The Marriott Newport Coast Villas are located on a hillside overlooking the coast between Newport Beach and Laguna. The Chrystal Cove State park is at the bottom of the hill, and there is a free shuttle to Laguna Beach. When we are there, we usually spend a day at the San Diego zoo which is about an hour drive. Disneyland and Knott's Berry Farm are fairly close. There are several shopping and dining options in the area, and I suggest you rent a car. Parking is free, but limited to one car per villa. For additional information about the resort and surrounding area, I suggest you check out the Timeshare Users Group forum in the Marriott section. http://www.tugbbs.com/forums/index.php There are several discussions about the resort. Enjoy your trip.
This is a great location and the timeshare units there are probably the best that Marriott has. There are some very good restaurants around the area but make sure you have a breakfast or lunch at the Beachcomber Cafe. It is right on the water a couple of miles (or less) from the Marriott. You can park in the Crystal Cove State Park just down the hill from the villas. There is a walkway that will take you under the Pacific Coast Highway and bring you right out to the beach and restaurant. Make a reservation in advance if you can because the waiting times can be hours long. Everyone sits on the beach or explores the trinket shops while they wait.
Another favorite north on the Pacific Coast Highway is Banderas in Corona Del Mar. It is part of the Hillstone Group of restaurants (Houston's, Hillstone, Rutherford Grill, East Hampton Grill, etc.) Very good food, service and atmosphere. There are a lot of good eating places along the Pacific Coast Highway north and south of where the villas are located. If you do a search for restaurants on the Newport Coast a lot should come up.
Enjoy the trip!
Boy is that a loaded question. There is SO much to do there. It just depends how you like to spend your time (ie. beach and sun, enjoying the proximal locality, sightseeing like Dland or San Diego, just relaxing at the resort and around town), because there really is a lot. And there are SO many nice Marriotts from Los Angeles (Hollywood, Hollywood Bowl, world class museums), Long Beach (great vacation place all by itself), all the beach resort locales in Orange County, from Huntington Beach to San Diego, that it's hard to pinpoint suggestions. Depending on when in fall, there's also Dodgers, Angels and Padres baseball or Charger football. The So. Cal. coast is such a great place.
I'll just offer up some suggestions for the local area. At the bottom of Newport Coast Drive where it runs into PCH (Pacific Coast Hwy), turn right (north) to head up to Corona Del Mar, Balboa Island, and Newport Beach.
In Corona Del Mar, there's Banderas, for which Tef lends a good recommend (never dined there but have wanted to). Also, Landmark Steak House, The Quiet Woman (I like), Five Crowns, corner of PCH and Poppy (my folks like), and Rose Bakery Cafe. You must also humor me and pay a visit to the Chronic Taco (on PCH and Orchid) walk-up for lunch one day. (See my blog here on insiders - The Quintessential Taco.) There is also this little unassuming bakery/store that sells fantastic breads, cheeses, tapenades and pates as well as wines. One of the employees there visits France from time to time.
In Newport Beach, Try El Torito in Newport Fashion Island (from PCH, turn right on Newport Center Drive to Fashion Island). They serve up some yummy Chile Relleno's made with Anaheim chiles. If you stay on PCH heading north, you'll come to the fancier part of Newport Beach and Balboa Island, where you will see Newport Beach Yacht Club and a smattering of high end auto dealerships. There are some fun restaurants in that area as well, on the west side of the highway. The Rusty Pelican comes to mind. Chronic Taco also has an outdoor Cantina up on Newport Blvd (take PCH up to Newport Blvd - Hwy 55, and it's up the hwy on the left. You can enjoy food and drinks outdoors sitting around table top fire pits. Very casual.
Going back to Marriott's Vacation Club property, straight down the hill is Crystal Cove State Beach, as Superchief mentioned. You can walk down there via the sidewalk, then you'll find a trail that will take you under coast highway to Crystal Cove at the beach, which is a great walk (and a nice workout coming back up the hill!) Back in the car, if you turn left on PCH from Newport Coast Drive, you'll come upon a place called the Promenade on the left, I believe. There is shopping and dining there also. I recommend driving further south to Laguna Beach. There is a nice cliff top walkway on Cliff Drive that you would like, I think. It reminds me of the promenade from Cannery Row out to Lover's Point in Pacific Grove if you've ever been there. There are many good restaurants, shops and art studios in Laguna Beach. You could easily spend a day there. You could also venture further south through Laguna Niguel, South Laguna and Dana Point. I think the Nixon Presidential Library is just south of Dana Point in San Clemente (another fun little downtown to visit), about an hours drive on PCH from Newport Coast.
Finally, if you enjoy cooking or barbecue, the property has ocean view barbecues in front of each building (well, if you have an ocean view villa), and there is a Trade Joe's at the Promenade which I mentioned, or you can drive up Newport Coast Drive about a mile or so to San Joaquin Hills Drive, where there is a Von's grocery store. The property also has great facilities, great pools, and pool bar, and live music (the relaxing, romantic kind.)
I get jazzed just thinking about all of this. You will have a great time!
Wanted to update this. The bakery with the employee that goes to France is out of business. The Chronic Taco Cantina up on Newport Blvd is also closed, however the Chronic Taco walk-up on PCH lives on!
In Laguna Beach, a couple of good restaurants are Las Brisas corner of Cliff Dr. and Pacific Coast Highway (PCH). Right across the street (PCH), The Cottage serves a great breakfast. Also, C'est la Vie serves an excellent champagne brunch. Ask for a table out back (outdoors) with an ocean view. Also, Gelato Paradisio on PCH, serves up some very good gelato. It's a short stroll down (south) and across the street from C'est La Vie.
