Pelican Hill Resort is a marriage of substance, service, and style that makes it the most distinctive, impressive, and memorable destination we have visited in the United States! And the service from the moment we arrived and were greeted by the bell boy to the poolside wait staff to the "thanks for playing golf with us" from our forecaddie was impeccable and unequalled by any resort that we have stayed in. You're treated with respect and like a king. From almost any location within the resort, you'll have a spectacular view of the trees and hillside, Pacific Ocean, golf course, magnificent homes, and Newport Beach. The motto at The Resort at Pelican Hill is "The Possibility of Perfect" and they are as close as a resort can come to perfect!
And as you would expect, The Resort at Pelican Hill has been widely recognized and highly acclaimed since it opened in November of 2008. Some of the awards and accolades include:
Golf At Pelican Hill Resort
The two golf courses at Pelican Hill are widely recognized as among the finest in the nation. For example, Golf Digest awarded Pelican Hill with "The World's Greatest Golf" distinction and both courses have been voted by Golf Week's Magazine as "Top 100 Resort Courses." Golf on either course is a real experience and it is as much about trying to manage the course as it is enjoying the stunning scenery of the sparkling blue Pacific Ocean with sailboats and huge yachts, well maintained and colorful landscaping, stunning multi-million dollar homes dotting the hillside, and Newport Beach. Every hole has magnificent views that can easily steal your focus - I really struggled with remembering to keep my head down and eye on the ball and not on the views.
Each of the courses were designed by the renowned Tom Fazio who is one undoubtedly one of the most admired and respected golf course designers in the world. His extensive list of accolades includes being named "Best Modern Day Golf Course Architect" in Golf Digest magazine and over a dozen of his designs have taken top honors in the annual rankings of "Best New and Best Overall Resort Courses." We go out of our way to play a Fazio design which are some of our favorites - they are always well maintained with unique and interesting layouts that are challenging but fair and a blast to play. The two Pelican Hill courses are typical Fazio designs, both of which we really enjoyed playing - fun, challenging, scenic, and memorable.
The Ocean South Course starts at the immaculate clubhouse and traverses its way down the hill where the 11th though the 13th play along or near a bluff above the Pacific Ocean - you'll feel the ocean breeze, smell the sea, and hear the waves crashing on the shoreline and the seals barking as they bask on the rocks. Hopefully, you won't watch one of your Pro V1s go surfing. The rest of the holes wind back up to the clubhouse with forced carries over deep ravines and canyons. Ocean South is one of those courses that emit a "Wow what a beautiful hole" from the elevated tee boxes and then a few curses on your way to the pin. This 18 will throw a lot at you - wide but tree- and bunker-lined landing zones that you don't want to miss; dramatic elevation changes as well as both uphill and downhill approaches to the greens, contoured and rolling fairways that will create uneven lies, big treacherous bunkers, forced carries, challenging green complexes, and risk reward opportunities that will tempt you and in my case devour several golf balls. But don't let that scare you from playing this nine, Fazio always leaves a bail out area, there are five sets of tee boxes to choose from, and the forecaddies will provide a lot of help and advice. If you relax (you're on vacation not in a tournament), enjoy the scenery (it's stunning), study the hole (invest in a yardage card), and ask the forecaddie for advice (they can really help you), you'll have a very fun, enjoyable, and memorable round. Take a look at the very well done Ocean South flyover to see each of the spectacular holes and read our review of Ocean South to learn more about one of the the best 18 holes we've played.
