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“Like a small hotel in Venice, good AND bad”

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Newport Beach Hotel
Ranked #7 of 17 Hotels in Newport Beach
Certificate of Excellence
A TripAdvisor Member
“Like a small hotel in Venice, good AND bad”
Reviewed 13 October 2004

I stayed at the PBH in October '04, and thought I'd share my perspective, given the very wide range of opinions expressed on this site.

First off, you're probably considering the PBH because of its location, right near the Newport Pier, facing the beach. It's fabulous.

The hotel itself is unique, and quite unlike any other hotel I have stayed in, in North America. It reminds me like nothing so much as one of the small 2/3-star hotels in Venice: quirky adaptations of old structures, now converted to hotel use.

I had a room on the north side (even numbers), which just like others have pointed out, means no windows (just a glass block wall and skylight, with no effective light control, not a problem this time of year, but maybe an issue in the summer in the early morning). The rooms do not have individual HVAC control, but the front desk staff appear to be able to adjust the temperature of the room. The furniture is either antique or old, depnding on your perspective. The carpet was worn. The TV was very small. The radio worked but had very poor sound. The included continental breakfast was meagre in its range of offerings. Service was idiosyncratic. The door is locked at 11pm (with a back entrance up some stairs available after that with your key).

BUT, the bed was great. The bed linens were pretty. The room was charming. The bathroom materials (marble, etc.) were fine. The jacuzzi tub/shower was huge, with a 15' ceiling. There was very good in-room lighting. The common areas were large and pretty. The available breakfast items were tasty and the room was pretty. The local papers were available. Parking was free.

Is the glass half-empty or half-full? If you walk in expecting good delivery of "the basics" of a modern chain hotel, you will likely be disappointed on numerous fronts. If on the other hand, you arrive seeking something unique and are pretty flexible about the details, you might be delighted.

Overall I was very happy with my stay. If you like little 2/3-star hotels in the old-town neighborhoods of European cities, you'll likely be happy too. But if your reflex is to book yourself into a Hilton when you're in Europe, I'd suggest you stay away from the PBH.

My biggest quarrel with the hotel is that their web site doesn't give a balanced picture (e.g., it only shows rooms with windows). It's good to put your best foot forward in marketing materials, but when you read the different reviews on this site, it's obvious that some guests arrive with expectations that this hotel doesn't TRY to meet . . . probably everyone would be happier if the site provided a balanced picture and allowed the traveller to decide whether or not "it's for me".

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237 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (59)
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English first
mn
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 September 2004

My husband and I stayed at the Portofino for the first 3 nights of our honeymoon in a roma suite. Our favorite part of the suite was the large jacuzzi tub and the sundeck on the roof (it really felt like we were in Italy)! The room was large and uniquely furnished. From our window we could see some ocean too! The location is wonderful being right by the beach and within walking distance to many great restaurants (it does get pretty crowded on the weekends)! We had a wonderful time!

The only drawbacks were the carpet was a bit stained/worn-looking in places and the parking lot was small with really tight spaces (had to park elsewhere one night, but the clerk showed us where to go).

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2 Thank MnAlicia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level 3 Contributor
9 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 87 helpful votes
Reviewed 26 August 2004

We very much enjoyed the Portofino. It's something in-between a small hotel and a B&B. We had a Firenze room with a big Jacuzzi. There was plenty of light from the skylight even without a window. The room was cozy and had a nice decor, as did the common areas and lobby, like an Italian villa of sorts. The other guests were friendly, and the concierge/clerks were great! Friendly, helpful and fun. Saul, Sal and Keith are to be commended. Nice place right on the beach, well maybe 30 yards away. Re Nato, next door was a good Italian restaurant, but they need a maitre d' to coordinate some service difficulties. Stop at Newport Beach for sun, surf, Balboa Island, the Crab Cooker, and stay at the Portofino.

  • Stayed August 2003
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank kingajh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
A TripAdvisor Member
Reviewed 18 August 2004

What a great location and very quaint bed and breakfast hotel. The product was very clean and the people were really nice and helpful. I stayed for the entire weekend and had everything at my fingertips. The overall experience was more than I expected and I would recommend this quite and cozy spot to anyone.

