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Sometimes all it takes to truly appreciate where we live is to stay at one of our local luxury hotels—to enjoy a vacation close to home. One of the best stays in Orange County is at the newly transformed Island Hotel Newport Beach.

The urban and coastal hotel recently finished an impressive vibrant and chic new look with modern conveniences, personalized services, and an engaging social scene with entertainment, craft cocktails and one of the best restaurants in SoCal—the new Oak Grill.

Whether you decide to stay, or refer a friend from out of town, you will love the new amenities, conveniences and personalized services.

All guest rooms and suites feature vibrant pops of color – ocean-inspired aqua, brilliant sunset orange, coral, lilac and sage – reflecting the coastal lifestyle and offer breathtaking ocean/coastal and canyon views. There’s also a new text concierge program; free wi-fi; customizable mini bars; and Keurig coffee makers available in all rooms.

The 24-hour Market Place off the main lobby is perfect for affordable fresh foods to go, healthy snacks and specialty items such as delicious pastries handmade by pastry chef Andy de la Crus, gourmet coffees and more.

We cannot get enough of the private Island Club room--just a $35 a night upcharge--where you can escape and enjoy sweeping panoramic ocean views from the 20th floor and take advantage of continental-style breakfast and light evening snacks; beer and wine during the “Wine Down” hour; curbside check-in; complimentary access to the Spa’s relaxation lounge and eucalyptus steam room; and complimentary dry-cleaning for up to four pieces of clothing per day. It’s just a great room to relax, watch TV, read a book, or enjoy drinks and snacks with friends.

Orange County is filled with great dining choices in the area, but it’s hard to beat the new Oak Grill – an airy, light-filled new restaurant featuring Chef Marc Johnson’s contemporary California menu.

Chef Johnson is an award-winning chef and recently received awards for his Togarashi-Crusted Ahi with grilled bok choy, royal trumpet mushrooms and citrus ponzu; and his Foie Gras Terrine with pickled kumquats, strawberries, toasted brioche and bourbon maple syrup. Favorites from the menu include one of the best chicken dishes we’ve ever tasted—the Jidori Chicken with California succotash and thyme chimichurri; the Braised Short Ribs with Anson Mills corn grits, Portobello mushrooms and Bordelaise sauce; and the watermelon and beet salad with fried okra, chevre and petite watercress. Oak Grill serves breakfast, lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch.

Aqua Lounge is a hot new bar and lounge featuring an interactive mixology format with craft cocktails and an expertly curated wine and beer list, as well as a rotating program of regionally known resident DJs spinning a blend of current and international music Thursday through Saturday.

You can always relax at the updated resort-style pool area with a redesigned contemporary poolside bar, private cabanas and plush modern furnishings. Or book a spa treatment at the luxurious Spa that offers an entire menu of massages, soothing facial treatments or ultra-regenerative signature body rituals. You can enjoy services a la carte, or take advantage of all-inclusive Spa Packages tailored to your needs. There’s also a fitness center with new Matrix equipment and easy access to the pool area; and remodeled event space including the largest ballroom in Newport Beach and an indoor/outdoor Cabana Room with glass panels opening to a private, heated terrace.

For reservations and more information, contact Island Hotel Newport Beach, toll-free, at 866.554.4620; or visit IslandHotel.

690 Newport Center Dr, Newport Beach.

Korakia Pensione


Korakia Pensione in Palm Springs is the kind of romantic hotel that you really don’t want anyone to know about--its popularity could spoil its private oasis in the desert vibe.
It’s the best-kept secret for people in OC who want to get away from everything, but still be close to home. It’s no surprise that is was named one of the “sexiest hotels in America” given its Moroccan/Mediterranean-inspired ambiance.

Once behind the keyhole-shaped entrance carved Moorish wooden double doors, you’ll find several buildings, villas and pools.

It’s a romantic respite where you can enjoy a complimentary breakfast, book a spa treatment, relax by pool in the day, or by lantern and fire pits at night.

korakia colorCome here to escape TV’s and phones, relax on an outdoor day bed, read books and watch classic movies on an outdoor screen. Soak up the desert sun, enjoy an afternoon Moroccan tea service and get a break from reality that should reenergize you.


All of Korakia Pensione’s studios, rooms, and suites are loaded with charm with white linens, handmade furniture, antiques, wood beamed ceilings, kitchens and patios or balconies.

It’s best to choose your favorite room online here. You can view floor plans and amenities such as the romantic Naish House, a1930's villa with wood burning fireplace, dining room, full kitchen, stone bathtub, and a private outdoor shower. korakia two story to the Marrakech Suite, a roomy upper-level suite with spectacular views of the San Jacinto Mountains, pool and courtyard, a large living room and full kitchen.

Korakia offers complimentary yoga classes on the weekends, as well as complimentary bikes to tour downtown Palm Springs. The hotel is close enough to walk to restaurants and other entertainment.

They’re having a September 2015 special! Stay with them Sunday-Thursday. Rooms are $159, Studios are $199, and Suites are $259. Enjoy complimentary poolside lunch. Online promo code sep2015.

257 S. Patencio Road in Palm Springs. 760.864.6411

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