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“Disappointing first impression!”

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The Resort at Pelican Hill
Ranked #5 of 18 Hotels in Newport Beach
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed February 20, 2014

I booked our stay through American Express Platinum Travel. We arrived with happy anticipation of a lovely stay. That feeling only lasted until we reached the front desk. We were met there by Carly, whose professional goal, it seems, is to make one feel like a number or "just another sheep in the herd". She recited her spiel about check-in being at 4:00 etc. No mention of our reservation being with Platinum Travel Services until I asked if they could honor the early check-in which is one of the benefits. No mention of any of the other benefits of our AMEX reservation either. I wondered if she was even familiar with the program.

When I mentioned that, in addition, we were members of the Resort's own Exclusive Privelege Program she had no idea what that meant, or it meant nothing to her. In fact, no one seemed to know anything about the program which is supposed to include a complimentary room upgrade if available (as with AMEX) and discounts at the resort. We were informed that they had no idea what type of room would be available and that we were "in the queue".

TWO hours later, after politely inquiring a few times as to the status of our room (and getting the runaround) we were finally informed that our room was available. She said that, unfortunately, an upgrade was impossible (we also know that the resort was only at 73% occupancy) but that she had made an effort to get us an "ocean view room". Which was no effort on her part because THAT WAS WHAT WE RESERVED and were paying for. Neither she, nor the front desk supervisor really seemed to notice or care about us personally. Neither welcomed us, apologized for the wait, or offered so much as a glass of water.

When we finally got into our room, exhausted after a long day of traveling, imagine our dismay at our "ocean view" room actually being a room where the main view was the rooftops of rooms below us and the road. Sure, you could see the ocean if you squinted into the distance and then it was about an inch worth at best.

At that point, we had had it. I contacted Platinum Travel and they had to get on the phone with the resort to try to make it right. We were ultimately given another room with a nicer view.
We travel the world regularly and prefer to stay at hotels in the Fine Hotels and Resorts program. We are accustomed to a much higher level of service than we have received at this property thus far.

This is our first night of a four-night stay. I will reserve judgment about our overall experience until the end, however I must say that the resort gets a failing grade for first impressions.

  • Stayed: February 2014
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5  Thank Southerngal2222
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
PelicanHillResort, Manager at The Resort at Pelican Hill, responded to this reviewResponded February 21, 2014

Thank you for taking the time to share your in-depth feedback about your experience. I would like to extend my sincerest apologies for the experience you encountered. It is our mission and responsibility to provide exceptional service and memorable experiences for each and every guest who chooses to visit our resort. Please know that I have personally discussed your feedback with our managing director and followed up directly with our front office staff so we may continue to improve our service levels throughout the resort.

Please note that our front office manager has tried to reach you several times and left messages, hoping to have the opportunity to connect before your departure. I would also like to take the time to speak with you directly to discuss your feedback in more detail. I will provide you with my contact details separately in a private message, so you may contact me directly at your convenience. Once again, I apologize that your experience was less than perfect, and I look forward to speaking with you so that we can make exceptional improvements during the remainder of your stay.


Kind Regards,

David Phillips
Director of Rooms
The Resort at Pelican Hill

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed February 19, 2014

We have stayed at Pelican before and had a wonderful time, which is what led to me picking the resort to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary. I opted to "upgrade" to a 2 bedroom villa for the 3 nights figuring it would be nice and comfortable for our family of four. We arrived at the resort around 3:30 p.m. on Friday. Guaranteed Check in is at 4 p.m. As we are waiting to check in I hear the couple ahead of us is upgraded to a 3 bedroom ocean view villa. I think "great", since I'm an Irvine Company "Customer Privilege" member I also qualify for an ocean view upgrade - so I'm feeling good! I step to the desk to check in, the front desk girl confirms our reservation in a "garden view" villa. I hand her my "customer privilege" card and request the upgrade. She informs me that there is no availability - they are 100% sold out - so she can't honor my upgrade request. I am disappointed, but understanding. She informs me that the Villa is not yet ready, and she will come find us when it is.

