Southern California

From the Airport to the Sand | The Best Hotels Near Newport Beach

Equal parts outdoors and indoors, for families and adults, close to Southern California cities but far from your troubles, these hotels near Newport Beach have it all.

To some, Newport Beach is synonymous with Fashion Island, the famous 52-year-old mall that attracts shoppers from around the world, including Southern Californians from up and down the coast. To others, it’s a cultural destination, thanks to the presence of both the Orange County Museum of Art and multiple concert series. Those of a certain age may know it best as the world of the popular show “The O.C.”

For me, though, Newport Beach will always be known for its outdoor beauty. It’s the wooded areas in a canyon in the San Joaquin Hills, and the diverse wildlife of Upper Newport Bay. And it’s that feeling I get standing on the sand, looking out at the ocean and smelling the exceptionally clear air. If you’re looking for similar sensations, these Newport Beach hotels and resorts will get you close enough to the ocean to see, hear, and feel it.

A Famed Yacht Club-Turned-Resort with Quick Beach Access in Newport Beach

Possibly the best-known luxury option in Newport Beach, the Balboa Bay Resort started as a private yacht club in 1948; the Balboa Bay Club shares the property but is still members-only. The resort opened to the public in 2003, and it has since become one of the premier oceanside properties in Orange County.

With the beach just steps from the doors, it’s no surprise that the Resort makes the oceanfront experience as comfortable as possible. Those wanting to jump in can rent kayaks and stand-up paddleboards, while those looking to curl up with a good book can make use of the lounge chairs by the pool. Further relaxation is available at the spa, including a massage utilizing CBD oils.

In the rooms, private balconies allow you to enjoy the view of the beach without washing the sand out of swimsuits. A multi-million dollar renovation completed in 2017 also refreshed the living spaces, bringing the historic resort into the 21st century.

Want to leave the property? A complimentary shuttle will take you to Balboa Village, the seaside neighborhood that offers harbor cruises, a small amusement park, and even frozen bananas (made famous by the TV show “Arrested Development”). The hotel will also give you a ride to nearby Fashion Island, one of the area’s most popular shopping malls.

Balboa Bay Resort

Top rated
Newport Beach
8.7 Excellent (1910 reviews)

Five-Star Luxury in the Newport Beach Outdoors

The Resort at the Pelican Hill is the only hotel in Orange County awarded five stars by the Forbes Travel Guide, and those celestial bodies are well earned. Taking advantage of natural beauty both coastal and otherwise, Pelican Hill showcases the best of Newport Beach and Orange County.

The biggest stars here are the 36 holes of golf, created by world-renowned designer Tom Fazio. With panoramic ocean views on offer, especially on the South course, it’s easy to get distracted from the game itself – which is a problem, since Fazio doesn’t take it easy on hackers with deep sand traps and tight doglegs.

For those who don’t wish to spoil their outdoor time with shots in the rough, there’s the resort’s heated Coliseum Pool, a massive 136 feet in diameter. A short shuttle ride or walk from the resort is Crystal Cove, with a gorgeous beach and historic California bungalows. And the nearby Laguna Coast Wilderness Park trades sand for canyons, with tremendous hiking.

The on-property bungalows and villas allow for breezy Southern California living, with fireplaces, wet bars, terraces and with fireplaces, wet bars, terraces and separate dining and living areasThose staying in the villas get an extra surprise – Pelican Hill will stock the rooms with favored family snacks and child-sized robes to make arrival even easier and give the space a home-like feel.

Hotel The Resort at Pelican Hill

Top rated
Newport Beach
9.2 Excellent (2022 reviews)

Huntington and Newport Beaches, All in One

Situated along the famous California Route 1 highway (known as the Pacific Coast Highway a short way to the north), The Waterfront Beach Resort is just five miles from Newport Beach and steps from Huntington Beach, and makes good use of the location. That includes private beach cabanas available for rent, oceanside firepits (with s’mores!), bicycle, boogie board and sand toy rentals.

Those who enjoy the water more than the sand will also feel at home at the resort’s pools. The Driftwood Beach Club features two waterslides, firepits, and cabanas, while the more relaxed Huntington Pool has a slightly older, calmer vibe and a hot tub. Both have food and drink menus, including specialty cocktails.

The rooms all include furnished balconies, many of which have beachfront views; you can watch the sunset while eating your dinner outside, like a home patio. Microwaves and refrigerators are available upon request, so that meal your kids barely touched at the restaurant can becomes tomorrow’s lunch, as needed.

The Waterfront Beach Resort, a Hilton Hotel

Top rated
Huntington Beach
8.9 Excellent (2808 reviews)

A Lively Hotel, Next to a Shopping Mecca

The popular and energetic Island Newport Beach hotel is just steps from Fashion Island Mall, one of the town’s biggest non-beach attractions. With more than 200 shops, including many high-end boutiques, the Mall has become a tourist destination – a third of its revenue comes from non-residents, according to a local newspaper. It is also a nightlife center for the beach community, with outdoor film screenings, live music, and even Taco Tuesday celebrations.

Steps away, the Island Newport Beach carries some of the Mall’s same energy. Oak Grill, the hotel’s restaurant, does everything it can to staying local, whether it’s in ingredients or on its draft beer list. The fireside patio area has its own happy hour, along with live music performances by area artists. Those looking to stay up a little later still don’t have to leave the property; Aqua Lounge is open until 1 a.m. on weekends and draws locals and visitors alike for its dancing and cocktails on Fridays and Saturdays.

