Monday, December 28, 2009

The Resort at Pelican Hill: Second Day Thoughts

Pelican Hill Logo
Room Key

It is not Opposite Day today. It is however the holidays. I forgot already, didn't I? Merry Christmas, even if today is days past. Some said Merry Christmas to me yesterday. And have a safe and cheerful holiday.

The reason for starting this review backwards is that sometimes showing too much ruins the whole wow factor. Pelican Hill itself is pretty secretive, in my opinion. Hey, we even had a hard time finding the right entrance as we entered from the upper end of the U shaped road and not the grand bottom end. Inside the rooms, there is so much more than what is described to be. Enough for me to take 26+ photos of the kitchen. And I even forgot to take pictures of parts of it!

*December 28,2009: I finished the editing of the photos so yes, the rest of the review will be coming up shortly. It seems like you all are enjoying this and the musings index a lot! 21 pageviews already just for this page. Yay. :)

But showing the second's day worth of traveling and enjoying shows what was more memorable, what was more cool other than just the room itself. So hop along please. :)

Breakfast

Morning started out with a no frills and light breakfast of cereal and milk (opened already earlier for a glass of milk). Yes, so simple, but simple can be good. I could have made hot water, coffee, and tea, but decided not to. Besides, a breakfast is already made well enough when you can look outside and enjoy that fabulous golf course and ocean view that gives you a panoramic to Newport Beach and Catalina Island. Wow.

And who knew a Villeroy and Boch bowl (Anything of that brand wows, but no, I do not have any of their products other than a lookalike from the Aquarium of the Pacific at home), Special K cereal box, and Rockview 2% milk could look so good in the morning sun at the porch, shaded by the table shade? Put in the sun, the bowl was translucent and just so thin.

Special K Cereal

Too bad the cereal with milk in the bowl pictures were not as successful. The lighting was a bit too harsh on part of the bowl at first...

Special K Cereal

Then it felt a tad dark moving it away from the sun. Time to eat breakfast, I thought. So I did. And the cereal was simple. It did not have as much flavor to it as corn flakes, which by themselves taste like corn, and it was not too sweet either. Kind of like Rice Crispies. The milk was cold, lightly creamy, and refreshing. Haven't had "Real California Milk" in a while, so nice to see the difference.

People Playing Golf in Front of Villa

Hmm, those several people in Boston who said people who stay in hotel rooms all day are DUMB, and then starting off to go to cuss words that goes in a series of a "b" and then a "s" (about me) should rethink their thoughts. In a city that has a lot to do? Okay, that makes sense to go out and enjoy. I did that in cities like Boston and Hong Kong. But at a hotel where there is so much to see, and not much to eat and do right outside the hotel, like a hote? No thanks. And it was a good thing we stayed a bit longer in our room, as two golfers made their way to golf. Zooming in fully with my kit lens, which ended up using the most for the trip, I got this shot. Yes, we were that close! They did not look tiny. We could hear them. And they were very slow, thinking carefully on how to hit that golf ball.

Golf Carts

After these golfers finished their shooting, off they went to their little golf carts, or buggies I will call them (that's what they are called in Dubai, tee hee). Later on they hit far, long throws with their golf clubs.

Golf Course

See? They hit from that basepad to another pad far, far away, over a nature area. Unfortunately, one of the golf balls got stuck in the nature area. Too bad.

Bird on Balcony
(Houses you see on the side are NOT part of the villa complex)

After the golfing, what popped up near the balcony? A bird. How cute! Birds fly close to our house but they are shy to take photos. This bird was not.

North Villas

Bored of just being in the room, we headed off on our own walking tour to who knows where. We first started out in the villa complex, and walked a portion of the villa complex we have not seen yet. Then, we headed back to the room, and then up to the villa Clubhouse area, where mini water bottles were available. After taking plenty, we headed off to the entrance to see what was going on. What was? Well, there was a person on a golf buggy passing the street to go up to what to see in the photo. That portion is the North Villas area. We were staying in the South Villas portion. It looks like to me the South Villas have the better view, but the North Villas had two stories...

