Travel

Newport Calling

March 11, 2020

This beachy SoCal escape is a food-fash-fun triple threat. —Noa Nichol

newport beach

stay. Indulge in the stylish side of California coastal luxury at Fashion Island Hotel, boasting all the diversions of Fashion Island—Orange County’s iconic open-air shopping, dining and enter-tainment destination. It’s the centrepiece of Newport Beach, where unforgettable experiences are always in vogue—and details are top of mind (case in point: enhanced-stay guests can or-der special pillows to their room, including buckwheat and green tea-infused varieties). Sus-tainability is key here, too; forgo housekeeping to save resources, and get a $10 credit, daily, at the hotel’s Market Place shop.

newport beach

sail. Not an experienced mariner? No problem! Anyone can “drive” an electric boat (rentable, hourly, from Balboa Boat Rentals) around Newport Bay, navigating round the eight islands that dot the harbor. Cruise by the multimillion-dollar bay-front residences of the rich and famous (the dock boys will point you in the right direction, or ask for a map of the stars’ homes) and enjoy the frolic of sea lions and the whistling of sea birds.

newport beach

stroll. Walk the perimeter of Balboa Island—the largest of Newport Harbor’s isles—ogling the sun-splashed seaside homes and passing unique landmarks (a mini Statue of Liberty and sand castles by Chris Crosson). Complete your constitutional with a mosey down Marine Avenue, lined with charming boutiques—plus several purveyors of the island’s famed frozen bananas.

newport beach

shop. Fashion Island is a (mostly) open-air shopping experience boasting more than 150 retailers, including the world’s only (and very fragrant) Voluspa standalone and, opening soon, a freestanding Chanel beauty boutique. Not keen on browsing alone? Book a free-of-charge ses-sion with a personal shopper, who will guide you to the latest trends and must-have items in the mall (only one other shopping centre, on the East Coast, offers such a service).

newport beach

savour. For breakfast on Balboa Island, go good with a Make Me Einstein wellness shot at Juice Crafters and gooey with a hippo cookie from Dad’s Donut & Bakery Shop. On the mainland, lunch is luscious at True Food Kitchen—you can’t go wrong with the creamy cauliflower polenta and to-die-for edamame dumplings—and dinner’s delish at Fashion Island Hotel’s own Oak Grill, where chef Brittany Valles makes (among other winning dishes) Brussels sprouts and truffle fries you won’t be able to stop eating and the table service is impeccable (lap napkins are available in black or white, to match your OOTD). Want to go out? Head to Fable & Spirit for award-winning large and small plates, including addictive coal-charred sweet potato (see if you can snag the snug—an Irish-inspired table for six with a privacy curtain).

newport beach

sip. Aqua Lounge in Fashion Island Hotel offers tableside mixology, handcrafted cocktails (try, in honour of locale, a Sunshine State, with vodka, raspberry liqueur, lime juice and house-infused pomegranate syrup) and gourmet shareable bites. For a more “elevated” experience, enhanced-stay guests can access the 20th floor Island Club, with pour-your-own wine, living-room-style gathering spaces and some of the best panoramic coastal views in the OC.

newport beach

spa. The Spa at Fashion Island Hotel is an oasis, offering a long menu of treatments atop facili-ties that include a fabulous eucalyptus steam room. Try a hydrafacial—30, 60 or 90 minutes of deep-clean delight that infuses skin with antioxidants, peptides and hyaluronic acid—and come out feeling like a brand-new you (bonus: the après-facial frozen grapes).

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