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Pelican Hill at Newport Beach

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Tom Fazio Designed Ocean North course

By Elizabeth Anthony

For most of the year, Houstonians enjoy great weather and proximity to some of the best lifestyle amenities available anywhere, but when late summer rolls around, many of us are looking for an escape from the heat and a respite from the workday blues. If the swelter of summer has you craving a cooler climate and longing for a diversion from the daily grind, then a getaway to Pelican Hill on the coast of California’s Newport Beach offers the perfect place for you and your family to play.

Aside from the climate — which from July to September ranges from lows of mid-60s to highs of mid 80s — the resort’s aesthetic alone is enough to lower your blood pressure. Set on 504 acres on the Pacific Ocean and built in the style of Italy’s Andrea Palladio (the most acclaimed architect of the High Ren­aissance and celebrated for his churches, villas, palaces and other grand edifices) Pelican Hill has been internationally heralded for its emphasis on detail unprecedented in the resort world.

In true Palladian style, Pelican Hill nestles into the hillside along the sea, engaging and complementary of the natural setting. A full range of distinctive Palladian elements grace and define the resort including rows of arched porticos, barrel-vaulted ceilings, multi-story entry rotundas, graceful corniced columns that create temple-like settings, gracious courtyards with flowing fountains and archways framing vivid vistas of the sea. Ranked by Travel + Leisure as one their “500 World’s Best Hotels” in 2011, Pelican Hill proudly immerses their guests with the finest of everything.

In fact, Pelican Hill can boast more than one “Best of…” award. The Pelican Hill Resort, for instance, is ranked the top California Golf Resort by Condé Nast Traveler readers and the two Fazio-designed courses are truly spectacular. Encompassing 400 acres that include 80 acres of protected habitat, Pelican Hill Golf Club sets a new standard for green golf resorts with its environmentally-friendly water management system. The luxurious clubhouse, a signature restaurant, expertly-appointed practice facility, dramatic architecture and a stunning natural seaside setting provide a golf experience that will not disappoint.

“This summer, Pelican Hill brings back our popular PGA professional-led Junior Golf Camps (July 11-14, July 18-21, Aug. 1-4, Aug. 8-11, Aug. 15-18) and launches our new Women’s Weekend Golf Academy (July 9-10, Aug. 13-14, Sept. 10-11), in
addition to continuing monthly half-day workshops and special guest instruction programs,” said Steve Friedlander, general manager of Pelican Hill Golf Club. “Our highly rated instruction program, two ocean-view courses and ideal climate make Pelican Hill the perfect destination for fun summer golf excursions.”

Since its inception, The Spa at Pelican Hill has been an award-winning destination and 2011 proved to be no different. Forbes Five-Star and AAA Five-Diamond Awards have honored The Spa for the second consecutive year. Evoking a 21st century wellness philosophy, this 23,000­-­ square-foot retreat echoes the same distinctive Palladian accoutrements and refinement as the resort itself.

Guest amenities include a 28-foot-high Palladian rotunda; flowing water and a tranquil relaxation room; 22 private treatment rooms; men’s and women’s Acqua Colonnades with herbal steam rooms, saunas and a regal Roman bath; and exceptional dressing areas with all the amenities. A full service salon, boutique, spacious fitness center and yoga room also offer guests a variety of wellness activities. Spa director Liza Esayian shares, “The Spa is so much more than a place to enjoy a good massage.” She encourages you to indulge in any of their natural, organic treatments (all the plants used at the spa are grown in California) along with the Lular Italiano massage and the Body Gelato treatment to experience “the purity and effectiveness of the world’s most celebrated traditional therapies.”

Accommodations, too, at Pelican Hill are extraordinary and lavished with luxury. Aside from the 204 Bungalow guest rooms and suites that offer relaxing and comfortable spaces, including wood-beam ceilings, Italian limestone fireplaces, deep soaking marble tubs and more, there are 128 awe-inspiring Villas that take inspiration from the charming hillside villages of Italy.

