Whats Haute: Orange County – Hotel Seven4One, Watermarc, iLounge OC

By Natasha Dorsainvil


 After frequenting these locales, it won’t take much to convert visitors into locals.

Our last issue of Haute Living Los Angeles explored the luxuries that abound in Orange County. This issue, we go a bit more in depth, bringing you the most pertinent information about the region’s newest-and most renowned-haute spots.

If you aren’t lucky enough to have your own address in Orange County, the impeccable Hotel Seven4One is happy to be your home-away-from-home. Wrapped in a contemporary package that offers an imperceptible balance between luxury and environmental consciousness, the eco-chic Hotel Seven4One plays the beachside retreat role well. The boutique hotel features 10 guest rooms and two 1-bedroom suites that offer tranquil views of Laguna Beach. Lounging in the open-air courtyard and sun deck affords a relaxing way to take in the scenery in the most papering of environments. Amenities that set this boutique retreat apart include sand valets and a personal guest experience manager, or GEM, who offers the combined efforts of a private concierge, butler, and personal assistant in one devoted staff member. Seven4One’s comfort, convenience, and style aren’t offered at the expense of the environment, however. As a member of the Green Hotel Association of America, the hotel is committed to reducing its footprint on earth. To do this, they’ve taken on initiatives like newspapers by request, a no Styrofoam policy, the use of cotton towels in lieu of paper ones, and the nonuse of bottled water, just to name a few. Kitchen S4O, of course, shadows the hotel’s green theme on their plates. The seasonal menu calls to travelers and locals alike, thanks to the locally grown, organic, and fair-trade products used to create an innovative, yet healthy menu that is eco-friendly as well.

Nearby, Laguna Beach’s newest culinary venue offers a feast for the eyes and an adventure for the palate. Inside the Watermarc, the fusion of rustic brick and wood detailing, combined with the sleekness of steel, create a modern, bistro-style ambiance that is mirrored in the menu. Executive chef/owner Marc Cohen offers a carte de jour that embraces the old and new in an appetizing bond. Lunch and dinner diners will have the choice of 26 “Grazing Plates” or tapas from which they can sample an array of flavors including a classic, but updated potpie and the more edgy Ahi Watermelon Skewer. Cohen showcases his fondness for fresh seafood in dishes like Yellow Fin Tuna Two Ways, Crab Louis Salad, and Seafood Sausage, among others. Watermarc guests can also enjoy plenty of bar libations including imported and domestic beers, 30 wine-by-the-glass offerings, and their choice of cocktails from a felicitously named menu of drinks: Up, Rocks, Muddled, and Sparkling. At street level, guests can enjoy high energy dining or may go for the more intimate upstairs Terrace Dining Room, which overlooks Peppertree Lane. The Watermarc is available for private parties and offers late night dining on Friday and Saturday nights.

Situated in Colton Plaza, just minutes away from the John Wayne Airport, the iLounge OC has presented a bold, energetic, and uncommon nightspot where the area’s elite lounge and dine. The décor is modern with an affinity for reds, white and chocolate brown leather, accented with stone. More than just an upscale dining room, the lounge offers patrons a 360-degree oblong bar, main dining area, lounge spaces, and more private quarters for a unique iLounge experience. Treat a guest to a dish of macadamia-encrusted white chocolate sea bass in the velvety Red Room or welcome a group with a room full of vino at your special event in the Wine Room. Sink into plush white leather in the White Room or sip cocktails al fresco in The Veranda. For those who prefer an intimate and exclusive respite, book the luxurious Penthouse alcove where you can people-watch via the arched entryway while dining under a vaulted ceiling and black glass chandelier. Once the setting has been addressed, indulge on “global, progressive, and eclectic” lunch and dinner dishes. Try the signature iTini or choose from the iNibbles menu to satisfy a late night, DJ induced, after dancing appetite.

While the O.C. may be a bit more laid back than the City of Angels, a red-carpet-ready look is often called for in this posh beachside county. Thanks to the Jack Winn Salon & Body Center, you can leave all your mane worries behind. This full service salon is the hottest beauté spot in Newport Beach and has an attractive and glossy environment in which you can tend to all of your primping needs. Both men and women can get tints, cuts, highlights, and, for the ladies, blowouts and elegantly coifed up-dos also grace the menu of services. Rates, of course, depend on the stylist booked, but walk-ins are also welcomed with a glass of complimentary preferred beverage. The salon uses Keristase, Morrocan Oil, Davines, Sircuit Skin, and Becca products and offers extensions and Brazilian Keratin Straightening, which can tame curly tresses for up to four months with proper care. Body Center services include facials and unique treatments with names like On the Rocks, Cocktail, and Facial Pilates. Jack Winn has more than nine years in the industry and is equipped with all of the talents that a Vidal Sassoon education affords. He received training in Europe and Asia and has been featured in various print publications.

Keeping with the theme of always looking your best, once your hair is done, it is time for you to shine. Combining classic designs with contemporary settings is a clever recipe for creating timeless sparkling baubles, which you can find at Jewelry by Mardo. Since 1979, Mardo Ayvazyan has been in the business of doing just that. The Istanbul native’s signature jewelry is showcased in an opulently designed location on Newport Beach’s West Coast Highway. Behind the Mediterranean exterior are massive U-shaped cases that contain all of the pleasures any jewelry connoisseur’s private collection would embrace. Ebel, Bedat & Co, Carl F. Bucherer, Piaget, and Jacob & Co. watches are equally stunning next to diamond and gem adorned fineries that will inspire lingering gazes and loyal patronage. With Mardo’s touch, expectations for custom-designed pieces and finely crafted jewels are always exceeded.

After frequenting these locales, it won’t take much to convert visitors into locals. Upon permanently moving to the O.C., keep in mind that turning a livable space into an enjoyable one requires experience and an outstanding reputation. With 35 years in the industry, family-owned Alderete Pools is Orange County’s expert. Working closely with architects, they create and renovate residential and commercial outdoors to address the design, entertainment, and safety needs of every client. A customized pool complete with spa, slides, and waterfalls will be the centerpiece of your backyard retreat. Luxurious touches like an ultra smooth glass bead finish won’t require the use of rough plaster and pebble stone surfaces in your project. You’ll have the option to incorporate green features like solar heating, saltwater/ozone pure technology, in-floor recirculation and deep heating systems to create an earth friendly and low maintenance space. Alderete Pools also provides services that can assist with the lighting and audio features for after-dark events, as well as install an in-home computerized control system to make maintaining your oasis a touch-of-a-button task. To create a virtually worry-free pool area, install the permanent SonarGuard beneath your pool’s surface to trigger a loud alarm once the invisible sonar net is broken, or the Life Saver removable pool fence, which is nearly indestructible with normal use.

It comes as no surprise that such a sumptuous array of venues dot the coastline of one of America’s most premier regions. It is these kinds of luxury locales that have earned the O.C. its well-regarded reputation as a land that is bursting with all that the good life has to offer.