Photograph courtesy Paul Vegos/Photoshelter
Claiming a hilltop above Newport Beach, the Italianate Resort at Pelican Hill is so vast, you have to get from the lobby to your luxury digs to the Coliseum Pool to the spa in a Mercedes van. The spa’s wall of undulating water induces a Zen-like calm even before you put on your robe in the cavernous Acqua Colonnade, a relaxation area with an herbal steam room and a sauna. If you ever decide to leave, downtown Newport is five minutes away. Or drive another five minutes to Balboa Island. Searching for a parking space will build your appetite for the Balboa Belly Bomber, a mini boule overflowing with an Italian scramble, at Wilma’s Patio. After ogling the yachts, queue up at Sugar ‘N’ Spice or the nearby Dad’s Donut & Bakery Shop to judge which has the best “original” frozen banana. Or split the difference with an intensely good bun from Cinnamon Roll Fair as you ride the wee car ferry to the merry-go-round at the Balboa Fun Zone.