On Point With Pendry

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The Elwood Club’s Viamara restaurant | Photo by Pendry Newport Beach

Newport’s newest hotel exudes a grand yet approachable design.

By Sharon Stello


Adding a splash of color above each bed in the Pendry Newport Beach hotel, framed prints of Hermès botanical scarves give a nod to the property’s location at Fashion Island. Drawing on the lushly landscaped grounds, green hues and other design elements pull the outside in. And artwork adds to the ambiance, including ornate ceiling murals that dazzle in the dining and cabaret rooms of the membership club wing.

Pendry, which aims to open its restaurants and club in late summer while room reservations are available starting Oct. 1, took over the former Fashion Island Hotel with Eagle Four Partners and has fully reimagined the property. Eagle Four is a Newport-based private equity firm with assets including Balboa Bay Resort & Club, Newport Beach Country Club and Vea Newport Beach, a Marriott Resort & Spa. Pendry is part of Orange County’s Montage International, which has a resort in nearby Laguna Beach.

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Pendry Newport Beach, the former Fashion Island Hotel | Photo by Pendry Newport Beach

The eighth location for the Pendry Hotels & Resorts brand—with more on the way—Pendry Newport Beach offers 295 guest rooms including 114 suites. The property embraces Southern California’s laid-back style, creating a space that’s both comfortable and elevated all at once.

“As with all of our properties, we would like our guests to feel like they are entering their home away from home,” says David Hoffman, general manager of Pendry Newport Beach. “This will happen first and foremost by the warm and inviting welcome from our associates. … My hope is that our guests … will also embrace the excitement of the property through all that it has to offer—whether that is through the uniquely curated artwork, the multiple dining experiences, Spa Pendry or event programming.”

Alessandro Munge, founder and design director of Studio Munge in Toronto, the firm behind the interior design of this hotel transformation, echoes this sentiment. “Rooted in the brand’s ethos, Pendry Newport Beach is a sanctuary defined by sophisticated yet understated luxury,” he says. “The thoughtfully embellished property features carefully composed spaces that evoke a familiar sense of home to a distinguished clientele.”

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The hotel’s Bar Pendry | Photo by Pendry Newport Beach

Looking past fleeting trends in favor of “timeless elegance,” Munge says the hotel “distinguishes itself by striking a balance between warmth and grandeur, making it feel like an expensive residence with an array of amenities.” The public spaces, he says, feature “classic charms with layers of tailored design elements that create a welcoming atmosphere.” Meanwhile, the dining areas and The Elwood Club, a membership-based social club, embrace boldness. “Here, the journey takes an unexpected turn,” he says, “offering an experiential environment that intrigues and engages visitors.”


Down to the Details

The hotel’s design blends inspiration from multiple sources: old-school Hollywood glamour, the hotel’s gardenlike setting and unique architectural features, Newport’s natural beauty and even details reminiscent of classic sports cars, “infusing an element of dynamic energy and sleekness,” Munge shares. Meticulous attention to detail shows throughout, with quality craftsmanship and premium materials from travertine to natural wood and exquisite textiles.

Publisher Tom Adler along with Evan Backes, both noted art directors and graphic designers, have curated the framed photos that add to the hotel’s guest rooms and public spaces as well as the club. These selections, in part, represent Adler’s understanding of California surf culture and its artful impact. There will also be three significant art installations curated by Kira Heuer specifically for Pendry Newport Beach and also a piece by artist Anthony James.

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A rendering of the redesigned pool area, complete with cabanas and a playful, checkered sun deck | Photo by Pendry Newport Beach

When it comes to the hotel’s color palette, neutral shades of soft alabaster and white travertine serve as a backdrop “to reflect a sense of sophistication, maturity and harmony with the lush green surroundings,” Munge says. Pulling from the landscaping, a muted hunter green adds depth and richness, he adds, while “a rich walnut brown was also incorporated to provide warmth and contrast, contributing to an atmosphere of refined comfort.”

Similar tones can be found in the contemporary guest rooms, from crisp white signature Pendry bedding to hunter green sofas, dressers and nightstands. In addition to the framed scarf prints, photos of beach scenes and florals decorate the walls. Floor-to-ceiling windows open to private patios or Juliet balconies, many with ocean, harbor or bay views. All rooms come with state-of-the-art technology, curated mini bars and more. High-end finishes extend to the bathrooms with imported Italian marble countertops, polished travertine floors, MiN New York bath products and even a signature Pendry candle with a blend of santal and cypress notes. Specialty suites add kitchenettes to the amenities.