In Newport Coast, the Von's Pavillion up the hill (Newport Coast Drive) in the Newport Coast Shopping Center has everything you need to stock your villa kitchen. In the same shopping center is Zov's, a little mediterranean restaurant that serves surprisingly good food. Since it's located in a strip mall (a very upscale strip mall however), it's not something one might consider for a vacation resort dining experience, however the interior is designed very nice and the menu and food is really good.
In Corona Del Mar (CDM), Five Crowns, Landmark, Quiet Woman and Banderas still good. Must grab a taco at Chronic Taco at least once for lunch.
Farther north into Newport Beach, I have heard that Panini Cafe is consistently good for casual mediterranean dining. If you head up Newport Center Drive, you will find some good restaurants at Newport Fashion Island. I like the Yard House Newport Beach, across the street from the Newport Beach Marriott. Also in Fashion Island (other side) is Roy's, which is Hawaiian fusion cuisine, very good. These places do get crowded. Am sure there is lots of good dining on Balboa Island and Peninsula, but have never dined there myself. In Newport Beach proper, if you like sushi, try 930 Sushi LLC, two doors down from the Ferrari dealership. Good food, good dining experience, however we dined later in the evening, and by the time we left, we we're pretty sure the chef's were tipping back the Sake! Rusty Pelican is also good.
If you've never rented a Duffy, do it. Really fun. Be sure to bring a cooler with your favorite beverages, nibblies and dining supplies (there is a table on the duffy). I recommend Windward Sailing Club for rentals,
Just ate at the Rusty Pelican a few days ago. I took some friends and was disappointed. It has gone down hill or it was just a bad day. We were seated by a large group with noisy kids and loud talking people so it was hard for us to talk.
The food was so - so. They charge a substitution fee, and don't tell you when you order and the charge is not on the menu, and you don't always know what you will get.
Service was so - so.
The view was great.
There are better places to go like the Cannery.
The Cannery is probably my favorite. Indoor and Outside seating. People dock their boats there and come in for dinner. Neat building as well as good food. Valet parking but metered street is usually available.
Most restaurants are not open on Thanksgiving however the Cannery is. My experience is that one does not get to experience the best on a holiday. The food is overpriced and usually not at the best. My suggestion was for a prepared supermarket dinner for the holiday. They can enjoy the great food the other days.
You didn't mention the 2 local and tourist favorites. The Beachcomber and the Crystal Cove Shake Shack. The Beachcomber serves casual food for BLD. It is right on the beach and while the food is good, people enjoy the location. The Shake Shack serves BL and is more burgers and shakes. The view from there is fantastic and the food is good.
Both of these are close to Newport Coast Villas and one might be able to take a shuttle to get there.
Yes, I didn't mention it because a) I've never dined there (it just hasn't thus far grabbed my interest), and b) I thought someone else had reported on it, but it must be in another Newport blog, since I don't see it here. Yes, one can take a Marriott shuttle from the Newport Coast property to Crystal Cove where these 2 places are (or walk). Maybe I will have to try The Beachcomber Cafe next year, since folks keep mentioning it. As far as the shake shack, I just presumed it was just a small version of a Ruby's Diner, for which there is also one on PCH as well as at the end of the Balboa Pier and the Huntington Pier. Ruby's is good... good burgers, shakes and fries. The view at the shack location looks awesome. Speaking of Huntington Pier, I enjoy having a Margarita upstairs at Fred's Mexican Cafe. There are many restaurants right there at Huntington Beach, but other than Fred's, I haven't dined at any of them. Huntington Beach and Pier is worthy of a visit for vacationers visiting Newport Coast/Beach, in my opinion. Just a short drive north along the coast.
I really enjoy cooking in the villas too. Some of the bbq's overlook the ocean.
Oh my gosh! You guys are so helpful! And Lorifleenor you have so much info, I will have to print it out! I had been to San Diego before when my son was stationed there @ the Navy Hospital & enjoyed many sites there. But I had never been more north. Also, we are thinking of using our 5 free nights @ a category 6 hotel from a travel package & go to San Francisco 1st & then to Newport Coast. Not sure which cat 6 we should stay at for 5 days 1st. Any suggestions? I also have to make sure we can get 2 weeks off from work 1st. Also need to do a multi-city flight. Lots of planning soon!!
I've been to San Francisco many times, and yet I can't offer much. There is a lot to do that's fun and parking can be impossible. Good Zoo, good museums at Golden Gate park, of course the bridge, Fisherman's Wharf, Embarcadero, Union Square, Cable Cars, and China Town. Sometimes good plays. Saucelito used to be a fun place to visit across the Golden Gate bridge. Took a helicopter ride over the bay once. That was fun. The office is somewhere around the Wharf. I've never stayed at a Marriott there. Start a new question about San Francisco, and it's likely you will get some valuable input.
The Marquis is a very nice Cat 6 in San Francisco. I've always enjoyed the property when there. Two blocks from the cable car station and the BART (subway system). SF is a great city to get around by trolley car, subway or just walking out by the wharf. Parking a car there costs mega $$$, and the city is a nightmare to drive, so, if you don't need one, don't get one. If you go to Sausalito just rent a car for a day or maybe take a trip to wine country if you get an early start. There might be a ferry that goes there to Sausalito from the Bay. Don't forget Alcatraz. It's a fun trip.
We have always enjoyed our dinners at the Blue Water Grill on Balboa. It is casual and you can dine outdoors when the weather is nice. I agree with Pluto77's recommendation for the Mediterranean restaurant, as well as the Mexican restaurant near Pavillon's. We often get carryout to eat on our balcony with a bottle of wine while watching the coastal sunset from our balcony.