“The Villas,” says Ralph Grippo, president of the Irvine Company Resort Properties, “feel as much like a neighborhood as they do a resort.” The two-, three- and four-bedroom Villas offer the ultimate in accommodations, with every imaginable ultra-luxury appointment and the most comprehensive and innovative service program of special amenities, personalized options, pampering and individual attention of any resort in the world.

Resident manager, Donald Stamets, concurs, “The unprecedented service — combined with the unequaled size, scope, quality and quantity of the Villas, the level of pre-arrival planning, the around-the-clock staff, the exclusive Villa Clubhouse and pool area and the exceptional privacy — sets the Villas at Pelican Hill apart from the accommodations at any other resort anywhere around the globe.”

Dining options are available for every mood and occasion, but guests can enjoy classically prepared, Tuscan-influenced Italian cuisine and al fresco dining at the resort’s signature restaurant, Andrea Ristorante. Led by executive chef Jean Pierre Dubray and restaurant chef Luca Cesarini, Andrea sources the perfect ingredients and implements time-honored practices and preparations to recreate the best of Italy. Diners savor salads made with 100-year-old Balsamic vinegar, delicate milk-fed veal dishes, exquisite pastas made in a one-of-a-kind temperature-controlled Pasta Room, sublime artisan-style gelato made in the Laboratorio del Gelato and wine from a 1,200-bottle collection predominately from Italy and notably a number of vintages exclusive to Andrea.

The staff at Pelican Hill has prepared summer packages (available now through fall), allowing you to maximize your vacation playtime. For golfers of any experience level, a variety of programs and packages are available, including Just Bring Your Swing for Three Courses, Four Days & Three Nights—designed especially for the traveling golfer. If you’re tired of lugging your golf clubs through airports and being hit with exorbitant baggage fees, this option allows you to travel light and enjoy Pelican Hill’s premium equipment when you arrive. Spend four days and three nights playing three rounds on 54 Tom Fazio-designed golf holes, plus special golf perks like unlimited replays without a forecaddie — starting from $1,795 per person, based upon availability.

For shorter stays, play two Pelican Hill courses over three days with two nights of accommodations — starting from $1,295 per person, based upon availability.

For the ultimate summer escape, the ever-popular Golf & Spa Experience features your choice of two rounds of golf at Pelican Hill Golf Club, or two 50-minute Amber Gold Signature Massages at The Spa. Complimentary valet parking and Internet access are included — starting from $665, based upon double occupancy and availability.

Available July 15-17, Aug. 19-21 and Sept. 9-11, the Golf Academy Stay & Play includes a luxurious two-bedroom Villa for a two-night stay, “Breakfast with the Pro” at the Coliseum Pool & Grill, a choice of one of three half-day Golf Academy workshops led by Golf Magazine’s “Top 100 Teacher” Glenn Deck, and a round on one of Pelican Hill’s ocean-view courses — starting from $1,595 for a two-night stay, based upon availability.

For auto aficionados, The Keys to Luxury Package invites guests to “put yourself in the driver’s seat” for scenic coastal cruising in your selection of vehicles, such as Jaguar, Mercedes, BMW convertibles or luxury SUVs. Curbside airport vehicle delivery and pre-programmed dashboard navigation will have you quickly on the road to your Pelican Hill getaway — in style and stress-free — starting from $695 per night, based upon availability.

Pelican Hill is a sanctuary of beauty and sophistication that sets a new standard and gives guests the perfect place to play. “Andrew Harper’s Hideaway Report recommends Pelican Hill as an ‘Opulent Seaside Retreat,’” said Pelican Hill Resort Managing Director Giuseppe Lama. “If you prefer the best summer escape available, then look no further than ‘Newport Beach’s own Tuscan Seaside Village’ for luxury and value.”

Ocean view terrace, Andrea Ristorante

King Bungalow guest room

Couples suite at The Spa