It always feels like there is great energy by the Balboa Bay in Newport Beach. Amazing yachts line the harbor, Duffy boats scurry from place to place and at sunset, crew teams swiftly row on the surface. There is a sound to all of this. It’s a lively, but muted tone of chatter that can be heard from the decks of the vessels to the patio at the resort. And everyone sounds happy.
So, I was delighted to walk down memory lane and savor all that Balboa Bay Resort has to offer in one dee-lightful day. About five years ago, this venue was my home away from home as I traveled in and out of Orange County almost weekly as president of a luxury company in Newport Beach. And today, after a lovely renovation, there are new things to see and do, and refreshed interiors that absolutely elevate an already lovely place. Neutral and light ocean tones run throughout the resort, taking advantage of the opportunity for beechwood accents and seaside décor.
I started my day with a gourmet coffee from Blend, the coffee shop in the lobby with an extensive selection of treats, and departed the resort to hike Castaways park just above the Back Bay. After a solid workout, I dashed to my spa appointment for a really enjoyable massage in the renovated spa that is all about Zen, and the products are all organic and have wonderful natural scents. The Spa at Balboa Bay Resort is only available to the resort guests, and it’s a hidden treasure for health and relaxation. They have something for everyone’s taste—from traditional massage to skin treatments and body therapies—using only the world’s finest ingredients.
From there, I was just steps away from my blow-out appointment at the DryBar inside the Balboa Bay Resort, which was super convenient before I really started my day in full swing. Inside everyone was sharing restaurant recommendations and letting me know what was new. At that moment, the decision to shop at Lido Marina Village was solidified. I visited A’maree’s on the way, then Elyse Walker, Jenni Kayne and Sugar Paper, the most adorable stationary shop I’ve seen in a long time (what a lost art!).
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When I returned, I visited the new Balboa Bay Resort recreation concierge, which has been relocated to the lobby to make it easy to rent a bicycle, find a Duffy or do something more adventurous, like paddle boarding or booking a whale-watching tour.
As evening approached, it was time for dinner on the patio of A + O Restaurant | Bar on the water. Make sure to time dinner with the amazing Newport Beach sunsets featured nightly! A + O Restaurant | Bar is overseen by Chef Prabeen Prathapan, who developed the menu and concept, and I loved the lively vibe.
“We wanted to create an approachable, seasonal menu for A + O Restaurant | Bar by incorporating local ingredients and sustainable seafood. We collaborate with local farmers like VR Green Farms in San Clemente to provide us with freshest produce,” says Prathapan.
“The menu at A+O is special, because there’s something for everyone!” he continued. “Our goal is to offer a high-quality, yet diverse menu to accommodate families and well-traveled individuals alike. Our extensive wine list compliments our seafood and steak offerings as well as burgers and salads. We provide options that are not only tasty, but satisfying.”
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Make sure to time dinner with the amazing Newport Beach sunsets featured nightly!
In addition to the Newport Beach waterfront views and spectacular sunsets, the craft cocktails are amazing, especially The Vaccine with Herradura Ultra Tequila, blue curacao, pineapple juice, lime juice and coconut syrup. I enjoyed pairing that with the Salt + Pepper Shrimp with coconut sweet & sour sauce, peppercorn spice blend and lime, as well as the Tuna Ceviche. Yum.
If you haven’t had enough, enjoy the firepit seating in the bar for a nightcap, and do take time to book brunch for the weekend. It’s a plethora of seafood, salads, carving and omelet stations, and delicious desserts you can’t refuse.
It’s always a good day on the bay!
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