Pelican Hill's Ocean North is more wide open and has a links style feel to it and is the harder of the two courses. A round on North is almost as much about the scenic beauty as it is about trying to get that ball in the cup. Every hole has a view of the sparkling blue Pacific Ocean dotted with sailboats and huge yachts plus views of some stunning multi-million dollar homes chiseled into the hillside, the majestic Pelican Hill Resort perched on a ridge, and on a clear day you'll see Newport Beach and Catalina Island - can't find all of that on any Texas course! And then there's the 18 holes that require you and your forecaddie to think your way around - this is not a typical resort course where after 5 beers you can still turn in a respectable round. You'll need your "A" game to score well and you'll need to manage:
The 44,000 square foot clubhouse is as dramatic as the golf courses - sweeping ocean views, lofty Palladian columns, impeccable landscaping, and typically a Bentley, several Mercedes, or other expensive luxury cars parked out front. a luxurious 44,000-square-foot clubhouse with separate men’s and women’s locker rooms and lounges with a full array of appointments and amenities, the acclaimed Pelican Grill and lounge, Caffé II Italian coffee bar, a golf shop offering the latest golf fashions and accessories, and an intelligently designed, full-service practice facility conveniently located right outside the clubhouse door featuring an expansive driving range, a complete practice tee and tour-event Nike Platinum One balls waiting for guests when they arrive. The Pro Shop has everything that you'll need - make sure you load up on some extra golf balls for your round. The service is first class and attentive. Lunch or drinks on the terrace overlooking the course and ocean are a must before or after your round. Even the golf carts are upscale - plush leather seats that felt like I was riding in a Mercedes.
Forecaddies are required for your round on either course and you'll quickly appreciate how the forecaddies can:
We really enjoyed both of our forecaddies - friendly, outgoing, helpful, and they really know the nuances of each of the courses. Plus they clean your clubs after each shot, hold the clubs while you focus on the shot, rake the bunkers, and tend the pole.
It's not a bad idea to consider a lesson before you head out to take on either course and you can learn from one the best in America. Glenn Deck was named one of Golf Magazine's "Top 100 Teachers in America" and he leads the Pelican Hill Golf Academy that offers half-day clinics as well as private and group lessons.
After you've played 36 at Pelican Hill, if you like Fazio designs then you should consider playing 18 at Pelican Hill's sister course, Oak Creek Golf Club. Located about 15 minutes away in nearby Irvine, Oak Creek Golf Club is a typical resort style Tom Fazio design that is very golfer friendly (a friendly Fazio course?) and has been described as being like Pelican Hill but without the canyons and ridges and beautiful vistas of the ocean. "With dense and dynamic flora, tapered fairways, beautiful lakes, bull-nose carved bunkers, and challenging roughs and green complexes, Oak Creek creates a sanctuary not only for your playing experience but for a variety of birds and other fauna as well." The concierge at Pelican Hill can arrange a tee time and a round of golf at Oak Creek can be included as part of your stay and play package.
Three courses, four days and three nights of accommodations start from $1,795 per person on weekdays, or $1,995 per person on weekends, 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 on weekdays, or $1,495 per person on weekends, based upon availability.
Lodging at Pelican Hill Resort
Speaking of accommodations, Pelican Hill has some of the best lodging that we have experienced. It's an exclusive luxury resort with 204 Bungalows and 128 Villas. We stayed in a one bedroom Bungalow which was very spacious (847 square feet) and well appointed with a heavenly bed, comfy couch and chair, gas fireplace in front of the bed, and a huge marble and tile bathroom with a separate toilet, large tub, and two sinks. But the best part may have been the patio with a magnificent view. Our Bungalow was very upscale and furnished with nice touches.
Part of what makes staying at Pelican Hill unique and special is all of the nice little touches that you won't find at other resorts, that in and of themselves aren't that much, but when added together make your experience special. For example, as part of your stay in the Bungalow, you'll find:
Speaking of the terrace - another WOW -it has a glass enclosed front to protect you from the ocean breeze with a table and two chairs plus two comfy lounge chairs and best of all a million dollar view of the golf course, stately tall trees, and the glistening blue waters of the Pacific Ocean. And the sunset was unbelievable! Each evening there is a turn down service that is more than just adjusting the sheets and putting a 2 cent mint on the pillow - it includes a gourmet chocolate, slippers placed next to the bed, bottle water on the night stand, the remote control put in a little box and set on the night stand, and your robes laid out on the bed plus a fresh bag of ice added to your ice bucket
Our Bungalow was very spacious and If you need a little more space, there are one bedroom two bath Bungalow suites that are 1639 square feet and a 2486 square foot two bedroom three bath Bungalow suites. Better yet, for larger groups or families, the Villas which are available as a regular part of the hotel rental inventory and are not timeshares are perfect. Like everything else at Pelican Hill, they are unbelievably well done and most have spectacular views from a large out door patio. Each Villa is well appointed, has a two car garage, full kitchen, and everything you need to cook a gourmet meal. The Villas have butler service and exclusive access to the very upscale Villa Clubhouse with a restaurant, exercise room, and stunning infinity pool with breathtaking views of the ocean, Catalina Island, and Newport Beach. There are several choices in Villas to meet your requirements: two bedroom two bath Villas that are 2193 square feet, three bedroom three bath at 2573 square feet, or four bedroom four bath with over 3580 square feet of living space. The appointments at the Villas are some of the finest, for example:
A new paradigm for guest service has been established at the Pelican Hill Villas: every imaginable ultra-luxury appointment and amenity; the most comprehensive and innovative service program of special amenities, personalized options, pampering and individual attention of any resort; a personal butler on duty 24/7, and a staff of chefs, concierges, housekeepers and others who can be available 24/7; pre-arrival planning by phone and email that is the most extensive and detailed in the resort industry; and pre-eminent anticipatory service based on both the pre-planning and intensive observation once guests have arrived. Try and find something like that at any other resort in the United States. Wow! Next time we are staying the Villas!
