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Experience The Holidays At Balboa Bay Club & Resort

Balboa Bay Club header
(credit: Balboa Bay Club & Resort)

The Balboa Bay Club & Resort is a lovely waterfront escape year-round, but it's particularly ideal during the holidays with the harbor lit up with lights, the Newport Beach Boat Parade happening and the shopping proximity to Fashion Island.

While the Balboa Bay Club has been around since the 40's, the actual resort has only been opened since 2003 — and many still don't know the property is a hotel vacation spot versus a private yacht club. It is indeed a luxe retreat, and the only Four Diamond waterfront hotel in Newport Beach. If you haven't been, December is prime time to visit.

Balboa Bay Club tree
(credit: Balboa Bay Club & Resort)

Holiday décor has decked the hotel's Mediterranean-style halls at every turn. The lobby boasts a grand, gorgeous tree, and the library is a delightful, festive space to relax in. Decorating kudos to Hillary Nichols Interiors and her team for the Resort's amazing design. The property is illuminated with over 750,000 twinkling lights and decorations.

If you can request a room on the water, definitely do so to take in all the lights from your patio or balcony. The view is exquisite at night, and waking up to the row of yachts and fresh saltwater air is a treat in the morning. The resort offers more than 160 rooms; the one-bedroom suites are also an elegant, spacious option.

Families are embraced at this very dignified resort. Many may think of The Balboa Bay Club and connect it with old money and times of John Wayne and old Hollywood, and while there is that essence still, the demographic is changing. There's a very warm, multi-generational aspect to the resort, where you'll see everyone from grandparents to little ones dining together or roaming about the Resort. That family scene will strengthen even more so in 2013, as the Resort is under the new ownership and management of Pacific Hospitality Group and will be renovated in 2013.

balboa bay club duffy boat
(credit: Debbie Lavdas)

Book A Duffy Sea Excursion

So what to do while you're here? Start your trip on the water, of course. The resort owns two Duffy boats, and the outing is a perfect way to soak up the true essence of The Balboa Bay Club & Resort. You can arrange to cruise the waters with a gourmet cheese plate, a bottle of wine and milk and cookies for the children. The boats are easy to drive, and you can book time on the water by the hour.

The Balboa Bay Club & Resort also rents paddleboards and more at their private beach.

balboa bay club first cabin
(credit: Balboa Bay Club & Resort)

Enjoy Dining At The Resort

There are two restaurants at the Resort, The First Cabin, which is fine dining, and Duke's Place that serves more casual fare and hosts a bar. The First Cabin is all that you'd expect of dining with yacht enthusiasts. The waiters wear bow ties, the service is exceptional, and the food is amongst the finest cuisine. There's something for everyone on the menu at The First Cabin, and if you don't see what you'd like, just ask. Vegetarians, be sure to request the delicious Curry Vegetable dish with Saffron Risotto. Duke's Place is ideal during the day for sitting on the patio, and it's the evening spot for cocktails. Duke's Place also offers brunch on the weekends.

balboa bay club spa
(credit: Balboa Bay Club & Resort)

Unwind At The Spa

The 17,000-square-foot spa is located on the member's side of the resort, and features a full menu of treatments. It's a peaceful sanctuary exclusive to resort guests and members. The Spa's December special is a relaxing 25-minute Peppermint Rosemary Salt Scrub that can also be combined with a light-pressure Classic Swedish Massage. Booking any treatment lets you take full advantage of all spa amenities, including: the eucalyptus steam room, whirlpools, dry sauna, Heat Therapies Systems and more.

balboa bay club boat parade
(credit: John Bloom Photography)

See The Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade

Don't miss the 104th Annual Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade Dec. 19 to 23. The Balboa Bay Club & Resort is the perfect spot to watch the parade and be with your family. Enjoy hot chocolate, cinnamon cider or mulled wine on hand. The parade starts at 6:30 p.m. and passes by the resort shore after 7:30 p.m. The event is spectacular, even hailed as "one of the top 10 holiday happenings in the nation" by The New York Times. The resort is fantastic for entertaining on the harbor or for viewing the parade from the comfort and privacy of your own bay front guest room. The resort's private beach and lawn offers excellent viewing also and features a Holiday Beach BBQ.

Other holiday events at The Balboa Bay Club & Resort include: the monthly Holiday Afternoon Tea, the Christmas Eve Dinner and Christmas Day Dinners, a New Year's Eve Black Tie Gala, New Year's Eve Dinner, New Year's Eve in Duke's Place, New Year's Day Brunch and more.

balboa bay club fashion island
(credit: Debbie Lavdas)

Do Your Holiday Shopping At Fashion Island

Get your holiday shopping done at Fashion Island, Orange County's premier coastal shopping destination, which is wonderfully magical during the holiday season. The outdoor ambiance offers at-ease shopping amid the décor and lights. Fashion Island is a blend of luxury, designer and fashion specialty boutiques, including Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Bloomingdale's, Bloomingdale's Home Store, Macy's, and a vast array of fine and al fresco dining. Don't miss their glorious tree on display. More on the season at

Balboa Bay Club & Resort

1221 West Coast Highway
Newport Beach, CA 92663
(949) 645-5000

Debbie Lavdas is a Southern California writer who covers travel for CBS Los Angeles, lifestyle for both Laguna Beach Magazine and Bask Magazine, as well as various feature stories for OC Family Magazine and many other publications. Keep up with her at @DebLavdas on Twitter or

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