Island Hotel Newport Beach (sister hotel to the exclusive Resort at Pelican Hill, a few miles along the Southern California coast) seems to have achieved a lot of the things that all hotel managers dream of. It offers something to everyone — business and pleasure travelers; adults and children — and guests in each of its different target markets get the impression that the hotel is tailored just for them.
Island Hotel has large and airy rooms and suites that are ideal for families, plus a compact heated resort-style pool, great restaurants and a fantastic 24-hour market where you can stock up on sushi and cookies when you arrive jet-lagged at two in the morning. It is the perfect family base from which to explore everything the area has to offer. It’s also really cool!
The bar and restaurant are the ‘hip’ places where the locals hang out. This is a community hub, and whether it’s the staff at the gym or a guy waiting beside you to order at the bar, there is always someone to tip you off to a great little park for the kids, or the beach where you are sure to spot sea lions.
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Island Hotel has large and airy rooms and suites that are ideal for families. They come with two 50-inch plasma TVs. Those with kids still in cradles might not get the significance of this, but if your kids know their way around a remote control, this means you don’t have to watch back-to-back episodes of Dora the Explorer from six in the morning.
The spacious lounge area, where the little-uns can sleep, is around the corner too, so you get some privacy. They can arrange babysitting as well, in case you want to check out what draws the crowds to the Oak Grill and Aqua Lounge.
There is no organized children’s entertainment at the hotel, but there is so much to do practically on its doorstep, it’s not necessary. There are helicopter tours that allow you to take in the area from the air, and yacht trips that give you a view from the sea.
Other activities include idyllic Crystal Cove State Park; the Balboa Fun Zone, with vintage-style fairground rides; Balboa Island, where you have to savor the famous frozen banana; and Fashion Island, the upscale shopping center is right on your doorstep. Oh, and if you don’t want to sleep and eat Disney, you are really not far from the theme parks, so you can pop over for the day.
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Best family hotels and things to do in Orange County with kids on Ciao Bambino
Editor’s Note: Anna was on a media trip when she reviewed Island Hotel Newport Beach. As always, our opinions on Ciao Bambino are our own. Photos by Anna Tobin except where noted.
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