Dining At Pelican Hill Resort
Don't expect to loose any weight during your stay at Pelican Hill - all of the food we tried from the Eggs Benedict to the made fresh daily Italian cuisine like spinach ricotta ravioli with sage butter sauce is exquisite. You can grab a quick cup of Espresso Frappe and a fresh baked pastry at Caffé before your round of golf, enjoy a spectacular view with some spicy tortilla soup and a grilled Ahi burger with honey wasabi sauce on the terrace at Pelican Grill, or marvel at the stunning sunset as you devour a gourmet meal like grilled swordfish with sardinian relish, fregola, and tomato jus on the heated terrace at the Andrea restaurant.
When you stay at Pelican Hill you have several choices for dining:
Amenities at Pelican Hill Resort
After all of that good food at the Coliseum Grill and Andrea plus a couple tasty gelatos and those delicious chocolates on our pillow each night, we should have spent several hours at the state of the art fitness center to try to wear off some of the calories, but not us - we spent time at the Coliseum enjoying the view and sipping pina coladas in the hot tub!
The Coliseum Pool is also home to the world's largest circular pool - 136 feet in diameter and filled with warm salt water and overlooking the golf course and Pacific Ocean. It’s the most strikingly unique swimming pool of any resort we have visited with it's vaulted arches, radiant-blue bottom of 1.1 million glass mosaic tiles, and ultra-luxurious private cabanas. The cabanas offer a little more privacy and are equipped with with a flat-screen TV, Bose audio system, stocked mini refrigerator, chaise lounges, and pool butler service!
After golf or before dinner The Great Room in the lobby has very upscale but not pretentious comfortable furniture with a grand fireplace and outstanding golf course and ocean views and its perfect place to enjoy afternoon tea or cocktails or the champagne cart which serves champagne, wine by the glass, and coffee.
If you're looking for some ideas on what to do or need to make some reservations visit the Concierge - even their area is impressive. Rather than a desk in the lobby like most other resorts, the Concierge is located in a beautiful separate room with wood paneling, bookshelves full of interesting books, a mural of the ocean, and two 65 inch flat screen TVs. The TVs are used to display photo and video vignettes of a myriad of points of interest in and around the Resort - you can explore the beaches, nature trails, shopping centers, restaurants, museums, and more before you decide what you want to do - very unique, unusual, and high tech. The Concierge can than make all the arrangements for you.
Pelican Hill is very kid friendly and to show their appreciation, each kid receives a stuffed pelican upon arrival. For families and the kids, you can enjoy the family pool adjacent to the Coliseum Pool, a kid's movie library, teen and kids activities, and Camp Pelican for ages 4 to 12. Camp Pelican offers exciting indoor and outdoor activities, digital microscopes and iMac computer stations, popular video games, scheduled activities, and age appropriate books, games, and board games.
And talk about first class service, the Resort will shuttle you wherever you want to go on the resort, to the beach, or to nearby attractions or shopping and they do it in a comfortable Mercedes coach or if you're really lucky or if its a special occasion in their Bentley! Give them a call and they'll pick you up at your room within 5 minutes.