The rooms in the Island Newport Beach don’t get any of the sound from downstairs, but they do get balconies on which to enjoy the Southern California weather and free wi-fi. The hotel also has a full floor of hypoallergenic rooms, with specialty air filtration that removes 99 percent of allergens, carpet cleaned with no chemicals, and down comforters and pillows.

Island Newport Beach

Top rated
Newport Beach
8.8 Excellent (2857 reviews)

Laid-Back Luxury, Steps From Newport Beach

It may call itself “your local beach house,” but the Lido House Newport Beach is both home-like and luxurious, with amenities far beyond what you’d expect at an actual beach house rental. With five specialty cottages, a rooftop bar (the only one in Newport Beach, according to the hotel) and a spa, the Lido is more like luxury’s laid-back cousin.

Opened in 2018, the Lido is up to date on what the modern traveler needs out of a hotel, including spa-like bathroom amenities, full or Juliet balconies, and a well-lit working space. The head-turning accommodations, however, are the five cottages available, each created in conjunction with a local designer. Each fit for a full family, the cottages range from vintage influences to eclectic modern ones, with rooftop terraces being the norm.

The Lido’s location at the top of the Balboa Peninsula puts it between the Balboa Coves and Newport Beach, surrounded by seafood restaurants like Nobu, Cannery Seafood, and its own Mayor’s Table. It’s a short walk to the Newport Beach Pier, as well; it would be easy to stay here for a week and not have to rent a car.

Lido House, Autograph Collection

Top rated
Newport Beach
8.7 Excellent (138 reviews)

Golf, Concerts and Pools, All at One (Large!) Resort

1/2

What the Hotel Hyatt Regency Newport Beach has that so many beachside and other resorts in the area lack is space. Set on a 26-acre plot of land just a scant few miles away from the ocean, the Regency spreads out, adding attractions that need that extra room to shine.

The resort features three different pools, including one designed for families, complete with a water slide. Daybeds, lounge chairs and cabanas are available throughout the pool complex. The Regency also has its own “executive” par-3, nine-hole golf course, for those who want to get away for a couple of hours. There’s even an amphitheater, one that hosts the Summer Concert Series each year (prior performers include Chaka Khan, LeAnn Rimes, and Smokey Robinson).

Off the Regency’s grounds, the Fashion Island mall is less than two miles away, and Newport Beach is a downhill walk and a short ferry ride. In addition, the Upper Newport Bay Trail is more than 10 miles of path waiting for hikers and bikers alike (bikes are available for rental from the Fitness Concierge). With space for numerous activities at the resort, and a location central to much more, you’re likely to be entertained for your entire stay.

Hotel Hyatt Regency Newport Beach

Newport Beach
7.9 Good (3452 reviews)

The "Airport Hotel," Reimagined in Newport Beach

It’s close enough to John Wayne Airport to nearly make its free shuttle unnecessary, but the Renaissance Newport Beach Hotel is much more than a staid commuter crash pad. Combine the interior design – think California beach-street culture – with a price point well below that of many oceanside properties, and the Renaissance makes for a convincing “bleisure” option.

The rooms provide anything that a business traveler needs with some enticing extras; the pale walls and wood flooring give the feel of a beach house, and the balconies in some suites give you the chance to get some fresh air. An on-site restaurant, CURRENT, is a favorite both of hotel guests and locals, with a menu of seafood favorites, flatbreads and street tacos.

The Renaissance’s main strength may, despite its distance from the beach, be its location. It’s the briefest of drives to get to the 405, after which all of Southern California is within reach. Shopping at South Coast Plaza and fun at Disneyland are both within a short drive, while Los Angeles or San Diego are simple day trips. That’s a lot of extras for an “airport hotel.”

Renaissance Newport Beach Hotel

Newport Beach
8.2 Very good (3619 reviews)

Stay As Close As Possible to the Sand of Newport Beach

If you’re looking for Newport Beach, it shouldn’t be surprising that a place named Newport Beach Hotel is the closest to the actual oceanfront. Less than a quarter of a mile from Newport Beach Pier, and only footsteps more to the sand itself, the Hotel gets you as close to the actual Newport Beach as one can get without camping.

The hotel is certainly designed with its location in mind; the light color schemes and wooden bed headboards match its oceanside setting. There are only 15 guestrooms and five suites on the entire property, meaning that amenities like bicycles, boogie boards and beach chairs are always available to borrow. Suites have the added advantage of in-unit kitchens, as well.

In between the beach and the hotel is a host of restaurant and nightlife options, from Southern California Mexican food mini-chain Baja Sharkeez to the delightfully-local hang Blackie’s by the Sea. Sand by day and food and drink by night sounds like a pretty full vacation.

Newport Beach

Top rated
Newport Beach
8.5 Excellent (536 reviews)

Room For the Whole Family At This Newport Beach Resort

If your family needs a little more room to spread out, the Marriott Newport Coast Villas may provide the space needed. Resembling a condominium complex as much as a hotel or resort, the two-bedroom villas here have full kitchens, in-unit washers and dryers, sofa beds, separate living and dining spaces, and even patios or balconies.

In addition, the property includes plenty of family attractions. Three pools can be found, one at each end of the resort and one in the middle. The activities center includes an arcade and sandbox, while Pacific Park has a basketball court, a sand volleyball court, and a putting green.

But staying the whole time within the resort would mean missing Crystal Cove (just a mile away), with its beachfront, hiking and tide pools. And with a twenty-minute drive to the Newport Beach Pier, you can enjoy both your home base at the resort, as well as the city’s charms in short order.

Marriott Newport Coast Villas July 16-23

Top rated
Newport Beach
9.1 Excellent (674 reviews)