Location, location, location—it’s an adage that holds true at Lido House. Opened in 2018, the boutique hotel took over Newport Beach’s former city hall complex—putting it in the center of town and, most notably, right down the street from the stylish shopping and dining hub Lido Marina Village. The hotel’s rooftop bar (the only one in Newport), spa, and cabana-lined saltwater pool have also become destinations in and of themselves. An upscale Cape Cod sensibility prevails in the 130 guest rooms and suites; there are also five three-story cottages, each with a private roof deck and one-of-a-kind furnishings selected by a local interior designer. The Lido Limo provides surfboards, bikes, and shuttle service to the beach a few minutes away. At the hotel’s restaurant the Mayor’s Table Pacific Pub & Kitchen, it’s worth splurging on the eight- to 14-course no-menu meal at the chef’s counter, where executive chef/partner Riley Huddleston makes magic with the freshest ingredients available. Fair warning: Morning mimosas from the champagne cart and Dungeness crab doughnuts at night might become hard-to-break habits.
A charming collection of shops on the water, Lido Marina Village would seem of another time, were it not for its completely modern mix of design boutiques and eateries. Built in the 1970s, the outdoor shopping center was revitalized in 2017, attracting a prestigious lineup of Southern California brands—Jenni Kayne’s breezy-chic clothing, the bold leather goods of Clare Vivier, and Broken English’s evocative jewelry—along with Le Labo fragrance apothecary, home goods shop Serena & Lily, and even destination restaurant Nobu. Wooden boardwalks are strung with bistro lights, hand-painted signs direct patrons from shop to shop, and a relaxed savoir faire pervades the village. It’s not all shopping either: Coffee at Zinque, Curl Fitness’s yoga classes, and blowouts at TReSs Apothecary + Salon make it a locals’ hangout too. It’s the kind of place people linger, especially on Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays, when a local musician plays on the main deck. Even more fun: Arrive by boat, into one of the 47 marina slips.
A game-changer for Newport Beach when it opened in 1976, this boutique is still Orange County’s arbiter of style. Owned by a trio of sisters—their pioneering mother launched the store to give women a place to buy simple yet elegant designer pieces—the boutique is usually the first to stock labels that are winning acclaim in Europe, but haven’t yet won notice in the United States. Buying trips in Milan, Paris, New York, and occasionally L.A. beget an eclectic array of clothes and accessories that are at once glamorous and accessible. The owners cultivate relationships with their designers—including Peter Cohen, Denis Colomb, Daniela Gregis, The Row, and Sofie D’Hoore—and also host special meet-the-designer events for customers. There’s a homey familiarity every time a patron steps into the spacious shop, with high arching windows revealing yachts outside and glass portholes looking down to the Pacific. Locals’ tip: For a one-on-one styling session, book a private appointment with the sisters on a Sunday.
It’s not an overstatement to say chef Florent Marneau has spent more than half his life perfecting his coq au vin. Enrolled in cooking school in his native France at age 13, and classically trained for years, he then brought his talents to Orange County. His bistro, Marché Moderne, opened in 2008, and gained instant unparalleled attention not just from locals but from critics nationally as well. (It was nominated for James Beard Awards for Best New Restaurant, Best Chef, and Outstanding Service.) In 2017, Marneau moved to a fresh, expansive location close to the beach in Newport. Bifold doors open to a casual patio, allowing a sea breeze through the dining room, and a Cruvinet holding boutique French and California wines is the showpiece behind a quartzite bar. Dinner guests can savor steak frites or foie gras and chestnut ravioli, finished with a tableside pour of poulet jus. Marneau’s wife, Amelia—an acclaimed pastry chef who also trained in France—creates the delicate sweets that punctuate every meal. Off-menu specials often include chef favorites like black truffle–stuffed chicken or cuttlefish flown in from France. Locals’ tip: Make a reservation for Monday night, when the three-course Spontané menu is $38 (add a carafe of wine for $18).
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Whether it’s manicured beach towns or celebrated theme parks, all framed by oceanfront towns and luxury yachts, “The OC” stands out as one of the state’s most iconic destinations. The always-amazing Disneyland Resort, roughly a 1-hour drive south of L.A. and 2 hours north of San Diego, continues to be one of the best-loved theme parks in the world, while Knott’s Berry Farms and other OC attractions amp up the fun meter.
“Surfing is like golf. . . it keeps knocking you down. But when you stay with it and catch that wave. . . magic.” — actor Dennis Quaid
Shop at spectacular South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, or get the surfer look in Huntington Beach, aka Surf City, USA.
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