Fleet Leaving

A fleet of Mercedes Benz Sprinters were also leaving the Villas area. I guess they were probably going to the restaurants for food and supplies. Who knows. After all, the Resort area had stuff from the villas area for sale. The car to the left was blurred on purpose as the car belonged to a very frequent guest here at Pelican Hill. Said a Pelican Hill employee to the guests, "Oh, you guys know the ropes already!"

Merecedes Sprinter

What's a Mercedes Benz Sprinter? A large van that can be used multiple ways. Usually we see the Dodge Sprinter, but Pelican Hill was able to have Mercedes Benz Sprinters. Guess they need it for the prestige of the brand. This one was being used for supplies, but there were several Sprinters that were shuttle cars. The night before, one of the Sprinters brought us to Pelican Grill from our villa.

2 Bedroom Villa

We then went on another tour to see the rest of the property. On the way, we passed by the type of villa we were supposed to be staying at- a two bedroom villa. However, they gave us an extra bedroom.

Mar Vista

After passing the gate with the swipe of the room key, we were off to see the beautiful Mar Vista. Mar Vista their conference facility, so we just walked around and left. However, the item you see near the right- the dome shaped shade- is quite a symbol of Pelican Hill. We of course took some personal photos closer to the shade, but those will not go online. Too bad.

Palm Tree

Mar Vista also had a nice palm tree next to a bowl of plants so I also took a picture of that. Do you prefer this photo, or...

Palm Tree

This one? If you can see carefully, Pelican Hill has some beautiful landscaping. Very nice choice of plants.

Golf Course

We also looked back at the golf course, and my was it a beautiful view! Photoshop made the colors pop even more. :)



We then reached the Resort Area. Here is a panoramic of it- click the image to see a better view. The famous pool is in it!

Resort Pool, Bungalows

Here is another view. The regular 500-800 dollar a night resort bungalows are near the right. They look quite similar to the villas actually, but I think the architecture of the villas just is a bit more interesting with a richer, deeper color scheme.

Resort Lobby

We then went inside to the lobby, which was very grand and just as beautifully decorated as the Villa Clubhouse. Quite a pulchritudinous scene, if you ask me.

By that time, all the walking was too tiring and due to a 1 o'clock reservation at Charlie Palmer, we had to leave. So, we called for a little golf buggy to pick us up. On the meantime, some more picture taking! We also noticed the first Asian family at Pelican Hill. It can be quite weird being the only _____ person at a place, and it was unusual until then.

Resort Port Cochere

We then went outside to the Port Cochere and it was large, with plenty of cars around. See? Self parking was far away, across the Port Cochere.

Port Cochere Roof

Even the Port Cochere's ceiling was similar to our villa living/dining room roof- wooden! It had plenty of chandeliers too, while our ceiling had recessed lighting instead.

Cars

It seemed as if they separated the exotic cars from the regular cars, with the exception of the BMW and Lexus and Mercedes. But they fit in, do they, quite nicely?

The buggy soon arrived and the driver let us hop on board. On board, he asked us if our stay and walk was pleasant, and he then proceeded to drive carefully and smoothly to the villa. When we arrived, a short thank you was all he wanted. He did not ask for tip or anything else. I had no tip on hand, so too bad. But with such an expensive room rate, if they did not spread at least a third to the employees, that would be weird!

We then later checked out and it was a quick one. The gentleman printed out a copy of the receipt, asked if it was all right, and then printed out another copy and put a copy in the envelope. All done. Parting sentence? Have a nice day, gentlemen. The same person that brought us back to the villa with the buggy then opened the door. No water as we left, but still a nice gesture as we left this beautiful hotel.

