Pelican Hill: Open to the public 


The new Resort at Pelican Hill, covering 500 acres of Newport Coast, is self-declared to be luxurious and not pretentious. The resort’s inimitable style features Tuscan marble fireplaces, columns in the form of Italy, a perfectly circular “Coliseum” pool inlaid with a million tiles, and a restaurant imported from just outside Milan. The overarching idea was to recreate the 16th century country houses of Venetian aristocrats by Andrea Palladio, with the added twist of being intentioned for everyman.

The hotel matches decadent décor with equally indulgent service, the epitome of which is the team of butlers who cater to villa guests. A personal manservant promises to wake you gently with a knock at your door rather than a shrill phone call, to have your favorite television channel tuned in when you arrive, and to draw you a bath that is the perfect temperature. The head butler declares that the most strenuous thing he wants guests to do is pick up the phone and summon their butler, who will not be shocked by even the most unusual requests and is ready to keep guests content at any time of day or night.

The OC has five resorts that have garnered AAA’s five diamond rating, but the resort at Pelican Hill likes to consider itself in a different category altogether because of its unique concept. The Mediterranean themed resort insists that while it might not appeal to the masses, and in spite of the $695-$2700 a night pricetag, it is casual in attidude and for absolutely everyone. Mark Murphy, vice president of Irvine Co. insists on the approachability of the restaurant, where top chefs whip up fresh pasta, gelato, and a $19 cheese pizza appetizer. He refuses to use the term “fine-dining”, which conjures up images of something pretentious and exclusive. And the restaurant, like the resort, is for everyone. Everyone that is, who can afford it. <>