The Resort at Pelican Hill in Newport Beach, Calif. is one of the luxest hotels on the Southern California coast, boasting 128 glam bungalows and opulent villas with room rates close to $900 a night. (There's also the on-site pasta room, among other amenities and services.) Make no doubt about it, this place is heaven, if you can afford it. But if you can't, there's a fun alternative to try.
The company behind the resort, The Irvine Company, which started out as the Irvine Ranch, recently upgraded The Hotel Irvine, on Jamboree Road, to be an independent lifestyle hotel that millennials and business travelers alike will feel comfortable staying at.
The hotel has a central location in Irvine, close to the John Wayne Airport and Disneyland, and although it has a very corporate exterior (it looks like an office building), the property is shiny and happy on the inside. And there's also a lot of orange, which is fitting for this Orange County hotel.
Above is a "Before and After" photo that the hotel posted on Instagram, but the changes at The Hotel Irvine go beyond new paint and pillows. The hotel is touting a "Reach Me" service where guests can text requests to the concierge and get an immediate response. The hotel is also offering free WiFi and tons of outlets (USB ports too) in the rooms, while downstairs work can be done or meetings can be held in brightly colored orange couches and chairs in the lobby.
The hotel has a host of other complimentary services from airport transportation, 24-hour room delivery (you pay for the food obviously) and a fitness center. If you feel like stepping out of your room, there's the Eats Kitchen + Bar, serving gourmet comfort food like the Eats burger, served on a brioche bun with bacon, aged white cheddar cheese, herb aioli and pear jam.
But we're especially liking the Marketplace concept offered in the lobby which calls itself "one part street café and one part free Wi-Fi workstation in a bistro setting." Here you can buy beer and wine, toiletries and medicine, and fresh pizzas and salads. It's also open 24 hours, uses freshest produce from local farmers (here's when the Irvine Company connections come into play) and has sensible, not heavily marked-up prices.
As for nightlife, the hotel's Red Bar and Lounge hosts several different theme nights like Board Games and Beer Flights on Wednesdays and Moonshine Mondays on well, Mondays. That's when guests can hit up the lounge from 6 to 7pm for moonshine tastings, pictured above. While you don't have to be a guest to drink at the bar, if you participate in Moonshine Mondays, you might need a room after all. Rates start at $169 a night this weekend.