Conclusion (not biased as a cheap traveler, I have stayed at other places also in the LHW group):

What was The Resort at Pelican Hill? A place to calm down and relax. Few people may have the power within themselves to completely relax themselves before, at, or after strenuous times, but some need to find a little hideaway. Sure, other hotels may be more expensive or luxurious, but being able to be feel relaxed just by walking around the property, watching the view, staying in the room (after all, you did pay for a room), and enjoying a dinner that was made memorable by a crispy squab salad is not that easy to be pulled off by a hotel. And for that, I am quite surprised. Other than just asking our butler once for a reservation, calling for the buggy rides, and then asking via phone if internet and movies were complimentary, we never asked for any other extra services. You can certainly delight a guest with numerous delightful goodies to make them return and remember, like "the world's seven star hotel" everyday, back in the day, but now that is not easy. They have stopped doing part of it. And although Pelican Hill did give us plenty of memorable little goodies, the property was simply just relaxing and beautiful- with the location of its spot providing a wonderful backdrop.

It is a great vacation spot for families with well behaved children too. Our villa next door seemed to have children. There were plenty of children at the pool who were well behaved and enjoyed the waters. They listened to their parents, and had a great time in the pool, playing games. No employee made ugly glances. (I got plenty at other hotels just for swimming around...) Maybe I was ahem...very not well behaved, making that foam mat at first almost into a foam recliner, and then, giving up, a foam raft.

As for the room, it was very well maintained. What was not were some of the appliances, like the Hamilton Beach water heater that was greenish on the inside, and that there was a slight inconsistency in giving out the amenities. The amenities did not matter to us, but the water heater made us had no hot water or tea the next day for breakfast. Too bad. I did not want to use their All Clad pan to boil water either.

Speaking about the room, the room felt like a home. After all, at 2000+ square feet, our villa WAS basically a home- the same size as many residential homes in California, and larger than many apartments and homes in the world. Forbes, in their Forbes Luxe 11 Show on the Travel Channel, stated that hotels aim to make a guest feel like at home. This most certainly felt like a beautiful home to relax in. Want to go outside to watch the view? Done. Want to walk around the neighborhood (this case, the villas)? Done. Pelican Hill felt like a home. Maybe that is why some people were staying for weeks. It is just like a second home, but without the hard aspects of needing to stock the house. Pelican Hill has done the work, and continues to do it while you stay, making each villa as clean as possible, and providing services when requested- staying ahead of your thoughts so that everything flows smoothly (okay, except for the shuttle transfers).

Will we return? It isn't a matter of if we will, it's when. Probably not quite soon though, with all the work coming up...


Read the series in order:
China Garden- Irvine (Lunch Day 1)
The Resort at Pelican Hill: Introduction and Villa Clubhouse
The Resort at Pelican Hill: Three Bedroom Villa #805
The Resort at Pelican Hill: Three Bedroom Villa #805 Kitchen
Pelican Grill- Newport Coast (Thanksgiving Pre-fix Dinner
The Resort at Pelican Hill: Second Day Thoughts
Charlie Palmer at Bloomingdale's South Coast Plaza- Costa Mesa (Lunch Day 2)

Enjoy!

The Resort at Pelican Hill
22701 Pelican Hill Road South
Newport Coast, California 92657

6 comments:

tigerfish said...

this looks like a rich man's vacation ;p ...seems to be so relaxed.

EatTravelEat said...

tigerfish,

Well, it was only for one day :). We didn't go anywhere far this year so all the extra money went here. It was definitely very relaxing! More photos coming soon.

Mochachocolata Rita said...

LOLs. love it when i saw "well behaved" children
HAHAHAHAHAHHHH

EatTravelEat said...

Mochachoolata Rita,
Well, they were! Most children at more expensive hotels are very well behaved, actually. You'll find more in Hong Kong, I think, like at places like the Island Shangri-La.

joanh said...

haha! i love the shot of the milk, cereal and bowl.. it does make a regular breakfast look luxe.

EatTravelEat said...

joanh,
And it felt luxe too with all the nice bowls, spoons, and the view!