.

We showed up a little early, so we checked our bags in and made use of the spa facilities. Immaculate and relaxing are the only adjectives that fit the bill here. Even when I accidentally dropped my iPhone into the jacuzzi, the men's spa attendant graciously got in touch with the kitchen to get me a bag of dry rice toute de suite in an attempt to save my device. Sadly my phone never turned back on, but the gesture was much appreciated.

Although our check in was delayed by some unexpected carpet shampooing, the villa manager more than made up for the delay with a nice surprise once we checked into the room. And this is what sets this resort apart from others in California...the small things. Although likely inexpensive, the attention to small details like stocking the villa's kitchens with milk and cereal and cooking accoutrement really made us feel at home away from home.

I only wish we could have stayed longer. You can be sure that we will be returning soon with couple friends in tow for another villa stay. Thank you Pelican Hill!

Stayed June 2014, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
2 Thank glmaster
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
PelicanHillResort, General Manager at The Resort at Pelican Hill, responded to this review, 7 July 2014
I enjoyed reading about your experience at Pelican Hill. Thank you for the kind comments you’ve shared here. We look forward to welcoming you back “home” to Pelican Hill soon!

Kind regards,

Giuseppe Lama
Managing Director
The Resort at Pelican Hill
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York
Level Contributor
88 reviews
50 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 82 helpful votes
Reviewed 26 June 2014

We booked an ocean view room and we could sort of see the ocean if you looked above the roof of the building across the road blocked by the bridge and through the trees. I had hoped to enjoy a bottle of wine watching the sun set, but wound up on a claustrophobic balcony surrounded with trees.

Otherwise, the room was spacious, private and well appointed.

The restaurant was okay, but the ambience of a fine restaurant ruined since it was also used by a father watching a young child while Mon got a spa treatment.

  • Stayed October 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank GuavaMike
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
PelicanHillResort, General Manager at The Resort at Pelican Hill, responded to this review, 8 July 2014
I appreciate that you have taken the time to share your feedback about your recent stay at the Resort. I apologize if your accommodations did not meet your expectations. I have shared your thoughts with our Resort landscaping team, so we can ensure that views from our oceanview rooms are not obstructed in any way.

Once again, I regret that your stay was less than perfect and appreciate you taking the time to post your candid feedback. We look forward to another opportunity to serve you. Please contact me directly if I could be of assistance as you plan your next visit.

Kind regards,

Santosh Kuruvilla
Director of Rooms
The Resort at Pelican Hill
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
108 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 51 helpful votes
Reviewed 25 June 2014

This was the last hotel we stayed in on our honeymoon tour of California and it was one of the best. The service was excellent with everybody being so helpful. We were given a bottle of champagne and some strawberries to help celebrate which was a lovely touch. The swimming pool is breathtaking - completely circular and quite empty when we were there. There are plenty of sunloungers there and a good poolside service.

The gym is in the hotel is good, although it could be bigger. We had breakfast at the hotel and it was fabulous, but you do pay for this. Unless you are going to eat a lot it is better value to order what you want rather than have the buffet which I think came to around $80 for 2 people, plus tip. If you want to economise anywhere then get breakfast outside the hotel as there is plenty of choice.

Overall a wonderful hotel, although you do pay top dollar.

Room Tip: All of the rooms are fantastic, but you should try to get one with great views over the golf course...
See more room tips
  • Stayed September 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Amy G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
PelicanHillResort, General Manager at The Resort at Pelican Hill, responded to this review, 7 July 2014
Amy,

I am delighted to read that you enjoyed your honeymoon stay at Pelican Hill. Thank you for celebrating such a special occasion with us. We look forward to welcoming you back again in the future.

Kind regards,

Giuseppe Lama
Managing Director
The Resort at Pelican Hill
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about The Resort at Pelican Hill

Property: The Resort at Pelican Hill
Address: 22701 Pelican Hill Road South, Newport Beach, CA 92657-2008
Phone Number:
Region: United States > California > Orange County > Newport Beach
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#1 Business Hotel in Newport Beach
#2 Romantic Hotel in Newport Beach
#2 On the Beach Hotel in Newport Beach
#3 Luxury Hotel in Newport Beach
#4 Spa Hotel in Newport Beach
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££££
Hotel Class:5 star — The Resort at Pelican Hill 5*
Number of rooms: 332
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

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