For business meetings or special events, the Resort has a 20,000 square feet of meeting face including a 4560 square foot ballroom, a video conference ready boardroom with executive seating for 22 guests, and a brick promenade with water features adjacent to all the meeting rooms that is perfect for outdoor receptions or coffee breaks with a stunning vista. And what a special place to get married - there are several ceremony sites and ballrooms available and the Resort can provide all the services needed to make this a very special and memorable event.
The Spa at Pelican Hill Resort
The Spa at Pelican Hill Resort has claimed the Forbes Five-Star Rating and AAA Five-Diamond Rating and it is a must stop after a hard stressful week of work or a challenging round of golf or just for a little pampering. The 23,000 square foot spa, with its dramatic 28-foot high Palladian rotunda, wall of flowing water, 22 private treatment rooms, steam rooms, saunas and whirlpools, offers an unmatched experience in a cocooned, sophisticated ambiance where every sense is awakened, and where every moment is one of extraordinary pampering and rejuvenation - sounds like a commercial, but the Spa really is special!
The Spa offers the a variety of services and restorative treatments inspired by traditions from around the world. You can enjoy:
Nearby Fun Things To See & Do
Unfortunately, we didn't have a lot of time to explore the area - we spent too much time playing two fantastic courses and soaking away the tired muscles in the hot tub, enjoying the pool, and munching on some good food on the terrace. But we did spend a fantastic afternoon exploring some of Newport Beach. We parked the jeep on Balboa Island and rode bikes around this small island loaded with a diverse variety of attractive homes, some quaint shops, and several good restaurants. After biking around the Island, we boarded the small three car ferry for a short ride across Newport Harbor which is loaded with beautiful sailboats and huge expensive yachts. The ferry dropped us off on the Newport Beach Peninsula where we picked up the paved wide and perfectly flat bike trail that goes along the beach and some stunning beach front homes. We biked by an unbelievable $26 million dollar home; Shirley Temple's old house; the pier loaded with fisherman trying to catch dinner; the sand and surf with playgrounds, sand volleyball, board and body surfers; past some interesting tourists and natives jogging, skateboarding, biking, and walking along the trail; and past several miles of interesting and expensive homes. As usual, after getting a little bit of exercise, it was time for appetizers and drinks on a balcony overlooking the bay and watching the sun set. A fantastic afternoon. If you are interested in a vacation rental on Balboa Island, then check out Balboa Island Vacation Homes.
You can rent brand new bikes at Seaside Bike Rentals (all sizes for adults and kids and all of them are new) or you can ride the trail on a Segway with Segway Orange County, or just take a casual stroll along the path. Another fun way to see Newport Harbor would be to rent a boat (pontoon, jet ski, ski boat, sail boat, a cute electric bay cruiser, or a kayak) from Marina Boat Rentals.
If you like sun, sand, and surf, then try the "Pelican Hill Beach Experience." Take the 5 minute complimentary Pelican Hill shuttle ride to spend some time at Crystal Cove Park which is a seaside nature preserve with a three and a half mile beautiful beach and famous eatery, The Beachcomber Café. The "Beach Experience" comes complete with personal lounge chairs and umbrellas set up in the sand, plus adult and kids beach bags with two towels, two bottles of water, sunscreen, Smashball paddles and ball, and assorted sand toys complete with bucket and shovel. Food and beverage service on the sand is provided by The Beachcomber Café
There is plenty to keep you busy and entertained at the Pelican Hill Resort, but if you must escape you'll find hundreds of fun and interesting things to do, some of which include:
Check out the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce website to find the above and lots more fun things to do.
What also sets Pelican Hill apart from all other resorts includes: their attention to small details; outstanding amenities; exceptional culture and focus on service from the bell boys, through the phone operators, to the pro shop staff; ability to deliver a great experience on every level; and two excellent Tom Fazio 18 hole golf courses. What in the world are you waiting for, for a special treat at very upscale resort that you will never forget and golf on what may be two of the best courses you'll ever play, pick up the phone and call Pelican Hill and book a room - 800 315-8214 or click here to book a reservation online. You won't regret it! Click on the link to see more pictures of Pelican Hill.
Most of the pictures are thanks to Pelican Hill Resort.