45 minutes later we are still waiting for our Villa. I inquire again . . . . she says its "in final inspection". I ask about the "guaranteed 4 p.m. check in policy" since it is now 4:45 p.m. She apologizes and tells me that there are "engineering issues" with our villa. Specifically the T.V. doesn't work and there's a problem with the shower. I've watched multiple people check in at this point and all of their villas are ready, but we've been waiting almost an hour. Then the next guy to walk up and check in is cheerfully told that they've upgraded him to an ocean view villa! What? I thought they were sold out? So, now I've not only had to wait more than an hour to check in, I've not been offered the upgrade that as an Irvine Company Customer I've been promised, and I'm being given a "broken" villa?

Around 5 p.m. they FINALLY escort us to Villa 505. We get in the room - T.v. still doesn't work, wine fridge in the kitchen doesn't operate either - whatever, I'm just glad to finally be able to relax. That night we discover that both sinks in the master bath will not drain. Funny how housekeeping didn't notice this when they cleaned the sinks? Saturday they FINALLY fix the T.v. and sinks at 6 p.m., but my brother in law notices the thick dust on top of all the lamp shades and the cushions on the couches actually "puff" dust when you sit on them. Is this the reject villa that never gets used or properly maintained/cleaned?

Our dinner experiences at the on-site restaurants are divine. Service at the pools is great! By check out on Monday, I've forgotten about the disappointing start to our weekend. Until we leave for home. We pull our car out of the Villa garage where it's been parked for 3 nights. (We utilized the resort shuttles for the entire weekend and didn't need to use the car.) I get in the car and notice something strange on the seat. It appears to be a rodent poop, but I think "that can't be, its been in a locked garage with locked doors and windows". So we drive home. Once at home I give a closer inspection and find, to my horror, that there is rat poop throughout the car! under all the seats, on the rear seats - from front to back! There was no food in my car and the interior was clean - so I'm baffled why they decided to hold a rat party in my car - but they did!

I had to spend $100 on an interior detail the next day just so I could feel comfortable in my car again! I understand that critters live around the area, but you would think the resort would put traps or something in the garages, or around the property to prevent this from happening. If I worked for Forbes, or any of the other award companies they certainly wouldn't have gotten a 5 star rating after my experience!

I will definitely never stay in the Villa's again - it was not an upgraded experience and having to wait 15 - 20 minutes to get a ride to the main part of the resort was a real pain!

Room Tip: Stay in the bungalows instead of the villas, unless you are looking for a more "removed" e...
See more room tips
  • Stayed: February 2014, traveled with family
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4  Thank Lori C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
PelicanHillResort, Manager at The Resort at Pelican Hill, responded to this reviewResponded February 20, 2014

Lori,

I sincerely appreciate you taking the time to share your feedback. While I’m please to read that you enjoyed dinning at our restaurants, I regret that your experience fell short of the Five-Star standards you expect and we aim to deliver. Please know that what you encountered is the exception, and not the rule.

Based upon your detailed comments, I have personally addressed your concerns with regards to the check-in process, maintenance and housekeeping. Pelican Hill leaders review and consider each guest’s comments carefully, so that we may continue to heighten the overall guest experience.

I apologize for the unfortunate disappointment you experienced and would like to hear more about your perspective. I will provide you with my contact details separately in a private message, so you may contact me directly at your convenience.

Kind Regards,

David Phillips
Director of Rooms
The Resort at Pelican Hill

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 18, 2014

The Resort at Pelican Hill was five star luxury at its finest. Instead of hotel rooms, guests have their own villas overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The service was phenomenal and the food exceptional. We loved ordering room service for breakfast and wine/cheese at night before we went to dinner. The rooms have a bedroom and living room with 2 fireplaces and a huge patio. Truly felt like we were staying at a beautiful home! The pool service was amazing surrounded the perfectly round pool built to replicate ancient Greece. The Italian restaurant was awesome, everything was delicious and authentic. Overall, first class service, amenities and staff.