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5 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
A TripAdvisor Member
Reviewed 6 August 2004

My husband and I were looking forward to a romantic weekend in Newport Beach. We booked the Portofino Beach Hotel at the last minute. They had one room left, described as Queen bed with in room Jacuzzi. The fee was $200. When we got there, late at night after sailing and dining, we saw that the room had NO WINDOWS at all, only a wall of glass bricks through which some daylight came in. There was a set of Levolor blinds to shield some of that light, but they were broken. Management couldn't fix them, so they hung a blanket. That was ugly, but workable. The jacuzzi in the next room also made our room completely vibrate for 45 minutes and we couldn't get to sleep at all. What wasn't even remotely acceptable was that there was no individual climate control and everything was controlled by a central unit somewhere in the hotel! So no windows and no individual climate control. Instead, we had to lie directly under a vent which was blowing ice cold air with the help of a very noisy fan. We asked to get the air turned down but it apparently didn't work. Management didn't care, was super rude and eventually I had to go downstairs to the lobby, ask for pillows and a blanket and sleep on the couch in the lobby. That was the only place available away from the A/C and the noisy fan. I ended up getting no sleep anyway because there was a sanitation truck going back and forth outside the hotel's big picture window, making even more noise and flashing huge lights. My husband had taken sleeping pills, but he still woke up from the freezing temperature and the noisy fan at 5am. When we complained, management threatened to call the police if we didn't pay. After much deliberation, they then gave a $50 discount on the room. I wrote a letter to the owner, and he never responded. But AAA did and they are looking into the situation. I then found out that AAA rates the ''Portofino Beach Hotel" as a BED AND BREAKFAST. The hotel is practicing some very misleading marketing by calling itself ''a boutique hotel." LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS is more like it!

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11 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
NewportHotelFourSis, Manager at Newport Beach Hotel, responded to this review, 9 July 2011
This is an update because we are no longer the Portofino Hotel. We are now the Newport Beach Hotel, part of the Four Sisters Inns family (as of approximately 1.5 years ago). The hotel was completely renovated approximately 4 years ago. There is no longer any affiliation with the way the hotel once looked, felt, or quality of service provided. Thank you.
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San Diego
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 August 2004

With all of the antiques and Victorian flourishes, the hotel reminds me of the kind of hotel you'd stay in along the Jersey shore. The room was small but clean and very cute. I thought the bed was really firm and comfortable; my husband hated it and didn't sleep at all. The skylights in the room give off a ton of light to make up for the lack of windows. Since the hotel is literally right in the middle of the Newport Beach Boardwalk area, traffic is kind of a nightmare. Definitely not the place to go for peace and quiet, but a great alternative if you want to party in Newport. I felt like I was right in the middle of Mission Beach in San Diego. The parking lot is convenient if you have a reasonably-sized car; not the place for a suburban or a Hummer2. The concierge there is wonderful -- he'll get you anything you need. I'd avoid the restaurant ReNato, though. Service was lousy.

  • Stayed August 2004
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank evanika1104
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
A TripAdvisor Member
Reviewed 7 March 2004

The Portofino is in an awesome location - right on the bike path in Newport Beach and within walking distance of lots of food, bars, and a few shops. Sort of a beach/party atmosphere in the area - lots of packed casual bars with twenty-something aged locals. I'd say this is a plus if you are looking to party but not much of a problem if you want to avoid it (like my wife and I did). The hotel has lots of character although the rooms are quite small. Our room not only lacked an ocean view but a window of any kind. However, a cool skylight provided plenty of light. Upstairs lobby area has a great ocean view. Included breakfast was quite sparse (some muffins and fruit) but the area in which it is served is quite nice. We ate at the restaurant at the hotel - food was above average (but definitely not cheap).

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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Newport Beach Hotel

Property: Newport Beach Hotel
Address: 2306 W Oceanfront, Newport Beach, CA 92663-3405
Phone Number:
Region: United States > California > Orange County > Newport Beach
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #7 of 17 Hotels in Newport Beach
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £££
Hotel Class:3 star — Newport Beach Hotel 3*
Number of rooms: 15
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
As 'Newport's Closest Hotel to the Beach,' the Newport Beach Hotel is located in the heart of one of California's most popular beach settings. The hotel is ideal for guests who enjoy being surrounded by youthful energy including an eclectic beach scene as well as an exciting nightlife. Just steps from the sand, the updated hotel features coastal-inspired decor and each guestroom offers a king or queen bed, flat panel television and many feature a jetted spa tub and fireplace. Opt for the Oceanview Guestroom and enjoy panoramic views of the active Newport Beach and ocean beyond.As part of the Chic Hotel Collection, the Newport Beach Hotel offers a complimentary Continental breakfast, use of the hotel's bicycles and beach toys, complimentary wireless Internet access and a lobby bar where beer and wine may be purchased. Secured onsite parking is available for a fee. ... more   less 
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