Whether you are a local or thinking of visiting for the holidays, put the Newport Beach Marriott Hotel & Spa on your list. It is located in beautiful Orange County, right across the street from Fashion Island Shopping Center (should you have any last minute shopping to do!).
Myself and three other lucky ladies were recently invited to experience some holiday eats and a little pampering at the Newport Beach Marriott Hotel & Spa. Our afternoon started with lunch at Sam & Harry’s restaurant.
Sam & Harry’s is an upscale steak and seafood restaurant located within the Marriott. Now, I usually shy away from “hotel restaurants”. Why? Because they usually rely on the “convenience factor”, meaning they think people will eat there regardless of the quality because it’s, well, convenient! However, Sam & Harry’s has gone above and beyond my expectations and served up a fabulous meal that would be worthy of a special trip to Orange County.
They are also all dolled up for the holidays and offering a delicious prix-fixed Christmas dinner, costing $51 for adults and $19 for kids 5-9. It includes sparkling wine or cider, choice of lobster bisque or roasted baby beets/goat cheese salad, choice of turkey, prime rib, maple glazed ham or king salmon, and dessert. Oooh, my mouth is watering as I read the options! And, their special New Year’s Eve dinner starts at just $42! You can find find out more about their regular dining options on their website and give them a call at (949) 729-6900 for further details on their holiday menus.
We started our lunch with a lightly breaded crab cake. I love that this allows the focus to stay with the fresh crabmeat rather than on any fillers. They pride themselves on their seafood being as fresh as possible. It’s flown in daily to assure this!
To keep with my seafood theme, I selected the Seared Ahi with fresh vegetables as my side. One girl at our table substituted fresh fruit for the rice, and Sam & Harry’s was very accommodating to that. As you can see below, my ahi was seared to perfection. And, yes, it tasted as good as it looks!
When the dessert rolled out, I had to take a bit, or two, of each. The polka dot chocolate cake was the hands-down favorite, moist cake with not-too-sweet mousse filling. I’m always a sucker for chocolate dipped strawberries, too and the fresh fruit tartlet rounded out our meal nicely!
The staff at Sam & Harry’s was also extremely attentive to food allergies. At our table of four we had one gluten allergy and one nut allergy. I was very appreciative to the checking and rechecking that went on to ensure our safety. They even brought our gluten-allergic mom her own sampling of shrimp cocktail instead of crab cake, and pineapple gelato instead of chocolate cake. We had a nice talk with the Senior Manager of Operations for the restaurant, and he confirmed that Sam & Harry’s is accommodating to menu changes, especially when food allergies are an issue.
Sam & Harry’s offer private dining rooms (that can accommodate up to 40 guests) or the entire facility can be rented out for larger parties. While we were there, an intimate wedding reception was gathered and enjoying their buffet. The restaurant had extended their Sunday buffet hours at the request of the bride and groom. If you are a wine-lover, you’ll also be pleased by their selection of over 4,000 wines ranging from the prestigious vineyard to lesser known gems. They are revamping their wine selection and increasing their stock of California wines as well. If you don’t need an entire bottle, they have a tempting selection of 25 wines by the glass.
Pur Blu Spa and Perla Hair Studio
With my venti Cappuccino from Starbucks in-hand (there’s one inside the hotel), we headed over to Pure Blu Spa at the Newport Beach Marriott. I reserved a custom facial, with the hopes of de-winterizing my skin.
Their website simply begins with How to Leave Planet Earth. It’s really quite simple, just take a deep breath, exhale slowly and fly off to blu. I had a facial with Diane and it was….bliss. After getting my skin prepped with a glycolic cleanser, she followed it with a refreshing lemon scrub and papaya & pineapple enzyme mask. The tingling of the mask was intense at first, but subsided within a few minutes. The scent was pleasant and light. While the mask was setting, Diane gave me a fab-u-lous neck and shoulder massage. After rinsing off the mask (with steamy hot towels), she finished up with serum and a moisturizer and I had a look! I have sensitive skin and I admit I was a bit worried if I was going to have a negative reaction to the treatment. My skin was definitely brighter and smoother post-facial and I still feel the benefits two days later.
While at the spa, I enjoyed a quick dip in their saltwater whirlpool Jacuzzi. They also offer complete access with every treatment to their eucalyptus steam room, dry sauna, refreshing cold water foot plunge, private outdoor saline swimming pool (with lounge chairs, cabanas and poolside service-by request), state-of-the-art fitness center and complementary valet or self-parking. Robes, slippers and a locker are also provided.
Once finished with the facial, I was whisked into Perla Hair Studio (located within Pure Blu Spa). There, Marlene gave me a wonderful shampoo and style. With what I consider to be generally unmanageable wavy, thick and often frizzy hair, I like someone else to do the work of straightening it out for a change. Marlene was able to tame my wild mane and prompted a few compliments from clients the next day, too!
WIN IT: Like Pure Blu on Facebook and write “Spa’liday” on their page to be entered to WIN any spa treatment of choice! Winner will be announced this Friday, 12/16!
DISCOUNT: Book a 50-minute custom massage or a 50 minute custom facial for just $95 each (save $40!). Pure Blu is offering this great discount until January 6, 2012.
GIFT IT: Pure Blu Spa can be a one-stop-shop for Christmas gifts for anyone on your list that feel deserves a little pampering. They offer gift cards, memberships, spa treatments, luxurious skin care lines and more! Check out their website for details.
* We did not receive monetary compensation for this review. That’s IT Mommy received the experience detailed above from the businesses mentioned free of charge to facilitate this review. Giveaway item mentioned will be provided by sponsor and is not offered through That’s IT Mommy. This will in no way sway our opinion of the product or service. The review is in our own words and is our opinion. Your results and opinions may differ.