The Art of the Vacation

Find the places—and the experiences—that create an extraordinary getaway.

What’s your dream vacation? Whether it involves glorious white sand beaches and tall glasses of rum punch, golfing all day, shopping till you drop, exotic massages, farm-to-table meals—or all of the above—the ideal getaway must meet your own, very personal, definition of relaxation. And to really get the most out of it, there are a few key things to keep in mind.

First, choose a destination that is truly different from your familiar surroundings—it doesn’t have to be a deserted island, just a place that’s unlike what you’re used to, with experiences that take you away from your daily lifestyle. Go out of your comfort zone—take a risk, try a new activity, meet new people.

Don’t overschedule yourself; too many activities, even those that are fun, can create stress. Stop planning for a couple of days; try flying by the seat of your pants, and see where it takes you.

Unplug if you can, and try to unitask. Spend face-time with loved ones, and get to know them—and yourself.

There are, of course, many destinations that promise nirvana. The Resort at Pelican Hill—set along the Southern California coastline in the chic Newport Beach enclave of Newport Coast—is as good as it gets for golfers, shoppers, spa-goers, beach lovers, even adventure seekers. Designed as a modern adaptation of an Italian seaside village, this 21st-century Xanadu is luxurious on a timelessly grand scale, exotic yet conveniently close, with gorgeous panoramic vistas (that make you feel like you’re actually in Italy), two golf courses designed by Tom Fazio, and meticulous service that includes round-the-clock butler service, personal trainers, personal chefs, and more.

Here, you can do as much or as little as you like. Take a dip in the resort’s incredible saltwater Coliseum Pool—the largest circular pool in the world—complete with Rome-inspired vaulted arches, a radiant-blue bottom of 1.1 million glass mosaic tiles, and ultra-luxe private cabanas. Wile away the days in the Southern California sun, while pool attendants wait on you hand and foot.

Or get busy with enriching onsite tours and classes, such as the weekly Art & Architecture tour, which takes you up-close to the resort’s iconic Palladian architecture and Renaissance art. Make the most of Newport Coast’s year-round Mediterranean climate and lounge on pristine beaches, or find your adventure in miles of Irvine Ranch Land Reserve® hiking trails, along stretches of historic Crystal Cove seaside, and on the waterways of Newport Harbor, the largest pleasure boating harbor in the world. Explore on your own, or take the Spa’s daily guided beach hike.

Need to shop? Hop the resort’s complementary coach to nearby Fashion Island, Southern California’s premier coastal shopping destination with an ocean view and nearly 200 high-end stores, or check out nearby Corona del Mar and Balboa Island neighborhoods, filled with boutiques, galleries, and local eateries.

Great epicurean experiences are a staple of every great vacation. The resort’s restaurants and cafés use many locally-sourced ingredients from nearby Irvine Ranch®, creating must-try delicacies such as hand-made pasta and the signature tableside risotto wheel at Andrea Ristorante, along with resort-made pastries and artisan gelatos at the Caffè.

And, because every vacation is ultimately about unwinding, you’ll appreciate the privacy, spaciousness, and residential touches of Pelican Hill’s luxurious villas and bungalows, and the extra exclusivity of the “resort within the resort” villa enclave. From private ocean-view terraces to hand-cut and carved fireplaces framed by Italian limestone, everything is designed to create the kind of getaway that’s good for your body, mind, and spirit.

Start planning your own extraordinary getaway at