If Newport Beach and West Hollywood were related, then Newport Beach would be the quiet little sister who only spoke when spoken to. It’s laid back and humble, cemented on old money and glazed with charm. A place that makes London house prices seem like a steal, once you have a taste of Newps you’re hooked for life.
Where to stay
There is no question about where to stay when you’re in the area; Pelican Hill is world famous and it’s pretty clear why from the second you pull up on their lavish driveway and make your way through the plush lobby. The only way to get around this resort is by golf buggy because it is that big. Overlooking the Pacific Ocean, it’s centred around a spectacular circular ‘Coliseum’ pool; this Tuscan-inspired resort could be mistaken for a small town, with a private clubhouse and pool, butler service and wave of attentive staff comprising the township. We stayed in a one-storey bungalow with panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean. Expect a limestone fireplace to welcome you with warmth, wood beam ceilings and a marble bath which can be enjoyed with the windows that open into the bedroom. The perfect excuse to enjoy a bath bomb whilst watching the fire crackle.
Service is seamless, with a laid-back luxury vibe.
Lido House Hotel
The new kid on the block, it’s forecasted to be the place that everyone will soon want to be seen. Sitting on the site of the former City Hall, Lido House is the old-to-new centrepiece of Newport Beach. The rooms here pay homage to the unique ambience and coastal lifestyle of the area.
Things to do
Put this at the top of your list! You can hire one with just a standard license and you get full captain’s rights to drive the boat yourself. Add a bottle of champagne into the mix and you could spend the whole day on the water with your friends, picking out which coastal mansion you’ll buy next (in your dreams). From the mansion that Nicolas Cage built and subsequently lost when he went bankrupt to the pink house owned by Cindy Lauper, keep your eyes peeled for some truly elaborate real estate.
Lido Marina Village
A postcard-perfect shopping destination; artisans, tastemakers, chefs, curators and collectors come together to share their wares and draw inspiration from the sun and the sea. Enjoy al fresco dining waterside, explore a mix of charming boutiques and stylish shops, and experience a delightfully scaled village ambience inviting you to stroll and discover creative manifestations at every turn. This is Newport Beach at its best, casual, comfortable and chic in equal measure!
If like us, you’re a stationery geek then you must stop by Sugar Paper and treat yourself to a new notebook, pen, diary, candle or all of the above. There’s also an effortlessly cool bookshop here called Lido Village Books. A decades-old favourite, this independently ran, small store offers a beautifully curated selection of best-sellers, owner-favourite classics, design and travel titles, international magazines, a delightful kid’s selection and reading nook, literary gifts and best of all, great conversation and impeccable customer service that is often a thing-of-the-past in today’s impersonal world.
This open-air shopping destination is every girl’s dream. Located in the heart of Newport Beach, Fashion Island is Southern California’s premier coastal shopping and dining experience. With panoramic ocean views and towering palm trees, Fashion Island’s offering includes prestigious department stores and speciality boutiques, and more than 30 dining options.
We fell in love with Kendra Scott Jewellery, not only because of the gorgeous earrings that we couldn’t resist taking home but the fact that they offer you free cupcakes! It doesn’t take much to win us over.
If you went to Newport Beach and didn’t go on a paddle board, did you really go to Newport Beach? You have to make the most of the stunning outdoors when you’re in this often overshadowed area of California. With the feeling of sun on your skin, and the sea breeze on your cheeks as you tread the ocean waves and the boundaries of your own comfort zone, this is the ideal way to spend an afternoon when in town.
Hiring one of these is a must-do, mainly because you get to cruise around on a bike and use very little manpower as they’re motorised and literally do all the work for you. Cruise the sun-soaked streets and watch local life go by!
Places to eat
Right up our street, this place is so cool we could scream. Offering a rich heritage of elevated Mexican cuisine in a friendly, captivating ambience, we made the mistake of asking the waiter to bring us a surprise for our main course; he ended up choosing a steak and nothing remotely Mexican. Lesson learned! However, we had our fair share of hand-shaken margaritas and rare tequilas to make sure we got our culture fix.
Beach Comber Cafe
A converted cottage houses this beachside eatery, serving Californian favourites and a seriously popular breakfast. The beignets here are some of the best in the city while the steak chilaquiles are mouthwateringly irresistible. You can burn off your excessive eating by having a stroll along the beach afterwards and, just a little further down from the café, you’ll stumble across the famous house from the all-time classic movie, Beaches.
There is no cooler place in Newport Beach to have lunch than Zinqué. Perfectly located so you can hop off of your Duffy boat or paddle board onto the main deck and right through their open doors. The grass-fed beef burger is to die for. It’s the ideal spot for people-watching so don’t be surprised if the waiter brings the evening menu too.
Well-known for their coffee art and unique flavours, this is a community coffee house located in the quaint neighbourhood of Balboa Village. Their endless coffee options and pretty presentation makes this spot an Instagrammer’s dream.
Fly with Aer Lingus
With a pit stop in Dublin en route it meant we had the benefit of pre-clearing so that we landed like a local! You simply collect your baggage at your U.S. arrival airport and get on with your day, so not a second of your trip is wasted!