Newport Beach Nirvana
By Sarah Khan
FROM LEFT: The Balboa Bay Club& Resort; A steak dinner at Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar; The Island Hotel; Taste of Newport
Newport Beach is one of the wealthiest communities in the nation and has long been on Hollywood’s radar—both as home to countless celebrities (Shirley Temple, Dennis Rodman, Humphrey Bogart, Nicolas Cage) and as the setting for TV shows (The O.C., MTV’s Newport Harbor). We take you behind the cameras to show you the real Orange County.
WHERE TO STAY
The Island Hotel (690 Newport Center Dr., 949-759-0808; theislandhotel.com) boasts picturesque views of Newport Harbor and the islands of Catalina, Balboa and Lido. Guest rooms feature flat-screen TVs, goose-down comforters, Bose sound systems and L’Occitane amenities. You can unwind with treatments at the spa or exercise your credit card at the shops at Fashion Island, just steps away. You’d be forgiven for thinking you’d been transported to the French Riviera when you arrive at The Balboa Bay Club & Resort (1221 West Coast Hwy., 949-645-5000; balboabayclub.com). Park your yacht at the hotel’s dock and lose yourself in the tropical vibe (think beachy artwork, rattan lounge chairs, plantation shutters and drapes with exotic floral motifs). After a long day on the water, grab a bite at one of the two restaurants, pamper yourself at the Lorán Lorán salon or indulge at the 17,000-square-foot spa.
WHERE TO EAT
Pair great food and wine with great views at Mastro’s Ocean Club (8112 East Coast Hwy., 949-376-6990; mastrosrestaurants.com). You can’t go wrong with any of the seafood or steak entrées, but be sure to end your meal with Mastro’s legendary butter cake. Tuck into the chipotle macaroni and cheese at Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar (455 Newport Center Dr., 949-720-9633; flemingssteakhouse.com), the Fashion Island outpost of the celebrated chain. The melt-in-your-mouth steaks are known crowd-pleasers. It may be hard to choose from the extensive wine list, but your taste buds will be happy no matter what you decide.
WHERE TO SHOP
For high-end, one-stop shopping, your best bets are Fashion Island (401 Newport Center Dr.; shopfashionisland.com) and South Coast Plaza (3333 Bristol St., Costa Mesa; southcoastplaza.com). Head to the former to hit up Neiman Marcus, OSA Sun, Juicy Couture, Trina Turk and Martin + Osa; get your designer fix at the latter with such brands as Pucci, La Perla, Balenciaga, Rolex and Chanel. If you’re in the market for some serious horsepower, Newport Beach has luxury options galore. Fletcher Jones Motorcars (3300 Jamboree Rd., 949-718-3000; fjmercedes.com) is the largest Mercedes-Benz center in the world, while Newport Auto Center (445 E. Pacific Coast Hwy., 888-403-8430; newportautocenter.com) is the area’s go-to dealership for Audi, Bentley and Porsche. Looking for something a little less… landbound? Ardell Yacht & Ship Brokers (2101 West Coast Hwy., 949-642-5735; ardell.com) will help you pick out your new megayacht.
WHAT TO DO
Nearly 35 Newport Beach restaurants and 15 wineries will serve their finest at the 21st annual Taste of Newport (Newport Center Dr., Fashion Island, 949-729-4400; tasteofnewport.com) from September 18 to 20. Culture aficionados will appreciate the events at the Segerstrom Concert Hall (600 Town Center Dr., Costa Mesa, 714-556-2787; ocpac.org). This month’s diverse roster includes a Tony Bennett concert, Legally Blonde the Musical and performances of Tchaikovsky and Brahms by the Pacific Symphony.
After the sun sets, dance the night away at Code (4221 Dolphin Striker Way, 949-660-0888; coderestaurant.com), the OC’s hottest nightclub.