Room Tip: Order room service for breakfast to enjoy the beautiful rooms and the delicious room service options...
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  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank WineGolfSun
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 9, 2014

This was part of my birthday present, and Bill couldn't have done better!
Even the weather cooperated!
Bit of a mix up with the booking but the management couldn't have been nicer and fixed it without a big fuss, or increase!
The property was gorgeous and we walked every inch with a baby stroller! We baby sat for our granddaughter for a day! The restaurant made an extra effort to place us away from noisy parties, so we could keep the baby asleep while we ate. The baby also loved the kiddy park which was away from the main guest area so we did not disturb others
Fireplace in the room added a wonderful cozy touch. We even got driven down to Crystal Cove for breakfast on the beach, which was wonderful. Do it!
The only iffy piece was some of the quick food late in the evening, in the Pelican grill, which seemed like frozen calamari. We ate there three other times and it was great.
We did not eat breakfast or use the spa, and we were unable to get in at Andrea's as we hadn't made reservations. Room service menu was limited so we walked to restaurant instead!

  • Stayed: February 2014, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Lvbrit
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 5, 2014

Difficult to find any fault at this great resort hotel. Operation of fireplace in the room could have been explained a little better. Room service staff seemed a little too familiar and asked a lot of questions in their attempt to be hospitable. Perhaps a little training n this area.

  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled as a couple
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Review collected in partnership with Easytobook.com
Thank Ralph S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 2, 2014

This place is fantastic. Prepare to relax in a true oasis of serenity. The exclusiveness of the resort keeps everything clean, quiet, and serene. The pool is large, open, and great for people watching. The location is on a fantastic golf course - one of the best in the world . I really enjoyed my stay. My wife loved it.

  • Stayed: February 2014, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Elliott C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 1, 2014 via mobile

Stayed 2 nights at a Villa. The check in was smooth. The facilities are rather spread out so had to get chauffeured to our unit.

The unit was fully decked out. A master suite and a double bed children room with its own bathroom. There was a guest half bath.


Enjoyed both the North and South course. The rentals were Nike. The driving range was probably one of the most beautiful ones I've seen. Definitely recommend getting a caddie as you will enjoy the course much more.

Breakfast portions at the reception were American sized and service was great both times. Drinks at the clubhouse grill was ok. Dinner was Andrea was excellent but the atmosphere somewhat superficial. The risotto was the best.

Overall, great food, great service and great golf

Stayed: February 2014, traveled with friends
Thank Plus2kids
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Resort at Pelican Hill

Address: 22701 Pelican Hill Road South, Newport Beach, CA 92657-2008
Phone Number:
Location: United States > California > Orange County > Newport Beach
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#1 Business Hotel in Newport Beach
#2 On the Beach Hotel in Newport Beach
#2 Romantic Hotel in Newport Beach
#3 Luxury Hotel in Newport Beach
#4 Spa Hotel in Newport Beach
Price Range: $367 - $1,296 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — The Resort at Pelican Hill 5*
Number of rooms: 332
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Set on 504 acres by the Pacific Ocean in Newport Beach, The Resort at Pelican Hill(R) features: 128 two-, three- and four-bedroom villas with magnificent coastal views and an unparalleled array of appointments, immersing guests in the absolute finest of everything; 204 luxuriously appointed bungalow guest rooms and suites with private terraces; a rejuvenating Five-Star spa with a menu of the world's most celebrated therapies; world-class restaurants, including Andrea serving authentic Northern Italian cuisine; an iconic "Coliseum Pool," one of the largest circular pools anywhere with tiered decks and luxurious cabanas; and Pelican Hill Golf Club with 36 dramatic holes by Tom Fazio, nearly all with ocean panoramas. A Five-Star, Five-Diamond destination, Pelican Hill has earned acclaim as the 2012 Grand Resort selected by Andrew Harper's Hideaway Report; as Conde Nast Traveler Readers' Choice Awards Top Southern California Resort (2013 & 2012), Top U.S. Resort (2011), Top-Rated Golf Resort Worldwide (2012) and Top-Rated California Resort Spa (2012); in Travel + Leisure's "Top 100" World's Best Hotels (2011 Readers' Poll), and with two courses ranked among Golf Digest's America's 100 Greatest Public Golf Courses (2011). ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Pelican Hill Hotel Newport Beach
Hotel At Pelican Hill
At Pelican Hill Hotel

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