Kicking off 2024 at the new Pendry Newport Beach


After graduating from UCLA, JIll traveled the world looking for unique destinations. She’s been writing about her travels for almost 30 years in various publications.

She writes a weekly restaurant review for the Beverly Press and Park LaBrea News. It’s inserted into the Los Angeles Times every Thursday and delivered to subscribers from Hancock Park to Beverly Hills, Hollywood Hills to the Wilshire Corridor.

Kicking off 2024 at the new Pendry Newport Beach


The new Pendry Newport Beach located in the middle of Fashion Island is the talk of the town.

When Cadillac offered me a 2024 Cadillac CT4-V Sedan to test drive to the Pendry Newport Beach, with an overnight stay, I accepted the invitation. My husband and I drove to the former Fashion Island Hotel and handed the Cadillac keyless entry remote control to the valet.

Cadillac is the official vehicle of Pendry Hotels & Resorts. This partnership offers guests complimentary transportation and a ride and drive program, putting guests in the driver’s seat to experience the luxury American automaker’s newest cars during their stay.

Walking into the refreshed lobby, we appreciated the new contemporary design and friendly staff. There is a concierge desk for hotel guests to inquire and receive recommendations and reservations at dining venues and any community activities.

Taking an elevator up to room #1207, it is one of the newly refreshed 295 guest rooms, including 114 suites. The view guest room was sophisticated offering a modern design with a hint of California decor. There was a curated mini-bar, Pendry signature pillow top mattress with luxury linens and bedding. Walking out the sliding glass door onto the balcony, we took in the ocean, harbor, back bay, Catalina and Orange County views.

Donning our bathing suits, we went back down to the ground level to enjoy the sparkling pool and hot whirlpool. There is a tiki-inspired Tree Shack Pool Bar & Grill at the entrance gate to the pool deck. A pool staff member happily set towels on two thick padded lounge chairs. Another staff member approached us to inquire if we would like a drink, glass of champagne or cocktail. There is also a Baja-inspired food menu for those who who want a light snack or meal by the pool. We soaked in the hot tub with a glass of wine and relaxed in the warm water.

Afterwards we dressed for dinner and visited Bar Pendry for a drink with friends. This venue is quite a lively scene in the evenings and on weekends. The refined and classic circular bar and lounge was filled with locals and hotel guests. The stylish space offers a romantic vibe and handcrafted cocktail menu. There are cozy gathering spaces in the lounge and a quieter outdoor patio with heaters to keep guests warm on chilly nights. We arrived just before the crowd filled the space and secured a quieter table and chairs outside to sit with our friends. One can imagine an episode of “The Real Housewives of Orange County” being filmed here. It does make for excellent people watching.

Nearby is the onsite signature restaurant SET Steak & Sushi. It’s a blend of modern steakhouse with a contemporary sushi bar. The lights are dim and candles flicker as guests enjoy iced shellfish towers, juicy steaks and grilled seafood. There is also a sushi counter where diners can sit and watch sushi chefs make their creative premium sashimi plates.

Outside on the dining terrace underneath lanterns hanging on thick branches from an exquisite mature tree, guests to enjoy an al fresco dinner featuring salads, charcoal-grilled steaks and chops, and decadent desserts.

Going back to our room after dinner, we stood out on our balcony overlooking all the twinkle lights of Orange County.

The next morning, we rode the elevator down to the Pendry lobby for cups of complimentary coffee at the pop-up coffee bar. There were also an array of tempting pastries and savory breakfast items available for purchase.

Afterwards we visited Pendry’s concierge to request two e-bikes to take for a spin along the Newport Back Bay. It’s just a few blocks away to ride on a paved and carless bike path to the Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve and Ecological Reserve. There is over 1,000 acres of preserved and pristine wetlands, that are home to over 200 endangered species and 35,000 migratory birds. Throughout our ride we saw different birds, bike riders, walkers and joggers.

When we returned to the hotel, we checked out and got into our Cadillac to drive through Lido Island and Newport Beach to take the Auto Ferry over to Balboa Island. Since 1919, Balboa Island Ferry has provided continuous service for drivers and passengers in vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians between Balboa Island and Balboa Peninsula in Newport Beach. The crossings on the small and flat ferry boat is a bargain at $2.50 a car.

In the early 1900s, many of Newport Beaches’ waterfront communities were subdivided, including West Newport, East Newport, Bay Island, Balboa, and Balboa Island. Some of the famous Balboa Island residents include John Wayne, Lauren Bacall, James Cagney, Joey Bishop, Humphrey Bogart, and George Burns. Today approximately 3,000 residents live on just 0.2 square miles. Most of the multi-million dollar homes are on small lots that that are only 30 feet x 85 feet. These residents have easy access to a variety of water sports and activities, such as Duffy boating, fishing, and paddle-boarding.

Driving down Marine Avenue, there are an array of coffee shops, Dad’s Famous Balboa Bar and Frozen Banana, plus restaurants offering a variety of international cuisine. Since parking is difficult on weekends on Balboa Island, we drove over the bridge to Lido Island for a quick lunch at Bear Flag Fish Company. This fast, casual fish market and restaurant offers salads with grilled salmon and swordfish sandwiches that are delicious.

We walked around Lido Island along the Newport Beach harbor admiring the luxury yachts before getting back into our Cadillac to head home.

There is so much to see and do while staying at Pendry Newport Beach. Other venues to visit include Sherman Library and Gardens, Mark’s Garden, Fashion Island for shopping and dining, and the public sculpture art garden at Newport Beach Civic Center.

Pendry Newport Beach is located at 690 Newport Center Drive, Newport Beach. Go to Call (949)688-8002.

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