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The hotel’s Pinwheel Kids Club | Photo by Pendry Newport Beach

Before arriving to their rooms, as guests first enter the lobby, a thoughtfully designed lounge to one side features custom sofas, chairs and tables as well as curated decor, evoking “a sophisticated library” that provides a cozy space to relax, work or get lost in conversation with friends or other guests. Neutral hues are accented with muted blues, burgundy red and gray. Walnut-stained wood shelves frame the space, filled with carefully selected art and accessories akin to a personal bookshelf at home. “The geometric patterns of … [a] bespoke rug, inspired by classic silk scarves, add a touch of elegance and character to the space,” Munge notes.


Vibrant Venues

Those subtle tones shift to “gemstone colors and brilliant lacquers” in the social club and restaurants to “inject energy and character,” Munge says.

The Elwood Club, a members club built in a private section of Pendry Newport Beach, will offer both exclusive venues and innovative programming. From Viamara, an Italian restaurant and bar with a garden terrace to a pub with a screening room and golf simulator, a boardroom and even a glamorous cabaret bar, the club boasts plenty of amenities for the locals who become members. Each space in this modern club will feature high design and be connected with an impressive gallery of art. Near the club’s entrance, members will be greeted with a “wall portal” installation by artist Anthony James.

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The Elwood Club’s pub with golf simulator | Photo by Pendry Newport Beach

For the sexy, chic cabaret space, imagine a stunning ceiling mural, red velvet chairs around bistro tables and heavy, red velvet drapes along the windows with peek-a-boo spots where people entering the hotel can catch a glimpse inside. Events might range from guest speakers to wine tasting or a dueling pianos performance.

The club’s full schedule of weekly, monthly and quarterly events will range from live music and other entertainment to wellness sessions and activities. And members will receive preferred access and discounts to Spa Pendry as well as the hotel’s swimming pool, sun deck, fitness center, kids club, restaurants, bars, event lawns and gardens. An app and 24/7 live concierge will allow members to make reservations whenever they want. Elwood Club Membership Director Keith Duross says the club will launch with 300 founding members, ages 21 to 92, from all walks of life with a goal of creating connections in this social space.

In the hotel, the main restaurant is Set Steak & Sushi, a modern steakhouse with prime cuts cooked over an open flame and many table-side preparations. Fresh sushi and sashimi, sustainable seafood, sophisticated cocktails and fine wines will also be served in this space, formerly occupied by Oak Grill when the property was Fashion Island Hotel. Past diners will recall the romantic patio dotted with mature trees strung with lights; this patio will be part of the new Set. Inside, the restaurant’s design was inspired by an ultra-luxury yacht. The former Oak Grill bar was converted to a sushi bar while a new bar for mixing drinks—one of six on the property—was built on the other side of the room. Set’s menu will showcase organic, sustainable and locally sourced seasonal ingredients.

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The Cabaret at The Elwood Club | Photo by Pendry Newport Beach

Set dishes were developed with James Beard Foundation Smart Catch Leader JoJo Ruiz to accentuate the creative culinary mind of Executive Chef James Jung, who oversees this restaurant operated on the property by Clique Hospitality. Chef Ben Martinek, previously of Montage Laguna Beach, will helm the rest of the hotel and club restaurants.

Elsewhere on the property, where Aqua Lounge was once located in Fashion Island Hotel, the signature Bar Pendry will be a stylish outpost with dark wood, rich colors and deep green accents. A new bar top was built for this area, which will serve as more of a lounge with a baby grand piano, handcrafted cocktail menu and cozy gathering space.

Other eateries at the hotel will include Tree Shack, with an alfresco setting, lush landscape and a Baja-inspired menu of snacks and poolside drinks. The Pavilion will be a classic breakfast destination for hotel guests, locals and members alike, serving up California-inspired fare from traditional favorites to Newport Beach signature dishes, Vittoria Coffee drinks and more.

Aside from dining options, Pendry will offer more than 14,000 square feet of meeting and event space, including an 8,710-square-foot ballroom, plus a fitness center, spa and outdoor pool with expansive sun deck and cabanas. Munge says the vision was to create a seamless flow between indoor and outdoor spaces. The pool area features a playful and unexpected checker pattern, which extends to the grid design on rugs throughout the property for a cohesive thread that runs between the spaces.

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Guest rooms featuring relaxing green tones | Photo by Pendry Newport Beach

In addition to interior design by Munge, hotel architecture was by WATG and landscape architecture by Burton Studio.

“What is really special about Pendry Hotels & Resorts is that each property embraces the cities that they are located in,” Hoffman says. “With that, each hotel has a tremendous sense of place for their respective surroundings and that will be no different here in Newport Beach. Pendry Newport Beach will embrace the California culture through lush, garden-themed interiors, open-air walkways and outdoor space, all while offering unique experiences as you move through the resort. Some of my favorites will be Bar Pendry for a great handcrafted cocktail or our outdoor dining option by the pool, Tree Shack. I have no doubt that our guests, locals and members will be able to find the perfect spot to match their mood.”

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