While we do not offer domestic golf trips, a recent business meeting at the Pelican Hill Resort in Newport Beach was a very positive experience. The two Tom Fazio designed courses are almost 20 years old but the accommodation component only opened in 2008 and is spectacular.
I had previously attended a meeting at the resort and stayed overnight in it’s sister property but was impressed at that time with the physical plant. On this occasion I stayed at Pelican Hill for three nights and played both the North & South Courses.
The resort offers hotel rooms which they categorize as “Bungalows” and a Villa product which have 2 – 4 bedrooms in each unit. The Bungalows are spacious at over 800 square feet and provide a very well designed and thoughtful hotel experience. I did not see the interior of the Villas but understand they are also extremely well conceived.
The hotel is spread out and as a result their transportation system is extremely efficient and works very well. I never waited longer than a few minutes for a transfer within the resort and never heard a negative comment on this topic from any of the 30+ people within my group who were also at the resort.
The golf courses surpassed my fairly modest expectations. I thought they would be more contrived in design to fit into the land that Fazio had to work with, but I was pleasantly surprised. Both courses offered great vistas of the Pacific and Newport Beach. The courses were fairly typical Fazio and in good condition. On balance I probably preferred the North Course as it was more open but would not lose sleep over having to play either one again. The golf operation was good with engaged and pleasant forecaddies with each group (this is a Caddiemaster facility and did not disappoint).
Room service was also a well oiled machine with prompt and efficient delivery and clean up. Given the size and layout of the rooms room service was a good option.
I attended two group dining functions during my stay and both were well executed with good food, attentive staff and creative dining choices.
My wife used the spa as something of a professional spa-er and enjoyed both treatments although she commented that their use of the “quiet room” for dining was slightly incongruous but otherwise they delivered an enjoyable spa experience.
The swimming pool is apparently the largest circular swimming pool in the world. Additionally it is salt water fresh and universally 3 1/2 feet deep. It was good by any measure and impressive.
My only negative was the dining room at the pool. On every occasion (total of four) the orders were mishandled, service was very slow and my sense was they were overstaffed with friendly, well dressed folks standing around. It was very out of context with the rest of the resort experience. If I were to return to Pelican Hill I would probably give this food outlet one chance to evidence improvement as the pattern was evident to me and others in the group.
In closing I have not done justice to the superior facilities that have been built at the resort. The service is very good with the one exception as noted. It is located only a few miles from John Wayne Orange County Airport which provides excellent scheduled air access. All in all, Pelican Hill is resort worth visiting if you are looking for something in the Los Angeles area.